Simple comparison of CO2 delviery methods required - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Simple comparison of CO2 delviery methods required

Hi,

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
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 04:55 PM
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Here is my two cents worth:
CO2 is helpful to the plants in any tank, both low light and high light. In higher light tanks more CO2 and fertilizers are needed because the light is no longer limiting the growth of the plants - the fertilizers, including CO2 are unless you provide plenty of all of them. If you always have more CO2 and fertilizers than the plants need, the higher light will not cause algae.
The method used to get the CO2 into the water is a personal preference issue. The least CO2 will be used if you use some kind of reactor that dissolves 100% of the injected CO2 into the water. But, CO2 is so cheap, once you have the equipment, that shouldn't be the primary concern.
I use a Eheim diffuser - a ceramic disc type - in the tank under the filter return spray bar and I can drive the ppm of CO2 up to where the fish suffer, so it works fine for me and is inconspicuous in the tank.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BumMonkey
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.
Most external canister filters have impellers which are mounted at the top of the canister. If, for whatever reason (e.g. power outage), you get a build-up of gaseous elements (CO2, O2, ...) in the top of your filter, your impeller can experience airlock which could lead to the canister motor being burned out. So, is it worth the risk of having a fried canister filter?

There is likely also a reasonable possibility of increasing the noise level of the cannister based on the "gases" passing through the impeller.

Granted, if it is all functioning properly, it should be a good method. However, things do go wrong on occassion.

Overall, it sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of the topic. Now, if someone could give you a break-down of which methods are best in which situations, you'd never see this topic be brought up here. But, clearly, that isn't the case !

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 05:39 PM
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I tried bubbling into the canister filter a couple of times. It is definitely very efficient. The biggest problem for me was an accumulation of "air" (oxygen) in the filter, which leads to gargling noises and eventually to an airlock.

I'd say try it... Some filters are more prone to this than others, and you will find out about this once your tank has that plant mass and photosynthetic activity that leads to oxygen saturation of the tank water.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 06:06 PM
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I put mine into the canister, but before that I run it through a micro-bubble diffuser. That way the only bubbles getting into my filter are *very* small ones Even an airstone would help with this, and they are really cheap!

-Ernie


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-27-2006, 11:42 PM
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I have been using fluval for my co2 diffusion through the intake and no problem, the canister burps itself every once in a while.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-28-2009, 01:46 AM
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At first, i was stoked with feeding my co2 directly into my cannister. No bubbles came out the other end which suggestest 100% diffusion, but then about a week into it i noticed the co2 pockets forming in my ehiem canister filters ( i had two running as co2 reactors) and decided i would change my design.
This even happend with a ceramic diffuser installed before the canister feed to so the bubbles are initially very small. Even though it took some time for the pockets to form, it was apparently inevitable.
So im assuming the living bacteria dont exactly like being submerged in an atmoshere of pure co2, but i might be wrong.
Theres also the mechanical damage it may cause if the filter runs dry, as also mentioned.
Might be something characteristic to eheims, all i can say is there not particularly good for diffusers in my experience.

Also, on the note of light and co2 levels,
High light and low, or inconsistent co2 levels may lead to a black beard algae growth, which can suck, its hard to remove and takes over slowly,
This happend to me when my light was not matched in co2.
Your excel dosing should combat this but, just a thought.

I'd definately go for some sort of external/internal co2 reactor that runs in series with the canister, or from its own pump. Just keep the bubbles out of the filter and in the reactor. Im not going to bother explaining this cos there mass designs on the net etc

hth
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 01:57 AM
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A co2 diffuser in the tank right under the intake of the canister has always worked for me.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calestus View Post
A co2 diffuser in the tank right under the intake of the canister has always worked for me.
Holy Necopost batman. You revived a 10 year old post.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by TDSapp View Post
Holy Necopost batman. You revived a 10 year old post.


Tim
And that was a revival of a three year old post!!
But then that kind of proves out how slowly the hobby really changes, if we look close as the same question is still asked today!
I find it is pretty much the same answers as ten years ago but still very much a personal preference type thing when we get into how many bubbles in the tank and how much noise or how much bother to the impeller, etc.
I don't like the idea of letting a pocket of air nor CO2 form around the impeller as that can leave them running dry which certainly can shorten the life of impellers or shaft. I also don't like the short little "burps" of noise as an injected bubble reaches the impeller.
So I am far more inclined to do the simple DIY project of building a reactor to put on the output and remove both these questions. I lean far more into spending $20 to build a reactor than risking spending even more money to replace an impeller if I've guessed wrong!
But that's still the same as I thought ten years ago, so perhaps I've made little progress!
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 02:21 PM
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And that was a revival of a three year old post!!
But then that kind of proves out how slowly the hobby really changes, if we look close as the same question is still asked today!
I find it is pretty much the same answers as ten years ago but still very much a personal preference type thing when we get into how many bubbles in the tank and how much noise or how much bother to the impeller, etc.
I don't like the idea of letting a pocket of air nor CO2 form around the impeller as that can leave them running dry which certainly can shorten the life of impellers or shaft. I also don't like the short little "burps" of noise as an injected bubble reaches the impeller.
So I am far more inclined to do the simple DIY project of building a reactor to put on the output and remove both these questions. I lean far more into spending $20 to build a reactor than risking spending even more money to replace an impeller if I've guessed wrong!
But that's still the same as I thought ten years ago, so perhaps I've made little progress!

I asked the same question about putting the CO2 feed right into the return pump pick up as well. It was suggested that I not do that due to setting up for cavitation in the pump. So like you, I spent less than $20 at Lowes and built a reactor that I put into my sump. I am still trying to get it set right though. I have been bumping it up almost daily and have not seen a change. But then it was suggested that I really crank it up so I did. When I got home from work most of my fish were swimming at the top of the water and the drop checker was a clear yellow. So I turned it down and trying to get back to where it is green... Right now it's hard to tell if it is a DEEP DARK GREEN or blue. I just know that it's the same color as it was when I put the drop checker in the water.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TDSapp View Post
I asked the same question about putting the CO2 feed right into the return pump pick up as well. It was suggested that I not do that due to setting up for cavitation in the pump.
Much like a lot of 'rules' here YMMV. Eheim 2213, Inline Diffusor, 2bps, fed into the inlet of 2213. No burping, no air pocket worked fine. I just moved the diffusor to the outlet due to a 'superstition' that micro bubbles are more helpful for plants but I haven't noticed any difference.

Quote:
So I turned it down and trying to get back to where it is green... Right now it's hard to tell if it is a DEEP DARK GREEN or blue. I just know that it's the same color as it was when I put the drop checker in the water.
Drop checkers lag behind actual concentrations also they aren't very accurate. Measure degassed tank water ph and ph drop with ph probe to get a much more accurate picture.
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