Moving Beyond CO2 Injection?
So full disclosure, I have never run a high tech tank, though I am in the planning stages of my first. I was/am planning to run injected CO2 from a 10 lb tank via a DIY reactor.
While I was thinking about this I began to wonder if "Injected" CO2 is necessary for any plant we might want to grow. In nature there is no injected CO2. Instead you just have really large bodies of water possibly with enough flow that what CO2 is naturally in the water from surface contact is enough to keep plants alive. Or at least that is my theory. I actually have no idea for certain where CO2 comes from in natural water. Maybe its all from dissolved rocks? Who knows. Anyway if it comes from the air then I wonder if we could replicate the process in our tanks by running an airline into a big reactor.
If we can dissolve enough air in a reactor into our water then could we replicate the natural CO2 environment that all of our plants originated in?
If this would work then the benefits would be substantial. 1) We would not need to have pressurized gas in our houses, 2) We would not need to buy CO2 anymore, 3) It would be impossible to gas our fish since we would actually be oxygenating the water at the same time, 4) You wouldn't need a solenoid anymore because it wouldn't matter if it ran all the time.
There are some downsides. 1) You would need some kind of air pump which would make noise, 2) while plants may live fine you likely could not get the concentrations of CO2 in the water with dissolved air as you would with CO2, 3) You need a BIG reactor since apparently air does not dissolve in water as easily as CO2.
This is not completely off the wall on my part. I was watching videos on venturis and I kept running into people in hydroponics making use of them to aerate their water. Apparently its super important for them to get good growth. I also saw a video from Aquarium CO-OP where Cory was speculating that sponge filters are good for plant growth because they are constantly bringing in air which has CO2 in it. And finally I saw a video about a gas "contactor" cone which was being used with room air to oxygenate water for waste management. The air was being completely dissolved into what we would call a reactor. This idea spawned from all those.
Has anyone ever tried this?