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Please help me find suitable CO2 diffusion method for my 60 G.

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  • Please help me find suitable CO2 diffusion method for my 60 G.

    Hi there,

    I have read through about 400 threads on this forum all regarding different aspects of CO2 diffusion . However i am still really confused.

    I have a 60 gallon tank currently with no light. I have been waiting for 7 months to try and set it up with sufficent CO2 diffusion. I am willing to try almost anything to achieve sufficient concentrations of CO2. When i do set my lights up i will have 1.8 watts per gallon of T5 light.

    There is all this talk about needle wheel pumps, ceramic diffusers + koralias to blow the bubbles around and also the DIY venturi to chop up the bubbles.

    However i can't decide which one will be the best for my tank. I want to hear which methods work the best for people with similar size tanks or just in general.




  • #2
    The simple answer is that ALL methods work well IF they are used properly.

    Each method, however, has it's pros/cons. You need to carefully review the pros/cons of each method and choose the method that suits you best.

    If you are just starting out with CO2, why not try the nice and simple DIY needlewheel approach? Tom has an article on here on how to take an inexpensive powerhead, snip the blades, stick it in the tank and turn it on. Really quick and easy and works great - that's the pro. The con is that it's not the most efficient in terms of CO2 usage (i.e. you will have to go and fill up your CO2 bottle more often). Great place to start though, I think, and you might find that you have excellent milleage on your CO2 bottle anyway.

    Personally, I prefer reactors. I like to have good CO2 economy, get as much out of each bottle as I can. The con here though is complexity and cost. It's more challenging to set up a reactor with it's associated circulation pump, plumbing etc.

    So, rather than asking what's best for your tank, ask what's best for you?

    If, as you say you are willing to try almost anything, I would probably start with the DIY needlewheel as it's so easy to do and so cheap (well, excluding filling up the CO2 bottle more often). Follow Tom's advice carefully on building one and keep adjusting it *carefully* until your plants are doing well.
    6' Planted Tank (72" x 18" x 20") - 4 x 30W T8 Tri-Phosphors - 2 x Eheim 2217 'Classic' canisters
    Flourite substrate - Ocean Runner OR-2500 + AM1000 - Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6045
    6.8kg Catalina CO2 - Red Sea Pro regulator - Swagelok B-SS4-A metering valve - Vecton 600 UV


    • #3
      Scott's right about your choices and which you settle on. I started out with a homemade, but under powered, reactor. I ordered a Rio 800 to boost the effectiveness and found that it was acceptable (at least for me) as a stand alone misting pump without modification. I also basically doubled the circulation with a seperate Koralia 750. My CO2 utilization did however increase, again just as Scott mentioned.

      Downside ... visible mist, buying CO2 more often.
      Upside ... I seem to be getting my outbreak of Rhizo under control.

      For the short term you could see if you can live with the mist. If not you could use the same pump later to power a reactor and you're not out any more money. You'll need to maintain enough circulation which ever method you settle on. Increase the CO2 slowly ... watch your fish and plants for indicators as to success or signs of stress.

      Last edited by pat w; 09-21-2010, 11:41 AM.
      Hard Hat by Day
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      • #4
        I couldn't agree more with what was said so far. I am currently using the mist method via a water pump with sniped impeller. It is about the easiest effective method to set up. Since water pumps are small, they are easy to hide and easy to move around to experiment with placement and circulation. It grows plants very well and has showed me where my circulation wasn't adequate. I have since added another water pump for additional circulation. When everything is set to where I want it, I will reinstall my reactor because the mist does get annoying to look at. I just have to decide how to hide the additional input and output for the reactor. I don't want to run the reactor inline with the canister filter. I didn't seem to use more CO2 either way. I use about 4 OZ of CO2 per week in a 46 gallon tank, bubble rate to fast to count. Since I've learned more about circulation, maybe my bubble rate with the reactor will be less. We shall see. Either way, it won't cost me more than an extra $1.00 per month.
        Last edited by hbosman; 09-23-2010, 12:40 AM.


        • #5
          "Just in General"

          I would offer my solution (MDMF) except IME, I think you would need a pump with a higher flow rate, maybe 120 - 240GPH.

          Ceramic diffusers get dirty, koralias are better used to improve water flow and surface agitation, needle wheel pumps are very effective and inexpensive way to understand the flow rate you need when/if you decide to try a reactor later.
          Last edited by Tug; 09-22-2010, 02:29 AM. Reason: What Gerry said.
          :encouragement: Roll You're Own:
          Greater Washington Aquatic Plant Association
          Mixed with a sound of water's murmuring
          a sensitive plant in a garden growing.


          • #6

            Did you come across this thread in your searches?


            You may have read TOO much lol It can be overwhelming the information overload...

            Take your time and pick ONE method to learn about even if YOU don't end up using it. ASk some questions, think about how YOU would go about using/maintaining that type of configuration. Then move on to the next..That way you get a sense of the differences and pros/cons of each method.

            I would research needle wheel first as this is very effective and simple to implement. Reactors are very common but maybe 'harder' to implement.

            Diffusors disks are also easy to install but require frequent cleaning....

            Please note also that a COMBINATION of methods may be required for success.. Just keep it in mind...

            For your size tank, I would buy a Rio powerhead maybe a 200 series size, DIY the impeller to needle wheel (easy to do), and stick it in the tank. If you don't like the mist, you can at least understand what we all are talking about..


            Experience is the key unfortunately. Keep at it and go SLOWLY with c02. C02 is a killer of fish and inverts if not used properly.
            Last edited by Gerryd; 09-22-2010, 01:20 AM.


            'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

            Current 220 scape



            • #7
              Thanks for all your replies.

              I would prefer to have as least equipment in my tank as possible, but it's sounding like the needle wheel diffuser is a good way to start. What are my other options externally?

              Would i need 2 powewrheads to generate enough circulation for the CO2 mist?

              Are rios easy to setup as a needle wheel?




              • #8
                As far as I'm aware the only external options, i.e. 'inline', are a reactor or the UP-Aqua atomoizers (I think?).

                If you use a sump you can drop pretty much anything into the sump thus keeping it out of the tank.

                For your sized tank I'm pretty sure that a sinlge powerhead will do the trick.

                Tom has an article somewhere about setting up a Rio to do just what you want.... I think it's a 'sticky' thread in this forum...
                6' Planted Tank (72" x 18" x 20") - 4 x 30W T8 Tri-Phosphors - 2 x Eheim 2217 'Classic' canisters
                Flourite substrate - Ocean Runner OR-2500 + AM1000 - Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6045
                6.8kg Catalina CO2 - Red Sea Pro regulator - Swagelok B-SS4-A metering valve - Vecton 600 UV


                • #9
                  what kind of reactors does everyone use?

                  Are DIY reactors the most common type or are commercial reactors the most common?

                  Can you give me some examples of some reactors that might work well on my tank?

                  I'm interested in an inline reactor at some stage. But how do you actually achieve this with an eheim 2213?

                  If i decide to go with a needlewheel, do i just drill a hole in the top of the pump for the co2 inlet?

                  thanks i really appreciate all your feedback


                  • #10
                    AM1000 would work ok on your size tank. Or you could DIY. Depends, it's your time + skill vs $$$.

                    It seems theres a fairly even share of DIY vs commerical.

                    Eheim 2213 - hmmm - I doubt that would push enough water through. I'd say use a dedicated pump of 2500lph+

                    No need to drill any holes, the powerhead will be sucking water in somewhere, just identify where that somewhere is and feed the CO2 hose in there.

                    6' Planted Tank (72" x 18" x 20") - 4 x 30W T8 Tri-Phosphors - 2 x Eheim 2217 'Classic' canisters
                    Flourite substrate - Ocean Runner OR-2500 + AM1000 - Tunze Turbelle Nanostream 6045
                    6.8kg Catalina CO2 - Red Sea Pro regulator - Swagelok B-SS4-A metering valve - Vecton 600 UV


                    • #11
                      I'm interested in the AM 1000 reactors at some stage but i think i will start of with the needle wheel method.

                      I've read somewhere that i can have the needle wheel pump externally and the output of the pump connected to a spaybar inside the tank. But maybe i have misread one of the many threads, i have skimmed through.

                      Are the diy venturis effective, or is that too complicated and not as effective as the needle wheel pumps.

                      I'm also interested in how Tom Barr achieved nearly invisible bubbles of Co2 using the DIY needle wheel approach.

                      I was also wondering if the most effective way for chopping up the bubbles with the impeller of the pump, is cutting each arm in half and putting holes in each arm.

                      How would i attach a spray bar to the needle wheel pump in order to evenly distribute CO2 throughout the tank.

                      Lastly what size pump should i use that will be suitble for my current diy needlewheel needs and also suitable to power a AM1000 later on if i decide to get one?