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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After my unsuccessful run at aquiring an ADA ceramic diffusor at auction here, I have decided to try and do-it-myself my way to super-fine CO2 bubbles. It helps when your girlfriend graduated with a degree in studio ceramics. :)

Of course, I don't believe I'll be able to put together anything as elegant as the hand-blown glass from ADA, but hey, PVC is elegant in it's own right!

I'll post some pictures and information when I get my materials together.
 

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Limewood 'airstones' offer a simple means of producing micro-sized bubbles as small as those produced by sintered glass and ceramics.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
pineapple said:
Limewood 'airstones' offer a simple means of producing micro-sized bubbles as small as those produced by sintered glass and ceramics.

Andrew Cribb
How would you say the wood does against the acidity of the CO2?

Art,
Thanks for the link.
 

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I've been running a limewood 'stone' for months and occasionally I rinse it off but it still seems to keep going. There is certainly no degradation of the wood due to acid or other chemical reaction. As I remember, the 'stone' cost a couple of dollars, 2 point something, and, as such, seems to be value for money. It is a little less conspicuous than, say, a Hagen ladder (which also works well in my experience in smaller aquaria).

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mm, I currently use the Hagen ladders in my tanks. I like them well enough, but I notice that the bubbles do not fully dissolve before exiting the ladder at the top. This has sent me on a quest to find a better passive diffusion method. I happen to like the look and feel of the glass ADA diffusors and thought it would be fun to copy them in aesthetically displeasing PVC ;)

Anyway... Art, would you happen to know if the ADA diffusor is using ceramic or scintered glass?
 

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I can understand that. But I have found the Ladders to be OK. Recently, I noticed a seller on eBay (Aquabuys) selling Japanese or possibly Taiwanese glass diffusers for about $14.00 plus mailing. I ordered one for a test. I have seen the same type before sold by other sources for much more. Here is a link which will outdate at some point or other:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3212&item=4317804598&tc=photo

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hm... $15 eh?

That's what I'm trying to emulate, essentially. Will you let me know how it is when you get it? If it's good I may have to keep my DIY run to a prototype :)
 

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I purchased one of those "Boyu" diffusers from aquatic-store.com because I had read that it could be used with DIY yeast CO2. After hooking it up to my yeast setup, I kept a watch for any back pressure. A few hours later, no bubbles were forming on the disk, and I felt the soda bottles -- they were extremely tight. I decided to disconnect the Boyu (resulting in an enormous spray of CO2 bubbles into the tank) because I didn't feel like a smelly, yeasty explosion that day. What a piece of junk -- for my purposes, at least.

I was going to throw it away, but if you want it, Hansha, PM me your address and I'll send it to you, no charge. It may work fine with pressurized CO2.
 

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Sure, it should arrive later this week. I'll say something about it next week. It's hard to tell the height of it. I think it comes in at about 10cm or 4" high. More on this later. If indeed it is a good one, then 15.00 is not so bad. But more later.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
TPIR, I have DIY as well so I think I will wait to hear pineapple's results before I ask you to go through any effort. I appreciate it though, and I'll let you know.
 

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Ceramic diffusers require a good bit of pressure (PSI) to properly diffuse. I assume that if bubbles where not coming through the ceramic, it was either dirty or there was not enough pressure to push the bubbles through.

I'm not sure whether a yeast set up would have the requisite pressure.
 

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Don't give away your diffuser just yet. I had the similar problem when I tried to use my Boyu for the 2nd time. The bubbles wouldn't go through the ceramic, even though I knew there must be CO2 being generated because, like you said, the bottle felt very tight. This problem occured when I was cleaning my tank and decided to take the diffuser out to clean the ceramic surface because there was a bit of green scum stuck on it. When I took it out I then realized there was water trapped inside it. So this might've been the problem; I am not sure. I later replaced it with my Hagen diffuser ladder, and boy were there bubbles! I left the Boyu up and drying, and when I finish setting my other tank I will use it. Hopefully it was really because of the water in the diffuser causing the bubbles difficulty to go through.

Paul
 

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HanshaSuro,
Were you planning to make your DIY diffusers out of ceramic discs and borosilicate glass like the ADA ones? You might want to know that these ceramic discs are not your standard potters clay but a type of kaolin (which is a type of pure clay, Al2o3 2SiO 2H2O, something like porcelain) high in silica. The ceramic disc needs to have a coefficient of expansion and contraction equal to the glass attached to it. If not, it will crack during the annealing process. To make something close to these glass diffusers, you'll need other than the materials (kaolin and borosilicate glass) you will also need a lampworking setup to blow the glass and a small kiln to fire your discs (approximately to 2000- 2300F)
You might be better off buying one of the diffusers Pineapple was talking about. I have a couple of Boyu diffusers and and they work just as good as the ADA ones, the only thing is they are cheaply made so some are made better than others. I noticed that the glass on this brand is VERY THIN and VERY FRAGILE!!! I found another brand called Nirox that makes the same design diffuser as the Boyu one and it seems to be made a little better, thicker glass etc. Check Aquabid, I have one posted. (I apologize for the shameless display of self promotion)
These ceramic diffusers need alot of psi to work well. I found the more psi required to push gas thru the ceramic disc, the finer the bubbles. Not all ceramic discs are created equal???
I prefer the glass ones over the plastic types that allow you to remove the ceramic disc (like the eheim one) because it seems the gas will eventually find its way thru the seal , plus glass is much more pretty.
On a side note, my friend just got back from Japan and from what I can tell from all the magazines he brought back, the new thing is a CO2 stone. From the pics, it looks like a regular sintered glass airstone but produces extremely fine bubbles. It must be good because it costs twice as much as the standard ADA diffuser!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Aaron,

Thanks for the information. My slapdash plan essentially involved siliconing or otherwise securing a very thin ceramic plate into a tapered PVC joint fixture with a CO2 line connected to the narrow end. I'm not terribly optimistic about creating anything useful, but the project seemed like a fun way to combine interests with my girlfriend who plays with clay for a living. :)

I will pass on the details about the ceramics to her. I'm sure she'd understand that part better than I. Since the ceramic would be fired completely seperately from its enclosing piece, there's no need to worry about its rate of shrinking other than its fit inside the PVC part.


While thinking about all this I just came up with a different DIY project. Since I use those Hagen ladders in all of my tanks, but notice that bubbles are not diffusing completely, perhaps a combination of approaches is called for here. Project #2! Find a way to reduce bubble size as they are introduced to the Hagen ladder. :)
 

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Hey, if you are looking for other diy projects involving your mud slinging girlfriend, how about diy clay substrates? It is bit labor intensive but you can make into size, color, shape you could possibly want! I did it once a while back, kinda a PITA but this was before flourite and all that stuff so it was my only option other than flying to Japan. I am actually in the process of making some myself again, a really dark purplish brown, something close to ADA's Rio ***** Aquasoil.


PS, I hope you did not take offense to me calling your loved one a "mudslinger". It is as to what we ceramicists here are sometimes affectionately referred.
 

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I pick a clay which color suits me after it has been fired and roll it out into slabs about a 1/4 of an inch or less. I allow it to dry out cmpletely then I break it up by tapping it or gently roll over it with a rolling pin. I then grade the crumbs through a series of metal screens to get the desired grain size. The unfired "gravel" then gets fired in a gas kiln to approx 2000 degrees under heavy reduction. Once cooled, the gravel is put into a ball mill with on agregate and turned for about an hour, depending on how smooth and rounded I want it. Pretty simple, but a lot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Aaron, interesting.

Pretty much exactly what my girlfriend was imagining. The only thing we were unsure about was whether it would be better to break before or after firing. I imagine you end up with a lot of clay dust either way?


I currently have one of those Boyu diffusors that Sir Wrathful described in my 20 gallon. It was bubbling away quite happily for about a half hour on my DIY generator, but now it has stopped. I am noticing water in the bell, similar to what Sir W. was describing. However, I can't see how water would have gotten in there as I hooked up all of the hoses outside of the tank before putting it in.

I'll continue to monitor it and I'll report if it ever puts out more bubbles again.
 
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