Dumb diy co2 question - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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Dumb diy co2 question

I'm sure this is really basic, but it's the first time I've tried this. Anyway, I'm setting up a diy system with an in-tank power reactor. Am I right to assume that there's no real control over how much c02 you add to the tank with a diy setup? I mean it's just a soda bottle and a tube. How do you make sure you're not adding too much and that you're getting consistent results? It's not like you can turn it off at night.

Like I said, I'm sure this is elementary, and people do it all the time. My other planted tank has a ph controller, so I've never had to worry about this before. I guess automation always makes you lazy.

-- Robin --
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 06:57 AM
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Nope, just let it run its course. Any attempt in stopping the production will result in a exploded sticky mess.

ernest

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2005, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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Still dazed and confused . . .

Thanks e.lark! I guess I'll just let it fly.

Here's something weird, when I bought the reactor, the LFS guy (who is really very knowledgable if often not clear) told me that I might want to do something to lower my kh (which is usually about 5 degrees). He tried to explain it, but it made no sense to me (not his fault, I'm sure).

I'm probably explaining this wrong, but I think he was saying something to the effect that this is the opposite of a situation where the ph controller sets the co2 based on ph. I get that the co2 in the diy situation is different (co2 injection levels are what they are, regardless of ph), but don't know why lower kh would be better - wouldn't it destabilize the situtiation and make a ph crash more likely?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2005, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
don't know why lower kh would be better - wouldn't it destabilize the situtiation and make a ph crash more likely?
It would be my impression that lowering Kh wouldnt buffer as well and making it susceptible to a Ph crash. I dont claim to know much though, I think there is definitely a difference in diy to pressurized co2. I can see the waning of the diy production causing a rollercoaster with Ph, Im not sure where you would want your Kh stable at. anyone?

ernest

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2005, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishwife
I'm sure this is really basic, but it's the first time I've tried this. Anyway, I'm setting up a diy system with an in-tank power reactor. Am I right to assume that there's no real control over how much c02 you add to the tank with a diy setup? I mean it's just a soda bottle and a tube. How do you make sure you're not adding too much and that you're getting consistent results? It's not like you can turn it off at night.
KH 5 is about as perfect as it can get! They probably wanted to sell you something at the LFS and got pH and kH mixed up. Anyways....

There are a couple of ways to regulate DIY CO2, not fully automated, but pretty close. Most ppl just let it run 24/7, and the outgassing due to surface agitation etc is bigger than the fluctuation because of what the plants use.

If you do notice a CO2 buildup over night and problems in the morning, you can do several things. When using a power reactor (with powerhead, I assume) the easiest would be to put the powerhead on a timer, possibly together with the lights. Just have to be careful with the CO2 buildup, it can lead to airlocks if it can't escape out of the pump.

Or, you could reduce the size of the CO2 DIY bottles so the overall CO2 output is reduced, and will not buildup over night.

Some ppl use an airpump at night which dissipates CO2 from the water column.

Or you can use a solenoid and put it on a T, open it at night, CO2 escapes, close it during the day.

So... it is kind of like you can turn it off at night.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2005, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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KH 5 is about as perfect as it can get! They probably wanted to sell you something at the LFS and got pH and kH mixed up. Anyways....
Yeah, that occurred to me. I usually take everything coming from anyone at the LFS with a large grain of salt, but he's the plant guy where I live, and is usually very knowledgeable.

Quote:
If you do notice a CO2 buildup over night and problems in the morning, you can do several things. When using a power reactor (with powerhead, I assume) the easiest would be to put the powerhead on a timer, possibly together with the lights. Just have to be careful with the CO2 buildup, it can lead to airlocks if it can't escape out of the pump.
What is "airlock"? I've seen reference to that in some diy threads, and don't know what it means.

Thanks, Wasserpest. As usual, a very thorough response.

-- Robin --
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2005, 05:24 PM
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Airlock means that the impeller housing of the pump fills up with air (or CO2 in this case) and when the pump starts working the next morning, the impeller just rotates in the air, so there is no water flow and the pump might overheat.

What I do to avoid that... I let the pump "suck" the CO2 bubbles in, and when the pump is off, the CO2 just bubbles to the surface.

Most ppl probably inject the CO2 into the reactor chamber, which might lead to that airlocking if you turn it off for extended times, like overnight.

Not sure how this is resolved on the pricey commercial reactors, me I go out and find a clear plastic bottle and stick it on the powerhead and play around with that.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2005, 04:15 AM
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I like the air pump idea. That really works if you want to drive out CO2.

You could always use two T-valves in line. One would alway be open and the other one shut. That way, you can divert the CO2 from your diffuser (whatever that may be) to a tube that's a few inches under water if you want to stop adding CO2. It kind of like a SPDT switch. You could automate that but it kind of defeats the whole point of doing DIY CO2.

I just let mine run in my 10-gallon tank.. The pH gets around 6.6 or a tad less but my water is pretty so it's not a problem with my fish.

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This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
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