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CO2 Scrubber - PH GOES UP


neuwave

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Well I've had a bit of a battle to get my ph to 8.2. Buffers, kalk and 2 part seem to get all my other parameters up but not ph. The same problem has happend to a few friends in the area. People have suggested to open a window or run the intake of your skimmer to the out side. Well .... that's a no go on those ideas. Just not happening.

1st - I live in Florida were most of the year the rule of thumb is DONT OPEN THE WINDOWS. It's 102-112 degrees outside with humidty levels so high you can drink the air. So closed/sealed homes are a must.

 

2nd - Cutting a hole in a house that I rent, to vent my skimmer wouldn't sit well with my landlord.

 

Some people I know have used so much buffer it appears to some degree have negative effects on the tank inhabitants. Some people have raised their alk so high that their lps seem to being bleaching out or receeding or even just stopped growing. Sps didn't seem to be affected by the higher alk in their tanks, just the lps.

 

So after some research and with guidence of a couple of other threads I made a diy co2 scrubber. One bucket of soda lime from airgas. I filled some empty RO/DI canisters and plumbed the soda lime canister straight into the air intake of my skimmer. It took about a day and half but the ph went up without a problem. I plan to install a second canister to help with the air flow because my aqua-c 150 pulls alot of air and one canister may not be able to handle so much air flow at once. Now the ph hovers around 8.1-ish so the extra canister should be able to stable out the last .1. So far no complaints, the media runs out when it turns purple and haven't had a hint of purple in the past 5 days. On the plus side, my skimmer even seems to work better with more skim and higher concentration of bubbles. :D

 

 

Anyone else try this?

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HecticDialectics

pH doesn't have to be 8.2. My tank as well as many others routinely hover around 7.8-8.0 with absolutely no repercussions.

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nor_cal_nano
no repercussions.

 

Not advocating people chase pH levels, but wouldn't a higher pH help coral growth? Or is it insignificant?

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HecticDialectics
Not advocating people chase pH levels, but wouldn't a higher pH help coral growth? Or is it insignificant?

 

Theoretically, but in practice, coral growth is just fine at lower levels. Randy-Holmes Farley even recommands just leaving it be down to 7.8. Unless you think low pH is actually creating some problem with your tank, I wouldn't worry about it.

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If alkalinity levels are high, I wouldn't even worry about a pH of 7.8. For example, calcium reactors are notorious for creating low pH conditions, but provide good alkalinity levels; so this condition isn't necessarily bad. Still, this is an interesting topic. Just opposite of this, I dose CO2 into my seagrass tank.

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phi delt reefer
Theoretically, but in practice, coral growth is just fine at lower levels. Randy-Holmes Farley even recommands just leaving it be down to 7.8. Unless you think low pH is actually creating some problem with your tank, I wouldn't worry about it.

 

 

+1 HD nailed this on the head. Unless you PH is swinging +/- 0.3 or more in a short period time just leave it as is. All systems have a natural balance and as long as ph is stable and within an acceptable range just leave it as is. Trying to adjust it too much could be worse for your system for large ph swings can be harmful to inverts.

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Socratic Monologue

neuwave, this sounds interesting. I'd like to hear how things pan out on this. What sort of financial investment did you put into this? Do you have any idea how long the media will last? Is is renewable/rechargeable?

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Guess no one has tried it yet. I've seen randall's comments on lower ph of 7.8 and he is right corals do seem fine. I've also kept many tanks at 7.8 and they remained stable. But I've always thought that the more acidic the water the harder it is to develop coral skeleton. Think of it this way, you could use a pc light to keep sps alive if at max height and with the best possible reflectors. Sure the coral may live but is it thriving? And not just surviving? But we all suggest to go with t5, mh and LEDs to properly light a sps tank. Better par levels with better light fixtures equals happier corals. Could it be? Possible? That we are just accepting a lower ph just because corals grow.

For instance check out the newest article in coral magazine that has an article about co2 concentrations stunting a reef's progress. Then reefs with higher ph and less co2 look to be thriving. We do so much to keep our tanks in pristine condition why settle for 7.8-ish. But no means am I advocating to dose and chase the ph barrier which could stress out the inhabitants. But consider if you think ph is a need for you to raise, a co2 scrubber maybe an extra chance for someone to raise without extra dosing. Just food for thought.

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HecticDialectics

I'd love to see growth differences between 7.8 and 8.2 in a reef aquarium quantified, but until then, I just know that I very very rarely see or hear about CO2 scrubbers. And I've seen fantastic growth from people with pH in the 7.8-8.0 range. That's why I made a point to say "theoretically, but in practice". :P I could justify all kinds of crazy crap for a reef tank in theory.

 

I think it's more useful to focus on stability of the big water params.. Ca, Alk, Mag, Nitrates, Phosphates to really see good coral growth. Keep Ca and Alk high and a pH that swings from 7.8 to 8 isn't a big deal.

 

 

Keep me updated tho! Interesting stuff!

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I hear ya. Well now that my ph isn't 7.8 any more and stable at 8.2. Kinda excited to see how the tank does. With all my other parameters up to snuff, I'm happy to see what new results will show. Also this scrubber does not stress the inhabitants out as much since I'm not constantly dosing extra to compensate. :D

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neuwave, this sounds interesting. I'd like to hear how things pan out on this. What sort of financial investment did you put into this? Do you have any idea how long the media will last? Is is renewable/rechargeable?

 

Cost was $82.00 for a 5 gallon bucket of soda lime from Airgas. This was the biggest expense but from what I have read, 2 canisters will last approx 2 weeks before a refill. The media is not rechargeable from what I've researched. It turns purple when exhuasted so you need clear canisters.

2 ro/di canisters - 2 x $15.99 CLEAR (Found one at a LFS and other from Reef bulk supply)

Empty Canister re cartridge - 2 x $5.99 to $7.99 (Reef Bulk supply)

Tubing and connectors approx $5 (Lowes)

 

Update - I added the second canister and ph is a rock solid 8.3. Totally happy with results. There is one strange thing that has happened though. I had a acro with stn. And as we all know an acro needs to be cut or it's toast. But IT Stopped! There is a single acro polyped branch that should have been eaten by the stn but it stopped short. Not sure what this means but you won't hear a complaint from me. Just a first observation since the co2 scrubber was installed.

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Amphiprion1

I use (and have been using) a CO2 scrubber, albeit a biological one. Algae and various plants work well for this. It also has the added benefit of increasing oxgen concentrations...

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I use (and have been using) a CO2 scrubber, albeit a biological one. Algae and various plants work well for this. It also has the added benefit of increasing oxgen concentrations...

 

 

Thats cool. I have a big refugium with various macro algae on a reverse cycle. But unfortunaley It's not enough wih the house sealed so tight from the outside heat. On the plus side my ph is a solid 8.3 which I'm excited about. :happy:

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Amphiprion1
Thats cool. I have a big refugium with various macro algae on a reverse cycle. But unfortunaley It's not enough wih the house sealed so tight from the outside heat. On the plus side my ph is a solid 8.3 which I'm excited about. :happy:

 

I've been having the opposite issue, which a reasonable protein skimmer seemed to fix. The biggest difference for me is that my plants are heavily illuminated compared to most, which is why they are so effective.

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I've been having the opposite issue, which a reasonable protein skimmer seemed to fix. The biggest difference for me is that my plants are heavily illuminated compared to most, which is why they are so effective.

 

I have an aqua-c 150 which you would think that would help but the saturation of co2 in the air is

my problem unfortunately.

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can you detail how you built, your scrubber, where you bought the materials?

 

 

Well the prices and where I bought my supplies are a few posts back.

I filled the ro inserts with soda lime from airgas. Bought screw on tube connecters from ro canisters to a T junction. I used 3/8th inch clear tubing.

 

e71a8522.jpg

c0108d63.jpg

 

From the T junction straight down to the intake of my skimmer.

59022dd7.jpg

 

Hope this helps :happy:

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Update:

 

The ph has remained at 8.3-8.4 without any changes. Alk has stabalized at 10. I haven't even touched the canisters and the soda lime has yet to show signs of purple. I just set up anther scrubber at my buddy's house for his 150, 3 days ago. Just got a text saying his ph has been stable at 8.4 without any extra dosing to maintain it. So far so good.

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  • 1 month later...

Very Interesting... do you work for NASA =) LOL

keep us posted on how this works in the long run... any noticeable difference "besides PH "now that the tank isn't so c02 saturated

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Lol nope no NASA job here. The cost wasn't very much, only the expensive item was the soda lime bucket. Other than that pretty cheap. I have noticed that my clam seems to be growing a thicker shell and corals encrusting a tad faster. The best partbesides increase of ph is my skimmer works alot better since it has more o2 to make bubbles rather than co2.

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  • 11 months later...

I'm not sure I understand how it works, if you don't mind explaining it in details.

Is it the same logic behind the idea of injecting ozone in the skimmer?

 

I experienced something similar about low pH, when I tried to reduce the noise by connecting the air valve to skimer's collector to container hose.

 

 

ohhk, now I understand what a "soda lime from Airgas" is.

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