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I have one tank with the reactor plugged into the timer with the C02, and one that I let run 24 hours (the one with the controller).
Which is better - or does it matter?
 

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Check your PH/CO2 levels during the night as each tank is different. I used to run a timer too on my reactor, then I started to feed CO2 directly into the canister. CO2 levels are constant enough in my tank this way.

Choose whichever method gives you the most stable CO2 level during both day and night.

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
 

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What kind of controller are you talking about? If its a pH controller, I think this is the best method available, timer method isn't anywhere close to a pH controller's stability.
 

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Why precisely is stable CO2 at night an issue?

Plants do not use CO2 at night.

pH variations from CO2 do not adversely effect even the most sensitive of fish, eg anytime someone does a large frequent water change.
The CO2 content and pH change dramatically, I've never had any fish issue and neither have anyone else that I know from large water changes on planted tanks that use CO2. These folks have Discus, Altums, Apisto's, Otto/cardinals, amano shrimps etc.

A weaker CO2 set up that is not very responsive will require you to add CO2 24/7 to get enough CO2 in there.

You can add more water flow, add a better method of dissolution-increase contact time, increase bubble rate etc to do this and make the system more responsive.

I've set up 24/7 systems that vary only 0.1pH unit without a controller. The tank is still running and doing the same after 7 years.
You can use a controller, but they are not needed and I don't see them making anything easier really. Once set, a well designed set up will not perform differently.

All my tanks turn off CO2 at night so I can really have more flexibility and add more CO2 only when it's needed vs adding it 24/7 where a buildup and chronic high levels of CO2 can potentially kill fish.
Amano says it's taboo to add CO2 at night, not sure why, would be a good question this Nov.

The "off period" allows for some degassing to happen at night.
This means a safer designed set up should much variation ever occur.
It also saves over 2x the gas based on a 10 hour dosing peroid.

But 24/7 works and produces great results also.
Some of subtle issue might help you get more out of your system though.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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plantbrain said:
Why precisely is stable CO2 at night an issue?

Plants do not use CO2 at night.

pH variations from CO2 do not adversely effect even the most sensitive of fish...
Well, I'm just going by that old "wives tale" that claims stable PH is better for fish than a fluctuating PH. This is something most of us have accept I believe, you are saying this is wrong?

Fish aside, my experience suggests that outgassing/gas exchange is often the biggest consumer of CO2 in our tanks. This is something that does not stop at night which explains why in at least my tanks, PH is more stable when CO2 is running 24/7. I guess if PH fluctuations are harmless then it's pointless, but the extra equipment I was using to turn off the CO2 at night didn't justify the $5 extra a year it would cost me to run CO2 24/7. I used to think differently until I actually set my alarm to wake me several times during the night to test PH.

But like you said, both setups work, at least they did for me. I can't say I've noticed any difference in plant growth or health since changing to 24/7, just my PH is more stable now, whatever significance that may have if any. But if someone was heading out to buy a $100 regulator with a solenoid, PH controller and all that stuff, I'd probably tell them to save the cash and get a $30 regulator, needle valve and run 24/7. I don't think the difference is worth so much money, unless of course they wanted to keep a very low KH in which case a PH controller is probably a safer solution (that is if PH swings are in any way dangerous to fish).

I'd certainly love to hear Amano's take on this "Taboo", we should remember to ask him.

Regards
Giancarlo Podio
 
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