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Reactor and working pressure PSI

751 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Bucho
I have a question regarding CO2 reactors and working pressures. So I have read in some other posts here on the forum that for reactors, you generally need less pressure to operate as the only pressure you need to overcome is the water pressure.

How does one know if one has enough working pressure? My intuition tells me that so long as stuff is going into the regulator, congratulations you have enough to operate. And a follow up question is, does this mean that increasing the working pressure doesn't really change how much CO2 is being injected so long as a threshold is being met?
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When I switched from a diffuser to a reactor, I turned the pressure down on my Milwaukee regulator basically as low as it would go to give me the bubble count I wanted with the needle valve open. This was based on the (wrong) instructions* that I got with the regulator. When the solenoid would open in the morning, CO2 would rush out, and probably if I hadn't caught it, I'd have gassed my fish.

I run it at about 25-30 psi now and use the needle valve to control the rate, and it is much more stable.

I'm also in the process of building a new, higher quality 2 stage regulator so I can retire the Milwaukee.

Moral of the story is, in my experience, stay away from really low pressures, at least in the Milwaukee regulator, because it's unreliable - even though a reactor could theoretically work with relatively low pressure. Bump up the pressure and control with the (not very good) needle valve.

*Interestingly, the Milwaukee regulator I got came with instructions suggesting that bubble count be achieved by turning the pressure regulation knob with the needle valve almost fully open, and just "fine tuning" with the needle valve. This worked somewhat OK with a diffuser which ended up needing a decent amount of pressure to work, but not at all with a reactor.
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