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Mazzei Issues and sub-optimal performance

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Gerryd, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey all,

    Myself and another member Helgymatt are having the same issues with our Mazzei venturi setups. The issues
    we have do not seem to be common or apply to the many folks that use venturis.

    I will describe the 2 major issues we have and some details on our individual setups. Any help/thoughts are appreciated....

    Matt, please add any corrections or omissions.

    Common Issues:

    1. Mist/bubbling from the venturi when the c02 is OFF.
    2. Noise (hissing) from the venturi as long as the venturi gets pressure. I can keep my venturi loop open about 40% and that eliminates the majority of the noise, but it still 'mists'. Mine is extremely loud when fully open and can be heard over the tv. It also has regular louder bursts when open.

    If the venturi loops are CLOSED completely, both of these common issues disappear for both of us.

    My noise is much worse since my upgrade in plumbing which is detailed here. Be warned, it is a lengthy thread....

    http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/4632-mazzei-uv-placement.html

    Again, these issues are only when the venturi is getting flow.....

    Individual issues:

    1. Gerry - Sub-optimal performance in terms of rapidly decreasing ph per my ph meter. New Hanna coming soon.
    2. Gerry - daily large variance in both DC color and ph meter readings, when all parameters (bubble rate, etc) seem the same. No consistency.

    1. Matt - No apparent difference in mist when the throttle valve is adjusted. I do show some mist difference when the pressure is increased.

    Details:

    Matt

    Tank volume : 75 gals
    Pump : Iwaki WMD-40RLT @ 800 gph with 21' max head.
    Plumbing : A wye splits this flow between an OC canister and the venturi.

    The venturi leg and the OC leg have separate ball valves for flow control. There is very little distance between the pump and the venturi.

    Other components : I think he is also running an inline heater or UV after the OC, but before it is joined with the venturi output.
    Mazzei model : 384.
    Sump/wet/dry : N/A

    Gerry

    Tank volume : 180 gals
    Pump : Pan World 250 PS @ 1950 gph with 45' max head.
    Plumbing : A T splits this flow between an NC canister and the venturi.

    The venturi leg and the NC leg have separate ball valves for flow control. There is some length to the venturi loop due to flex hose configuration and lack of space.

    Other components : N/A
    Mazzei model : 584.
    Sump/wet/dry : yes

    I get a very good suction at the venturi intake port, and per the mazzei website, this indicates that the venturi is 'working'.

    It seems that we are both at an adequate pump size for our configurations.
    However, we both get better pearling (Matt please confirm) than before.

    I will be swapping to a 384 model when it arrives soon (I hope) and will see if this helps. I will also try to shorten my venturi loop somewhat.

    I know that Tom has been advocating plumbing an air line into the venturi at 'night' and c02 is off to add 02 at night. Since we have such heavy cavitation, bubbling, mist, is this accomplishing the same thing, albeit inadvertently?

    I have also read other threads where folks say that an injection of air, increased their pearling rate. Can this be the cause for the increase in pearling we observe?

    Any thoughts or experiences are welcome as they can provide clues, ideas, or benchmarks.

    We have both been experimenting with different configs, flows, pressures, etc for several weeks now with some, but not total success.

    As always, thanks very much in advance.
     
  2. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry, You got everything correct about my set-up! I'll just add a few details. The mazzei seems to be more quite when I am injecting CO2 than when I am not. In the morning when I check out the system the mazzei is as loud as ever. It seems like when the mazzei is not fed the gas it gets "starved" or something??

    My mist seems to be good, although I havn't been able to see any difference in mist size by adjusting any of the valves. Maybe I just need to pay attention a little closer, but the mist is so fine I don't know how one could tell much difference. What is do know is that mist spreads all over the tank very well and does not float to the top much at all.

    After boosting up my bubble rate yesterday the drop checker finally was green by midday and the plants were pearling very well. pH drops from 7.1 to 6.4. Thats all for now. Just waiting to figure out this noise and injection issue....
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey all,

    An update.....

    Modifications

    1. Replaced my Mazzei 584 3/4" model with a 384 1/2" model. Only change was the venturi. All plumbing stayed the same. Used 1/2 to 3/4 adaptors to keep the 3/4 flex hose in and out of the venturi.

    2. Installed a Hanna ph/temp monitor (no controller). Very nice BTW.

    Left all other plumbing, bubble rate, etc the SAME.

    Observations:

    Plus

    1. Noises from venturi are ELIMINATED. Even with the valve wide open YAY!
    2. Rushing sounds and regular burst patterns of air(?) are ELIMINATED. YAY!
    3. Mist is even finer and the larger bubbles are ELIMINATED. Only a few micro bubbles are mixed in with the mist. yay
    4. Less pressure to the venturi causes less fine mist and more bubbles. More pressure = finer mist.

    Excellent......as Mister Burns would say lol

    Meter Hanna model HI 991401 - highly recommended

    1. PH is 6.1 with c02 cranking and 6.7 just before c02 is on again after all night off. I calibrated it twice and seems fine. Nice to have a reading that I feel I can trust. 2 decimal precision on the ph.....:D

    2. Placing the probe directly in the path of the loc-line outlets, the ph drops from say 6.1 to 5.8. Put it away, and the ph goes back up.

    Old SMS122 meter/controller read 6.9 and lowest was 6.5.

    Minus

    1. Mist is still seen with c02 OFF but much fainter than before. I can live with it I guess. More bubbles than with c02 ON.

    It is possible that there are so many o2 bubbles in the tank, plus a tiny bit of air in the intake, that is causing this, so will check in the morning so it has all night to 'clear'.

    Hypothesis

    1. The 584 model was cracked and that sucked in a lot of air.
    2. The 584 model was too large for my application and I did not give it sufficient pressure. This is somewhat supported by the fact that if I decrease the pressure to the new model, the mist is less and the larger bubbles start to be more numerous??? Since it needs less pressure to do the job?

    Next steps

    1. Monitor the new venturi, c02 rate, ph, fish stress, etc. Play with it over the weekend and see if my PH response is any quicker. Currently takes 2 hrs to go from 6.7 to 6.1 and that is with a high bubble rates of >40 per second(?).

    2. Will redo the venturi loop tomorrow. Without the UV in play, I can shorten this loop and remove a good 12-18" of hose on the loop, plus another 24-36" on the line after the merge. I can also place the venturi closer to the T leg and throttle valve, so this may help a bit as well.

    Will let you know.

    Matt,

    Is it possible your mazzei is cracked or taking in air at the connections to the venturi? I know you are using unions so doubt it, but something is wrong for sure.

    Since you have the smaller model already, swapping it for a larger seems to make no sense. However, I would be interested if the same model was swapped and it was any better. I know this is $, but maybe what is needed.

    Ryan Herco had my 384 here in less than a week.

    BTW, they can call Mazzei direct and ensure the model you want is in stock at the mfg, if RH is out. They did that for me while I waited as RH did not have one.

    Not sure what else to say, except keep trying different things and eliminating what it is NOT. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we will figure it out.

    Let us know what is going on.......

    Thanks again,
     
  4. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry,
    I'm glad the 384 works much better! MrKookM would be proud, he rallies for that one! It sounds like your having fun with your new pH meter. I thought about investing in one, but i'm a grad student in plant sciences (horticulture) and can borrow one when I need :)

    Good news here too. So I did nothing and the noise is gone (all the time). Now, I have your old problem of larger bubbles coming out. I'm not sure what has brought that on? I increased the bubble rate, the mist is now finer, and the drop checker is GREEN, finally! I havn't looked to see if there is still mist when the CO2 is off

    Any thoughts about the bubbles? I didn't make any changes to the plumbing. Weird, huh? I did make a change after all this...built an inline heater with pvc and one of those water tight cord grips. It was cheap and works sweet. Here is a pic...oh and one of my tank :) I always show whats under the tank, but all that really matters is whats on top of the stand!


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    edit...double post
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Matt,

    Yes, I know mrk likes that model. I have seen him advocating it's use all over the web lol

    The meter is a lot of fun, I admit :) Was not that expensive for such piece of mind.

    Glad to hear your issue is gone, but wonder how it went away by itself? That worries me a bit..... Sure nothing changed? Canister is not clogged or a valve is shut?

    Is your mist any more responsive to more or less pressure? I

    I have been playing around with the venturi and see that a higher bubble rate really eliminates a lot of my larger bubbles........

    The ph drops as well with the increase in c02 rate from 6.18 to 5.86 in a couple minutes (isn't precision nice?). I can see now the response that people talk about, but at that rate, I will go thru a 10 lb bottle in a week :eek:

    Well, we'll see.

    Try increasing your c02 input a bit more at a time and see if this resolves it. Also try increasing the pressure to the venturi w/o changing the bubble rate, so try both things together.......You will eventually find a sweet spot.

    I recommend you borrowing that meter, as waiting for a drop checker to turn color to tune a venturi is not feasible IMO.

    It really helps to see changes quickly. I never could have done this tuning with my old sms 122........

    It did for me and I also remember mrkookm saying that either higher pressure or faster c02 rate is needed when this larger bubbling occurs.

    BTW, my mist is now pretty nice :)

    Love the look of your tank. Can you come over and help me scape mine????? The right side esp with the anubias in front is killer. What is the narrow leaf plant behind it?
     
  7. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I figured out why the mazzei stopped throwing out bubbles. It had a chunk of gravel lodged in it. I got that fixed and now I have bubbles again. Now, the mazzei still continues to mist when the CO2 has been off for a long time. It had stopped while the mazzei was party glogged. The co2 levels in the tank were still fine while the mazzei was partly clogged and I suspect that the mazzei was acting more like a reactor dissolving more of the co2 than misting.

    I wonder if most of my issues I have had with the mazzei are related to depris getting stuck in the mazzei. My filter inlet is at the bottom of the tank and small pieces of eco-complete seem like they can easily get sucked in. I may try to raise my inlet up a little higher to prevent this.

    My plants no longer pearl much at all and nothing has changed in the tank excpet for adjustments to the mazzie and flow. I cleaned my filter beucase the overall flow was starting to dimish a lot. After the cleaning the flow was so much better. It had been so long since I did a cleaning that I forgot how much flow potential I have. I wonder if the plants are no longer pearling becuase the flow is higher and the water doesn't stay saturated with oxygen like it did before? Or perhaps the high flow is blowing "pearls" off the plants before they accumulate. Its not like a whirpool in there or anything, I would consider the flow optimum.

    My possitive thoughts about the mazzei are diminishing. The mazzei seems to be so sensitive to minor adjustments that I'm beginning to think the effort to find the "sweet" spot is not worth it. My DIY reactor in my other tank doesn't require much tuning at all. Just set the bubble rate and forget it. I may opt to fit in a reactor in place of the mazzei.

    Just my thoughts for now, I'm sure things will continue to change and be non-consistent. Sorry for having such a negative attitude;)
    Matt
     
  8. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I just opened up my line today to take a look through the mazzei. I found small snails and other very-small eco-complete grains drain out the inlet side of the mazzei.

    IMO this is a big flaw in the plumbing of my system. I originaly had the mazzei plumbed after my OC filter. Plumbed like that, all debris would get filtered out BEFORE it hits the mazzei. Then I switched the mazzei to be parallel to the OC to prevent flow losses to the mazzei caused by the filter. The result is no filtration of the water going to the mazzei.

    Any ideas on how to solve this problem without plumbing the mazzei back to how I had it before (after the filter)?

    Matt
     
  9. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Matt,

    Do you use sponges on the intake strainer that is in the tank? I use large sponges as pre filters.

    Nothing will stop snails as long as they exist in the tank.

    Also, can you clear away any EC around the strainer, so it may not get sucked in?
     
  10. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I dont, what kind of sponges do you use?
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    I know that ocean clear make sponges with a 1" hole in the middle.

    This fits nicely over the 1" strainers I have in the weirs.

    They were a lttle long, but I just cut with a razor to fit.

    Or, I also know they make a sponge intake attachment to fit on any canister intake like these:

    Lustar Hydro-Sponge Filter 2 at Big Al's Online

    The above is not exactly what I want, but is close. Another mfg makes something for canister intakes that is pretty much one size fits all..

    Just may need to DIY a bit to get them to fit your config........

    I just rinse them a couple times a week, as they do get clogged fast.

    Especially after mucking around, requires a good rinse..........

    But, saves the filter, and keeps fish out of the intakes at least!
     
  12. bibbels

    bibbels Prolific Poster

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    Zoomed makes a little sponge for their turtle filter that works well for this. Usually only costs $3-5. You can find it at petco and at numerous online suppliers. I use them on canister and HOB filter intakes to keep from sucking in shrimp. It's the foam filter media to the Zoomed 501.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Sad news, I unhooked my mazzei and fit in a DIY reactor. Bad news is I no longer have mist, good news I no longer have to deal with bursts of bubbles, misting with the CO2 off, distracting mist for tank viewing. Also, the CO2 concentration is finally stable and good....my plants are pearling again. Ph drops from 7.3 to 6.3.

    Good luck to others!
    Matt
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Matt,

    Sorry to hear the venturi didn't work out, but am very glad the reactor is working for you......

    I am sticking with my mazzei for now, as it works better for me than anything else I have tried.

    Now that I removed the sump and went closed loop, I no longer have to concentrate on other issues.

    I still do get some bubbles with the c02 off, but is totally livable nothing at all like before. If I shut the throttle valve fully that powers the venturi, the mist and bubbles immediately disappear. So, at least I can narrow it down......Looks like it was mostly my new intake plumbing had air leaks...

    I am sure this will go away when I redo the final (lol) closed loop plumbing.

    I am glad that I stuck with it so far. I have learned a lot AND my tank is looking better all the time.

    Here is a link to the new look. I am now concentrating on plant growth and getting that down. Once I know I can grow most plants and not algae (lol) I will work on scaping more. Last 4 pics on this album.

    IM003178.jpg - Image - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Later,
     
  15. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I think the main reason why I was frustrated with the mazzei was because I never felt like the mist was small enough not to be distracting. No matter how I adjusted anything it was always like a haze across the aquarium. Also, one of outputs blows right across the front of my aquarium so that didn't help.

    Your tank looks nice. I'm sure it feels good to be able to concentrate on your plants now! By the way, your rainbows are beautiful!
     
  16. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry,

    I noticed that in your new pics you have a Hanna pH (controller?) now instead of the Milwaukee SMS122 you used to have. Is that the HI 991401? Are you just monitoring the pH now instead of controlling it? I didn't think Hanna made a pH controller in that red box configuration, the Hanna controllers on their website are larger, gray, and look a lot different. How do you like it? Is there anything about either brand (that is good or bad) that you didn't know before buying? Why did you switch? I noticed the Hanna has +/-0.1pH accuracy instead of +/-0.2 for the SMS122 which is a big plus in my mind for the Hanna. Other than that, is one easier to calibrate or use in day to day operation?

    I am also wondering about Hanna quality as a whole. It seems to be good, and a lot of the nicer aquarium and aquaculture websites sell Hanna stuff, but it would be nice to get a firsthand review of the brand from someone that has experience with a main competitor.

    I am asking because (right now at least) I am thinking about buying one of Hanna's pH pens (the one with the +/- 0.05pH accuracy readout, HI 98128). I don't see myself ever needing an actual pH controller, but I still like learning what I can in case things change and I am ever in the market for one in the future.

    Have a good one, Jeremy
     
  17. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    I've been using a Hanna HI9811. Works well and reads to the nearest .1. I use it at work for greenhouse testing and it has been very reliable. It also measures Electrical conductivity, but that isn't very useful for aquariums. Not sure about the price on that. I'm sure there is a model without EC that is cheaper.
     
  18. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Matt,

    Thanks. Yes, it is nice to concentrate on the inhabitants of my tank, or the software, as opposed to the hardware lol

    I do love those rainbows, but they are at least 25X the size of the nearest cardinal lol I think I may finally give them to a buddy with a 220, as they are now outsized for the look I want. I like smaller fish generally, but wanted to have these at least once, as they are so beautiful.

    Will be hard to let them go, but maybe this week or next. I have had them for over 18 months (about 1" long at the time) and have grown them into the monsters you see!

    Jeremy,

    Yes, it is the Hanna 991401. Not a controller, just a constant ph/temp digital meter.

    I switched as the SMS 122 gave me good service, but was about 5 years old and was harder to find probes for it.

    Plus, I did not want the controller function at all to affect c02 delivery. I would rather c02 flow the entire time it is 'on'....

    I like the new meter VERY much and was totally worth it. It was useful especially in working through my c02/venturi issues, as it adjusts rapidly to water conditions, and helped me see my daily and hourly swings and ranges.

    The probes on the Hanna are 100x better (IMO) than the probe on the SMS.

    I bought the SMS as that is what came with my 'complete c02 setup' I purchased years ago with a Milwaukee reg setup. It was the only one I could find at the time, I could afford. Knew nothing about c02 at the time.

    Hanna has a good rep, and wanted to check their line out. Now, I would buy other of their products. It seems reliable, easy to calibrate and read, and seems sensitive enough for my purposes.

    I totally recommend them, as they are under $80....

    I would feel safe getting the pen..........their product line seems solid to me....
     
  19. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    Matt and Gerry,

    Thank you very much for your thoughts. That's exactly the type of info I was looking for.

    Have a good one, Jeremy
     
  20. helgymatt

    helgymatt Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry, If I ever get a meter of my own that Hanna 991401 will be the one I get!
     
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