CO2 Media Videos
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Using CO2 removal media to remove CO2 from the air going into your protein skimmer is one of the most efficient ways to increase pH in your reef aquarium when too much dissolved CO2 is suppressing your tank’s pH. We already have some excellent videos on how to raise pH in a reef tank with an entire episode dedicated to CO2 scrubbers. Back in 2017, we followed a post by Reef2Reef user Velcro who described a recirculating type installation of a CO2 scrubber that results in a much more efficient use of the CO2 removal media compared to the traditional installation. Recirculating BETA vs. Traditional CO2 Scrubbers A standard CO2 scrubber installation on your protein skimmer pulls air from the room around your tank so it is constantly scrubbing new air. The result is often scrubbing way more air than is necessary to achieve your goal of increasing pH in your reef. In a closed off area like a fish room this may be less impactful but in a living
For those of you looking for the growth and metabolic health benefits of maintaining a pH of 8.3, scrubbing CO2 is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to achieve that goal. Presuming you are maintaining alkalinity properly, high carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air surrounding your tank is the #1 cause of low pH. Excess CO2 in the air transfers to the tank via natural gas exchange and creates carbonic acid which lowers the pH of the tank. An air exchanger on your AC or furnace is the best solution but it is expensive if you don’t already have one. Opening a window and/or doors for 24 hours will let the excess CO2 escape also and should be your first step in order to identify that CO2 is indeed your problem. If pH rises after opening the windows for 24 hours, then you can be fairly confident that excess CO2 is suppressing the pH in your aquarium. How to use a CO2 Scrubber Since keeping windows and doors open year around is not really possible for most of us, using a CO2 scrubber is an excellent solution that will work on any tank with a protein skimmer. The scrubber attaches to your protein skimmer air intake and contains CO2 absorbing media that will remove a vast majority of CO2 gas from the air before it enters your skimmer. This prevents the formation of excess carbonic acid and effectively raises the pH. The reason this works so well is because modern skimmers create a huge amount of gas exchange that exceeds what naturally occurs at the surface of your tank. As the CO2 media gets depleted it changes color and how long the media lasts is dependent on how much CO2 is being scrubbed. Here at BRS we have created a couple of handy kits with different size media cartridges to suit your needs. The smallest Universal CO2 scrubber includes the standard 10” cartridge, followed by a larger Jumbo Single Canister unit with x4 the capacity and then a Dual Jumbo unit with x8 media capacity. All of the kits come with 3/8” barbed fittings and tubing to easily attach your skimmer airline. If you need adaptors, we suggest the Kynar ozone fittings. There are a range of sizes and options including tees, wyes, and couplers that will accommodate the smaller diameter tubing on protein skimmers. The BRS CO2 scrubber kits also include a wall mount bracket or leg stand option to accommodate various mounting situations. In most situations, operation is as simple as connecting the reactor and watching your pH climb into a more ideal range. In some cases, however, it works too well and will raise the pH more than what you might like. To control the amount of CO2 being removed, you have two options. It can be done manually by adding a wye fitting and valve on the fresh air side of the wye. Valve back the fresh air in small increments until the desired pH is maintained. For the more technologically inclined, you can also use the wye fitting but attach an electric solenoid on the fresh air side instead of a valve. Many will just connect the solenoid to a timer so the air is only scrubbed at night when the pH is the lowest. If you have a pH controller or aquarium controller like the Neptune Systems Apex, you can automatically open and close the solenoid based on pH measurements in your tank to create ultra stable pH, 24 hours a day. When pH is too low, the controller will close the valve forcing all of the air to pass through the scrubber and increase the pH. When pH climbs too high, the valve will open allowing fresh air to enter the skimmer and keep the pH within range. One solenoid is sufficient but you could of course add two, one on each side of the wye for more precision control. We have used the ?” push-connect solenoid from McMaster-Carr in the past. Is a CO2 scrubber right for you? If elevated
Holding a steady pH as close to 8.3 as possible has some significant benefits in a reef aquarium. Specifically for coral growth, health and metabolic processes which is why reef tank owners shoot for this number. A vast majority of low pH problems are either because of low alkalinity or too much carbon dioxide in the air surrounding your tank. By definition, pH is a scale of acidity from 0 to 14. Alkalinity is the capability of water to neutralize acid and carbon dioxide levels have a direct correlation with the amount of carbonic acid in the tank. So the better the ability to neutralize acid and the lower the carbonic acid, the higher the pH we can achieve. . #5 - Maintain alkalinity properly Alkalinity is the number one parameter to monitor and maintain in your reef tank; more important than calcium, magnesium, pH and, in some ways, even salinity. The commonly recommended target of 8.5 dKH is a safe range because it allows for dosing or testing
Today on BRStv, we have another episode of BRS 52 FAQ where we answer all of your frequently asked reefing questions from our popular 52 Weeks of Reefing series. This week we are answering googlereasllysucks question: "Would running a hose outside to fresh air and a CO2 scrubber have the same effect? I already do the hose but still have low pH?" If you have low pH there are some limited options to raise your tank pH directly without affecting other levels, and many of them won’t be able to hit that magical 8.2-8.4pH long term. Usually, low pH is due to excessive CO2 in the ambient air that is very common to find in most homes. There are medias that will absorb the CO2 and remove it from the air passing through, that can hook directly to the air intake of a protein skimmer. CO2 absorbent media does need to be replaced regularly depending on the amount of CO2 it is scrubbing out and the reactors size. Running a hose outside is going to be the best all-around long term solution. S© 2021 Bulk Reef Supply. All Rights Reserved.