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Co2 advice for a complete noob

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Wendy1B, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi, I am looking at taking the leap into my first Co2 tank. I am wondering, do any of you know of an online article or resource which is a Co2 info source for a totally ignorant newbie to the Co2 world? I really know nothing about the practical application of Co2 and what I will need to purchase to make it work, but I have a strong desire to learn. To give you some idea of what my Co2 needs will be: I'm looking at setting up approximately a 20-35 gallon tank 'high-tech' with Crystal Red Shrimp, a shoal of peaceful fish, heavily planted, with some demanding plants. I only have experience with a low-tech setup.
     
  2. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    SHAWN where are you?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  3. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Wendy,

    20-30 gallon with a 20"x 20" footprint? A tall tank? One challenge of a tall tank particularly for CO2 injection is the high volume to surface area ratio. You need good surface gas exchange in planted tanks, it is even more important with CO2 injection as the injection shifts the equilibrium and a good surface ripple and fair amount of surface area improves stability and oxygen supply.

    A couple resources:

    ASW magazine article on CO2 injection

    The Aquascaping Podcast has two episodes on CO2 injection

    Scape Fu may also have some information, but the old website is no longer up. You can find Scape Fu on I-tunes.

    A quality regulator and needle valve is important, they ensure stable injection rates. The method of diffusion may depend upon whether or not you decide to build a sump and how you do it.

    Once you make some more specific decisions on the tank and filtration method we can get into the specifics of your diffusion method. The regulator and post body kit recommendations won't change. Again, I really recommend GLA regs.

    A single stage regulator would do fine, but just so you are aware, dual stage (meaning there are two diaphragms within the regulator for regulating pressure between the tank and the output) provide greater stability as the tank pressure changes. Old regulators use to be horrendous for dumps of CO2 into the system once the tank began to empty and the interior pressure dropped. The regulators could not maintain pressure on the output side, altering the injection rate and causing serious issues to livestock. Newer single stage, particularly the GLA regs do not do this...but there is a slight change in the bubble rate as the tank empties even with their quality single stage regs. Good gas exchange at the surface prevents this from being a big issue as does awareness and some adjustments to the needle valve if needed. Easiest thing to do is just refill the tank.

    For refills, if you do not have an extra you can just turn your lights off until you get the CO2 back up and running. I like to have an extra tank so I can just swap them out and get the empty refilled on my own time.
     
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  4. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Wendy

    Other than all the useful info this is extremely important.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  5. Wendy1B

    Wendy1B Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I thank you for this info. I have a particularly annoying space limitation in my tiny, overcrowded home. The footprint of my tank can't exceed 20"x20", and so far, the best thing I've been able to find is this 18" cube with a sump. It is only 18" tall. The total system volume is 28 gallons; 21 in display & 7 in the sump. I am going to the last LFS in my area to see if they can order a 20"x20" for me that's not way out there in pricing. If they don't have any viable options, I think I will order this 18" cube: http://www.fishtanksdirect.com/red-sea-reefer-nano-black-28-gallon-glass-aquarium-set-r42101.aspx. I am thinking I'd add my bio media to the compartment with the 200 micron filter bag? Or maybe I'd have to add a divider in the larger sump area to contain the bio-media separate from the refugium I want to keep on an opposite lighting schedule of the display. I have a theory that since this sump maintains a constant water level, then the bio-media will be completely submersed rather in a wet-dry trickle chamber, so maybe I won't have to worry about off-gassing. I also want to have Purigen in the sump. I just don't know how to place it to ensure the water flow directly through it. I am concerned there won't be enough bio-media area. So I am toying with the idea of a freshwater deep sand bed in the display. I have much more reading to do before I decide on this, though. I am attracted to the idea of having the Co2 diffuser and all the equipment in the sump.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Wendy

    When I was looking for my last tank I saw several Red Sea tanks and they all looked very high quality.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  7. Shane P.

    Shane P. Moderator Staff Member

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    Purigen is just pumice stone right? They charge a premium price for something you can pickup at a garden supply store for a couple of cents!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Synthetic Polymers
    Similar to premium activated carbon, synthetic polymers such as Purigen have amazing adsorbent properties to control harmful nitrogenous products such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. They efficiently remove soluble and insoluble impurities to keep aquarium water crystal clear. But unlike activated carbon, synthetic polymers have unique properties that allow them to be regenerated once they have been exhausted. They can be used over and over again for extended periods of time.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumice

    Here is a little reading for you they look like two different products.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  9. Shane P.

    Shane P. Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, I made an error. I thought you were referring to Seachem Matrix, which is in fact a pumice stone. Sorry!


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