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tuonor 03-20-2010 04:01 AM

Mini CO2 reactor in an Aquaclear HOB filter v1.3b (shown on a Fluval Edge)
I think this has been discussed in a few threads but not really documented clearly, so I figured a DIY write-up could be helpful. I'm currently using this method to inject CO2 on a Fluval Edge (which comes with an AC20 / Mini HOB), but it should work on any AquaClear HOB. In contrast to bubbling the CO2 directly into the filter intake, this configuration keeps the airline out of the tank and avoids impeller gurgling noises.

Inside the filter, there is an impeller cover. Pull this out, noting the hole that is used to expel air when priming the filter.

The plan is to insert airline through the hole in the impeller cover and attach a diffuser to the other end. I used a broken chopstick piece. Another alternative is the Lee's discard-a-stone "slim", seen here. The space is pretty constrained so options are limited.

The airline and diffuser fit through the impeller cover like this:

Now, reinsert the impeller cover. You want the diffuser to stick out like injects into a narrow column of water between the filter basket and the impeller motor housing

Note: the hole that we plugged up with airline tubing was there so air could escape while priming the filter. So we need a different way to expel the air trapped below the impeller cover and prime the filter. Solution: pull the filter basket tab in this direction while the filter is priming:

Its like a mini-CO2 reactor. Bubbles get jostled around the downflow and anything that is undissolved is trapped below the sponge. At least for me, the CO2 diffuses at a sufficient rate that a big CO2 bubble doesn't form.

Possmo 03-20-2010 05:25 AM

Brilliant! Did it as soon as I read it. Took about 90 seconds. Thanks for the idea.

GlassCat594 03-23-2010 12:01 AM

nice job.

TLE041 03-23-2010 12:20 PM

Awesome thread, tuonor. Well done!

I've been injecting my CO2 into the AC20's intake for a while now, but the only thing missing is the chopstick. Will DIY generate enough pressure for this to work?

tuonor 03-23-2010 02:49 PM

Thanks GlassCat594 and Possmo.


Originally Posted by TLE041 (Post 1028050)
Awesome thread, tuonor. Well done!

I've been injecting my CO2 into the AC20's intake for a while now, but the only thing missing is the chopstick. Will DIY generate enough pressure for this to work?

Based on other posts, you should have enough pressure to push CO2 through a chopstick with DIY.

TLE041 03-23-2010 03:17 PM

I'll give it a try. The champagne yeast I've started using has been generating a ton of pressure. I'll report back on how it goes.

Thanks again for the guide.

tuonor 03-30-2010 09:16 PM

Stage II modification:

Was looking for ways to improve the diffusion rate of the system without upping the bubble count so decided to give the ADA "ball glass" diffuser a try.

This piece is different from other ADA diffusers in that the bubbles are not emitted directionally but rather radiate uniformly from a point source. For this purpose it fits perfectly: its a nudge over 4" long (long enough to stick out of the top of the filter) and the ball is maybe 3/8 in diameter (small enough to fit under the impeller cover).

Essentially, we're just replacing the chopstick from the prior post with the ball glass. However, the diameter of the glass stem on the Ball Glass diffuser is larger than the hole we were using before. So it needs to be drilled / reamed out. Since I was getting out the drill anyway, I decided to relocate the hole to increase the water contact time. Here you can see the hole I drilled near the lower left edge of the impeller cover. Drill a small hole then test fit the glass stem and drill again (I actually drilled the hole a tad too large). If you don't have a drill I'm pretty sure you could ream this out with an Exacto knife as the plastic is very soft.

This is what the impeller cover looks like with the ball glass inserted:

It just clears the vertical space:

Snap it back in and fire up the HOB.

tuonor 03-30-2010 09:22 PM

Does it work any better? Well, my HC pearls more consistently which is positive but the finer bubbles produced by the ceramic diffuser find their way through the filter more easily too (ie contributing to some fizz in the water).

Going to try to run more concrete tests (probably time versus pH) over the long weekend comparing the two diffusers.

Craigthor 03-30-2010 11:27 PM

If you needed to hold it up in place you could put a rubber O ring or 2 from the hardware store over the tube and slide them down to the plastic cover. :)


TLE041 04-09-2010 03:11 AM

That diffuser must be a new product from ADA. How much did you pay for it?

sammyman 04-25-2010 07:44 AM

I picked up that diffuser today from ADA. It was $50 !!! Ouch. Anyway, I am curious to know how this system is working for you or if I should consider using another method?

GlassCat594 04-26-2010 01:24 AM

that diffuser is too nice to hide.

Fishly 04-26-2010 05:21 AM

Thank you! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: I've been trying to figure out a way to inject DIY CO2 with an AC for quite a while now.

donnoj 02-20-2011 06:40 AM

So, how has this mod worked out?

I have a new Fluval C3 that is similar in design to the AC's and would like to do a similar CO2 mod.

Would you recommend buying the $50 ADA ball diffuser or sticking with an air-stone or chopsticks?

Tamelesstgr 03-07-2011 05:47 PM

What would happen if you just left the end of the tubing open and bubble inside the filter? I have an AC70 I am wanting to try this on.

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