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Re: [AGA-Member] DIY CO2 injection

I don't think plants will be too fussy about gravel once
some mulm has built up in it. Great right off the bat are
Flourite, Onyx, and Eco-complete. There's no reason
Floramax shouldn't work well too, although I haven't yet
tried it. I think CaribSea used to market it as a laterite

Re a CO2 compressed gas tank, first find out where you will
be refilling the tank. If the operation there swaps tanks
as a means of refilling, it might be best to work through
them for the initial tank. If they refill *your own* tank,
then shop around, including online.  Customaquatic.com used
to sell 5, 10, and 20 pound aluminum tanks at a good price.
They also have a decent solenoid for $28 btw if you're into
the extra gadgetry. The extra cost of a larger tank can be
made back in the cost of refills -- for example, I pay
$9.50 for a 5-pound refill and $10 for a 10 pound refill.
Otoh, the larger the tank, the more cumbersome to handle
and the more difficult to hide from view.

So-called reactors, which are closed containers into which
CO2 is inserted via an "airline" and water flows in the top
and out the bottom, are the most effective as dissolving
all the CO2 into the water. You can make one very easily
out of a gravel vacuum tube -- since the bottom is open,
this has to be used inside the aquarium. However, a
water-tight design means you can have the unit outside the
tank where it doesn't detract from the tank aesthetics.

Possibly as effective is bubbling the CO2 in the intake of
a canister filter. Sometimes folks have trouble with the
filter getting airlocked, although this shouldn't happen
unless the media becomes too loaded with detritus -- since
most canister filters suck water out of the canister, if
the media is too loaded and restricting water flow, the
vapor pressure is lowered in the canister and gas tends to
bubble out.

A fine diffuser, air stone or bubbling directly into a
powerhead also works. This can be a very economical
startup, however, the more of the CO2 can be lost to the
atmosphere than with the other methods.

You can make an external reactor for a few bucks and a
little time and effort:


If you make your own, I recommend using epoxy to afix the
airline nipple or else use a 1/8 male pipe thread to 1/4
inch tube adapter. The smaller airline nipple has a very
small surface area in contact with the reactor so the use
of epoxy or a larger fitting can make a more secure joint.
Also, it is easier to disconnect the "airline" when
necessary if you use a thread-to-tube adapter than a barbed
or friction nipple. 

Good luck, good fun,
Scott H.

--- Michael San Jose' <sardinero@msn.com> wrote:
> Hi folks its me Mike from up here in PA. Figure its quiet
> and I can pop my questions in now. I got my new tank. 180
> gallons.
> I am not sure what the recommended method is for
> diffusing CO2 into the water is. I use to have an old
> Ehein prefilter with a hose going into it but it walked
> somewhere when I moved. Also best place to buy a 20 LB
> tank.
> Also what's the recommendation on the gravel. I am
> thinking about Floramax but not sure about using it
> straight or mixing.

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