Hagen ladder vs. power reactor.
Over the last 8 months, I've been using two Hagen ladders in a stacked configuration to dissolve pressurized CO2 into my 46g. Any bubbles not completely dissolve on the first ladder collect together and are caught by the upper ladder where the back-and-forth movement/dissolving continue. I have had great success with this method as the plants do very well. I estimate my C02 levels (with a ph probe) by knowing the before and after ph levels. My water has a about 7.3 out of the tap and I hold the bubble rate at 3-4 bps such that the ph is forced down to 6.5 (minimum I can reach with this method is 6.3). I also keep an eye on the overall comfort of the fish.
Recently, I picked up a Redsea 500 power reactor in the hopes that I could increase the diffusion efficiency and the gas level. Iíve had the reactor for a week now and Iím considering returning it. My observation is that the ph meter/solenoid controller is always on and, thus, leads me to believe that the system is working harder to maintain the same gas levels as the ladder configuration. How can this be when the reactor actively churns the water into the gas while the hagen ladder is passive? If I turn the bubble rate up any higher on the needle valve, the power reactor just burps out the excess gas before it can be dissolved. Iíd appreciate it if someone could share some insight as to what I may be missing.
Tanks stats: 46g, heavily planted, 3wpg of CF and I dose dry ferts using the EI method.