Outgassing- sponge filters vs. powerheads vs... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Outgassing- sponge filters vs. powerheads vs...

OK- I'm a total NewB with the whole CO2/outgassing issue, but I've been reading quite a number of threads that have made claims that puzzle me?

I've seen most CO2 users discourage the use of sponge filters, but instead encourage the use of powerheads. I understand how powerheads are better to use with the actual CO2 setup/distribution of CO2 in the tank, but I don't understand why people discourage the use of sponge filters because they would outgas CO2 more quickly than a powerhead?

Entirely possible I am missing something here, but by my logic, whichever filter exposes the most water to the air would be more responsible for outgassing CO2- and IME powerheads usually produce much more surface water circulation than sponge filters. Wouldn't whichever filter is producing the most surface exposure be the filter that is responsible for the most outgassing?



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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 07:06 PM
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air driven sponge filters cause turbulence (bubbling) on the surface of the water which increases out gassing of C02. A powerhead creates little to not surface turbulence, so limited or no out gassing.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 07:08 PM
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air driven sponge filters cause turbulence (bubbling) on the surface of the water which increases out gassing of C02. A powerhead creates little to not surface turbulence, so limited or no out gassing.
agreed. Unless you aim the output of the power head at the surface, there should be no problem. With the air-driven unit, there isn't really a way to prevent the bubbles from escaping and outgassing co2

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 07:12 PM
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Let's see... Diffusion is a function of time, surface area, and partial pressures (difference in concentration). That's not a direct answer to your question though, sorry.

The answer is that you'll see more outgassing with whichever method exposes more CO2-enriched water to the air. The bubbles floating up from an airstone count, as does the surface movement created by the airstone. A powerhead can be pointed toward the surface and create a tremendous amount of surface movement, or it can be pointed downward and produce very little.

I guess my answer is: it depends. Anyway, you're pretty much spot on with what you said in the first post.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 03:39 AM
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I think what's important is what happens on the water surface where water comes into direct contact with air.

It's easy to experiment to get a very crude idea of what happens--get a bottle/can of pop/soda. Soda/pop is full of co2 in the water solution--very similar to our planted tanks that are co2 injected.

Which method takes longer to gas out the co2 in the pop/soda?
1. Straw to blow air bubbles in the pop/soda--similar to sponge filter.
2. Swirl the pop/soda around.

My guess is blowing air bubbles in the water will cause co2 to be gasssed out quicker. Of course it depends on how rapidly you blow air bubbles, and how rapidly you swirl it around... but it's a rough example.

On a tangent: I remember when I used to flip burgers--the fast food restaurant had 2 huge co2 cylinders just for the purpose of mixing pop/soda!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yep my conclusion from all this is that it depends on the powerhead and depends on the sponge filters, rates of each, etc.

When I'm using a sponge filter it is usually in the context of a betta fry tank- the overall water movement is kept to a minimum, maybe only 1 bubble per second. Any powerhead on the face of the planet would outgas more CO2 than that sponge filter.



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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-27-2008, 04:17 AM
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It will also depend on where you position the powerhead. Near the surface and pointed upwards will obviously create lots of co2 loss too.

My guess is that you can still use co2 with a sponge filter--just that a lot of co2 is lost, so it's not really practical.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-25-2009, 02:19 AM
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I've tried both and am currently running a sponge filter in my 10 gallon because every other pump I tried had WAY to much current.

However, I have an inline valve in the air line and have it turned down a bit.
I guess I still have good Co2 concentrations because I get perling after the lights have been on for a couple hours.

Then again, this is only a 10 gallon tank.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 11:16 AM
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Some sponge filters can be powered with a powerhead instead of an airstone. Lustar Hydro Sponge is one.
I use airstones on all of my tanks, but do not have CO2 injection.
I agree that if one is going to use CO2, then agitation of the surface should be kept to a minimum.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 12:31 PM
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are HOB filters ok to use in planted tanks, or do they cause to much surface agitation?
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 03:52 PM
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HOB can be ok, if you keep the water level high enough to prevent splashing. Depends on the particular HOB and how high it sits on the rim of the tank. If you are injecting CO2 then I'd avoid an HOB with a bio-wheel, as it might tend to help remove CO2.


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2009, 05:02 PM
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What about Under gravel filters? They use air bubbles, so I would imagine we should avoid those in planted tanks?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 11:13 AM
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UGF's can be driven by air, or by powerheads. However, plant roots will tend to clog the slots in the filter, and the regular vacuuming required to maintain the UGF is both labor intensive and disturbs the plants. I'd personally not recommend a UGF for any tank, there are better solutions even if you don't have plants.
I've not vacuumed my tank in years, I let my cories clean up any food that falls to the bottom, and anything they don't take just becomes part of the soil, and nourishes the plants.


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ron521 View Post
Some sponge filters can be powered with a powerhead instead of an airstone.
Yep, just put the sponge on the bottom of a lift tube attached to the powerhead. Moves/filters more water, and you can determine how much surface agitation you get by angling the output.

I believe my stance on this issue to be perfectly ambiguous and illdefined and I see no reason to elaborate further.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-28-2009, 03:06 AM
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lauraleellbp, are you coming over to the dark side of CO2 injection?

Surface aggitation/ripple causes out gasing. The more aggitation the faster the out gassing. Doesn't matter what type of filter, powerhead, etc. Your low flow sponge would outgas little as there is little aggitation.

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