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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Go to any Petco and buy this tiny internal filter:
http://www.petco.com/product/13796/Hagen-Elite-Mini-Underwater-Filter.aspx

In the box you will find everything needed to make an extremely efficent in-tank Co2 reactor:

1. Discard the tubing that supplies air to the filter and is meant for aeration, you don't need it.
2. Open the filter - as if your intention is to clean the sponge.
3. Remove the sponge from the compartment.
4. Pull and remove the green flow control slider.This leaves a small opening on the side of the filter.
5. Close the filter without the sponge. When doing that put the CO2 tubing in the small opening mentioned above. Basically 1/2" of the CO2 tubing is now inside the filter, right under the intake, and it's held in place by the closed filter.
6. The filter comes with a flow nozzle. Put the sponge removed in step 3 over this nozzle.
7. Attach the flow nozzle to the filter.
8. Peel off the technical info sticker. It's white and attracts the eyes.
9. Done!

Basically you have done two things:
A. Put the CO2 tubing under the intake of the filter.
B. Attached the sponge on the outtake of the filter.

When the filter runs the CO2 bubbles hit the pump impeller and make a very gentle noise. This is your bubble counter. Count the bubbles with your eyes closed if you want. You will have to get about a foot from the reactor though - it's hard to hear if you are more than 2-3 ft. away.

When the bubles hit the impeller they get broken into tinier bubbles. These tiny bubbles then get trapped in the sponge with 60 gph of water flow disolving them almost 100%.

The few fine bubbles that escape the sponge look like a tiny cloud. It consists of bubbles so fine that they have a hard time floating up to the surface. Even the most gentle side flow carries them to the side and around the plant leaves.

Old design of mine but this $10 filter really makes it possible to make an ideal internal CO2 reactor in literally less than 1 minute. The filter is very small (easy to hide), black (doesn't attract the eyes), and has a strainer that makes the suction gentle enough so snails don't get stuck on the intake, die and block it. Virtually zero maintenance.

Maybe someone could post pictures showing how to do everything I described. I haven't picked up a camera in many months but it seems that life still goes on as usual.

--Nikolay
 
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I have this filter in a shrimp tank. I just run the co2 line into where the air intake is supposed to be. It spreads a big cloud of co2. It is not as efficient as what you describe. I will have to try your method with it, though I may keep at least a small portion of the sponge where it is supposed to be so the shrimp don't get impelled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you put the sponge where I suggest you will see exactly what I described.

Using a sponge to avoid sucking snails or baby shrimp is fine except that it needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. If you are consistent with cleaning the sponge then the CO2 reactor will have no problem. But if you let the sponge get dirty the water flow will decrease and the amount of CO2 being disolved will also decrease. This may not sound like a big deal but it actualy is because fluctuating conditions in a planted tank are the main cause of problems.

--Nikolay
 

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niko, this sounds like a really cool idea. You could probably get away with setting a significantly lower bubbles per second rate with pressurized CO2 if the efficiency is as high as you say
 

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I have one of those, I'll have to pick up some airline tubing and try it out! I was thinking about making a miniature internal reactor powered by it, but this idea looks effective as well as smaller and simpler.
 

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lets see the pics!!! sounds sweeeeeet!
 

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It's working well on my 50 cube. Since the sponge provided is fairly coarse, I might replace it with something finer to slow down the microbubble release more.
 

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BTW, thanks for a good invention. My Barr-Python reactor took up a lot of room and became opaque after several algae/biofilm abrasive removals.
 

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I'm using this in my 15gal, it's slightly big, but not too obtrusive.

Because it's a small tank I have the flow control turned all the way down, and it's placed only very slightly above the gravel in order to reduce flow more and protect the critters. (I had to rescue my betta after he got his tail sucked in 5 minutes after I put the filter in - he was fine, just kinda confused)

I took a screw driver and stretched out one of the bottom intake vents and then placed the output from the bubble counter in there. It's working very well and the bubbles are super fine.
 

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you can use the Hydor Ario's the same way.
they are whisper quiet and never clog unless
you have a sand substrate. the Co2 bubbles
come out much finer than any disc diffuser,
and the low water current generated helps
distribute the Co2 all over your tank. they
come with or without an LED spotlight.

 

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Finally got around to trying this a week ago today, it works well - although I don't know what the CO2 levels are night and day. I've just started a 60 gallon, low light, sand and peat moss substrate. I was having a problem with hair algae in the 20 that everything moved from, and in the last week all of it has melted, whether or not the added co2 did it or the increased water volume I don'y know. There is a visible difference in the lace fern ( was the only plants before ). All in all not a bad idea. However the audible bubble counter effect is starting to piss me off, I can here it across the room. Tick tick tick tick tick...
 

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hey spypet,
have you used the ario system???
 

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I'm using this in my 15gal, it's slightly big, but not too obtrusive.

Because it's a small tank I have the flow control turned all the way down, and it's placed only very slightly above the gravel in order to reduce flow more and protect the critters. (I had to rescue my betta after he got his tail sucked in 5 minutes after I put the filter in - he was fine, just kinda confused)

I took a screw driver and stretched out one of the bottom intake vents and then placed the output from the bubble counter in there. It's working very well and the bubbles are super fine.
how is the sound from it? does it bother or is it loud?
 

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how is the sound from it? does it bother or is it loud?
Depends on how good your hearing is I guess. For me to hear it I have to be next to it with everything else in the room turned off. But my hearing isn't stellar, and I'm well known for being able to tune noise (people) out :D

But regarding the point you may be getting at - the lower flow rate did make a difference in how loud the "ticking" was, it got quieter - and more still as bits of moss and plants get stuck in the vents.
 

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I was at my local Petco and they had an Elite Mini (they only had one left too) so I thought I would give it a shot as a co2 reactor after reading about it here. See pics below!

Elite Mini box



The box contains the filter, flow nozzle, and tube with a venturi aerator.


Water flows in from the bottom of the filter and exits from the hole below. The green tab is the flow control slider.


Take the filter apart and remove the filter sponge as well as the green flow control slider.


Place the flow nozzle into the filter sponge.


Put the filter back together. The hole where the flow control slider was is where your co2 tube goes.


Put the filter sponge nozzle on the filter and your co2 tube in the flow control slider hole.


Place the filter in your tank, plug it in, watch the bubbles fly and the plants pearl!


Overall, the reactor works great in my 56 gallon tank. I placed the filter behind some driftwood in my tank so its out of sight. The output from my canister filter is right above it to help push any bubbles that reach the surface around the tank. The first full day it was hooked up my pH dropped from 7.4 to 7 and could've dropped more had I increased the bubble count. I'm impressed with how tiny the bubbles are when they come out of the reactor and my plants have been pearling like crazy. As other posters mentioned earlier, the reactor does make some noise as co2 passes through the filter. For me, the fans on the lights of my tank are much louder than the noise the reactor makes, so I don't hear anything unless I'm right next to the tank. The filter itself cost me about $10 so its great for someone on a budget. Thanks for the great idea!
 
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