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I was under the impression that the sponge helped. The idea behind it is that the bubbles get caught and get new water over them constantly so that they dissolve completely.

There are still bubbles getting out, even with the sponge and I would imagine that you will have similar performance with or without the sponge. I just like to keep more of the bubbles out of the water.

I can see the point of seeing the CO2 bubbles on the plants being visual reassurance of direct delivery, but I don't like the looks of a "misted" tank all that much. But in regards to a finer sponge catching the bubbles...if I know there is CO2 going into the diffuser and I don't see any coming out...it has got to be dissolving. Ergo, the fewer bubbles I see the better, IMHO.
 

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I ended up taking the sponge off. Then I started a new Sugar/Yeast recipe from another thread I found here and I upgraded to a Penguin 660 pump ($20 at Wal-Mart). The results are amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter #83
With a sponge on the outflow the performance is actually MUCH better. If you get too many bubbles coming out of the sponge then you are injecting too many bubbles and the pump/sponge combination doesn't have enough time to disolve them all so some get expelled.

One if these reactors is enough for a 75 gal. tank with tons of light with a bubble rate of about 2 bubbles per second.

Without a sponge the tiny bubbles fly everywhere and make the water look not completely clear. Plus a lot of them get wasted. If you add a sponge in front of the same pump you will need to reduce the CO2 bubble rate about 30 to 50%. Impressive savings.

--Nikolay
 

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Hm so i guess the question is if c02 is better dissolved or if its better micro bubbled. Like a reactor vs a bubble ladder.

Does this kind of make since? xD
 

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There are some advantages to having CO2 mist in the tank vs. having all of the CO2 dissolved before it enters the tank. The primary advantage is that so many of us tried this and got better results with the plants. A secondary advantage is that the fish are very sensitive to excessive dissolved CO2, but not necessarily to microbubbles of CO2 in the water. So, you can get more CO2 available to the plants with CO2 mist.

It is still a personal choice issue. Many of us don't like the seltzer water appearance you can get with CO2 mist, and it does use more CO2. I have used both the CO2 mist and an external reactor. Both work. Right now I have one of these little reactors set up in my 46 gallon tank, with a Koralia powerhead above it to catch and blow around any bubbles that escape, and lots do. It's too soon to say if this is working well or if I really like it.
 

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I have it set up in my tank right now (about 24hrs ago) and my plants are already showing improved growth. Noticeable new green material and pearling. The sponge is on the outlet, but it is still belching a fine mist with each bubble from my DIY CO2 generator. To tell you the truth, I actually kind of like the micro bubbles that I'm getting, because there aren't enough of them to cloud the water badly and it is kind of a reassurance that there's CO2 going directly to the plants. For the plants only having been in the tank two days and an efficient diffuser for one, they are noticeably greener and have clear new growth.

I'll take pics and update...maybe start a journal.
 

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I have another "what is better" questions xD

A ceramic disc diffuser or the one on this thread?

About ceramic diffusers, does it dissolve c02 or mist? I know that tiny bubbles come out of the disc but i am under the impression that the bubbles are so small it dissolves before it hits the surface.
 

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I have never seen a ceramic disc diffuser produce as fine a mass of bubbles as this little one does, when it is working without too much CO2 being bubbled into it. CO2 mist works best with those very fine bubbles. Even those tiny bubbles don't disappear before reaching the water surface, but they float up much slower and linger stuck to the water surface longer. I don't think any CO2 bubbles actually disappear when they float up. Perhaps someone can explain that?? At one time it was said that CO2 bubbles trade CO2 for other gases in the water, so the bubbles aren't CO2 when they reach the surface.
 

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I have another "what is better" questions xD

A ceramic disc diffuser or the one on this thread?

About ceramic diffusers, does it dissolve c02 or mist? I know that tiny bubbles come out of the disc but i am under the impression that the bubbles are so small it dissolves before it hits the surface.
From recent, personal, experience (although coming from a relative noob), I can say that for a DIY system, glass diffusors are not ideal. I recently purchased a few from evilBay, set one up and proceeded to wait...and wait...and, etc. A brand new mix and twelve hours later, I had enough pressure built up for a nice stream of bubbles. About eight hours after that, the bubbling stopped. It's my opinion that glass (ceramic disc) diffusors require serious pressure to push thru the ceramic plate. Pressure not (consistently) achievable with DIY.

Until I come up with a better plan (the one in this Thread looks pretty good, atm), I'm running with something super simple. Not sure if you've seen this done before:


Seems to be OK, for the nonce, but will figure out something soon...
 

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Nice idea! Certainly cheap enough. Looks like a pretty fine mist.

I have had trouble with the ceramic diffusers seeming to clog, although not visible. I have had to switch out to a dry clean on and put the old one in bleach solution, scrub it with a brush, and treat with prime to get it ready for next switch out.
 

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In that pic, the flow is actually set quite high, to give a clearer visual idea of what's going on. If I adjust the flow just right, I can acheive a very fine stream that barely even floats in the water, rather just drifts around low in the tank. As you can see, it's right below the filter outlet to help with distribution...
 

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Discussion Starter #92
Ghengis,

If this is a chopstick from the nearest Chinese food place then congratulations! You may have joined the ranks of "cheap to the bone" hobyists :D.

Here's a "secret" trick; Cut the chopstick really short (1/4") and stuff it at the end of the CO2-tubing. Then stick that amazing creation under a powerhead. The CO2 fine CO2 bubbles will be broken to even finer bubbles by the impeller. Oh my!

A chopstick is nice but in a few weeks it will turn black from bacteria growing on it. Of course you can replace it, but the problem is that the CO2 flow will vary.

No chopstick, just the CO2 tubing in the powerhead inflow is a fool proof... exquisite... fashionable design. And cheaper than a free chopstick!

--Nikolay
 

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Niko, close on the guess. It's actually about an inch of the pointy end of a bamboo skewer:cool:
Having tried various methods of separating the pointy bit from the rest of the skewer, from clean cutting to semi-cutting then breaking, I found that straight out breaking, leaving lot's of little fibres, to be the best as far as bubble-ation goes.
 

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This little DIY reactor is excellent. I've been meaning to set DIY CO2 up on my planted tank for a long time, and uncertainty about a reactor was the only thing holding me back. I Found this article early this week, got everything set up, and I'm on day 3. I'm anxious to see some good plant growth. Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Blacklabel,

One of these reactors is perfectly fine in a 75 gallon tank. I suspect it can go up to at least 90. For a 125 I'd do a bigger powerhead with a sponge on the outflow. Also make sure that the bigger powerhead has a big size strainer. Usually powerheads have skinny strainers that suck not only debries but snails too. That forces you to clean them too often. A bigger size (diameter) strainer does not have such issues.

MooTycoonZaster,
This small reactor will be too much for a 10 gallon tank. But if you find a way to provide surface agitation a lot of the CO2 will get out of the water.

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter #100
ZooTycoonMaster,

If you run the CO2 on and off you will have big fluctuations of the amount of CO2 in the water. For whatever reason it takes much longer to saturate the tank with CO2 then to let the CO2 fizz out of the tank. It may take 2 hours to saturate and only 30 min. to loose it all.

Now, knowing the above doesn mean much. If the plants do well then by any means run the CO2 for only a short time every day. But the main question is how the algae are going to like the fluctuations of CO2. In general algae shows up when the tank is not being run consistently. If you start chaning the light, the water change schedule, the feeding, the ferts usually algae appears. So it would be logical to expect an algae bloom if the CO2 fluctuates up and down. Especially if you let the CO2 escape the tank and the lights are still on.

Maybe the most reasonable approach would be to run the CO2 when all your lights are on. And to reduce the light when the CO2 is off.

Or you can just buy a CO2 diffuser and make things simple :) A 10 gallon tank will look better with a tiny glass diffuser than with a black pump with a sponge on it.

Once again - if the plants grow and everything is fine run the CO2 any way you like.

--Nikolay
 
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