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Old 04-28-2005, 04:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can't get enough CO2!

Good morning everyone!

This is my first post here, but I've beeing reading all of you for long. Great forum!.

I just got my 10 gallon tank running one and a half weeks ago. I have 45w of fluorescent lighting and already received my complete pack of fertilizers from Mr. Watson to start with the estimative index schedule. For the CO2, i am going with the DIY sistem, and that's where i am finding my biggest problems up to date. As a reactor i use the intake tube from my HOB filter so the small pump can chop the bubbles, but i don't seem to achieve too much gas disolution this way, just got 15ppm as a maximum!, so i guess doing this is not that good as a reacting method .

So my question is if there is a better method to disolve the gas, like for example the Hagen Ladder (which i am planning to buy). I would like to hear the disolution rates all you DIYers out there can achieve. Please note that i can`t make a reactor using the fiter outtake, as my HOB filter gets water back to the tank with a small waterfall (which i try to minimize with the water level).

So please, advice me if i should go with the ladder method. I would like to know if it works better than what i am doing know before i buy it.

Thanks in advance, and excuse me if there are any spelling mistakes as this is not my motherlanguage (I'm writing from Spain).

Best regards,

Guillermo
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to APC, Guillermo. I have never used the ladder, but did use diy in the past. What kind of HOB do you have? If it's the bio-wheel type, that's not good for CO2, as the biowheel tends to diffuse out too much of the gas. I had a AC HOB, and it worked well for me. Part of the problem may be that you're using diy. You have less control over the amount of gas produced. For more gas, use a larger bottle for your yeast/sugar mix.
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Old 04-28-2005, 05:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Bert:

Thanks for your reply.

My HOB filter it's a Mini Aquaclear (I think it's the same than yours if that was what you mean by AC). I think that my problem relies more on the difussion method rather than on the production, as I use a 2 liter soda bottle which at first was producing like 2 bubbles every second (of course this rate did not last long). But from what I read in this forum, this rate should have been sufficient to achieve higher CO2 readings than 15ppm with an efficient diffusion method, considering it's a 10 gallon (8gl nominal), am I right?.

So this is why I am asking for people's diffusion rates, just to see if the DIY CO2 can make it any better or if this is all it can do with what I have. And I just see the Hagen Ladder as a solution for the type of filter Ive got, I would like to hear people's opinions on it.

Regards
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Old 04-28-2005, 11:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I've tried many different methods for diffusing CO2 into my 10g.

First i went with the absolutely nothing. Obviously that didn't work very well. I tried ceramic air stones. Better results, but they still released large bubbles. After that i tried a bamboo chopstick. You break the tip off of the chopstick and insert into your tubing. I was rather suprised that it worked at all! The only problem with this method is that it gets rather loud after awhile. You can hear the co2 making whistling noises after a week. After that method i tried plumbing it into a dyi canister filter (don't ask, horrible results).

Then i switched to a limewood diffuser. So far it's given me the best results, but limewood diffusers are rather expensive. I believe at my lfs there about 3-4 dollars each. They last for about two months. After that the diffusion rate is poor. I believe it gets clogged. I'm searching for a glass/ceramic co2 diffuser similiar to the ADA ones. I've seen a few boyu brands but they cost more than prices i've seen before.

Just curious, whats your fertilizer regiment going to look like for you 10g?
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Old 04-28-2005, 12:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome to the board!

I've used the ladder with even pressurized C02, and it's just slightly better than nothing (IMO).

How many bubbles is your generator producing for you? If it's less than 1 every 5 seconds or so, it could be that your yeast isn't reacting the way it should.

The other question is, how high is your KH? If it's rather high, it's going to buffer the water more and makes it harder for the C02 to make much difference.

As for diffusion, I'm thinking about trying the method I use in my power reactors, which is a wad of Ehfifix (the Eheim stuff that looks like Easter grass) wrapped and secured around the end of the C02 tubing to break up the bubbles. I know it works great in my power reactors for busting the bubbles up, and it doesn't clog like the sponges do.

You do have to be a little careful with a few types of airstones because they can easily clog and cause something within your DIY setup to let go and maybe even burst.
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Old 04-29-2005, 03:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, yesterday after work, and before reading your last responses, I went ahead bought the ladder and installed it. To tell you the truth, my first impressions on the ladder aren't that good. First of all it's quite big for a 10 gal, it's difficult to hide it in, and considering the busy groth that we like at this forum on our tanks, it could make the ladder stop working as plant leaves and branches could get on the way of the bubbles through the ladder. So, it may be too early to drop conclusions now, i'll have to test for CO2 rates this weekend (my kH it's somewhere between 4 and 4'5, so i guess i should see some pH drops if the ladder works, will post results) but i am not seeing more than a 20% size reduction of the bubbles from the bottom to the top. I thought, not having seen the ladder working before, that the bubbles would take a longer time in conctact with water but us soon as they pop out of the tubeline they start racing to the top along the ladder not taking too long until they are gone on the surface. I am also going to try to insert a piece of sponge at the last step of the ladder to trap the bubbles before leaving and increase contact time.

If this does not work at all, then I'll try what you Snyper suggested with the limewood diffuser. Haven't done this before because I thought that there was not enough pression on our DIY systems to make one of these work, but if you say it's possible, then they are next on the solution list.

Then I don't know what would be next, it seems that power reactors are the way to go, and i thought my AC HOB filter would have done the job... My 10gal is to small to through a powerpump in there. Perhaps a Canister filter with an inline reactor, but thats more bucks!. This is really braking my schemes, I did not spected to have all this trouble with the CO2. This is part of the learning curve I guess.

About my fertilizer regiment, for the one week I've been running it, it seems more like the PPS system than the EI. I have made 500ml solutions for each component and dose it according to my test results to mantain the suggested values for each, but keeping them on the low range until i get the CO2 right. So that is one test for each, see results and dose until I reach the desire level. I am going to do this until I get a hold on tank and know better whats going inside. The rutine is the one marked on EI, one weekly 50% WC, dose macros, and micros on the other day. For the lights i have a 3*15w tubes fixture which i can turn on and off independently. I have lights on for 8 hours, two hours (the first and the last one) just with 15 watts and 6 hours (in the middle) with all 45wts running. I don't want to run the tank at full speed until i get more CO2 dissolved.

What do you think about this? Can i hear Snyper about your fertilizer regiment? how long do you have lights on?.

Well, sorry for the long post. If anyone has anymore input on diffusion methods or any other comment I would like to hear.

Thank you!.
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Old 04-29-2005, 05:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Gsg,

For the CO2 to accumulate you must reduce the surface agitation to nothing. HOB filters don't do that very well, but you can keep trying. Some people use the successfully. For a 10 gal. tank this filter is the cheapest and best choice.

Buy a limestone and place it close to the bottom and see how much CO2 you get disolved. For now the limestone is the most efficient cheap way to disolve CO2.

Also - if your CO2 is not enough yet you should not play with fertilizers too much especially with the 45 watts of light that you have. In general when you start a planted tank you should have everything ready and running or the chance to induce algae is very big.

--Nikolay
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Old 04-29-2005, 07:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Guillermo. I am not a fan of the Hagen ladder for the same reason you've stated: too large and conspicuous in the tank. I would return the ladder and use the cash as an investment towards one of the following:

(1) Use a canister filter (either a Zoomed 501 or one of the smaller Eheim models). It functions both for filtration and CO2 diffusion as you can simply bubble CO2 into the intake tube. This solves the issues of both (a) unsightly in-tank diffusers and (b) excessive surface agitation, allowing you to maximize the yeast co2 setup. Total cost: ~50-60 USD.

(2) Keep your current Aquaclear HOB filter and invest in a pressurized CO2 unit (or increase your yeast CO2 production by adding an additional bottle or a larger bottle). Doing so allows you to bubble more CO2 into the intake tube to offset the surface agitation created by the HOB filter. Total cost: ~100-120 USD.

These, I feel, are your most viable options. A 10 gallon tank is small already so every available square inch is precious. As such, I personally would not sacrifice any of the real estate for a ladder or any other obtrusive equipment.
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Old 04-29-2005, 03:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Another option i was considering but I could never find the materials for ( i don't smoke cigarettes, and no one seems to be willing to give up a filter off of one!) is using a cigarette filter. Unused of course. Someone mentioned it to me, just break it off and insert it into the tube. No idea how well that would work, but it's cheap!
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Old 04-29-2005, 05:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I have used the Hagen Ladder and not having too much success with it. I believe it is rather difficult for smaller tank to achieve good steady CO2 rate. I am getting ready to start up my compress CO2, too tired to produce the yeast prodution and not knowing if it starts up everytime. Although I have success yeast generating every time, I am not getting the CO2 to dissolve in my tank. Regards, JC.
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