GLA CO2 System - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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GLA CO2 System

Greetings Everyone

I posted a thread earlier today outlining my plans for a planted aquarium. You can find that thread here.

As a former saltwater reef aquarium person, I am very ignorant when it comes to CO2 injection. Since my posting earlier today, it has come to my attention that my planned level of lighting is relatively high (~110 W compact fluorescent on a 25 gallon tank) and therefore will likely require some type of CO2 injection. I suppose I could knock the level of lighting down, but I have always loved the aesthetics of a really well-lit aquarium, and after reading some more about CO2 injection I don't feel like it is something I should try to avoid.

With that said, I am really looking for a turnkey system that will work out of the box. While I love to read about all of the clever DIY CO2 injection systems that some of you have devised, I am at a place in my life where I can afford to spend some money and would rather not spend the time. After a bit of reading through these forums and online, I decided that the Green Leaf Aquariums (GLA) Gro system would be appropriate for my needs. I don't see any advantage of going with the Pro or Pro-SS systems, do you? Any reason to go with someone other than GLA?

What about the Gro Advanced system with the Milwaukee MC122 pH controller? Is there an advantage of a pH controller over simply syncing the CO2 injection with the lighting schedule? Is there any disadvantage to using a pH controller?

Thanks again for all of your help!
Cheers,
TMQ
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 07:01 PM
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most ppl build co2 reactors because there are not any good commercial systems. nilocg builds griggs reactors..i would buy one of his. as far as the regulator... get a good one.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
most ppl build co2 reactors because there are not any good commercial systems. nilocg builds griggs reactors..i would buy one of his. as far as the regulator... get a good one.
Hi ChrisX,

I was under the impression that the majority of the DIY CO2 projects were motivated by cost (as with most DIY projects in life, come to think of it). Was I mistaken? I read a lot of posts on this forum about GLA systems and they were overwhelming positive. Please let me know if I missed something.

My understanding of the Griggs reactor is that it is simply a means of increasing the retention time of the CO2 bubbles in the water stream in order to maximize dissolution efficiency of the CO2 into the water. Is that correct? One still needs a CO2 source to use with a Griggs reactor, right?

Since my tank setup is originally designed for saltwater, it has a venturi counter current protein skimmer built into the filter box on the back. I was planning on injecting the CO2 directly into the power head the feeds the skimmer. Based on what I have read, this will be a reasonably good way of dissolving CO2 into the water column, so I think that a Griggs reactor will not be necessary for me. Thoughts?

Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,
TMQ
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 07:59 PM
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I got the GRO system from gla,no ph controller. Worth every penny because i too did not want to tinker with any thing less than top notch as my tank is a focal point in the living room. My personal experience was pretty much plug n play when it comes to installation ...comes with good instructions. When it comes to injection..of course you got your learning curve with fine tuning to suit your personal tank needs other.. when injecting Co2 think small increments and good tank observation will put you in tune with your tank needs without the need of a ph meter.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-24-2017, 08:03 PM
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Griggs reactor dissolves 100% the CO2; yes you understand how it works. If you see microbubbles in the water you are losing CO2, that is why people choose reactors over diffusers.

There are alot of commercial products, but NONE of them are as reliable as a Griggs. Its made using commercial grade PVC pipe. CO2 gas can make plastic brittle over time, many of them break. Think about this... if your reactor springs a leak, your whole tank gets emptied on the floor.

Read the reviews of various reactors on amazon and you will see a small percentage of reviews where plastic reactor broke, flooded, etc.

I have not tested the reliabilty of all the commercial reactors, maybe gla has come up with a new gizmo... I did the reasearch on this, wanted to buy something but then found out that PVC griggs is the best. Nilocg happens to build them and sell them.

Regarding the regulator I am no expert at all. I bought a cheap one from ebay and its working great. I suppose higher cost may have better reliability or adjustment. Idk.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 01:18 AM
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I bought a gla for the same reasons. I do not remember the nomenclature. It was reasonable and I read a bunch of good reviews. If you are using a canister filter my advice is get a reactor of some kind. Amazon brought me an ishta. Diffused co2 is like 7up and does not maximize efficiency


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 01:59 AM
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Whether you use a reactor or diffuser its really personal preference on whether you like to see tiny bubbles and/or have the diffuser in the tank (You can also have an in-line one.

The efficiency really amounts to very little in terms of cost unless you have a monster tank. On a 25 Gallon most canisters (5 to 10 lbs) will last 6-12 months at $20 at $15-$20 a fill up, so the money isn't really the reason you go reactor, it's more preference. Both methods work very well.

ADA which pretty much created this space in aquaria with plants and co2 only use in tank diffusers even on their 5 foot tanks. Here's a pic from their gallery in Japan. All these tanks have just have ceramic disc diffusers.



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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your responses.

I decided to purchase the GLA Gro Advanced system with the pH controller. Also purchased a drop checker. With respect to the diffuser versus reactor, I'm going to try a third option and inject the CO2 directly into the venturi input for the power head on the built in protein skimmer on my tank. There is a photo of the tank and built in skimmer/filter here. I think that this will work as good or better than the diffuser or reactor.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
TMQ
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 12:08 PM
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While the skimmer will definitely do a great job dissolving the Co2, I would guess all of that will be off gassed. Unless the the water from skimmer goes directly to the aquarium, without falling through the air and splashing around....you're going to lose all of it.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 12:41 PM
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The reactor design has greatest impact on performance. Buying an expensive regulator then employing a "creative" method to dissolve co2 seem at odds.

If your tank is only 25g and you have a good size CO2 tank, you might as well just get a glass diffuser. Some CO2 is wasted, but its not a big enough tank to have to worrry.
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Last edited by ChrisX; 07-25-2017 at 01:40 PM. Reason: more info
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 04:21 PM
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Correction on the pics I posted above. Those tanks in the ADA Gallery Japan are 180P. Which are just shy of 6 feet not 5. So for anything that doesn't think a disc diffuser can work in a large tank just take a look at those pics. Most have one diffuser, no power heads.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 04:41 PM
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I have a paintball tank, so CO2 economy is important to me. Both obviously work.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-25-2017, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The reactor design has greatest impact on performance. Buying an expensive regulator then employing a "creative" method to dissolve co2 seem at odds.
Just to be clear, I don't plan to inject the CO2 into the venturi with an air stream. That would definitely not work. The plan is to have a pure CO2 line plumbed into the venturi port on the power head, then take advantage of the extremely high turbulence and counter current design of the protein skimmer to dissolve the CO2. Gas exchange is all about surface area and retention time, so I really cannot think of any reason why injecting CO2 into the venturi input of a protein skimmer would not be equivalent to a reactor or diffuser. Once I get everything setup I'll let you know how well it seems to work.

Thanks again for all of the great feedback.

Cheers,
TMQ

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Originally Posted by VisionQuest28 View Post
While the skimmer will definitely do a great job dissolving the Co2, I would guess all of that will be off gassed. Unless the the water from skimmer goes directly to the aquarium, without falling through the air and splashing around....you're going to lose all of it.
The water exits the skimmer in the rear filtration area of the aquarium and then gets pumped directly into the main tank. The surface to volume ratio of the rear filtration areas is much, much smaller than it is in the main tank, so loss of CO2 before it gets into the main tank should be minimal, provided that the return pump does its job.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Cheers,
TMQ
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 12:51 AM
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I like this. Trying to use what you have other than adding more equipment that you may not need. Sounds like it should work fine but if it doesn't there's always plan B.

Will you be starting a journal for this tank?

Just a noob


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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I like this. Trying to use what you have other than adding more equipment that you may not need. Sounds like it should work fine but if it doesn't there's always plan B.

Will you be starting a journal for this tank?
Yeah, I think that once people see how a counter current venturi protein skimmer works, they will understand why it should work well to dissolve CO2. I probably would not buy a protein skimmer for this application, but since my tank has one built in I might as well use it.

With regard to a journal, I was planning to start one. I should have the system setup up "dry" in about two weeks and will start up a journal at that point. But after that things are going to get boring for a while. I'll add water in August, but nothing else until the end of October because I have a lot of travel scheduled at the end of August, September and the first half of October. So for two months I plan to keep the lights off and simply circulate water with the gravel and rock decorations. This will also give me a chance to work out any bugs with the hardware, including the CO2 system, water changes, etc... on the weekends. It will also give the gravel and rocks a chance to leach out anything from the surface. At the end of October I will add the plants. I figure it will take a couple of months for me to get a handle on fertilizers and overall water parameters, so fish and inverts will get added around Christmas.

Stay tuned!

Cheers,
TMQ
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