this is my first post to the forum, so hello all
i have been reading and trying to absorb the absolute wealth of information that this forum provides but i need some things clarifying for me from one of you helpful experts.
I am pretty new to this hobby so excuse me if the answers are blindingly obvious.
i have two low tech planted tanks running with excel being added but no co2 injection, they seem to be doing fine so i think i have mastered the basics of getting plants to grow with suffcient light and a good substrate all ok with that.
Now i am trying to get my head around the technical bit of adding co2 to the water.
Firstly just let me check i have the premise of this correct from what ive read, adding c02 is benifitial, providing the tank has high enough light for it to be worth while which is something around the 3wpg mark?
If the light is say 2wpg is it still helpful to add co2?
the idea as i understand it is basically to get the co2 dissolved as well as possible into the water (ignoring for a minute the idea suggested by tom barr for the fine mist of co2 bubbles instead) What i want is some kind of basic explanation of what is the optimum method, and a comparison between the various ways of doing it.
I have read about using the ladders, or diffusion chambers of various design, or the ceramic disc and stuff and their various merits
To my admitedly very basic understanding of all this i dont see why i cant just feed co2 direct into the intake of my external canister filter?
im sure there is probably some critical reason why i shouldnt do this but not that i can see as yet.
If the co2 is fed directly into the intake pipe then the bubbles of co2 will travel all along the length of that pipe and then into my filter, passing through sponges on the way and through and impeller which should mince them into tiny little bubbles, and then all the way back to come wooshing out of my outflow from the filter where they are promptly distributed around the tank by the water flow.
Seeing as the idea for most of the diffusers seems to be to make the bubbles of co2 travel a large distance so as to have the most amount of time in contact with the water before possibly reaching the surace and popping disipating the co2 rather than dissolving it into the water. So, surely an external canister filter can do all these things for you, and all that needs to be done is feed the co2 direct into the intake pipe which is very very simple and would presumebly give very good co2 saturation?
is it that water passes too quickly through the filter not giving the co2 enough time to dissolve? is it that the co2 will be somehow harmful to the bacteria in the filter?
if it is the first one would this really be a problem? obviously the bubble might whip through the filter a bit quicker than they would remain in a diffuser but the impeller would break the bubbles up and they would then have a smaller surface area and so dissolve more quickly anyway. Is this not suffcient to solve that problem?
Anyway, if someone could give a sort of laymans explanation of the different techniques, and a rough guide to what is the most effective.
I dont have the money for a fancy co2 setup at the moment, will very likely buy one a few months down the line but in the meantime i am looking for practical and cheap solutions to the co2 problem so i can have a play around.
also are there other essential requirements if im adding co2 so as to not upset the balance, the tank has about 3wpg of light, will i be more at risk from algae if i dont add co2? , i had a 20g with lots of light and a DIY co2 unit and it got algae-fied, reduced the light and removed co2 and now its fine, dont want to make a similar mistake with this tank. ( i think i had too much light and not efficient co2 in the 20g)
apologies for the long rambling and probably confusing post but my head is spinning with all the various information out there and i need to someone to help me set things straight with a simple explanation.
if anyone can help me