DIY CO2 Diffusion via Aquaclear HOB - Learned something interesting... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb DIY CO2 Diffusion via Aquaclear HOB - Learned something interesting...

As some of you know, I've been experimenting with DIY CO2 in a 20H these last few months. For diffusion Ive had the raw CO2 line running into the intake of an Aquaclear HOB. The prop chops up the bubbles, which then have to flow up through the media before reaching the outflow.

Due to the Aquaclear's design, it is actually a more efficient version of the popular little Hagen filter mod - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liuXWQcJCcU

But I digress...What I discovered is that it makes a huge difference whether the line is running vertically or horizontally. Initially I had the line running straight up through the bottom, like you see here -



There was one big bubble at a time coming out. When it hit the propeller there was a distinct chirp sound. From the outflow came a small amount of very tiny bubbles, larger than mist size, but small enough, and few enough, to indicate that decent diffusion was taking place.

Just to tidy up the look of things, I decided to drill a hole in the intake pipe near the surface, and run the line in there instead of having it come up through the bottom. Like so -




This one change made a huge difference in what kind of bubbles came out of the line.

Instead of one big bubble at a time, there is now a steady stream of small bubbles, too many to count, in rapid succession. The change in position alone became it's own diffuser of sorts. No more chirping sounds. You can still hear it, but it's more like a very faint, steady hiss. Visible from the outflow now is a sparse, extremely fine mist, which I believe indicates a better rate of diffusion.

So anyway, I thought this might be useful for anyone using HOB filters, powerheads, etc to diffuse their DIY CO2.


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Last edited by burr740; 01-21-2015 at 10:41 PM. Reason: .
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 07:29 PM
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Thank you so much for the interesting advise that you shared. You have a really nice tank, so keep up the good work. Just wondering, what is the name of the plant all the way to the right?


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the interesting advise that you shared. You have a really nice tank, so keep up the good work. Just wondering, what is the name of the plant all the way to the right?
Thanks. The far right plant in front is regular Baby Tears - https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/my...a_rotundifolia

So far it has been an absolute weed, a gorgeous weed, but man does it grow fast. Those pics were taken 2 weeks apart.

Behind that in the far right corner is some kind of sword Ive yet to identify. First thought it was a Rubin or Osiris but it's not turning red, so idk.



Im about to rescape this whole tank. Some of the larger stems are going in my 75. Thinkiing about moving the Baby Tears to the left rear corner, along the sides and back. The right side will open up, the HC can continue to spread all the way across and the sword'll be visible.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
...So anyway, I thought this might be usefu l for anyone using HOB filters, powerheads, etc to diffuse their DIY CO2.
Under what conditions would the CO2 aerate out of the water when going through the filter?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-06-2014, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Under what conditions would the CO2 aerate out of the water when going through the filter?
Not sure I understand the question?

I dont think a cartridge-type filter would be very efficient due to the open chamber between the propeller's output and the filter media. After leaving the propeller chamber, a good portion of CO2 could gas out in the open surface area there, before getting drawn into the media.

Aquaclears are designed so that isnt the case. Water from the intake is forced straight into the lower sponge, and goes up from there, passing through all stages of media. There is no in between area with an open surface like a cartridge filter.



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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 08:25 PM
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How has the impeller held up over time?

Great tank BTW!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 08:38 PM
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Ummm. If you can see the bubbles coming out even if its a mist doesn't that mean that your not getting the diffusion you should?
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Ummm. If you can see the bubbles coming out even if its a mist doesn't that mean that your not getting the diffusion you should?
It means it's not 100%, sure. But so are ceramic diffusers or any type of diffuser that renders bubbles or a mist. This small Aquaclear filter has been great for up to 3 bubbles per second, near reactor level efficiency. Certainly better than ceramic. Larger models Im sure could handle more.

The point of this thread, which is fairly old btw, was to illustrate the difference between having an open line pointing straight up, and having it positioned horizontally. Just a small change I thought was interesting.

Im still running diy on the same tank using the same Aquaclear filter. But Ive since started using a small piece of chopstick in the end of the co2 line, as sort of a pre-diffuser. That way the filter is working against lots of tiny bubbles instead of one big one, or a few big ones. For all practical purposes it's 100%, with just the occasional small bubble or two coming out, which could just as easily be bubbles of air.

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How has the impeller held up over time?

Great tank BTW!
So far it seems totally unaffected, going on 8 months or so.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-21-2015, 09:25 PM
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I gotcha. Then cool beans.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 01:35 AM
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Sorry to bump an old thread
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry to bump an old thread
No worries, mate. It was a valid question, one that could only be answered after considerable time had passed.

I actually just now edited the title to make it more search friendly


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Last edited by burr740; 01-22-2015 at 02:32 AM. Reason: .
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 12:57 PM
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May I ask what your lighting and substrate are? Thanks. I was also contemplating diy co2 and had envisioned putting the hose into the intake tube through the side, that's what caught my attention when I saw this post. Also too what do you mean by chopstick?
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate is 100% Black Diamond blasting sand ($7.99 for 50lbs at Tractor Supply) heavily supplemented with Osmocote Plus.

Lighting is two 18 watt spiral CFL bulbs, 5000K, in aluminum dome type clamp-on reflectors. I ran 23 watt bulbs for a while but they were a little too much.

Chopstick means exactly that, a 3/4" long piece of bamboo chopstick, available at any Asian restaurant or grocery store. They make a decent diffuser all by themselves. In this case, what you have is already partially diffused co2 going into the filter rather than one big bubble. It really makes a big difference.

Look close and you can see the chopstick piece. Tank has turned into basically a grow-out/experimental tank. Pic is a couple months old, this is the 3rd HC carpet growing here, I sell most of it off when it gets thick like in the previous pics




CO2 is two 1.89 liter juicy juice bottles + a gas separator/bubble counter bottle. I change out one bottle per week, it stays around 2.5 bubbles per second.




Oddly enough, I put this whole set-up together for about $100. Tank was $20 from Petco dollar per gallon sale, then a $35 filter, another $30 on lights, $8 plus tax for substrate, and say 10 bucks worth of DIY CO2 components.


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Last edited by burr740; 01-22-2015 at 06:09 PM. Reason: .
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
Substrate is 100% Black Diamond blasting sand ($7.99 for 50lbs at Tractor Supply) heavily supplemented with Osmocote Plus.

Lighting is 18 watt spiral CFL bulbs, 5000K, in aluminum dome type clamp-on reflectors. I ran 23 watt bulbs for a while but they were a little too much.

Chopstick means exactly that, a 3/4" long piece of bamboo chopstick, available at any Asian restaurant or grocery store. They make a decent diffuser all by themselves. In this case, what you have is already partially diffused co2 going into the filter rather than one big bubble. It really makes a big difference.

Look close and you can see the chopstick piece. Tank has turned into basically a grow-out/experimental tank. Pic is a couple months old, this is the 3rd HC carpet growing here, I sell most of it off when it gets thick like in the previous pics




CO2 is two 1.89 liter juicy juice bottles + a gas separator/bubble counter bottle. I change out one bottle per week, it stays around 2.5 bubbles per second.




Oddly enough, I put this whole set-up together for about $100. Tank was $20 from Petco dollar per gallon sale, then a $35 filter, another $30 on lights, $8 plus tax for substrate, and say 10 bucks worth of DIY CO2 components.
Thank you for the info. Got my brain spinning again... just read your 75 gal journal and diy co2 posts. I have a 50 gal that I am considering redoing for the 4th time sooo love seeing methods that succeed.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-22-2015, 06:02 PM
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That's a great little setup you have there.


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