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Old 04-23-2008, 08:43 AM   #11
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You pretty much nailed it with your explanation. The bubble counter is just an indicator of the flow rate to help you adjust the rate. You will determine how much you need based on your CO2 calculations of what's in the water column and adjust accordingly.

The link you provided is to a glass diffuser. These work pretty well too, but not as efficient as an inline reactor.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:18 AM   #12
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At one point I had a limewood airstone as my diffuser. I placed it under a Mini-Jet water pump so that all the CO2 bubbles leaving the airstone got pulled into the pump. The pump then disbursed them all over the tank. This is called the "mist" diffusion method. This method works very well also and it's similar to the inline reactor in that the CO2 is broken down into smaller bubbles too. You could use that glass diffuser you linked with this method. I used glass diffusers with the ceramic airstone too. After a while the ceramic gets clogged (in my case it was 8 months). I soaked it in a dilute bleach solution but that didn't work after awhile either, so I switched to the limewood airstones. They lasted about 3 months. I rotated them and let them dry out periodically, and they were cheap enough to replace after 3 months. I wouldn't want to replace the glass airstone every 8 months or so.

The mist method can work very well, but its possible limitation is the type of airstone you have - ceramic and wood both have good and bad points. The inline reactor method takes some building up front but it doesn't have the limitations of the airstones.
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:25 PM   #13
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The reactor just seems a bit large for my tastes, whether it's outside of the tank or not.
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:02 PM   #14
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Warped1, this stuff confused me too at first, but with time and a lot of reading it can be digested.

IMO, once you get your tank, regulator, solenoid and bubble counter straightened out, the toughest part (for me at least) was getting 100% diffusion. This week I'm going to plug a DIY reactor (pvc w/ bioballs) into the downflow of my cannister filter. The rising action of the bubble fights the falling action of the water and aids diffusion. If any bubbles actually make it into the cannister (fluval 304), they get choped up to the impellor and (I hope) completley dissolved into the water column by the time the flow hits the output nozzle.

IN THEORY!

A bigger tank w/ more surface agitation means more bubbles. Every reactor has a "max diffusion capacity": the best reactor in the world isn't going to be able to diffuse 100 bps, wheras even a somewhat crappily built reactor should be able to diffuse 1 bps or less.
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:54 PM   #15
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So while 100% isn't really obtainable, what's your opinion on the best method based on ease of use? CO2 is relatively cheap, so if I "waste" some with less the perfect diffusion, I'm not too worried.
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Old 04-23-2008, 09:05 PM   #16
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The best method as far as plant growth currently seems to be the mist method. A lot of people don't like having a fine mist of bubbles in their aquarium though, so it's not for everyone.

The next runner up would be either the inline reactor or intank reactor. I know that you don't like the size of the inline reactor, BUT keep in mind that the picture from DrsFosterSmith has that setup on a much smaller aquarium than it would probably ever be run on. That particular reactor is rated for upto a 500 gallon aquarium and the aquarium pictured is probably only 20-25 gallons. The reactor is only 15" long and 3" in diameter. An appropriately sized inline reactor for an aquarium will be easily hid behind the aquarium or under the stand.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:56 PM   #17
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heres a nice easy calculator for c02/ph levels, c02 as a carbon source is fairly easy to manage, I always had trouble with the other ferts needed and balancing growth versus pruning

Measuring CO2 levels in a Planted Tank
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