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new filter or spraybar?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by blue_martian, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    Hi All,

    Quick question for you... after much reading on this site I've determined my two biggest problems (aquarium related :D ) are lack of CO2 and poor circulation . So I've been thinking about upgrading my filter.

    I currently have a 49 gallon tank which after measuring out the gravel and empty space at the top is about 40 gallons. My current filter is the Fluval 205 which is rated for a 40 gallon tank.

    Does anyone know if using a spraybar would increase the circulation enough to not have to bother with a new filter? I'd prefer to spend 20 bucks on a spraybar rather than 200-300 on a filter but don't want to waste my time either. :p

    I was thinking creating a long spraybar that goes along the length of the tank at the bottom.

    Any tips would be much appreciated
     
  2. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    using a spray bar decreases flow, you'd better buy a hydor pump for 20 bucks, gives you much more current.
     
  3. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you are able to upgrade, do. The old filter might work as a DIY for O2 / CO2 / spray-bar, improvement.
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Why not kill two birds with one stone and use a needle wheel powerhead to diffuse your c02? That way your filter just filters and doesn't do anything else. The needle wheel will drive the c02 and allow you to direct the flow a bit and provide more circulation at the same time. More in the tank I know, but it may be worth a look......

    I also agree that a Hydor Koralia is worth the investment.
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I second the needle wheel. It's the best thing I've ever done for my CO2, and it's cheap. I use a rain bar my self but mount it horizontally, with a needle wheel on the bottom and a smaller power head up top. As a result of this, the current has a more complex pattern that creates far better distribution than having a sole source/direction of output.

    If you want to keep things out of sight, loc line works and it offers very good distribution; you can set it up so that there's good flow to the base of every stand of stems. It's not cheap though.

    -Philosophos
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Needle Wheel, Good

    Hi,

    What Gerry and Philosophos say. ;)

    Biollante
     
  7. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    With a flow rate of 110gph (closer to 80gph with filter media) I don't see how the Fluval 205 could be rated up to 40 gallons. A powerhead / needlewheel is a great fix for directing the flow and adding CO2, but wouldn't it be posable to use the fluval for adding CO2 and a new canister filter with a higher flow rate (5 cycles an hour/200gph) for filtration? Crap, the one time I could of plugged my needle wheel concept I missed my opportunity.

    Philosophos, is there any chance we could see what that rain bar DIY looks like. Sounds absolutely inspired. :)
    I'm sorry blue_martian, I don't even know what you're using for CO2. With an increase to the exchange of CO2 (O2 exchange across a membrane) using bottom up-swelling to the water surface and rising concentrations of O2, in more subjugate current, CO2. Finding that balance of the two. A needle wheel powerhead is a fast DIY if you don't have any CO2. Maybe outside the tank two canister filters, later on. For now try to DIY a bioreactor and a Gerryd +1.
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sorry, that was vertical rain bar. It's in the back left corner angling to the front right, the needle wheel is on the back glass next to it a bit below mid tank, spraying down and towards the front/center, the top powerhead flows across the top from right to left to offer a bit of surface disturbance. I'll see if I can get some pictures on a bit later. I'm considering just moving the needle wheel to the left side of the glass and aiming it at the back right; there are distribution issues to the bottom of some star grass.

    -Philosophos
     
  9. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for your tips, they're much appreciated. This site never fails to show me how little I actually know about this hobby!

    Right now I'm just using a diy co2 setup ,I use two 1 liter co2 canisters that I change up 1 every other two weeks to keep it fresh and I have the red sea venturi to break up the bubbles. The venturi I have is not very good though.. after reading about some of Toms diy creations I realize that it has far too many big bubbles.

    Ive tried to assist my co2 by having the outflow of co2 directed to the intake of the fluval (i even added a cone on the intake so it grabs a lot more of the fast big bubbles but the small ones shoot past and slowly rise to the top). I've noticed that the co2 seems to be getting trapped in the canister however, but when it does shoot out the bubbles are broken up pretty well.

    After reading your tips I investigated these needle wheel powerheads and they seem like a great solution, although size is always a concern with a tank my size (only 12 inches deep). Is there one that is generally recommeded?

    I'm tempted to try to use the venturi I have (on this page: http://www.redseafish.com/Prod229.asp) to create one of the diy jobs Tom created and add in a hydor pump to move the c02 around the tank.

    Do you think that might work?

    Thanks again for your tips!
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    A lot of people do the Rio's; it looks like the Rio+ comes with a fractioning impeller that's got my interest piqued. Normally I've done the ViaAquas, even the smallest size will work. You could probably even use a tiny power head if you blow it in a direction convergent with your out take current.

    Unfortunately I can't get the picture going; Mrs. Philo decided to pull an overhaul on the tank I've been doing it in, so new hardscape means new flow tinkering.

    -Philosophos
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Maybe this is the place to discuss this crazy idea I have. If (crazy idea #1) levels of O2 are close to 100% saturation, CO2 levels would be more stable. If the method of injecting CO2 also mixed surface water through a small reactor and flowed through a needle wheel into the lower portion of the tank an increase in the amount of CO2 is achieved while providing more O2 to the lower portion of the tank, (crazy idea #2). http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/6231-diy-co2-reactor-surface-skimmer.html
     
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Crazy, Make Me!

    Hi Tug, All,

    Perhaps not so crazy. :rolleyes:

    Biollante
     
  13. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Why are you thinking more O2 would create more stable CO2?

    My understanding would be that partial pressure causes CO2 to stay in the water easier than O2. If O2 were to be increased enough to decrease CO2 saturation, wouldn't that just make it harder to attain non-limiting CO2?

    Just my thoughts; I haven't done much reading on the subject.

    -Philosophos
     
  14. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    On the subject of co2 in the water, does anyone know how long co2 stays in the water if not used up by the plants?
    Just wondering cause they say to turn off your co2 at night but if you left it on would the unused co2 that was diffused into the tank overnight still be there for when the lights come on?
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thread Hijack-Bad

    Hi,

    “I am so thankful that I am not one of those people what would hijack a thread,” he said dripping with moral superiority. :eek:

    Hijack over, moral superiority full in tack. :D

    Most people with pressurized CO2 turn it off 90 minutes or so before lights out, back on 60 minutes or so before lights on.;)

    Self-righteously yours,
    Biollante
     
  16. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Focus on improving your flow and a needle wheel / powerhead modification.

    I agree with adapting the standard protocol as Biollante points out for people with pressurized CO2. With DIY CO2 I have a quick connect that allows me to pull the CO2 before lights out. As fortune would have it, I was out of the house until 10:30 p.m. the other day and the CO2 was on the entire time I was away. It was one hour after lights out when I came home and the fish were starting to get uncomfortable, MTS hanging out at the top of the glass, etc. I'm sure if this had gone on all night I would have had stressed fish the next day. So, to answer your question, CO2 loss would depend on the amount of surface water agitation and saturation points but the simpler truth is plants don't need CO2 at night. If the method of CO2 injection is efficient at all, bringing it back on in the morning should get it to were you need it to be with regards to plant health. A less efficient DIY might not be a problem if it's left on, but I wouldn't want to risk it when the solution to the problem (as I see it) is improving CO2 levels when it's needed. Once you can do that then any amount you lose at night would be minimal. ;)
     
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