I'm thinking of putting one together, and seen the write up here that everyone references, and some youtube videos. But I'm wondering what makes these things tick. How does it blend / mix the CO2 with the water?
At its basic level: water is flowing downward in a column of water while the co2 bubble is trying to flow upwards in the column. This has the effect of keeping the bubble of co2 in contact with the water for a much longer time that it normally would. This increased time allows it to be absorbed into the water.
There is generally more happening than just this depending on personal preferences and construction types, but that's what's going on "behind the scenes".
Pretty much all reactors work the same way. They let the CO2 stay in the water where it is absorbed. The differences in Cerge's, Grigg's or other types like inline diffusers or the type which fit in the tank are more in the details. Cerge's have short fat bodies, Grigg's have longer more slender body. Inline use the long tubing of the filter and the intank sometimes have propellers to "chop" the bubbles. Smaller bubbles have more surface area exposed to the water.
Cerges and Rex Griggs are simple bubble trap type of devices. They were some of the first attempts to look at an external method for CO2 dissolution and they have been attempted by many hobbyists. Keepin mind though they do very little to increase surface area and are fine for small tanks (<75g). For bigger setups they do not work as well. Generally they also require high flow, and can be noisy due to large internal air pockets. To overcome these problems I have a new design here. The advantage is that its quiet, requires low flow and you can do away with a expensive regulator + needle valve.
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