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Co2 Diffuser Placement Importance and Corner Matten Filter Flow?


DjangoAqua
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The two major questions with 1 minor question are:

  • Does anyone know how important it is to have their co2 diffuser have some sort of flow crossing it?
    • I've seen several tanks on big YouTube channels simply have the bubbles flow straight up and their drop checker seems to be green. I assume the height of the tank, diffuser, and bps all matter in this case. 
  • Do co2 bubbles need to make contact with plants in anyway or must the water be rich with carbonic acid?
  • Does anyone have any experience with efficiently implementing co2 in a corner matten filter tank?

I have a 10g tank, about 12" high, with a corner mattenfilter, and using the aquario neo co2 diffuser (comes with the diy co2 kit). I've tried to make it a master of none tank where I have caridinas I'd like to breed, a corner matten filter for the benefit of the shrimp, aquascaped, and becoming more and more planted. The two cases I've tried:

  • I have the flow towards the diffuser (almost at the bottom of the tank) on the opposite end of the tank. This creates a very apparent sprite water effect but does get the bubbles "rolling" which I assume is higher efficiency as more dissolves in water before it hits the surface.
    • My bps is I assume fairly high as with >1bps will turn the drop checker green.
    • Also, the plants near the diffuser obviously have a ton of bubbles and I believe this is co2 getting stuck to the plants. With this, I assume the plants in the back of the tank do not benefit as the co2 bubbles seem to be stuck on the nearby plants. 
  • I have put the diffuser within the PVC pipe for the matten filter to hope for a makeshift atomizer or at least hoping there is enough volatility of movement with the air stone bubbles + co2 bubbles to dissolve them. I've tried this with diffuser both below and above the airstone.
    • My bps is definitely >1bps but I avoid the sprite water effect. The drop checker does take an hour or two longer to go green and pearling seems to be more apparent throughout the tank. 

Overall, I think this is a pretty lengthy way of asking, am I crazy for putting the diffuser near other plants and should I place the co2 diffuser away from plants so co2 can't get stuck to them? Perhaps another diffuser that can produce finer bubbles can be used. Hoping for any insight or just an open discussion on this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have my sponge in one back corner, and my diffuser in the opposite corner - while I don't get near 30ppm (my drop checkers hardly ever turn green), I can tell plants throughout my tanks (10 and 20g) are noticeably healthier, and grow faster (maintenance is a big part of why I just do a CO2 boost vs full on max). And yeah, some of the plants get blasted by the diffuser, but it hasn't impacted anything. My snails will even hang out in the bubbles sometimes lol. 

I have a digital PH reader to check my CO2 ppm, and it reads the same throughout the tank. Having smaller tanks prob helps this - the sponge is enough to draw the CO2 across the tank. Plants throughout the tank seem healthier with the CO2. I tried a small powerhead in my 20g to get more of a current going, but that was in the summer and it raised my tank temp like 2 degrees, which I was not OK with. Maybe when things cool off I'll try again, and use a timer so it's not on all the time. 

I really like having a PH meter to quickly check my CO2 numbers, as I think drop checkers can be slow to react to CO2 levels. This is a great video on dialing in your numbers via PH and KH, it's really not that hard (I had to buy the API KH/GH test kit). Here's the PH reader I use:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01ENFOHN8?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details (and I got the storage solution too)

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Matty,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my somewhat convoluted post after it started to reach the depths of the forum. 

I was not happy with the PVC pipe aesthetically and performance wise and mostly because the pearling really only occurred on the plants closer to diffuser. Along with this, I'd have to really blast the BPS to get a green drop checker or > 1.0 pH drop.

I decided to experiment by removing the PVC + airstone all together and replacing it with a combination of water pump behind the corner filter, inline atomizer, and a lily pipe (the upgrade costing about $75 all together). With this and about 1-2 bps, I am able to get the 1.0 pH drop and a green drop checker with a much stronger flow (adjustable as needed), the fine most of co2 per at the atomizer, and plants throughout the tank pearling (with the carpet showing the best improvement). I have a lone rotala behind a rock in the far corner opposite to the lily pipe and it is now pearling even while almost basically hidden. 

I keep the benefits of a corner filter for the shrimp, a somewhat improved aesthetic, and now a fully pearling tank. 

I'm sure you can picture how this looks but I'd be happy to upload a video. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 9/29/2022 at 8:41 PM, DjangoAqua said:

Hi Matty,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my somewhat convoluted post after it started to reach the depths of the forum. 

I was not happy with the PVC pipe aesthetically and performance wise and mostly because the pearling really only occurred on the plants closer to diffuser. Along with this, I'd have to really blast the BPS to get a green drop checker or > 1.0 pH drop.

I decided to experiment by removing the PVC + airstone all together and replacing it with a combination of water pump behind the corner filter, inline atomizer, and a lily pipe (the upgrade costing about $75 all together). With this and about 1-2 bps, I am able to get the 1.0 pH drop and a green drop checker with a much stronger flow (adjustable as needed), the fine most of co2 per at the atomizer, and plants throughout the tank pearling (with the carpet showing the best improvement). I have a lone rotala behind a rock in the far corner opposite to the lily pipe and it is now pearling even while almost basically hidden. 

I keep the benefits of a corner filter for the shrimp, a somewhat improved aesthetic, and now a fully pearling tank. 

I'm sure you can picture how this looks but I'd be happy to upload a video. 

Hey there,

Just took advantage of the sale going on petco. I ordered a side matten filter for my 10 gallon and looking to do a similar setup as yours. Would you mind posting a picture of your current setup?

Thanks and I hope it's going well.

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Hi @navy-tank,

Here's a 1 day video link (not sure why it expires so quickly). I can re-upload to Youtube as needed.

https://streamable.com/2yelhe

Filter works great despite being almost completely surrounded by stem plants (planted pretty bushy). It's been 6 months since setup and I see no signs of the sponge needing to be cleaned.

In terms of being great at its job, as mentioned in my earlier posts, the tank is an abomination of attempting to be a jack of all trades. Despite the filter working great, it's an eyesore for being a planted tank and I've had an extremely low success rate with babies despite it being design around having food available to babies (1 extreme blue bolt baby surviving out of 5-6 pregnancy cycles. This may be due to high gH due to fertilization).

Perhaps with a less cluttered or non-planted specific tank, the filter would do much better.

Feel free to ask any other questions.  🙂

 

 

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@navy-tank

I would do so. I did not do it and I regret it, haha. Considering I won't clean it for another 6 months, I will have to use some sort of plastic sheet block it off so substrate doesn't slide into the back area.

Good luck with the install! Not too hard. Cycled mine in about a week with starter bacteria. I have a pretty low stock tank so ammonia is pretty much non-existent. However, with increased shrimp population, I have no doubts the filter will still be more than enough to handle the upkeep.

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Video is helpful too!

There's a few things going on here:
A. You have an in-line diffuser (awesome)
B.  Your flow is going across the length of the tank as opposed to front to back (good)
C.  You have a setup where the CO2 is going out of your output....

 

On 1/6/2023 at 2:12 PM, DjangoAqua said:

Hi @navy-tank,

Here's a 1 day video link (not sure why it expires so quickly). I can re-upload to Youtube as needed.

https://streamable.com/2yelhe

Something like my situation using the diffuser itself in the side of the tank vs. yours with in-line is night and day.  On your tank I do see that you have bubbles on the surface of the water, not great, and you aren't using a spraybar output.  If you can, or if you have the means to use one, go for it.  Given the setup, you'd want to point the flow of the output to the lowest opposing corner of the tank.  Right now it's at the surface, so you have bubbles at the surface....

 

On 9/3/2022 at 3:26 PM, DjangoAqua said:

The two major questions with 1 minor question are:

  • Does anyone know how important it is to have their co2 diffuser have some sort of flow crossing it?
    • I've seen several tanks on big YouTube channels simply have the bubbles flow straight up and their drop checker seems to be green. I assume the height of the tank, diffuser, and bps all matter in this case. 
  • Do co2 bubbles need to make contact with plants in anyway or must the water be rich with carbonic acid?
  • Does anyone have any experience with efficiently implementing co2 in a corner matten filter tank?

First question, yes.  I can record a video of my setup, but it's based on advice from Mmiller and his setup.  I have a spraybar going across the length of the tank, the CO2 is on the opposing side as low as possible.  You do want a very fine diffuser.  I ran into some issues with this, which caused a lot of stagnation issues, pressure issues, and just a general weird experience trying to sort out why the high tech planted tank couldn't grow plants and was lacking CO2.

SO.... the general idea being, CO2 comes out of the diffuser, you diffuse that around the tank before letting it go to the surface.  Just like everything, you want good circulation not just things in water on one side of the tank.

Second question, I highly recommend using the PH testing methods as opposed to just using a drop checker.  My drop checker has been all over the place and my PH has been all over the place.  Given the two, PH testing is a lot more reliable and you can dial things in a lot better.

Third question, no..... they don't need to make contact with the plants, but you do want the bubbles in essence, meaning CO2 rich water to be in contact with your entire tank.  You don't want a fish to go swim into a wall of co2 and have an issue, but you do want the plants all along to the tank to get CO2!

On 9/3/2022 at 3:26 PM, DjangoAqua said:

Overall, I think this is a pretty lengthy way of asking, am I crazy for putting the diffuser near other plants and should I place the co2 diffuser away from plants so co2 can't get stuck to them? Perhaps another diffuser that can produce finer bubbles can be used. Hoping for any insight or just an open discussion on this.

Doesn't matter. You want the "dosed water" to go around the tank, in any circumstance.  If you had a tank with one plant and were injecting CO2, sure put it right next to that plant, but realistically you want the tank itself to thrive, not just one little bubble.

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