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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the last 8 months, I've been using two Hagen ladders in a stacked configuration to dissolve pressurized CO2 into my 46g. Any bubbles not completely dissolve on the first ladder collect together and are caught by the upper ladder where the back-and-forth movement/dissolving continue. I have had great success with this method as the plants do very well. I estimate my C02 levels (with a ph probe) by knowing the before and after ph levels. My water has a about 7.3 out of the tap and I hold the bubble rate at 3-4 bps such that the ph is forced down to 6.5 (minimum I can reach with this method is 6.3). I also keep an eye on the overall comfort of the fish.

Recently, I picked up a Redsea 500 power reactor in the hopes that I could increase the diffusion efficiency and the gas level. I’ve had the reactor for a week now and I’m considering returning it. My observation is that the ph meter/solenoid controller is always on and, thus, leads me to believe that the system is working harder to maintain the same gas levels as the ladder configuration. How can this be when the reactor actively churns the water into the gas while the hagen ladder is passive? If I turn the bubble rate up any higher on the needle valve, the power reactor just burps out the excess gas before it can be dissolved. I’d appreciate it if someone could share some insight as to what I may be missing.

Tanks stats: 46g, heavily planted, 3wpg of CF and I dose dry ferts using the EI method.
 

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Akonaman, if I could ask you about your bubble ladder configuration...I'm starting my first pressurized CO2 on my 58g and am beginning with 1 bubble ladder and wondered if you attached two of them some way and what prompted you to try two? Were you finding that one ladder was not enough time to dissolve the CO2 for the levels you needed? Sorry to hijack your thread but was curious when I read about your stacking ladder.
 

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Power Ladder

I still use one ladder (Hagen) in my 33 gal. I’m just able to maintain good CO2 level, without wasting CO2 in a high bubble rate.

Soon I will try a home made reactor.... to be able to have more control over CO2

This reactor look good but if you say that it don’t work as well as your 2 ladder. That just show that sometime simple things work.

The only advantage of the reactor will be the surplus of water movment you create (help for the absorption of nutrients, (Prandtl boundary).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Digs,
I experimented with a two-ladder config as I wanted to capture that "escaping" bubble and dissolve it further. As users of a single ladder know, each bubble dissolves nearly completely such that it stops traveling up the ladder near the last few rungs. It takes a few tiny bubbles to bump together before a larger bubble is formed again and can continue up the ladder. The second ladder was a perfect solution and would allow for more contact time. Like I said, it works like a charm.

There's no way to join two ladders together. I simply notched a bit of the upper frame (on the lower ladder) in the front to allow the bubble to escape directly up versus out (around the lip of the frame and then out) this ensured alignment with the bottom of the next ladder. It also helps to remove the bottom suction cup of the upper ladder to get the two ladders closer together.

I wish Hagen made a longer ladder. Right?

Glouglou,
In fact, before I spent the money on the commercial reactor, I made a homemade reactor from a graval and a Penguin 550 power head I had collectin dust(from the undergravel filter days.... no comment). Again, the results were weaker than the ladder. In hindsight, I figure I was missing the swirling action of the power reactor or needed some bioballs.
 

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At one time I used a Rio 50 powerhead over the Hagen ladder to catch the bubbles that escaped. This little powerhead would suck up the bubbles, chew them up and spit out a fine mist of very tiny bubbles. Most of these tiny bubbles dissolved in the water column quickly. Only a few made it to the surface. This powerhead has a flat bottom with slits cut in it for water intake. My Amano shrimp used to climb all over it while picking goodies off of it without getting sucked up. It worked well. Here's the Rio 50: Rio Mini 50 Aqua Pump/Powerhead at Big Al's Online
 
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