Fully disolve co2 into water? Or spray tiny bubbles over plant? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Fully disolve co2 into water? Or spray tiny bubbles over plant?

It seems to me the most efficient way for a plant to absorb co2 is through direct contact(spraying tiny bubbles onto the leaf). Why do some people look to dissolve 100% of co2? I understand not liking tiny bubbles all over your tank, but if your plants are pearling then you're gonna have tiny bubbles all over your tank!

The more scientific the explanation the better. Thanks
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 09:20 PM
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Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldnt pearling be tiny O2 bubble being release by the plant?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-03-2011, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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yes. To me though there's no difference aesthetically between the two. Which is the better method of dispersing co2. Or are the differences so small, it's really irrelevant.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 02:25 AM
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I would rather see my plants pearling than having tiny bubbles swimming all over my tank.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 02:33 AM
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A handful of people here claim that undissolved bubbles make for better CO2 absorption by plants. The rest go for as much diffusion as possible. I have yet to see any hard data on the "Sprite" look being more effective.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 11:24 AM
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Im not sure but its interesting. The only way to prove one or the other though would be through a lab. Even just growing the same plants with two different co2 methods wouldnt be definitive. To do it right you would have to have the same plant throughout several tanks of each kind of co2 method.


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 06:49 PM
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I think it's a preference based on aesthetics. Without a controlled and duplicated experiment it's not possible to definitively state that one method is more beneficial than the other. There are so many factors affecting plant growth that differ from one person's tank to the next, so it's impossible to say much more than try both for yourself and decide what delivery method best suits you. I myself prefer misting in the tank-I get fantastic growth and I enjoy the look of it, so I'll stick with it. Either way, both methods will work very well if executed correctly; I don't think the difference is more than marginal either way.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 06:54 PM
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I don't know why anybody would want bubbles sprayed all over their tank. I'd rather have algae than excessive bubbles in my tank!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueJack View Post
yes. To me though there's no difference aesthetically between the two. Which is the better method of dispersing co2. Or are the differences so small, it's really irrelevant.
To me there's a huge aesthetic difference between the two.

In the first place, pearling only happens late in the photoperiod for most people, myself included. So that's most of the time bubble-less. Second, pearling doesn't cause that many bubbles. Also, pearling is passive. Plants release oxygen and the bubbles float up.

Contrast this to the soda water effect of misting co2. It's there the whole time the lights are on, it's active, so moving all around the tank, and the effect is pretty pronounced and visible.

I used to mist and it is very effective, but it started to bother me visually and now I'm glad I got a reactor.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 07:07 PM
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It's not the "tiny bubbles," but the amount of CO2 in the water. If it is not diffused in the water, the bubble expels it's contents when it hits the surface. The tinier the bubble, the less wasted CO2. The better it's diffused, and the longer it's in contact with the water, the more CO2 in the water column for the plants to process. I use my canister filter to diffuse the gas. No bubbles at all and I direct the flow towards the plants. Extremely efficient as 1 bps = adequate CO2 for my 75G.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 08:12 PM
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I agree with Mac. Big difference between vertical bubbles popping off plant leaves vs the constant bubbles all over. That being said there are some advantages of an in-take diffuser. Because you could eyeball what's coming off the disk I can tell if it's going to be about right for my setup. On my big tank I don't even use a bubble counter or drop checker. I'm not recommending that, just saying what I'm able to do.

Getting to the pearling. Sometimes too much pearling has it's downside as well. If for example your riccia pearls excessively, it will cause pieces to float up faster since the o2 bubble is buoyant.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-04-2011, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies...I found some additional info that might help.

CO2 diffuses directly through the outer epidermal cell walls in a leaf, but must first pass through a thick boundary layer (a layer of still water through which gases and nutrients must diffuse to reach the plant leaf). The thickness of the boundary layer is proportional to the square root of the leaf dimension or about 0.5 mm thick for general reference. The slow diffusion in this boundary layer is a major factor limiting the rate of photosynthesis. CO2 absorption can be increased with increased water flow over the surface of the leaf reducing the boundary layers thickness. So, by just increasing the flow in your tank you will increase the rate of photosynthesis.

As for which method is better of diffusing CO2: Since there are too many variables with the fine bubble method(length of contact with water, size of bubble) it's somewhere between 60-90% efficient. The reactor method (close to 100% if you can get bubbles from escaping the reactor) is obviously more efficient and will allow more CO2 to flow over each plant leaf.

By adding a powerhead (wavemaker or hydor flo maybe??)and going with a reactor type setup I think you'll get better growth.

cheers
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2011, 04:44 AM
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There has always seemed to be some debate over which way was best so I took a hybrid approach on my setup and installed both! I installed a Y piece on the regulator with two bubble counters, one going to the reactor and the other to a diffuser. Seems to work good.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-05-2011, 11:42 AM
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This is a perfect example of where the science takes a back seat to reality in home aquaria. It's been proven that both methods work and work well. Whether one is more efficient than the other is interesting, but not really the driving force which method will be used. Size of tank, visible equipment likes/dislikes and whether one likes bubbles will probably determine which one is used.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 08:02 PM
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[QUOTE=genomer;1378669]I myself prefer misting in the tank-I get fantastic growth and I enjoy the look of it, so I'll stick with it.QUOTE]

+1. I prefer misting as well. My plants grows faster when they pearl. Thats how I observed for many months now.

I have a glass diffuser place below the intake of mini hagen Elite filter. It sprays tiny bubble and plants go like crazy pearling. I tried to save electricity by moving the CO2 tubing into the intake of my canister filter and got only very little pearling.

I switch back to powerhead misting.

Im thinking of trying a GLA inline diffuser. Anyone have tried this method with a very good pearling results?
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