Trickle filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Trickle filter?

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding this, so please bear with me here.

Trickle filters are not good for planted tanks because they get rid of CO2 that's been injected into the tank, yes? However, the atmosphere has more CO2 proportionally than tanks that don't have CO2 injected into them, right? So, theoretically, in a tank that does not have CO2 injected into the aquarium, wouldn't a trickle filter be better by in-gassing CO2? Also, I'm referencing Hiscock's Encyclopedia here, but if pH does drop at night due to increases in cellular respiration and lack of photosynthesis, and the pH drop/increase over a 24 hour period is due to respiration/photosynthesis forming carbonic acid, wouldn't a trickle filter also keep pH more stable? Am I right, or am I completely misunderstanding something here?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 10:08 AM
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In a planted aquarium, it is possible that the consumption of CO2 will be high, leading to lower CO2 concentrations when compared to an equilibrium state.

Thus, it is possible that surface agitation will help diffuse some CO2 into the water. However, it will never be more than the equilibrium (which is not really significant in the first place).

The pH drop due to production of CO2 via cellular respiration is probably very minute, and you would not be able to measure a CO2 drop.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 11:47 AM
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Atmospheric co2 is minimal in an aquarium. It's only 2ppm when converted by mol weight.

A lot of the co2 comes from bacterial activities/respiration. It's not uncommon in a dirted tank to have 10-15 ppm of co2; a lot more than atmospheric co2.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 01:24 PM
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You are right. If there is no other source of CO2, then the water will gain CO2 in that way.

But note also mistergreen's point: There are low tech sources of CO2 that may keep the level higher than the equilibrium point, so the trickle filter would out gas this CO2.

Tom Barr's answer: Enclose the trickle filter. Cover it in something that holds CO2 (like a sheet of plastic, a glass cover or similar) and duct tape it in place. There is not a difference in air pressure under the cover, but any CO2 that leaves the water will stay trapped, raising the level of CO2 inside the air space. That way the water will not lose more CO2 to the air that you have trapped.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-30-2014, 10:35 PM
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There has been a rise of wet/dry sumps ran on a planted aquariums over the past few years. Although I am currently not up an running with mine, however it is indeed in the works. Most that speak against it, don't understand or don't have the experience to learn how to make a sump and co2 injection work. There a some that don't even cover the sump. The key to co2 in a sump is minimum water disturbance in the sump itself. Primarily the sump entry. The bean animal and the herbie overflow systems are number 1 and 2 as far as little to no disturbance. You will off gas some co2 but its no where near the numbesr that many speculate from what I have read from many that do run the setup. To compensate, you simply just turn up the co2 a bit.

The second factor is to get as close as you can to 100% co2 dissolved into the water prior to re-entering the display tank. Reactors such as the cerges and rex griggs are about the most common that many succeed with total dissolved co2. Combine the bean or herbie with either of the two mentioned reactors, and you will off gas very little.

Aside note, is that a lot of verbiage in reference to co2 off gassing, its not worth it, or your wasting your time, is predated. Times have changed and people have found ways to accomplish things differently than in the past. I wish I had my setup running so I can advocate it a lot more but for now, I can only speak on the researching I have done since summer 2012. I have been working on my project since then but still don't have it going. There is a lot of thought, design and collecting items that's going into it all, so its taking a bit longer than anticipated. But I can say I am getting closer every month.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2014, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
There has been a rise of wet/dry sumps ran on a planted aquariums over the past few years. Although I am currently not up an running with mine, however it is indeed in the works. Most that speak against it, don't understand or don't have the experience to learn how to make a sump and co2 injection work. There a some that don't even cover the sump. The key to co2 in a sump is minimum water disturbance in the sump itself. Primarily the sump entry. The bean animal and the herbie overflow systems are number 1 and 2 as far as little to no disturbance. You will off gas some co2 but its no where near the numbesr that many speculate from what I have read from many that do run the setup. To compensate, you simply just turn up the co2 a bit.

The second factor is to get as close as you can to 100% co2 dissolved into the water prior to re-entering the display tank. Reactors such as the cerges and rex griggs are about the most common that many succeed with total dissolved co2. Combine the bean or herbie with either of the two mentioned reactors, and you will off gas very little.

Aside note, is that a lot of verbiage in reference to co2 off gassing, its not worth it, or your wasting your time, is predated. Times have changed and people have found ways to accomplish things differently than in the past. I wish I had my setup running so I can advocate it a lot more but for now, I can only speak on the researching I have done since summer 2012. I have been working on my project since then but still don't have it going. There is a lot of thought, design and collecting items that's going into it all, so its taking a bit longer than anticipated. But I can say I am getting closer every month.

You must be better at this than I am because I scrapped the idea of using a wet/dry sump for a planted tank based on my research. I always wonder if that was a bit of an overreaction. If I ever get some free time I might have to consider just running it and seeing how it goes!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-01-2014, 07:37 PM
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My $0.02. I'm finding that my plants are growing slow without injected CO2 but have been doing better since I reduced the turbulence in both the sump and DT. I had a powerhead in the sump to circulate the water but since removed it. I also had an overflow filter on the DT that I originally had as a backup in the event that I lost the overflow. I've since removed it and notice that the plants are growing a little faster. I may do a DIY CO2 system at some point but for now things are working.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by seove View Post
My $0.02. I'm finding that my plants are growing slow without injected CO2 but have been doing better since I reduced the turbulence in both the sump and DT. I had a powerhead in the sump to circulate the water but since removed it. I also had an overflow filter on the DT that I originally had as a backup in the event that I lost the overflow. I've since removed it and notice that the plants are growing a little faster. I may do a DIY CO2 system at some point but for now things are working.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pi...ictureid=70738
Turbulence was the key. Minimize it and the co2 will remain in the water column much longer for the plants to use. Too much agitation is what causes the majority of off gassing the CO2. Once water breaks the surface from agitation, co2 is lost. As far as the wet/dry filter, I suppose its better to not allow a great distance from the media to the water. I plan to keep my water level just below the bio media. An ATO will help here. In fact the bottom of the media will partially be submerged by a tad bit to keep dripping water from agitating the water too much.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
Turbulence was the key. Minimize it and the co2 will remain in the water column much longer for the plants to use. Too much agitation is what causes the majority of off gassing the CO2. Once water breaks the surface from agitation, co2 is lost. As far as the wet/dry filter, I suppose its better to not allow a great distance from the media to the water. I plan to keep my water level just below the bio media. An ATO will help here. In fact the bottom of the media will partially be submerged by a tad bit to keep dripping water from agitating the water too much.

Thanks for sharing. I suspected that that might have been the problem. As soon as I removed the HOB filter (I called it an overflow filter in error before) I noticed that the plants started to take off. I do have the bottom of my tower below the water line.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 05:16 PM
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I noticed fish got stressed inside an hour when I removed the wet/dry tower in the sump. When I was able to use a herbie same thing happened.

I did not see I was refilling the CO2 tank less often! That is really it after all.

Been running a sump for 14 years on a planted tank now and don't ever plan to switch from one. CO2 is cheap enough and a Cerges reactor works well enough for me.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Atmospheric co2 is minimal in an aquarium. It's only 2ppm when converted by mol weight.

A lot of the co2 comes from bacterial activities/respiration. It's not uncommon in a dirted tank to have 10-15 ppm of co2; a lot more than atmospheric co2.


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Do you have any references that back up these two statements? As I recall people have long claimed that the atmospheric CO2 gives us about 3 ppm of CO2 in the water, not 2 ppm. A small difference, but a significant one. And, I have never seen any data that says how much CO2 a dirt substrate can generate. 10-15 ppm is a lot! If true, that's enough to cause me to switch to dirt.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Do you have any references that back up these two statements? As I recall people have long claimed that the atmospheric CO2 gives us about 3 ppm of CO2 in the water, not 2 ppm. A small difference, but a significant one. And, I have never seen any data that says how much CO2 a dirt substrate can generate. 10-15 ppm is a lot! If true, that's enough to cause me to switch to dirt.
I had a CO2 sensor and measured my 10G dirt tank and carabsea substrate (lots of pores for bacteria). The tank was covered (important to trap CO2 I think) with no surface agitation. The CO2 did reach quite high. I basically followed Walstad method but I'm not sure she measured the CO2.
I had my computer track the time & CO2, let me pull it up.
Quote:
9:24:59 -
Co2 ppm = 18.70

10:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 18.64

11:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 18.03

12:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 17.48

13:0:1 -
Co2 ppm = 16.76

14:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 16.22

15:0:1 -
Co2 ppm = 15.81

16:0:1 -
Co2 ppm = 15.61

17:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 15.43

18:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 15.33

19:0:1 -
Co2 ppm = 15.61

20:0:0 -
Co2 ppm = 16.01

The CO2 drops as the lights are on and rise back up when the lights are off.

And yes, it is 3.08 ppm for atmospheric CO2 in the water. I mistyped.

Last edited by mistergreen; 12-06-2014 at 07:48 PM. Reason: +
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 08:18 PM
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Those are very significant numbers! Since your sensor picked up the 3 ppm of CO2 from the atmosphere, I think we can assume the other numbers have a good chance of being accurate - 15-19 ppm from the substrate. That could explain why so many people get good results from dirt substrates. I find it far more likely that the CO2 is giving the good results than that the NPK & traces from the substrate are doing so. I'm also assuming that your dirt substrate was not mineralized, so there was an abundance of organic materials in the dirt to generate the CO2.

This should have been headline news!

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 09:11 PM
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I did a quick washing of the dirt though. Whatever float like bark & twigs gets panned out. I didn't want my tank to smell like a swamp.

yes, I'm at the conclusion that the bacteria colony is more important than the nutrients in the dirt. We can always throw in KNO3, etc...

I was drinking kombucha last week and thought, the colony in this drink is enough to make it as fizzy as champaign, why not in an aquarium?
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