$20 CO2 systems any good? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2005, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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$20 CO2 systems any good?

I always see these cheap 20 dollar CO2 systems, and I wonder if they're even worth it. I have a 20g and am currently using Flourish Excel. Would using these 20 dollar systems on a 20g be worth the upgrade, or are they just not worth it?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2005, 10:50 AM
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By that you mean the ones with the canisters that you mix up stuff in?

You should look up a diy co2 system.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2005, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmydrsv
By that you mean the ones with the canisters that you mix up stuff in?

You should look up a diy co2 system.
If the system has the "ladder" i.e. the Hagen Natural system...the ladder and tubing is the best part...probably worth the $20 on its own for a small tank (20g and under). As Jimmy mentioned, mix up the diy recipe in a 2 liter coke bottle (I used to use big giant Ocean Spray juice bottles--a bit thicker and sturdier) and you're set!

Re-boot!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-20-2005, 09:53 PM
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ladder

I would agree that the ladder/tubing is the most useful component, but they are not very effective. I would opt for spending $20 on a powerhead for a co2 diffuser. These are much more effective because they are "active" and not "passive", like the ladder. I lost links to good, simple DIY active diffusers, but usually they involve bubbling the co2 into some kinda chamber, and having the powerhead blow the bubbles around until they dissolve 100%. I switched to this and co2 levels are through the roof on my 29g!

All said: invest in DIY rather than buying the Hagen system!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 12:50 AM
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The ladder actually manages to diffuse about 95% of the CO2 into the water column. Not bad for something that requires no power and takes up very little room in the tank.

I would call it an active diffuser as it is moving the CO2 against the water all the time.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 01:12 PM
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The ladder actually manages to diffuse about 95% of the CO2 into the water column
If this were true, then I would be a huge advocate for the ladder. IME, the majority of the bubbles make it to the top and eventually hit the surface! I cannot imagine 95% efficiency with this happening. Also, I've found that in my tanks various plant leaves, snails, and other debris get in the way of the bubbles causing backup.

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I would call it an active diffuser as it is moving the CO2 against the water all the time.
I thought the definition of an active diffuser was something driven by a motor?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 01:38 PM
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Just as an example. Say the bubbles start out at 1 mm in radius and shrink to .25 mm in radius.

1 mm bubble contains 4.1 cc of gas.

.25 mm bubble contains 0.06 cc of gas.

That means that you have dissolved over 99% of the CO2. And the bubbles in both my ladders are at a minimum of 1/10th their original size.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 02:38 PM
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I have the Hagen ladder in a 15g tall with a tiny RIO 50 powerhead above it. The powerhead catches most of the bubbles that leave the ladder, chops them up and disperses them. The powerhead moves a little current around too. This little powerhead has an adjustible flow nozzel so that you can adjust the angle and the rate of flow. Like Rex said, most of the bubbles are tiny when they reach the top of the ladder and this powerhead captures most of the ones that head to the surface. I can easily get 30ppm of CO2 using this method. The RIO 50 is $7.99 at Big Al's.
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