I want to ask people to help me solve a mystery. Basically, I'm wondering why do CO2 yeast reactors only seem to work optimally occasionally (that is, to produce a lot of CO2 for up to 2 months at a good strong stream), but most often other times, they are very weak, have a very low stream of CO2 bubbles, and stop working within a couple weeks.
I once wondered if it mattered if the water in the soda bottle was filtered or spring water or not (tap water with the usual city added chlorine), or if the active dry yeast should be a brand with or without the preservative added (sorbitan monostearate) but that does not seem to be the issue.
Has anyone else had this problem? Some rare times when I set it up, the output is robust and works well ... but often I find it won't work at first using the small pinch of active dry yeast recommended in the do-it-yourself procedures, and I end up adding a bunch more yeast a day or two later after setup. Sometimes I have two 2-liter bottles connected to each other, sometimes just one. When I first tried doing a DIY setup, I used one of those glass J-shaped diffuses and it worked OK, but only once. Ever since then, those diffuses have never worked (there was never enough CO2 gas pressure to produce the stream of lots of tiny bubbles) and I had to use a standard airstone. Oh, and I do add a pinch of baking soda to the sugar+active dry yeast+water mix.
My point is that often some factor I don't know about causes the setup to be a big dud. It just doesn't work... and a few times, it does.
Here is a photo of my setup: