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So What is it About CO2?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Dabrits, May 7, 2011.

  1. Dabrits

    Dabrits Fraud Reported

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    Obviously, CO2 is extremely important to maintain a healthy planted aquarium. But what is it with injecting CO2 into an aquarium that makes it successful?

    Is it the size of bubbles that matter the most (very fine bubbles versus bigger bubbles)?

    Is it placement of the injection site?

    Is it how much the CO2 bubbles are circulated?

    Is it good enough just to have a bunch of CO2 bubbles floating around on top of the water?

    Is it better to have the bubbles somehow kept under the water (like having the bubbles injected into a sponge that "holds" the bubbles under water for a long time before they eventually get large, break free from the sponge and rise to the top)?

    Or is it a combination of all of these factors? Really, how do you maximize the CO2 injection? I've read different schools of thought on this and would like some more opinions to help sway me one way or the other.
     
  2. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    With proper light management Co2 becomes less of an issue, in high light tanks it's way more difficult to keep up with the Co2 demands of the plants. So always check your lightning first before considering Co2 methodes.

    If you decide to go with a Co2 tank you'll be wanting to dissolve most of the Co2 if not form a very fine mist. Also you'll be wanting to spread it as best as you can through the tank. Co2 is not homogeneous and needs a good current for it to spread.

    In my opinion reactors do their job really well, only negative thing is they cause quite a bit of flow loss so you'll need a powerhead or a real strong pump. Needle wheel props/venturi designs do their job even better, they dissolve alot of Co2 and the rest comes out in fine mist, also they create extra current which is real nice.
     
  3. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    CO2 helps the fish to go to sleep much easier at night. During the day, I try to maintain just one large CO2 bubble.
     
  4. Dabrits

    Dabrits Fraud Reported

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    Lol, so the two schools of thought that I have encountered other places, are the first two schools of thought presented here. The problem is, I can see how both make sense. And I know people who use these different methods, and they work. I just don't know with one is better.

    My CO2 setup is more condusive to making larger bubbles, and I was thinking that maybe I should try to install some type of sponge and allow the bubbles to stay underwater for that much longer. Unfortunately, I do not generate enough pressure to use most types of fancy dispersion devices.
     
  5. Hallen

    Hallen Guru Class Expert

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    Large bubbles go to the surface much faster and hardly dissolve. You can also capture Co2 using a lid turned upside down or something similar, alot of people over here in the Netherlands use that method with DIY Co2, this works reasonably good with medium lit tanks. Anything higher and the Co2 is being dissolved not fast enough into the water.

    Perhaps you shoudent question about what the best method is but ask what the best methoded for your tank would be :)
     
  6. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I apologize Dabrits. I was just pulling your leg. I really do not do what I said. I've used nice glass/ceramic diffusers with very tiny bubbles and I've tried misting with a Rio 600/800 RVT powerhead. Either of these methods (and some others) should work well in your 20g. A powerhead that is modded for misting or capible of misting when stock can be cheaper than a good quality glass/ceramic diffuser and still provide very small bubbles plus aid in circulation/dispersion of the CO2. You can do a search using "mist", "misting" and "needle wheel mods" and you will find many threads about this concept. Some studies were made and the plants find tiny bubbles (mist) of CO2 easy to use.

    I don't know if you would want a powerhead inside your aquarium. Anyway, here are a few threads that explain this sibject better than me:
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/4978-Gas-quot-CO2-mist-quot-films?highlight=mist
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/5001-CO2-boundary-layer-references?highlight=mist
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/3886-Another-method-for-CO2-diffusion-needle-wheel-powerheads?highlight=mist
    http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/5809-Needle-wheel-DIY-modifications?highlight=misting
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Each method will have a set of trade offs.

    This is true for light, CO2, ferts etc.

    I do not add any CO2 to some tanks and they are extremely healthy, but......there are trade offs.
    I add CO2 to another tank, again, same end result and a different set of trade offs.

    In all cases, there will be some growth............because CO2 is never zero really.........and likewise, there's some light and some nutrients etc.....
    The questions are really at what rate and what efficiency, and combination of plants can you keep.
    How much work, cost etc you wish to put into it, what type of scape you are trying to achieve?

    These are a wide range of opinions and goals.
    This needed defined before a best management approach can be applied.
    No one method will meet all goals, this is a bit more realistic.
     
  8. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Overall system STABILITY is the key.

    As Tom mentioned, some tanks do fine without CO2 injection (with trade offs of course) - these tanks are stable systems.

    A tank with CO2 injection that is unstable can be a terrible mess.
     
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