Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Thoughts About In-Line Reactors
First, the details:
2" diameter, 24" long "Rex" style reactor, powered by a Filstar XP2. Nothing else inline.
Last night I was playing around with my pressurized CO2, and I found that if I turned the bubble rate way up (just for a short time of course) that rather than seeing bubbles come shooting out of my spraybar, I heard the water at the top of my reactor begin to trickle, the way it does for the first day after installation or after cleaning the filter when there's an air pocket at the top. So I realized that my flow rate is so slow that CO2 is able to rise to the top of the reactor. It still gets disolved, but it stands to reason that this effect creates a limit as to what the reactor can accomplish in terms of disolving CO2 into the water. Above a certain bubble count, CO2 is just gathering at the top of the reactor and disolving into the water at a fixed rate. This also seems to make sense because I cannot seem to get my pH below 6.8, and no matter what I never ever get bubbles out of the spray bar.
I wonder if this is the way the reactor is supposed to function. I had been under the impression that the ideal reactor would hold CO2 in the water column as it dissolved- that the flow down was roughly equal to the rate at which CO2 bubbles rise up. I also wondered about people who have had pH crashes due to problems with pH controllers connected to their regulators. From what I can see, my reactor would not crash my pH but would instead just build up a large pocket of CO2 at the top.
I am seriously considering ditching my reactor all together and going with a venturi design.
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FILSTAR Advocate #39
Member, Minnesota Aquarium Society
29 Gal. - 100% Eco-Complete/2x65W CF/CO2/Filstar XP2/RedSea500/KH:3/GH:5/pH:< 5.5/EI Dosing/WWC 50%