i recently saw a bit on tom barr's site about internal co2 reactors, and since I'm still without a canister, decided to give it a try. the interesting thing i saw in his model that i haven't seen anywhere else is the use of a venturi line (either pre-assembled or DIY) to get those pesky pockets at the surface of the tube out into the tank. I don't remember precisely how the diagram presented it on the site, but what I did was take my powerhead, attach it to a gravel vac in the standard fashion, put an elbow connector inside the vac tube to create swirling, and plug a couple of airline connectors into the tube. one as close as possible to the bottom, the other on the blue lid of the gravel vac. the one at the bottom is where the CO2 bubbles in from the source, and the one on the top is where the venturi line is connected to the powerhead, sucking out air pockets, churning up CO2 and spitting out oxygen, nitrogen, etc., that collects in the bubbles that diffuse into the pockets at the top of the reactor, and forces them out into the water column as either dissolved gases or bubbles that drift to the surface. since incorporating the venturi into the reactor, my CO2 levels have jumped up about 10ppm at the same bubble rate, my o2 levels are most likely higher as a result of healthier plants as well as O2 constantly being churned and dumped into the water column by the powerhead, my algae is all but gone, and my fish seem more feisty than they have been in weeks.
Oh, to DIY a venturi line for a reactor that doesn't have one, just stick some flexible airline tubing (silicon is perfectly acceptable for this purpose) into the inlet strainer of the powerhead and connect it to the syphon tube as close to the top as you can practically place it to suck out as much of the trapped gas as possible. Thanks for the great tweak on an old design, tom!
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