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I ♥ BBA!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Up until I recently, I was using a powerhead that could count the bubbles as they came out of the tube. But long before that, I have always used generic Diy bubble counters. Basically, I would use a syringe and put it inline or mostly, a small bottle and snake it into the water. Here comes the problem.

At the very top of the water, the bubbles are very fast, unreadable. As I moved the co2 tubing in the water, the bubbles were slower. I had a cup of water and depending on where I sit the tube in the water would effect the BPS. So how do you get an accurate reading?

On my power head, I was using last night before hooking up the Cerges reactor, it was at approximately 1.5 bps. I turned it down to 1 bps. But when I tested it in a cup of water, it would very from nothing to several bubbles a second. I turned the needle valve down to slow it even further at the highest point, and then hooked up the reactor.

Watched it go from dark blue to dark green in a course of several hours, and then thinking things were fine, left it. This morning, the drop checker is bright yellow, at 5dkh solution and 90% or more of my fish are dead. :frown:

I checked my needle valve and the thing was barely above the all the way off point. Like maybe a few notches from turned off.

So is there a way to create an accurate diy bubble counter, and if so, what depth does the counter need to be? And is the Cerges really that more effective? I turned the bubble count down to more than half to be on the safe side, so I had thought.
 

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Algae Grower
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I have found bubble counters to be way more trouble than they're worth. I just use mine to verify co2 is still coming out. Watching the fish and the plants works a lot better for me.
 

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Keep in mind that no CO2 is used during the night since there isn't any photosynthesis occurring. Your CO2 levels may be normal during the day but they build up at night. Also, it's best to make sure the drop checker stays green for SEVERAL hours before you just leave it be and assume it's safe. It takes a good amount of time to change colors as it is and could still be in the process of changing colors even when you think it's just right. It's all about finding the sweet spot.
 

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I ♥ BBA!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oldpunk, normally I am with you, but it is a good gauge when you are trying something new.

I understand that freph. I have used co2 24/7 for a long, long time. And I did just what you are saying. I am not asking for why this happened, I know why it happened. Too much co2 killed my fish. I appreciate your input, though.

What I am asking for how to make an accurate bubble counter. Anyone know the depth at which it is most effective, or does it have to be vertical to be accurate?
 

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Oldpunk, normally I am with you, but it is a good gauge when you are trying something new.

I understand that freph. I have used co2 24/7 for a long, long time. And I did just what you are saying. I am not asking for why this happened, I know why it happened. Too much co2 killed my fish. I appreciate your input, though.

What I am asking for how to make an accurate bubble counter. Anyone know the depth at which it is most effective, or does it have to be vertical to be accurate?

Sorry to hear about the loss, as for the bubble counter I like them as up and down as possible, the bubbles runnign from top to bottom seems to be fairly consistant this way. I know Rex Grigg used to make some out of clear PVC that worked really well.

Craig
 

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Use your drop checker. Adjust (increase) the bubble rate over the course of 2 days. It is best to adjust it in the morning so that by mid day, you would know if you have too much CO2. By the end of the day, the drop checker color should be close to yellow or lime green. If not, add a bit more the next day. At night, CO2 off. Of course, you have to understand that you could be pumping a lot of CO2 due to your plant mass and high light output. As a result, it may take a lot of CO2 to get the drop checker to turn lime green. In this case, I would probably have my CO2 ON maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour the most before the light comes on. And CO2 off about 2 hour before light goes off.

There is a point that a bubble counter is basically useless because the rate in which you are pumping your CO2 is too much. BTW, I assume you are using a regular pressurized CO2 system???
 

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The only usefulness of a bubble counter is to understand consistency and very very basic gauge of use.

So, you use it based on how you have it set up. Put the bubble counter where you want to put it and then set your bubble count very low and work up from there over time.

Where it is useful is being able to tell if that changes at all from one time to another.

There is so much subjective to them that the only thing you need to know is that it is consistent to itself.
 

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is the Cerges really that more effective?
unless gas bubbles are being expelled from the reactor the CO2 / water mix should be 100% is my understanding, but with all things aquarium it gets debated LOL
Most effective method of injection I'm aware of is the down flow reactor like the one you have. The gas can only leave the reactor as solution so the transfer should be a complete one with no loss from cylinder to water column.
 

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I ♥ BBA!
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry to hear about the loss, as for the bubble counter I like them as up and down as possible, the bubbles runnign from top to bottom seems to be fairly consistant this way. I know Rex Grigg used to make some out of clear PVC that worked really well.

Craig
Thanks, Craig. Pretty much what I was thinking. On the bright side, the Cerges reactor works fantastic. Much, much, much more effective than any other diffuser I've ever used.

Everyone else, thanks for the advice, but I don't have a solenoid, won't have the ability to buy one, used a drop checker, and know what I did wrong. Only wanted to know how to make a drop checker that was more accurate.
 

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With the bubble counter as long as it is consistent, as in you aren't moving it around, etc. Then it should have the accuracy you strive for. Like you've found, if you move them, change the pressure resistance, change hose, etc, it will change the bubble rate.
 

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I ♥ BBA!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
unless gas bubbles are being expelled from the reactor the CO2 / water mix should be 100% is my understanding, but with all things aquarium it gets debated LOL
Most effective method of injection I'm aware of is the down flow reactor like the one you have. The gas can only leave the reactor as solution so the transfer should be a complete one with no loss from cylinder to water column.
That is an excellent point, wkndracer. All is debated, lol. But I am thinking between your answer and Craig's, I know what I need to do. Mounting it vertically keeps that pressure more consistent.

Edit: and Justin, you are thinking on my same lines. ;)
 

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I don't know if this is an option for you since you already made your reactor, but you can get those water filter housings in clear plastic. I have one and I use that as my bubble counter. The CO2 output line into the reactor never moves (i.e. is at a fixed point) so I just count the bubbles there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great idea, farrenator. I looked for clear housing, but it wasn't available at our local store. However, I am going to call around and see if I can find one.
 

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If that fails you can get them pretty cheap on Ebay. That is where I got mine. I bought a pack of 2 and sold the other one.

Great idea, farrenator. I looked for clear housing, but it wasn't available at our local store. However, I am going to call around and see if I can find one.
 

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There are many factors affect the size of the bubble, the depth of water(pressure), the system pressure, the media(mineral oil or water, different surface tension for the bubble), the angle, shape, size of the injection tip(can't find the right word, sorry) also affect the size of the bubble.
And a large bubble from one setup may translate into a lot of small bubbles in different setup, simple math.
The benefit of bubble count is to monitor the approximate amount of steady flow, but as I mention above, there is no standard of bubble size.

I have different bubble counters, the JBJ type and the ADA tyle, the bubble from JBJ type is about twice the diameter of that from ADA type, and here is 1 bubble(JBJ)=8 bubbles(ADA)
I think the bubbles of your current setup, are too big. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, farrenator. I may do that. Thank you for the informative post, betta tail. Here was my main error. I trusted a thread over on another site that using the powerhead to count the bubbles was accurate. And for my needs, it probably was. They basically said every time the bubble hit the blade, you'd hear it. Worked well enough, so when I hooked up the Cerges, I turned down the needle valve until I only heard it hit about 1 bps. Mind you, this would give me a light blue after 24/7 if I ran it this way, so I was thinking this should be fine. However....after hooking it up, I turned it down even more. So I stuck the airline tubing in the water and depending on where I put the tube, it went all over the place. But trusting the method I was using before, and the fact I turned it almost to the off position it shouldn't have been an issue. I waited several hours, and when I went to bed, it was still blue/green. Honestly thought it would need turned up today.

Rigged up a counter with an old syringe, mineral oil and check valve until I can get an actual check valve. Now I am understanding why and I have a rudimentary means of watching the co2 until I can afford a better setup.

So bubble counters are much more important to me than they used to be. More so than a drop checker as all it is telling me is too late, idiot.
 

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Wait, your reactor is going 24/7?

You may just need to run an air-stone at night. Your co2 may have been correct for lights on time but hit levels too high for the fish after the lights went out. If you have a tank full of plants using the co2 during day and then stop using it at night, this could end up being a constant struggle with trying to find a balance.
 

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Wait, your reactor is going 24/7?

You may just need to run an air-stone at night. Your co2 may have been correct for lights on time but hit levels too high for the fish after the lights went out. If you have a tank full of plants using the co2 during day and then stop using it at night, this could end up being a constant struggle with trying to find a balance.

That's probably the problem. It isn't the Creg reactor is more affective. Is hard for me to see that at 1 bps you can gas the fish. The CO2 isn't being consumed during the night and building up. I think I am pumping close to 10 bps :) and my drop checker is lime green. I have A LOT plant mass and medium lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh, crud. I am reading over this thread and I realize now that I sound like a complete butt in some of my posts. I apologize for not being gracious and thanking everyone for trying to help earlier. It was really out of character for me. For that I am sorry. :icon_redf:

However, because I was upset - I am thinking I didn't explain myself properly, so here is a better way of explaining my situation.

1. I had a solenoid break on me a long time ago. I have been running the regulator without a solenoid for many months 24/7 at 1.5 bps through a powerhead. I counted this by the breaking of the bubble on the impeller. According to this thread, you could count the bubbles this way. Never had an issue running co2 24/7, actually prefer it. Very little algae in my tank (occassionally GSA and diatoms).

2. I built a Cerges reactor recently because I wanted to get rid of the powerhead that was no longer sticking to the wall and frankly, stopped working effectively for me as it didn't stick, and it was a debris collector.

3. Yesterday afternoon, I turned down the needle valve until it hit the impeller at right under 1 bps, then I unhooked everything, put on the reactor, found out it was leaking and backward, unhooked the Cerges reactor, and reinstalled it. For good measure, I decided to turn down the co2 even further.

4. I didn't have a bubble counter as it broke and since I was using the powerhead as the counter, I didn't need one for my purposes. Plus, I turned down the co2 so low, and at lights out, the drop checker was dark green.

5. Not realizing the effectiveness of the Cerges reactor or not having any other method to judge the co2 other than the drop checker that takes a long time to stabilize, I didn't think it would be a problem given the amount I turned down the needle valve.
I tried using a cup to tell the bubble count, to make sure, but the count varied to greatly, so I trusted the powerhead. Big mistake.

6. The Cerges reactor is fantastic, I don't regret building it for a second.

7. On my make shift bubble counter I made this evening, (syringe and check valve vertically mounted), when I turned back on my tank without changing anything, the bubble count was a little over 3 bps.

So going from about 1.5 bps to 3 bps 24/7 and adding a 1000% more effective co2, I gassed most of the fish.

Hopefully that clarifies any of the confusion. And again, thank you everyone for helping, even though I wasn't as receptive as I should have been. I'm blaming part of that on just loosing most of the fish in my tank and the rest on poor manners. :hihi:
 
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