Understanding the EI method better...

Tom Barr

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defdac;14217 said:
Ditto! =) I love posts by aquarists taking their time to test around and think about things. EI is bad that way since it's a one size fits all kindof method. That said I wouldn't have had a nice planted tank without it.


Well, no, not really.

EI is like using a standard for the independent variables.
You can add or delete various individual nutrients to see the effects/impacts on plants/algae easily.

You can delete out say PO4, or simply not worry about the other nutrients while testing PO4 very closely and critically.
This is because you have non limiting nutrients, so that reduces the work required and no need to test the rest of the nutrients, just PO4 as you vary it's dosage to note the effects on plant or algal growth.

That's namely what I did years ago and every so often these days.
It provides a simple rapid impact assessment/s for individual or combinations of nutrients.

Much less work than trying to dose and balance and test all 17 essential nutrients, which, truth be told, almost no one in their right mind does:)

I started testing what Tom said when he started writing at APD years ago because 1) all other aquarists just said "Do what I do because it have worked a hundred years" and 2) he could explain what was actually going on and the reasons why things worked or not.

Does not mean I'm right;)
But...... I'm closer than the guys before me.

[/quote]
I miss the small "hobby science"-test setups folks were doing prior though. They might not be that useful and they even might start new myths, but then again that is a fun way of learning things. Doing a method just because a great name like Tom says so is much less fun. Especially when the argument often is "because I have had a thousand tanks this way all looking great". I'd rather have a theory and a test setup than a finished "untouchable" method.[/QUOTE]

Yep, I fully agree.
I actually hate it when folks just take my word for it.
I'd rather them try it out, and see what they think.
Folks do hardly any experimentation these days, I agree there.
I feel all alone:mad:

What I hate the most?
Folks that argue and moan, criticize, but never do a single darn test themselves.
But are always more than willing to attack anything I say and demand 100% absolution and proof for every case. Such hypocrites. I know some other very well know plant folks no longer post due to this same deal. I have stopped post elsewhere due to this crap. Tired of it and it's a huge waste of my time at this point. Many expect an entire thesis in one single post as well!

Nothing is 100% in life, get the heck over it.
We can get progressively closer to 100% over time, but never attain it.

While I really laud Paul Sears and many of the others, many seem to give me credit for much of what they did. That's not right. I just added a few things and modified, tweaked the method a bit. Not really that much. Steve Dixon was the one that discovered PO4 made plants grow like made, I just thought it was high CO2/light/nutrients.

I knew my plants where growing much better than other folks, but I did not "know why", but I sure knew "how". So Steve dropped out of the hobby due to that jerk Novak, and I took up where he left off. I went back to school.

Some of the old timers have said what I did really radically changed things in the hobby and many lionized me for it, but I honestly do not feel I deserve any of that.

I just ask folks to try these things and set a test up and see what they think for themselves.

I want you folks to convince yourselves what is the most reasonable explanation for a treatment.

Don't take my word for it, I'm not Amano:rolleyes:
Prove it to yourself.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
Tom Barr;14229 said:
Well, no, not really.

EI is like using a standard for the independent variables.
You can add or delete various individual nutrients to see the effects/impacts on plants/algae easily.

You can delete out say PO4, or simply not worry about the other nutrients while testing PO4 very closely and critically.
This is because you have non limiting nutrients, so that reduces the work required and no need to test the rest of the nutrients, just PO4 as you vary it's dosage to note the effects on plant or algal growth.

That's namely what I did years ago and every so often these days.
It provides a simple rapid impact assessment/s for individual or combinations of nutrients.

Much less work than trying to dose and balance and test all 17 essential nutrients, which, truth be told, almost no one in their right mind does:)


BINGO! There lies the secret. I’m planning to use the EI Method to teach me what good growth and proper plant appearance looks like. Once I have that baseline I’ll be able to run experiments parameter by parameter to see what effect it has.

At this point I’m still getting my tanks in shape so its tough (if not impossible) to figure things out along the way.

Tom Barr;14229 said:
I actually hate it when folks just take my word for it.
I'd rather them try it out, and see what they think.
Folks do hardly any experimentation these days, I agree there.
I feel all alone:mad:

I plan to do exactly that. I’ve got a 10 gallon tank that started out as a breeder tank for Rams and morphed into another planted tank. I plant to run a battery of trials on it to see what limitations look like.

I wish more people knew about and followed the EI Method because it would probably greatly expand the number of hobbyists with planted tanks and so LFS might carry a better variety of plants and more supplies.

On the other hand, it was the challenge of working and struggle through the hard times that probably got many of us interested in this hobby in the first place. Or at the very least that’s probably what drove most of us to find the Barr Report!
 

Tom Barr

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Well, another issue that EI rules out for you, the organic fractions of a nutrient of interest.

Often times, the nutrient in question, other than say things ,ikme Cl, K+, are bound in the organic fraction of matter.

They are not bioavailable, DOM also reduces the bioavailability.

Most test kits folks use, measure total NO3, total PO4, total alkalinity and so on, this does not tell you much if you compare a tank with mainly/mostly old organic based water vs a tank that gets lots of frequent water changes and replenishment with inorganic fractions of the nutrients salts.

The other thing, you do not have to use a test kit to monitor and test the PO4(say if that is your dependent variable of interest).

You can simply dose increments.

So instead of adding say 1/4 teaspoon 3x a week to a tank(normal EI), you can add 1/2 tsp 3x a week.

Or 1/8 tsp 3x a week or 1/16th tsp 3x a week, or 1/2 teaspoon once a week and see how both frequency and dose work for your routine.

Once a week is fine for non CO2 systems, 2-3x a week is better for the CO2 systems.

Daily is fine also, but many are not around every day of the week/weekend etc.

It becomes a practical matter.


We really do not dose ppms, we dose volume of dry fert.
We can estimate how many ppm's we add using a calculator, but the amounts of KNO3 we dose is what we are really adding and thinking about.
Who test after they dose things every time?

No one, at least not for long...........and how many test for Mn? Zn?
No one I know in the hobby.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

kazooless

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Sep 24, 2006
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The Math Still Doesn't Work For Me (I'm sure it's me...)

Tom,

I'm your newest subscriber. I just placed an order with Greg for nutrients so that I can start the EI method. I've seen enough here that I trust that I'll get good results, but I must be misunderstanding something. I've read your EI article over and over again, and I still have this question:

Let's say no uptake, and you are dosing 1 tsp of 'something' per week (1/3, 1/3, 1/3). 50% water changes weekly,

So that's 1 tsp for week one. 50% change. Now it's 1/2 a teaspoon, right? (I'm trying to say stupidly simple with the tsp and such). Okay, end of week two you've put in another tsp, so that's 1.5 tsp total. 50% water change and now you've got .75 tsp. End of week 3 and you've got 1.75 tsp. 50% water change and you have .875 tsp. Week four ends and 1.875. Hmmm. Maybe I've answered this for myself.

In order to keep that math up, I pulled up an Excel spreadsheet and after 30 weeks it just gets to 2 and splits in half. Weird. I kept thinking that eventually you'd pass that and start getting more than the 2 tsp, but I see now that it won't happen. Cool.

I'm keeping this post, so that maybe someone else like me might see this. Cool.

So, is there a link in your site with exact recommendations of how much to dose? I've seen the suggestion of Chuck's calculator, but why not just putting a recipe out there? (probably one here I haven't seen yet).

Thanks!


Tom Barr;14029 said:
EI works for a few simple reasons:

1. It's easy
2. Requires no test kits(see #1)
3. It keeps folks on a simple routine(see #1)
4. It's simple(see #1)
5. It prevents anything from building up through large weekly water changes
6. It prevents anything from running out by regularly dosing 2-4x a week
7. It avoids test kit accuracy issues
8. It's very flexible
9. Keeps tank cleaner
10. I came up with it based on test kit readings and reference solutions

For modeling/estimating build up ranges, this is simple: you assume no uptake(realistically, that never occurs unless you provide no nutrients/CO2/light etc, and even then, bacteria will go after some fraction of it)

If you do weekly 50% water changes, and dose 30ppm per week of NO3, then the max amount of possible build up never quite reaches 60ppm ever.

Now 60ppm sounds high to some folks, but is it? Is it the same as NO3 build up from fish waste?

No, it's not, but many enjoy arguing with me that it is.
So I did some acute toxicity test using KNO3 with shrimp and wide range of so called sensitive fish. I had a LD 50 of shrimp only, no fish had any issues, at 160ppm NO3 for 3 days of exposure.

That's pretty darn high.
I've gone to 80 ppm of NO3 will no issues for about 5 shrimp species to date, this was maintained for about 1 week.

I'm not sure what you did with the math, adding 1/4 teaspoon 3x a week to a 20 gallon tank will never go beyond 60-63ppm NO3 if you use KNO3 and do 50% weekly water changes.

The tap might have NO3, or dosing errors etc, but these typically are not an issue unless you live where there are high NO3 is the tap(many do in the UK and Germany, Europe etc).

Now if you want more narrow ranges or less build up, you may do 75% weekly water changes or do 2x a week 50% water changes etc.

It's up to you.

Most settle on a weekly routine and larger % if they want more accuracy/less variation.

At 50% weekly water changes, this makes the math simple.
It'll never build up beyond 2x the weekly dosing.
Ever.

It's better to focus on the total you add for the week and then you can divide that into 2-3-4x a week dosing fractions. I like 3x a week because I am not here on the weekends. Many clients are not either.

So this makes it simpler to conceptualize.
The idea is very simple, but folks obsess way too much over nutrients and not enough about CO2.

Nutrient management is very easy, CO2 is much more elusive for most folks.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
The example below is from Tom's EI thread. The easiest way to do it would be to scale off of his numbers. Just take the dosing value listed, divide by 20 gal, then multiply by the volume of your tank.

For example, with KNO3 in 55 gallons you would dose (1/4)*(55/20) which is 11/16 tsp 3-4x a week (2 to 2.75 tsp total per week).

Keep in mind that this is for CO2 injected with very high light. If you're running with lower light or lighter plant loading you may not need this much...


Tom's EI Example...

A Typical Tank
A typical routine for a high light tank with low fish load:
Volume 80 liters (20 gal high standard tank)
5.5 watts/ gal. - two 55watt 5000K/8800K lamps
CO2-25-30ppm (I turn my CO2 off at night)
Canister filter
Fluorite (any porous iron rich material will do) about 7-10cm depth

A Typical Dosing Routine
1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 3-4x a week (every other day)
1/16th-1/32nd teaspoon of KH2PO4 3-4x a week (every other day)
Traces added on off days as the macro nutrients, so 3x a week, 5mls each time.
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/8 teaspoon after water change.
 

kazooless

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Why not K2SO4?

Bartman;14262 said:
Keep in mind that this is for CO2 injected with very high light. If you're running with lower light or lighter plant loading you may not need this much...

A Typical Dosing Routine
1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 3-4x a week (every other day)
1/16th-1/32nd teaspoon of KH2PO4 3-4x a week (every other day)
Traces added on off days as the macro nutrients, so 3x a week, 5mls each time.
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/8 teaspoon after water change.


Funny, the order I placed yesterday was for KNO3, KH2PO4, & K2SO4. I'll do a search and see if it's already addressed, but I am wondering why not the K2SO4.

Also, with Chuck's calculator, these amounts are more than double Chuck's recommended. Are his numbers to be ignored? I am guessing that we are okay with high levels of these nutrients because we don't want them to be the limiting factor. By dosing high levels, and using EI to determine what our max levels could be from what we dose, then the limiting factor is light and CO2, right?

Also, I would say my fish load is high, and I'm guessing my light level to be moderate. Any threads here that discuss the different recommendations besides the one example you quoted?

I'll start searching. There's SO MUCH to read here, it takes forever.

Thanks,
 

Frolicsome_Flora

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kazooless;14270 said:
Funny, the order I placed yesterday was for KNO3, KH2PO4, & K2SO4. I'll do a search and see if it's already addressed, but I am wondering why not the K2SO4.

Also, with Chuck's calculator, these amounts are more than double Chuck's recommended. Are his numbers to be ignored? I am guessing that we are okay with high levels of these nutrients because we don't want them to be the limiting factor. By dosing high levels, and using EI to determine what our max levels could be from what we dose, then the limiting factor is light and CO2, right?

Also, I would say my fish load is high, and I'm guessing my light level to be moderate. Any threads here that discuss the different recommendations besides the one example you quoted?

I'll start searching. There's SO MUCH to read here, it takes forever.

Thanks,

Chucks calculater, and all other calculaters leave alot to be desired in terms of accuracy and wotnot. The other reason is that without any kind of test kit that we can rely on, which is all of them.. it would be very difficult to try to be as accurate as the calculaters imply we should be.

By using EI, your supplying not high levels, but nutrients to a greater level than is needed in most cases, the water changes negate the problems of having one nutrient building up to any kind of excessive level.

You should also never be limiting your tank by CO2, if you limit by CO2, your going to have major issues.. algae by the bucket load, poor plant growth etc. Limit with light, by limiting with light, you can directly control the whole process from the very first step in the photosynthisis process, Light drives CO2 takeup, CO2 takeup drives nutrient takeup, which in turn drives growth.

So, by using EI, supplying good, STABLE CO2 (use a drop checker) the only thing left for you to worry about is lighting. Personally, I run about 3 watts per gallon of fairly old PC lighting, but Ive only increased from 2w/g since my tank has stabalised and Im getting good growth. The more light you have, the faster things will go wrong if theyre going to. If you start having issues, reduce lighting as it makes the other variables easier to handle as it drives the whole cycle.

One note about DIY CO2, I struggled with DIY for too long before realising that its just so very hard to get anything that is stable enough to provide good conditions. Im not saying its impossible, but it caused me far more trouble, time, hair pulling than its worth.. if you can afford to go to a proper pressurised system, do it, its the most important investment youll make on your tank in my opinion.
 
kazooless;14270 said:
Funny, the order I placed yesterday was for KNO3, KH2PO4, & K2SO4. I'll do a search and see if it's already addressed, but I am wondering why not the K2SO4.

The K2SO4 is for K+ and to a lessor extent S. There's a thread or two out there discussing it, plus Tom addresses it in his nitrogen and potassium news letters. He says (and please correct me if I'm wrong Tom) that the amount of K+ supplied through KNO3 is usually more than enough since the NO3 uptake is 4x that of K+. I'm going from memory right now, but I think it's on that order of magnitude.

Of course if you have a large fish load and/or over-feed you'll be adding N via NH4. If you decrease KNO3 additions to compensate, then I suppose you can become light on K, but Tom says his experience is that it's tough to become K limited with the EI method.

It sounds like several people are running without K2SO4 right now.


kazooless;14270 said:
Also, with Chuck's calculator, these amounts are more than double Chuck's recommended. Are his numbers to be ignored? I am guessing that we are okay with high levels of these nutrients because we don't want them to be the limiting factor. By dosing high levels, and using EI to determine what our max levels could be from what we dose, then the limiting factor is light and CO2, right?

I think Chuck's Calculator and several others out there have recommendations based on lower nutrient levels recommended by other methods. My experience is that these tend to recommend much lower nutrient levels, especially for Fe and PO4.

You should be fine following the higher levels in the EI method as long as you keep up on water changes etc... I've switched over to it and my growth has been much better and the algae is greatly reduced.

Listen to the comments on CO2 also. It seems to be the biggest and most common problem for people. There are two nice CO2 drop checkers on e-bay for about $20-$25 plus Red Sea has one that runs about $10-15.

There are many posts about why the drop checkers are better and how to make or buy a 4KH reference solution for better accuracy.

I should add that I switched to a pressure system after fighting with DIY for half a year as well. I think it can be hard to keep levels up for a large tank with DIY...
 

Tom Barr

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kazooless;14257 said:
Tom,

I'm your newest subscriber. I just placed an order with Greg for nutrients so that I can start the EI method. I've seen enough here that I trust that I'll get good results, but I must be misunderstanding something. I've read your EI article over and over again, and I still have this question:

Let's say no uptake, and you are dosing 1 tsp of 'something' per week (1/3, 1/3, 1/3). 50% water changes weekly,

So that's 1 tsp for week one. 50% change. Now it's 1/2 a teaspoon, right? (I'm trying to say stupidly simple with the tsp and such). Okay, end of week two you've put in another tsp, so that's 1.5 tsp total. 50% water change and now you've got .75 tsp. End of week 3 and you've got 1.75 tsp. 50% water change and you have .875 tsp. Week four ends and 1.875. Hmmm. Maybe I've answered this for myself.

Yep, you just figured out an infinite series. Good old math.
The fraction keeps being divided by 1/2 until you go to infinity, so it never quite makes it to 2x the total dosed for the week.

Now you do not have to dose that much or do 50% weekly water changes, that's just used an a decent example and routine that's fairly effective for most folks.
Easy to wrap your thoughts around.

You can do say 70-80% weekly, or 2x a week.
That will lower the build up to roughly 1.5X or less.
It does not tell you that you might run out on the lower end though.......just the build up.

That is why the suggestions are high, to account for any tank(almost), that prevents folks from running things too lean without approaching that slowly through progressive lowering and modifications to EI.
Most need not bother with that though.

In order to keep that math up, I pulled up an Excel spreadsheet and after 30 weeks it just gets to 2 and splits in half. Weird. I kept thinking that eventually you'd pass that and start getting more than the 2 tsp, but I see now that it won't happen. Cool.

I'm keeping this post, so that maybe someone else like me might see this. Cool.

So, is there a link in your site with exact recommendations of how much to dose? I've seen the suggestion of Chuck's calculator, but why not just putting a recipe out there? (probably one here I haven't seen yet).

Thanks!

Well, think about this, if what many say about EI, that the levels might build up infinitely, how can we ever keep fish tanks without plants? :eek:
Why don't the levels of NO3 build up infinitely in a fish only tank without any plants? Folks do 25% weekly, or monthly water changes as per suggested by LFS, I prefer to tell folks to do 50% weekly water changes, that was before I really got into plants.


Why would my NO3 not build to infinity there?????
Suddenly the common sense comes back to you:rolleyes:

But many still have trouble wrapping their heads around it.
Does not matter if you add 30ppm from KNO3 or from fish waste, it's still 30ppm added every week with or without plants.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

kazooless

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Was Reading Tom's Discussion on K vs NO3 Just Now...

Bartman;14278 said:
The K2SO4 is for K+ and to a lessor extent S. There's a thread or two out there discussing it, plus Tom addresses it in his nitrogen and potassium news letters. He says (and please correct me if I'm wrong Tom) that the amount of K+ supplied through KNO3 is usually more than enough since the NO3 uptake is 4x that of K+. I'm going from memory right now, but I think it's on that order of magnitude.

Listen to the comments on CO2 also. It seems to be the biggest and most common problem for people. There are two nice CO2 drop checkers on e-bay for about $20-$25 plus Red Sea has one that runs about $10-15.

There are many posts about why the drop checkers are better and how to make or buy a 4KH reference solution for better accuracy.


I have these threads configured to e-mail me when replied to. Just as your reply came in, just started reading this thread: http://www.barrreport.com/articles/...ratio-analysis.html?highlight=k2so4#post11061

I think it is the one you were referring to. I've a lot to learn, but looking forward to it.

I also purchased a Red Sea earlier this week and made a 4.5 KH solution. I can't believe the difference it made to go away from the bio-wheel to a cannister filter. I'm at about 30ppm of CO2 now. But I wonder if that will decrease significantly once I get my macros and start dosing. Can the plants start eating up that CO2 and reducing the levels? I'm curious because the amount of DIY I have going seems like I shouldn't have so much, but I do have a high fish load too. 12 bubbles per minute with the Hagen ladder.

Anyway, thanks.
 

Tom Barr

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Just follow up based on the other folk's comments about your CO2, look at the DIY venturi Reactor I have listed here in the article section.

Make one. Use 2 x 2liter DIY brews for it, changes these alternately, one one week, the other the following, so each week, you are changing one of them.

Place the outflow near good current that will blast the CO2 mist/output from the reactor around the tank.

Plug the powerhead into the same timer as the lights.
If the light, the 38w comes on first and goes off last, use that light's timer.

The DIY reactor cost 2$ or so, takes 15 min to make, and the powerhead is a Rio 180, runs about 9$ on line.

This will be much better than the Hagen thingy.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

kazooless

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Sep 24, 2006
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Will Do

Tom Barr;14282 said:
Just follow up based on the other folk's comments about your CO2, look at the DIY venturi Reactor I have listed here in the article section.

Make one. Use 2 x 2liter DIY brews for it, changes these alternately, one one week, the other the following, so each week, you are changing one of them.

Place the outflow near good current that will blast the CO2 mist/output from the reactor around the tank.

Plug the powerhead into the same timer as the lights.
If the light, the 38w comes on first and goes off last, use that light's timer.

The DIY reactor cost 2$ or so, takes 15 min to make, and the powerhead is a Rio 180, runs about 9$ on line.

This will be much better than the Hagen thingy.

Regards,
Tom Barr


I will do it! I have some of these on order for the 2-liters:
forq1721.jpg


I read about them here:
http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html

So, I'll be improving my CO2 system to a double 2-liter DIY with the reactor you mention this week then.

What still puzzles me is why I have about 30ppm of CO2 now. Before I took out the bio-wheel (Emperor 400), I had the CO2 indicator in for a few hours and it was blue. After changing the filter to a Rena Filstar XP3, it changed to green. I tested and retested the water I made with baking soda. I used a factor of 4 and then of 6 to do the test, and kept coming up with a hardness of 4.4 to 4.6, and when I plug that into chucks calculator, I keep getting 30 ppm. I think I'm doing this right, but I'm just shocked that I have that much with this little system.

So, can I expect that as soon as I start dosing the plants will actually 'eat up' more and then it won't be sufficient? Curious minds. I guess before I put in the better DIY system like you suggest, I can test it out for a couple days and report back.

:)
 

vidiots

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Tom Barr;14228 said:
So have you tried this using KNO3/KH2PO4?
Have you been able to culture GW?

I have not.
I've added everything minus NH4 and urea which rapidly turns to NH4 in water/aqueous solutions.

Actually I've been trying that recently, and my results so far are that not only do they not start a bloom, it's doesn't seem to be working well to keep the bloom alive. The strange part is that the NO3 levels do drop so I believe the algae is using NO3, but the bloom seems to slow and slowly go away without a small periodic dose of NH4.

The purpose of my playing was to try to culture the GW in the tank I planned on adding baby shrimp to, instead of culturing the algae seperately and dosing the tank with it regularly. Just trying to simplfy things by eliminating a step. Not working out as planned though.. Maintaining the bloom seems to require higher levels of things than I really want to subject the baby shrimp to.
 

kazooless

Junior Poster
Sep 24, 2006
24
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1
San Diego
DIY Reactor Done, Is This Right?

Tom Barr;14282 said:
Just follow up based on the other folk's comments about your CO2, look at the DIY venturi Reactor I have listed here in the article section.

Make one. Use 2 x 2liter DIY brews for it, changes these alternately, one one week, the other the following, so each week, you are changing one of them.

Place the outflow near good current that will blast the CO2 mist/output from the reactor around the tank.

Plug the powerhead into the same timer as the lights.
If the light, the 38w comes on first and goes off last, use that light's timer.

The DIY reactor cost 2$ or so, takes 15 min to make, and the powerhead is a Rio 180, runs about 9$ on line.

This will be much better than the Hagen thingy.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Tom,

Here's a pic of the reactor I just built. I coudn't remember at Home Depot if you wrote a 4" or 6" so I got the 6" and turns out it was the wrong one. I'm assuming it doesn't make that much difference, does it?

For the burp hole, I made it the same size as the suction cup needed for it to go in and then slide up. I made another hole smaller so that the cup could slide up just like those figure eight holes they make for the suction cup. So now, the hole is both for the burping AND letting the suction cup in.

So I have a couple of questions just to clarify. First off, little tiny bubbles are made by this and then flung out of the bottom, so that several bubbles are floating around outside of it and getting to the surface. You can see the white lines in AND out of the reactor which are bubbles moving. Is that right?

Secondly, for now, since it is easier and I don't have the double 2-liter configuration setup yet, I just put it in the easiest corner that is right by the intake, as you can see. The outflow is on the other side of the tank. Does this make a big difference? Would you strongly suggest putting it over on the other side? Or, is it okay to have it by the intake of the canister filter.

Thanks,

Kazooless

139225CB-9D84-4F05-A451-1805C81E9B96.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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The CO2 reactor sounds fine.
It seems to be working right.

You can leave it by the intake of the filter, but it's best to have as much current blasting by the bottom of that reactor as you can.

The level will drop inside the reactor tube and start chopping up the bubble after 1-4 hours after the lights come on.

That should be your goal.

This acts like a diffuser stone and a Reactor when it starts doing this and gives you a nice visual cue that it's working and doing the right thing.

Regards,
Tom Barr