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Old 03-23-2003, 07:17 AM   #31
STAT 007
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I apologize if you saw the "I'm writing, be patient..." message here, but I accidentally submitted a partial post, then put up the in-progress message, then fell asleep before I'd finished writing the whole message. LOL. So sorry about that. ops:

OK, so I got the everything but the needle valve (with check valve) and reactor in earlier last week. Then the reactor and needle valve (with check valve and tubing) were supposed to come it at the end of the week. Friday, nothing came for me in the mail so I called the retailer I bought the reactor from to find out the status of my reactor and it turns out they lost my order!!! I was furious because I'd been counting on that coming in around the same time as the needle valve! So here I was high and dry on Saturday with everything but the last three pieces when all of a sudden, my needle valve, check valve, and tubing came in (thank you, Rex Grigg!!!). I was SO excited because then, I could hook everything up but the reactor!

But the problem was that the nipple on my beveragefactory.com regulator was fairly large (like 1/4" or something--just a guess) while the tubing was all about 1/8". So today (Saturday) I decided to make the trip to Lowe's and try to adapt the regulator. After spending a very long time in the Lowe's plumbing department looking at all the different fittings and connectors they had, I wound up with the right bushings/adapters, valves, and nipples so that I could remove the ball valve and large nipple on the regulator, replace it with a new ball valve, then wind up with a tiny 1/8" nipple on the end. JUST what I wanted to do! Then I got a connector that essentially put a male nipple on the female connector on the oxygen humidifier I'm using as a DIY bubble counter. I also bought a pump, trash can, and extension cord so I could experiment with using some RO water for water changes.

I got home and started connecting everything together (using paste-like Teflon pipe dope) and was really happy with the way everything went and looked. UNTIL I [like an idiot] left the CO2 tank standing up on my carpet, went in another room, and heard it fall. :x Turns out it fell on the high-pressure gauge and pretty much broke it (it bent it and now the needle's WAY off). Fortunately, I don't think this gauge is that big of a loss and I can surely replace it before the tank starts nearing empty. Speaking of which, what good does the high-pressure gauge do you if the tank pressure only drops when the tank is essentially empty (or is this not the case?)? If I understood more about how I'll know the tank is getting low, that'd be nice.

So anyway, I hooked everything up (including the DIY bubble counter) and things seemed to work just fine! So I decided to get a head start on the whole injection thing and try to use the Emperor 400 as a reactor until I get the Plant Guild reactor. I used a rubber band to hold the tubing at just the right position near the filter intake so it'd suck the bubbles into the filter and sure enough, a few hours after I started the 1 bubble/1.5 second flow rate, the pH had dropped from ~8.8 to more like 8.3! I have since increased the flow to ~1 bubble/second and the pH is at about 7.7.

Interestingly enough, the KH has also seemed to have fallen from 23 dKH to 19 dKH. Perhaps this is wrong since I read that KH doesn't change with the addition of CO2, but I repeated the test and sure enough it's at 19 dKH right now. :?

Since the CO2 calculator says that a pH of 7.7 and a KH of 19 dKH gives a CO2 level of 11.37, I've increased the CO2 flow rate even more to about 2 bubbles/second. I'll watch the water parameters over the next few hours to see what this does. Meanwhile, the fish appear to be doing just fine. Hopefully, here in the next day or so, I'll be able to see some improvement from the few free plants that GulfCoastAquarium sent me. They're looking a little sick right now. lol

OH, and when that reactor gets here on Tuesday, it's going to be REALLY interesting to see what I have to do to the flow rate to maintain the same water parameters. I imagine I'll be able to reduce it quite a bit and still keep the same CO2 levels. 8)
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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Old 03-23-2003, 07:45 PM   #32
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What did GulfCoast send you? I might have some to spare also.
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Old 03-23-2003, 07:53 PM   #33
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Hygrophilia polysperma, Hygrophilia Siamensis (Giant Hygro), and some Riccia.
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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Old 03-24-2003, 12:29 PM   #34
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Good topic going... but I need some guidance, here is my problem.

I have a DIY reactor. The reactor chamber is about 2" x 10" tubing, using the output flow of the water pours into the tubing. The tubing sits under the "waterfall" of the filter. At the bottom of the tubing the CO2 enters and the bubbles float up to the top. It bubbles at about 1 per sec. It appears the bubbles dissolves by the force water that is being pass through the reactor.

kH - 7
pH - 7.6
gH - 3

Tank FW 30 gal, 6 months old
Filter - AC300
Lighting 3x20W, 5000k, 11.5 hours/day
Temperature 78F
Fish - 6 White Skirt Tetra, 5 Cardinal, 2 Cory, 2 SAE, 2 CAE
Plants - Egeria Densa, Echinodorus amazonicusa, Hygrophila angustifolia, Hygrophila Corymbosa
Algae controlled, nothing the CAE and SAE can handle
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Ammonium 0
PO4 - .1mg/l
Chelated Iron >.1mg/l
Water quality crystal clear
DIY - CO2 maker using 2 liter bottle.

QUESTION:
Should I change my reactor to have a more forceful stream of water? If so and what size of waterpump would do? (don't really want to go to a powerhead unit)
From the reading, it also appears that my kH/pH do not jive, either I increase the kH or lower my pH, either way I think need to introduce more CO2 to the system. If I have to increase the CO2 how do you do that with a DIY?
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Old 03-24-2003, 02:05 PM   #35
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STAT 007, I've got bits of ambulia, a wad of java moss, pearl grass (or babys tears, I forget?) and a small compacta sword baby that could be better off elsewhere. Nothing really interesting, but you're welcome to some of it. It sounds like you won't have a lot of room left when that stuff starts growing.

The sword isn't tall, but is quite wide, so you have to allow room for that large footprint or else it crams up aginst the glass. The mother plant spans my 29 gallon, front to back. But, it does leave lots of swimming space for fish above.
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Old 03-24-2003, 06:22 PM   #36
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anonapersona,

I'd LOVE to have your extras if you don't mind! I've spent so much money just getting my tank READY for plants and now I have to spend even more to put plants in it, so that's kind of a bummer. Anything you (or anybody else) could provide would be greatly appreciated. I will gladly reimburse you for the shipping costs. Just email me at stat007@neo.tamu.edu and we can work out the details.

Goshawk99,

All a powerhead is simply a water pump. There are all kinds of different sizes of powerheads and some are very small and hassle-free. So don't shy away from powerheads--if you want to make a powered CO2 reactor, you're going to need to use a powerhead.

What kind of pH and KH test kits are you using? I was once told that KH shouldn't change with the addition of CO2 but I am in fact seeing both my pH and KH lower as I add more CO2, so although this doesn't explain YOUR odd value changes, perhaps it sheds a little bit of light on it?

You're using a HOB (Hang-On Back) Power Filter that's designed to oxygenate the tank water for the fish by causing lots of surface disturbance. This is good for the fish, but bad for the plants (because it causes CO2 to be lost to the atmosphere, doing nothing for your underwater plants). If you have enough plants to photosynthesize adequate oxygen for your plants, you might want to modify your power filter to NOT cause this surface disturbance. The best way I've heard of to do this is to suspend a piece of plastic (like plexiglass, but doesn't have to be clear) to act as a water deflector in front of the filter output, parallel with the way the water is falling down the output ramp. Put it close enough in front of the filter ramp so that the water doesn't just come out of the filter and hit the water surface, but rather hits this "deflector" and falls down it into the water. Make sure the deflector goes all the way down into the water (think about how your water level changes with evaporation so as not to make your deflector too short) so the water isn't jumping from the bottom of the deflector to the water surface. This will help minimize CO2 loss quite a bit.

And then of course there's the reactor issue. You would also greatly help keep up CO2 levels by using some type of powered reactor. Check out the $50 reactor at www.plantguild.com. That's the one I just ordered and am waiting on. I've heard lots of good things about it.

Anyone else, feel free to chime in.
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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Old 03-25-2003, 01:48 AM   #37
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I would guess for Rex and say after. I think this was discussed in another post, but lots of depris would get into the reactor if it was before, than if it were after.... If I had a canister (which I wish I did), I would make an external one and put it after.

-Tim
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Old 03-25-2003, 05:06 AM   #38
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Did I miss somebody asking another question about in-line reactor placement or are you just imagining things, Tim?

BTW, Rex Grigg is AWESOME!!! Thank you again for hooking me up with the Clippard stuff, Rex!
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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Old 03-25-2003, 10:33 AM   #39
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Thanks for the input STAT.
I have decided to buy a waterpump that does up to 200gph.
I found that website a few days back and thought that I could make the same thing.
ph tester is a Hagan
kH/gH tester is Aquarium Pharm.

I have also read that CO2 will decrease the kH but must watch the pH.
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Old 03-25-2003, 12:23 PM   #40
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No problem STAT 007. There is a thread here about where to place the cannister filter. In it I refer to a very well thought out article posted over at the Aqua Botanic forum about how cannister filter pumps work and why it's better to put the restriction on the output side instead of the input side.
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Old 03-26-2003, 05:14 AM   #41
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Woohoo!!! I got the reactor in today! It was a long time coming, but it finally made it here. But FYI, Plant Guild Products CLAIMS that this reactor has a "built-in bubble counter" but you'd be hard pressed to actually see any bubbles coming out of it. lol

The big question I have now is what pressure should I set the regulator at? I can control quite a bit with the needle valve, but the other day it seemed
that the flow rate had slowed down overnight so I thought that maybe I
needed more pressure behind it so I upped the pressure coming out of
the reg. If somebody could shed some light on this, that'd be great. Thanks a bunch!
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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Old 03-26-2003, 11:09 AM   #42
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I usually set my regulator pressure at 20 to 25 psi then adjust the flow with the needle valve to about 1 to 2 bubbles per second.
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Old 03-26-2003, 12:55 PM   #43
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Sounds like its all going good! In reference to your question on the high pressure gauge and when the tank is full or empty - the best way to monitor the level is weight. I weighed that tank before I emptied it and it was 13.5 lbs on my digital bathroom scale. After leaving the valve open overnight, it was somewhere around 8.5 lbs, empty. (Double checks math, yep, this is a 5lb cylinder).
Weigh your whole system with regulator and everything in place and then monitor it periodically. It will drop about 5 lbs before all the liquid CO2 is used up and there is only gas left. At that point, the pressure will start to drop from around 800-900 psi. When it reached about 400psi, you want to get it refilled.
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Old 03-26-2003, 01:09 PM   #44
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STAT, I made my reactor similar to the PlantGuild reactor. If you turn off the pump to the reactor, and just let the bubbles go on, you can count. Then plug it back in.

Unfortunately, my pump develops an airlock pretty quickly, then I have to reach in, tip it over sideways to release the bubbles, plug it in, then turn it right side up.
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Old 03-26-2003, 02:17 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonapersona
If you turn off the pump to the reactor, and just let the bubbles go on, you can count. Then plug it back in.

Oh! Duh! Why didn't I think of that??? LOL. Thanks, anonapersona.
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37 gallon AGA Black Seal, Emperor 400, Ebo Jager 200 W, 100% Flourite Substrate, 2x55 Watt AH Supply PC Lighting (5300K & 6400K) @ ~3.4 WPG, High-Pressure CO2.
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