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Old 07-22-2007, 10:39 AM   #1
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diffuser vs. reactor for pressurized CO2

What are your opinions and experience with diffusers and or reactors?

The DIY CO2 reactor looks easy enough....recommendations???


Also will using the bubble wall gas off too much CO2? Would it be appropriate to use when the lights go off?
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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I don't think the bubble wall will get enough pressure from a DIY system to really "bubble", and if you put it on a pressurized system with enough force to run a bubble-wall you are going to be wasting a lot of co2....

A reactor or mist method works well.

I run mine 24 hours to no ill effects to my fish or plants.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:13 PM   #3
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I'm sorry, I was unclear in my questions. I am usually so long winded I was trying to simplify...

Diffuser vs. Reactor Question
I am talking about simple bell style diffuser vs a reactor in a pressurized system (the reactor being the DIY part) and efficiency of dissolving the CO2. Which is better? Some just run the CO2 into a PH, I am just looking for the best method of dissolving the CO2 into the aquarium.

Bubble Wall Question
Can a bubble wall be used as an aerator (in the traditional sense hooked up to an air pump) ...the question being will it gas off too much CO2.

I like the way the bubbles look and can certainly experiment on my own as to how much CO2 I will sacrifice due to surface agitation if I run the aerator; I just thought some of you might have practical experience in this area whereas I am new to CO2 injection.

Thanks so much! [/b]
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Old 07-22-2007, 04:13 PM   #4
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Depends on your setup.

A reactor means one less thing in the tank - and may be slightly more efficient in its use of CO2. For medium-larger tanks this is definitely my preference.

For small to medium size tanks diffusers seem to be easier to setup and can work well if arranged in such a way that your outflow pushes it throughout your tank.

If you are somewhere in the middle and are debating the two - my suggestion would be a reactor.

Using a bubble wall is one of the fastest ways you can remove your CO2 from the water! They are not complementary - but you could use it if you turn you CO2 up to compensate for the rapid lose that you would be causing. Your cost would be in frequency of refills of your CO2
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Old 07-22-2007, 07:05 PM   #5
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Thank you
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:22 PM   #6
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If you like the looks of a bubble wall, then add more light to your tank and watch the plants pearl. There is nothing like a tank full of pearling plants!
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Old 07-22-2007, 09:39 PM   #7
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I like the sound of that....at what light level will this occur?
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:25 PM   #8
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It can happen at any light level (within reason), it really will depend on what plants you are trying to keep and the co2 saturation you are getting... I get my Java fern, moss, and crypts to pearl with just one bubble every three sec. with 13 watts of fluorescent light in my 2.5. As long as you have a decent co2 level in your water column, you should see some pearling.

What size tank do you have? People here can recommend light set ups and stuff based on what you are attempting to do.
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:44 PM   #9
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This is a 46 gal bowfront. I just bought a new light (best my budget would allow) and it is a 96W PC fixture which gives me 2.5 wpg I have not injected the CO2 yet as I am waiting for the regulator to arrive. I am going to town tomorrow though and thought I could pick up a reactor or diffuser (or stuff to make the reactor DIY style) I have all of the dry ferts and will be dosing those as well. I have PFS substrate and root tabs under all of the root feeders.

The main goal is to have a really nice display, and a lovely home for my future discus, and if I could trade a few plants to the LFS for food then that wouldn't be too shabby.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:38 AM   #10
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I like the multiple benefits of a PH diffuser. You get a current underwater to help prevent dead spots, the small size of the PH, and a really good diffusion method that also gives a pseudo bubble wall (though much smaller and more dispersed). I run an air stone on the end of my tubing that runs into the PH. This creates small bubbles so there is no noise from the bubbles getting chopped up (less wear and tear on the impeller as well). I have a solenoid on the regulator so the PH, lights, and CO2 all turn on and off at the same time (9hours per day lighted).

The key thing to proper CO2 levels is surface area (smaller the bubbles the better), and contact time (longer time in the water before the bubble reaches the surface). A PH setup like described above gives you very good of both (extremely small bubbles due to the air stone prior to going into the PH), and a long contact time with the water if the PH is placed low in the tank (mine is about 2" above the substrate).

The only issue with the PH dispersion method is that it needs to be cleaned periodically as it will suck up debris since its near the substrate. The reactor probably wouldn't run into this issue as much since its normally higher in the water column.

Simple, cheap, and very effective.
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Old 07-23-2007, 01:14 PM   #11
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Basically powered reactors are more efficient than passive diffusers. I'd recommend going with either an inline reactor or the mist method. Both will give excellant results and help you to conserve your CO2.
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicklid
It can happen at any light level (within reason), it really will depend on what plants you are trying to keep and the co2 saturation you are getting...
Agreed. Pearling can happen at lower light levels, but in order to obtain the amount of pearling that would look like an air stone running requires around 4 WPG or more. (IMO)

Here is a little thread on pearling plants: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=97081 . Look at Zezmo's tank. Seeing the pics doesn't show off how it looks in person. You see the O2 on the plants, but you don't get to see the constant stream of bubbles in the water column.

Here is one of mine:

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