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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #1384 RE Tom Barr's CO2 Reactor

Thomas Barr wrote an excellent and detailed response to my question
about the external reactor he designed.  It is quoted in part, in
pieces.  My interjections are in [[brackets ]]
[[ My Question:  Won't Tom's reactor work (other things being equal)
hooked up to the  output of an existing filter pump rather than adding
another pump to a tank? ]]

> Yes. It would be not as efficient but it would not reduce it greatly
> either.
> You would need a check valve then to prevent back flow into your CO2
> system
> then also. A tiny hole drilled into your return line can be tightly
> fitted
> with rigid airline tubing as CO2 inflow prior to the the reactor
> tube. If
> gas flow stops then the water pressure will back flow into the gas
> line
> unless you have a check valve. Also, Filters can get clogged and slow
> flows
> down. I don't like the eggs all in one basket. 

[[ Indeed, I prefer having two smaller filters rather than one larger
filter.  Then not only are those eggs in two baskets instead of one,
but I can stagger when I change the media reduce the disturbance to the
filter media bioculture. ]]

> If someone wants a modified reactor for a canister filter, a CO2
> input can
> be drilled into the tube for injection by that method if they wish. I
> will
> not recommend it personally although it will work with a check valve.
> They
> will also need to keep the flow rate in the 100-200GPH range also and
> place
> near the top of the tank to help minimize backflow pressure.

[[ Also, check valves rarely get "put ot the test" except when they are
actually needed, which is rare but critically important to whatever
they are protecting. ]]

>     why
> do you
> need a check valve if something is always pulling rather than back
> pressuring?)

[[ I can think of only one situation:  the reactor pump goes out of
service and the CO2 tank is empty and cools enough draw a vacumm on the
line.  A winter storm that knocks the power out could do this, if it
did so when your CO2 tank was empty.  Pretty low probability there. ]]

> Now consider what happens when your check valve or solenoid goes
> kaput or
> your canister? 
> I *see* what your saying and what folks would like to do here with
> this
> issue. 

[[  I only brought this up to discuss a potential option for one less
thing in the tank, even though it (a small pump) is a very small thing.
 Just getting the reactor out of the tank is a big improvement in
getting things out of the tank.  I was (am) just curious about going
that way one step further.  So I really appreciate you're taking the
time to respond in such detail.

>     If you have a canister , you can buy the reactor without the pump
> also
> and I can add a rigid line into your tubing or directly into the
> unit. If
> you have a pump and need no other modifications, I also will sell the
> tube
> only for a reduced price(-5$) if you have your own pump. 

[[  pumps, heaters, tubing, filters -- what haven't I collected lots of
over the years? ;-) ]] 

> The max size
> for
> the unit is around 150-200 gallon but I'd rather get something larger
> for
> folks with tanks that size 

[[ Well, I actually had in mind a 150 gallon tank with a moderately
high fish load, now that you mention it.  And plenty of filter media
capacity and pump output.  The larger the reactor diameter, the greater
the surface area in the reactor, which yields higher potential
absorbtion, right?  So it could accomodate a higher pump output,
yes/no? I usually don't like using things that are at or near their
maximum capacity right off the bat, out of the box, so to speak -- it
means there is no margin for error, changing conditions, reserve
capacity, etc.  ]]

> and will make a 2 1/2 diameter unit with a
> larger
> pump so they can get good response times and good mixing within the
> tank.
> I can make sump style model that really works very well much like the
> big 4
> foot model also but these are for larger tanks. Even CO2 distribution
> is
> important and over sizing things is better than under sizing IMO.

[[  I thought that worth repeating.  ]]

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