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How quickly does co2 "gas off" when dissolved reactor vs a ceramic diffuser

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After 6 months or so with my lilypipes + in line diffuser on my 55g along with many failing plants, I am going to mix things up a bit. I have installed a GLA reactor + full-length spray bar in my tank.

Sample video of the setup here below. The water line is a little lower than I normally keep it to view the flow rate.

My 55g/fluval407/GLA reactor/spray bar clip

I had been hoping to get a better circular flow in the tank but it appears that my fluval 407 may not have a strong enough pump? After reviewing the interview of greggz and EmotionalFescue's tank journal I see that they both encourage decent surface agitation for better gaseous exchange. My question is, where do I go from here? I have changed things up because I felt like I wasn't getting a good even dispersion of co2 in my tank.

Do I go with a stronger canister? Another method of co2 injection? or is this fine as it is?
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What were your co2 levels? Where you able to confirm you were getting good co2 throughout the tank?
I was mostly measuring via ph drop. I am uncertain how to confirm that, just that I've had troubles with a LOT of plants this year. So I am trying to take a step back and make sure everything is set up well.
 

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What were your co2 levels? Where you able to confirm you were getting good co2 throughout the tank?
Ok so your probably know your looking for around a 1.0 PH drop from degassed to gas. I doubt that the 407 wasn't strong enough to disperse co2. If your running alot of surface agitation, then you would have to push the co2 more to get those numbers. I know your said the water level is low in the video, but that would obviously we way too much agitation. But the only way to know if it's co2 related would be to test the numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
you can install a surface skimming input. somewhat adjustable how much is off gassed--depends on how much is drawn from the surface vs further below.
i have a set of the fzone pipes I just took off. I really like how clean/hidden the spray bar is but I’m debating putting them back. I used to keep the skimmer on the same side as the output which would cause the skimmer to be erratic depending on the water level but perhaps placing the inlet on the opposite side of the tank would be a better option. I’m also assuming an extra 4ft of horizontal tubing won’t affect flow/head pressure too badly?
 

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i have a set of the fzone pipes I just took off. I really like how clean/hidden the spray bar is but I’m debating putting them back. I used to keep the skimmer on the same side as the output which would cause the skimmer to be erratic depending on the water level but perhaps placing the inlet on the opposite side of the tank would be a better option. I’m also assuming an extra 4ft of horizontal tubing won’t affect flow/head pressure too badly?
you might want to draw less from the skimmer and more from furrther down. my input and output are in back right corner, each perpendicular to the other (input fed from back of tank, output fed from side).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
you might want to draw less from the skimmer and more from furrther down. my input and output are in back right corner, each perpendicular to the other (input fed from back of tank, output fed from side).

That's kinda my problem. I can't even place the metal adjustment rod inside fully open, the extra little resistance sucks the skimmer underneath the water. I have an eheim inlet atm that is the perfect depth. The Fzone set only goes about halfway down. I also had both on the side spread out but the outlet was spraying towards the skimmer.


This is how it used to be set up -

Plant Plant community Rectangle Leaf Vegetation
 

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You might be overthinking flow. With that size tank no reason the lily pipes wouldn't be sufficient. Usually both are placed on the same side. The intake in the back left and the return left front which allows the water to flow around the tank against the front glass and back to the intake. You could use inline, in-tank or reactor for that size tank, it really doesn't matter. Flow really isn't that important compared to co2, light, ferts and keeping the tank clean of algae so nothing interferes with plant growth. Which plants aren't growing well? What light do you have? Leave some tank water out for a few days and get your baseline PH and compare it to the tank when fully gassed.
 

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I personally think you have a bit too much flow or surface agitation (hard to tell which when you can only see the top). I've got a full length spraybar in a 75 gallon, and I agitate the surface much less than what I see in your video. I do get full circular flow from top to bottom in the tank, with almost enough current to move small bits of substrate.

Off gassing is going to be a real problem with a spraybar, if all the holes aren't fully submerged. Aside from that, it's probably the best way to get full tank CO2 saturation. And it really doesn't matter where the CO2 is coming from (reactor, diffuser, etc), so long as it's been "processed". I run mine through my filter, from the intake side. I used to just dump the whole bubble, but I went to an inline diffuser on the intake side - simply because it helped tidy up my plumbing works.

I'm a little bit old school, and tend to think that the whole CO2 equipment issue, is purposely overhyped, to sell products. I am of the opinion that we want to just get CO2 into the system as efficiently as possible. If you run it through a long enough pressurized conduit - which most of us with canister filters already have - there's really no chance that it's not going to be fully dissolved before it returns to tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The ada gallery to me is much more about form over function. They also use ceramic disc diffusers. They are beautiful, though. The flow is weak, but again the water level was lowered to show it sputtering. Either way, I snatched an fx4 for $75. Good riddance old flow problems, hello new ones. 🥴


Some of the guys I really admire on here are heavy advocates for plenty of surface agitation.

Take Gregg Zydeck's (greggz on plantedtank) tank for example -

 

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The ada gallery to me is much more about form over function. They also use ceramic disc diffusers. They are beautiful, though. The flow is weak, but again the water level was lowered to show it sputtering. Either way, I snatched an fx4 for $75. Good riddance old flow problems, hello new ones. 🥴


Some of the guys I really admire on here are heavy advocates for plenty of surface agitation.

Take Gregg Zydeck's (greggz on plantedtank) tank for example -

For reference: I have an FX6, with a custom full length spray bar. So I don't think that I'm misunderstanding anything, or knocking high flow rate. But everything needs to be balanced against your actual setup. It's one thing to agitate the surface - which is a good thing. It's another thing to break the surface. Breaking surface tension is going to be the number one source of off-gassing. (which is why I mentioned not to have any holes showing above water line on your spray bar) If you prefer the wasteful dispersion of CO2, that's fine - it's just not my way. I try to keep as high flow as I can, while still maintaining surface agitation that doesn't physically break tension. As long as it looks like "bugs under the rug", I'm happy. When I can see water popping, gurgling, splashing, or having the appearance of effervescence, for me, that's no good. Balance high flow, and CO2 conservation. (again, that's just my way)

My tanks don't look like the belong in an ADA gallery. I like simple, overgrown biomes. Not art.
 

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The ada gallery to me is much more about form over function. They also use ceramic disc diffusers. They are beautiful, though. The flow is weak, but again the water level was lowered to show it sputtering. Either way, I snatched an fx4 for $75. Good riddance old flow problems, hello new ones. 🥴


Some of the guys I really admire on here are heavy advocates for plenty of surface agitation
Form over function? Pretty sure it's functioning quite well providing co2. The plants are growing quite well. I've used in-tank diffusers in tanks up to 75 gallons without issue. My 3-footer in link below has the same diffusion method used by ADA and it works great. Point I'm making is could use any method of co2 diffusion if it's setup the right way. Of course greggz knows what he's doing, but more surface agitation you simply need to provide more co2. Co2 is cheap so it doesn't matter. Too much agitation it is possible to lose to much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For reference: I have an FX6, with a custom full length spray bar. So I don't think that I'm misunderstanding anything, or knocking high flow rate. But everything needs to be balanced against your actual setup. It's one thing to agitate the surface - which is a good thing. It's another thing to break the surface. Breaking surface tension is going to be the number one source of off-gassing.
Yes. I understand this. I am not sure why you are hung up on this fact or what I have said to lead you to believe my original video is what I am attempting to accomplish.. in fact, the post is the exact opposite of that. I've linked the example twice of what I am attempting to do. I've stated that the water level was lowered to display the output of the flow bar. I am unsure how to make this any more clear. The title stems from me wondering how long co2 stays in the water with a reactor versus an in-line diffuser that does not fully dissolve the co2. It's sprayed in to the tank and the bubbles float to the top. The reactors co2 is not visible so it is not as clear to me.

Form over function? Pretty sure it's functioning quite well providing co2. The plants are growing quite well. I've used in-tank diffusers in tanks up to 75 gallons without issue. My 3-footer in link below has the same diffusion method used by ADA and it works great. Point I'm making is could use any method of co2 diffusion if it's setup the right way. Of course greggz knows what he's doing, but more surface agitation you simply need to provide more co2. Co2 is cheap so it doesn't matter. Too much agitation it is possible to lose to much.
Sure, there are tradeoffs with everything. I understand that there are multiple methods to do this and that I am probably overthinking it. I just cant keep my hands out of the tank. :). The flow in my original video must not be clear from the responses I am getting. The water circulation is very poor. I have swapped to a more powerful canister to alleviate that.
 

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Sure, there are tradeoffs with everything. I understand that there are multiple methods to do this and that I am probably overthinking it. I just cant keep my hands out of the tank. :). The flow in my original video must not be clear from the responses I am getting. The water circulation is very poor. I have swapped to a more powerful canister to alleviate that.
I'll go back to my original post, without knowing your co2 levels in different parts of your tank your just guessing that flow is the reason some of your plants didn't grow well. I'm just stating your could be successful with any dissolution method some require higher rates then others and it's easy to measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll go back to my original post, without knowing your co2 levels in different parts of your tank your just guessing that flow is the reason some of your plants didn't grow well. I'm just stating your could be successful with any dissolution method some require higher rates then others and it's easy to measure.
And I shall go back to my original reply. I am uncertain how one would measure co2 levels at different parts of the tank. Yes, I am guessing because the plants near the bottom of the tank struggle the most. Using a ph meter to check I assume that the entirety of the water column is saturated as I am aiming for a 1.0 drop. I also have a drop checker but we both know how precise these are. I would notice dead spots in my tank because there would be an accumulation of mulm in a certain spot towards the middle front. Just looking to change things up a bit and improve upon what I've got. I am not running co2 at the moment, merely planning.
 

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Just an attempt to answer the main title of the thread... I havent delved into implementing a reactor as of yet myself but, all things being equal (the amount of measured CO2 in the water itself, flow and surface agitation) between diffuser vs in line reactor... I would think that the rate of off gassing would be exactly the same for both methods of diffusion in the exact same tank. Only difference would be the amount of CO2 you actually had to pump in on the diffuser to get it to that same level of Co2 saturation in the first place. A reactors purpose is to be more efficient in that regard if I am not mistaken. CO2 in water should logically off gas the exact same rate regardless of method of input.

Also... Havent seen mention of it yet from the OP... which plants in particular arent doing "well"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just an attempt to answer the main title of the thread... I havent delved into implementing a reactor as of yet myself but, all things being equal (the amount of measured CO2 in the water itself, flow and surface agitation) between diffuser vs in line reactor... I would think that the rate of off gassing would be exactly the same for both methods of diffusion in the exact same tank. Only difference would be the amount of CO2 you actually had to pump in on the diffuser to get it to that same level of Co2 saturation in the first place. A reactors purpose is to be more efficient in that regard if I am not mistaken. CO2 in water should logically off gas the exact same rate regardless of method of input.

Also... Havent seen mention of it yet from the OP... which plants in particular arent doing "well"?
This actually makes sense to me. The bubbles just float to the top and pop so they aren't technically diffused. It's mostly the more difficult stuff. There are many things that grow really well, but I'm in to the high tech for the difficult things.

-rotala indica bonsai
-rotala hra
-rotala rotundifolia
-rotala mini butterfly
-rotala mac mini-
-blood vomit
-bacopa salzmannii 'purple'
-ludwigia white
-rotala florida
-mayaca fluviatilis
-rotala wallichii
-ludwigia peruensis
-regular ar
-ar mini would grow but look very deficient
-blyxa japonica (my specimen I started with was very poor to be fair)
-syngonanthus belem
-syngonanthus rio ***** giant

(lots of rotalas here. I had a couple that did grow like weeds. they crept across the bottom of the tank rather than stemming upwards)

This is just what I can remember from my 2021 failures. This is the reason I have rescaped and pulled the plants, and turned off the co2. I am trying to take a step back and reconfigure/rethink.
 
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