Perhaps you like the idea of a blackwater tank, but the idea of botanicals in your aquascape doesn't cut it for some reason? We get, it...not everyone likes that look. Or, maybe you're running a breeding tank and want to keep a completely bare aquarium. We can imagine a lot of reasons why you might not want the botanicals in the aquarium proper.
So, we've long thought about other "delivery methods" to get the benefits of botanicals into your water without the need to drop all of the "twigs and nuts" that we offer into your tank. Filter bags are one immediate solution. However, they suffer from one inefficiency: A lot of the media in the filter bag isn't well exposed to water flow.
What about a more "technological "solution?
Coming from the reef aquarium world, you're pretty much issued exotic pieces of equipment the minute you sign on to the gig. Reefers love to make easy stuff more difficult. However, one of the many gadgets reefers use to maximize the usefulness of activated carbon, phosphate removal resins, organic scavenger exchange resins, and other geeky stuff is the simple, yet effective "fluidized reactor."
This is essentially an acrylic tube that provides a sufficient turbulent flow within its reaction chamber to keep the media in suspension. It really maximizes the effectiveness of stuff like carbon, as it exposes all sides of the media to water, without concerns over it packing down, etc.
We have been big fans of the Innovative Marine product line, as they offer quality, function, and features at an affordable price. When IM came out with their "MiniMax Fluidized Reactor, we immediately checked it out, and immediately became fans!
And of course, we realized that we can use its "fluidization ability" with some of our small, lightweight, ph-affecting botanicals, like Alder Cones, "Frita Pods", "Fundo Tropical", or "Carambola Lixo"!
Yeah, they're lightweight, will easily roll around in the chamber under modest flow, and will gradually dissolve, imparting their beneficial tannins and humic acids into the water column. Sponge pads on both sides of the reactor keep debris out of the tank.
This device is ridiculously easy to use ("Fellman-proof", as one of my fishy friends called it), and super efficient. It uses only 8 watts of electricity to do its magic, and doesn't have all of the annoying external plumbing, tubes, ball valves, and other paraphernalia that makes a typical reactor just another pain in the rear to use!
You just anchor this baby on to the side of your aquarium (or in the rear chamber of one of Innovative Marine's cool "all in one" aquariums, like my "Fusion Lagoon 50") with the novel screw-on bracket, plug it in, and you're good to go!
It's so easy-to-use, and so convenient, that you could place the "MiniMax" pretty much wherever it's needed, either on a full-time or temporary basis. Its reaction chamber is more than adequately sized to accommodate a variety of filter media, or your favorite small botanicals! (Be sure to take the stems off of your Alder Cones first, so they tumble better!)
We can think of all sorts of uses for this cool little reactor, but of course, we're a little partial to the idea of using it as a "tint delivery vehicle" for aquatic botanicals!
Check it out today!
And stay wet!