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Aquarium Products Carbo-plus CO2 System

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by TommyBoy, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. TommyBoy

    TommyBoy Lifetime Charter Member
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  2. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Carbo Plus

    Very difficult to justify the expense compared to tanked C02.

    I was also not crazy about the low voltage electrolytic process in my systems. Low or not I thought the current was significant enough to agitate mucous membranes on fish. If anyone doubts that, they can purchase a 10 pack of 9V batteries and lick them till they're out of juice. If your tongue still fits in your mouth go apologize to the fish ! :p

    At an average cost of $40.00 per replacement block you can purchase quite a bit of Co2... never mind the fact that the product is a retail oddity that commands a premium price.

    The product does in fact work as stated unless of course your system is grounded then you may have a problem ! :D

    I believe the Elite electrolytic units commonly sell on ebay for around $50.00 HTH. Prof M
     
  3. richardsantink

    richardsantink Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have used the Carbo-plus unit and it was amazing, but - as someone has pointed out, it is hard to justify the cost (BTW, I have one forsale.. ;). I paid approx CDN225.00 for mine, and after one year, I needed to replace the entire block - this is normal, but it isn't cheap.

    Some other CONS to this system:

    * mineral deposits - after running, the unit develops a scaling deposit all over the block, reducing the effectiveness of the unit. You must mechanically remove the deposits, which is both messy, and time consuming.

    * freshwater use only - you can't run Carboplus in a marine environment, as the reaction will break down the salt, and produce chlorine. I imagine it would corrode considerably faster too.

    * unsightly - the unit itself consists of the stainless steel/carbon sandwich, which is about 6" long and 3" wide by an inch thick. I've successfully hidden it behind rock formations, but it can be harder to hide this shiny thing in a planted tank with no rocks.

    That said, it was easy to control, and quick to setup, and the fine CO2 mist it produces was superb.


    Once I sell mine, I'll move over to CO2 in a cylinder... :)

    RAS
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    See Steve Hampton's comments about it on AH forum.

    I've been ripping on this product for over 7 years now, the last hold out gave up before he died(Merril from the AGA, nice, a very nice guy!!) and got the gas and saw the light. At least he died happy with the aquatic plants, God rest his soul in plant heaven.

    Merril had been using the German nice units, he had a 90 gal tank and it was woefully underpowered for the tank, I also had issues with CO2 in my 90 gallon about 5 years prior (DIY CO2 on a 90- gal, but I made it work and figured out many things about CO2 from then on) and knew the symtoms well.
    Eventually he came around once the unit fried out and broke one day. Then he switched to gas and said "Wow!!!"

    Gas regs and tanks etc seldom have issues over decades, electronic devices tend not to be as reliable IME/IMO.

    Steve's pics of the block and holder after a few months are very telling.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. TommyBoy

    TommyBoy Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thank you all for the replies. Most educational!!!:)

    I appreciate everyone's replies here and in other forums. There seems to be a generally mixed review of the product. Out of the replies, it seems to poll at
    - 2 positive,
    - 2 OK/so-so, and
    - 6+ negative.

    Primary positives appear to be:
    - excellent CO2 source, and
    - it is "mist"/dissolved

    Major negatives appear to be:
    - more maintenance needed and higher cost than 1st expected / it purports
    - KH requires management, and
    - degraded performance if maintenence and KH not properly attended to.

    Other issues/concerns raised were:
    - comparative total cost of ownership -vs- that of CO2 gas,
    - size and/or fit of the CO3 block in "smaller" (less than 90 gal) tanks,
    - the electrical charge / field in the water surrounding the unit, and
    - lack of applicability in Marine tanks.

    Thanks again to everyone.
    --Tom(myBoy)
     
  6. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Sacrificial Carbon...

    As Richard pointed out it did produce a very fine stream of bubbles, (I cannot however say that it was any more efficient than a good ceramic diffuser) but it was certainly more maintenance prone ! and In my experience both the mineralization of the block, and subsequent mineralization around the tank seemed excessive.

    This is also where I first discovered that the electrolytic process could also extend to the carbon bearings in certain pumps causing them to errode, ovalize, and slop out.

    For a product that commands a premium price the Maintenance, and Long Term Performance were a Deal Breaker !!! Too bad really as it was a clever design/concept. I only wish someone would invest as much effort into a more efficient diffuser, or distribution system. I have yet to discover a system that was even the least more efficient than Tom's original DIY reactor. Perhaps the occassional modification/Improvement but nothing earth shattering to date ??? Lord Knows I tried...

    If you do eventually decide to go with tanked Co2, do yourself a favor and search this sight for preferred products ! The more economical units can be somewhat tedious for what amounts to a very modest savings( If any at all ?). They are a good value, but some folks might enjoy a more articulate or reliable level of adjustment. Lots of people throw up their hands and purchase a complete system trying to streamline the process. This is no guarantee whatsoever that the system will function as represented !!! The more time you take to educate yourself in the process, and adjustment...The Greater Success you will enjoy. Plenty of folks out their with outstanding equipment for sale only because "They" can't make it work, or fathom the process. HTH. Prof M
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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  8. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Whoa...That's Coyote Ugly !!!

    I don't mean to be cruel, but that is Totally Heinous ! I'd wrap that sucker in a string of garlic, and a silver cross, and bury it on the next full moon !!! Scientifically Speaking of Course :eek:

     
  9. cup

    cup Junior Poster

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    I was trying to decide about a tanked Co2, and I feel after reading everything that this is the best option.

    Sure am going to search the forum for recommendations and do more reading and research before chosing the something that would be best for my needs and abilities.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I suppose.

    But given actual experiences, and those who already have them, those who have used them and now have gas tanks, and given you can only use one per tank, and the tank size is limited, and their effects on pH probes...........they really are not that simple/simpler than a gas tank.

    Their only advantage is with a tank from about 20-65 gallons in size where you lack the space for a 5 to 20lb CO2 gas tank. Even then, running a CO2 gas line from a remote location is not hard.

    A single gas tank regulator can run 10 aquariums of virtually any size for about 20X less cost, and 10x less cost for CO2.

    It's your money but do not fall for BS marketing sales pitches, which is about all the carbo plus has going for it. Also, they do not last that long, they burn out when used aggressively when adding a lot of CO2.
    Gas tanks?

    Nope, they last decades.

    They only reason why they still sell these things is that are cheap to make, they have a lot of them on hand/ in stock, they appear simple at first, marketing and the ignorance. Many vendors see it, think it's neat and offer it, then realize it does not sell well. So we often see a back log of the things and vendors selling what they have rather than what is best or good for the aquarist.
    They are not cheaper.

    You can get Gas tanks for about 45$ for 10lbs filled here. Reg's for 20$. Needle valves for 12-20$.

    If you look around and shop, the price for gas is still less.
    BTW, the highest quality German made version Meriill had burned out after 7 years of use.

    He got gas and was forever happy with it vs the carbon plus.
    My Gas tanks have never broke, burned out etc.

    DIY yeast CO2 is probably as effecvtive as Carbon polus over the tank ranges they both work well on. Those take the same space as well , actually smaller, but DIY requires brew changes more often.

    You can research and ask around, but 95% of folks will tell you not to use it.
    But it's still a free country:eek:

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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