Simple CO2 Diffuser - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Simple CO2 Diffuser

This is not an original idea, but the original write-up where I learned about this was on another forum, and I can't find it now. It is based on running the CO2 bubble stream through a powerhead to get a much finer stream of tiny bubbles of CO2.

Start with a Hagen Elite underwater filter:


This is a very small filter/powerhead combination, available from Amazon, about 4 inches top to bottom. The bottom half is a filter chamber with a sponge in it. Discard the sponge, and cut a small hole in the bottom of that chamber that will allow you to force the hose barb on the outlet of this check valve in it:


The check valve is made and sold by US Plastics as 1/8" Kynar® Standard Check Valve with Viton® Diaphragm, 1/8" Kynar® Standard Check Valve with Viton® Diaphragm | U.S. Plastic Corp.

This check valve requires only about 1/2 psi to open it, so it is easy to test by blowing into each end. And, it is made of some very chemical resistant plastics so CO2 doesn't degrade it.

Attach the CO2 silicon tube to the end of the check valve that sticks out, attach the assembly to the inside wall of the tank, low in the tank, and you are ready to go. With the check valve located at that spot, water cannot creep back into the CO2 tube, so you get CO2 bubbles almost the instant the CO2 comes on.

This works very well for low concentrations of CO2, for low to medium light, and/or small tanks.

Hoppy
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 12:16 AM
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Hi Hoppy,

It was a Niko (yes the same Niko) post called "Tiny super efficient CO2 reactor". I used the Hagen Elite Mini for my 30 gallon and on my 75 gallon for a while; it works great but the small sponge of the filter plugs up after a few weeks and require cleaning (maybe I should have run it without the sponge?). I just ran the CO2 into the venturi fitting rather than doing the whole mod and it worked fine. I have in-line diffusers now so the filters have been re-purposed to a couple of my emersed plant tubs.

BTW it should work well with a DIY CO2 system if the bottle is sturdy enough not to collapse with the suction.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1XFluval F&P 2.0; 45 Gallon Tall, 96Watt AH Supply CF 6700K; 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 and (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, it was niko who started me using this. Nine years ago!

It works fine with DIY CO2 systems, because the hose being poked into the filter chamber stops any vacuum from existing at the CO2 hose. It when you do a diffferent modification, drilling a tight hole in the pump cavity, and stuffing the CO2 hose there, that causes a vacuum to be possible in the CO2 hose. And, I stopped using the filter sponge in that cavity the first time I used one of these. As I recall, it plugged up quickly for me, too.

I have used this with other similar, but bigger underwater filters too, and it worked with all of them. It works even better if you split each "paddle" on the pump rotor, and spread the two halves a bit, to make the rotor chop the bubbles finer. This mini filter has such tiny "paddles" I haven't tried to split them.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 04:03 AM
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Just what I use. Years ago, I bought the pump, to get CO2 going but lost interest in the hobby. Just got back into it, and found burr760's thread, and I finally finished my CO2 reactor. Simple, sleek and streamlined.

A pic of burr's


and a very short video of mine in use :
https://youtu.be/DelYnpwLUGA
I packed some cotton inside the tube, to make a steady constant stream of misty bubbles now though.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Looking back through Plantbrain's posts over the years, I rediscovered his suggestion that we try for a CO2 mist throughout the tank. The tiny CO2 bubbles tend not to float up much, and they make CO2 more easily available to the plant leaves. I gave up on CO2 mist back then because I just didn't like the fog of bubbles in the tank. It might be worthwhile to revisit this method, and CO2 diffusers like this are the first step in doing so. You can use a segment of bamboo chopstick in the outlet of the check valve to make this generate much finer, misty CO2.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 10:12 AM
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This looks prettier than my eyesore version. But it cost only $4 and very less bubbles. Also integrated bubble counter.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
It works even better if you split each "paddle" on the pump rotor, and spread the two halves a bit, to make the rotor chop the bubbles finer. This mini filter has such tiny "paddles" I haven't tried to split them.
Didnt you used to have a youtube vid on splitting the blades? Somebody did and I thought it was you.

Anyway, after seeing the video I tried it and it made a big difference. The mist became much finer and the drop checker turned a lighter shade of green.

The powerhead in the picture Albtraum posted is what I did it on. Those Marinelands have fairly wide blades, and they are pliable too, which makes it easy to split and spread them apart.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 12:00 PM
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nice make
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Didnt you used to have a youtube vid on splitting the blades? Somebody did and I thought it was you.

Anyway, after seeing the video I tried it and it made a big difference. The mist became much finer and the drop checker turned a lighter shade of green.

The powerhead in the picture Albtraum posted is what I did it on. Those Marinelands have fairly wide blades, and they are pliable too, which makes it easy to split and spread them apart.
I haven't made any youtube videos, so it was someone else. Back when plantbrain first suggested this I tried several versions of it, and all worked pretty well, but I quit using CO2 and went to low light only not long after that.

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