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Co2 questions, including equipment recomendations

859 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Fishbones
Hello all planted aquarists. For all those that haven't seen my other questions, I'm still pretty new to aquatic plants, but not aquariums overall. After reading a lot of threads here and elsewhere, reading articles, etc, I've decided want to do some "moderate" Co2 supplementation. I have a 36 gal, aprox 28 actual volume. Moderately planted with vals, swords, ferns, anacharis, wisteria, & a couple "lily type" plants. Just upgraded the light to a Satellite Plus Pro. Using the pH/kH/Co2 calculators, I range between 7-12 ppm Co2. I know it varies based on time of day, lights on/off, etc. I "understand" that, but have yet to fully absorb when the values should be where.

But I want to get the daytime values up over 15ppm consistently. I'm not looking for show quality growth, this is more of a fish tank with plants as compared to a planted tank with fish if that makes sense. I just want a little boost. I have decided to go with a DIY citric acid system, with a diffuser. The questions I need answers to are:

This is a basic Co2 question. In any system you turn off at night, wouldn't this lead to daily day/night pH swings? And how risky is that to fish, if at all? Or is it not since the kH should stay the same?

For this type of system and what I am looking to do with it, I could use suggestions on the best diffuser? I am leaning towards the glass types, with the spirals. Looking at this one (the 5 coil) specifically. Does this spiral actually improve the dissolution of the Co2, or is it just pretty to look at? And what are the lowest maintenance diffusers? I understand the ceramic plate will need to be cleaned regularly, but if one would need to be cleaned every 3 weeks instead of once a week that would be a plus. Or is there a better material than ceramic? I am not really interested in the ladder types, don't want to take up that much space in the tank.

The best bubble counters and check valves. They are both simple devices, and I understand how they work And they seem like they should almost all be the same. But I am sure they aren't and there are better versions than others. Currently looking at this bubble counter that also has a check valve. If it is a decent bubble counter, would the check valve be safe enough, or would I best served to get another? And if so, what is a good check valve for a diy system? I've read the plastic ones aren't worth much, and the SS and brass ones I've seen, have had a few reviews stating that a DIY system has trouble creating enough pressure to get them to open consistently.

And any other opinions on equipment for a DIY system would be welcomed as well. THanks for reading and any advice.

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None of those bells and whistles will ever beat a reactor, which dissolves CO2 100%. It mixes water from a pump until the CO2 is completely dissolved.
It looks like the clear section of that bubble counter is made of plastic, i have read that people have to replaced the plastic periodically as it wears down. Maybe look for one made of glass.

My personal feeling is that if you can add extra levels of safety to protect the investment do it. My bubble counter has a check valve but i still put a plastic in line one in also, i know its not the best quality but ill take the extra level of protection.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
My 0.02, This is a basic Co2 question. In any system you turn off at night, wouldn't this lead to daily day/night pH swings? And how risky is that to fish, if at all? Or is it not since the kH should stay the same? yes there is a pH swing each day as the co2 system cycles on and off. But, in my experience this is perfectly acceptable for the fish (as long as you don't push the co2 too far) and seems to help control some types of algae. What seems to be more detrimental to you tank is having various co2 levels each day (i.e. 15ppm today 5ppm tomorrow, 20ppm the next day, etc).

Hoppy had developed a great DIY co2 system that allowed him to shut off the flow of co2 into the tank at night bit-different-diy-co2-system.

My one question on your diffuser would be how much line pressure does it require to work? Some diffusers may require more line pressure than a DIY co2 setup can create.

As for bubble counters, I prefer the Fluval brand. It's simple and easy to maintain.

Plastic check valve which use viton seals are pretty cheap and last a reasonable amount of time. Being pretty cheap, I replace them 2-3 times per year.
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CO2 levels naturally increase at night from plant and animal respiration.
When I look at equipment, I see things that break down. How those breakdowns effect the overall is a big thing with me. that leaves me choosing simple stand alone items in many cases. check valves are really simple but really prone to failure. When they get wet, and they will, the seal often begins to fail. This can be due to corrosion if it is a spring operated valve or due to minerals deposits left when the water dries. In either case, the check valves often fail so I do not want them in the base of my bubble counter and certainly not directly over the really expensive stuff. I buy separate items so that when one fails, I don't have to replace both.
My preference is a simple and cheap plastic check valve that I put inline and away from the works so that when it begins to fail, I have a chance to notice the water beginning to creep up the line but long before it reaches the good stuff. I change them before they hurt me. The Fluval bubble counter is as good as I've found as it goes inline and can be off the reg so that any water/fluid from it has less chance of simply running straight down into the good stuff.
Do the commercial rigs come designed so they fail often so they can sell more to replace the first one? Far worse things are done in business!
This is my source for several plastic things like tubing, check valves, barb fittings, etc.
Check Valves | Ark-Plas
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Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it.
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