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CO2 by Electrolysis

Contents:

  1. Electrolysis CO2 System
    by Casey Huang <yhplsing/singnet.com.sg> (Sat, 1 Nov 1997)
  2. CO2 Electrolysis
    by Roxanne Bittman <RBITTMAN/hq.dfg.ca.gov> (Thu, 03 Dec 1998)
  3. Carbo-plus CO2 System
    by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com> (Thu, 3 Dec 1998)
  4. "Carbo-plus" CO2 System
    by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com> (Thu, 3 Dec 1998)
  5. CO2 Electrolysis
    by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com> (Thu, 3 Dec 1998)
  6. Carbo-plus system
    by krandall/world.std.com (Thu, 03 Dec 1998)
  7. Carbo-plus CO2 generator
    by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca> (Tue, 15 Dec 1998)
  8. CO2 Options
    by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com> (Fri, 29 Jan 1999)
  9. Carbo-Plus - again
    by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca> (Fri, 19 Feb 1999)
  10. RE:Carbo Plus
    by "Jody Heming" <jjheming/erols.com> (Thu, 11 May 2000)
  11. Zeo Max
    by "Ole Larsen" <oleo/larsen.dk> (Tue, 1 Feb 2000)
  12. Some "Carbo-Plus" answers
    by Merrill <merrill34/home.com> (Mon, 04 Sep 2000)
  13. Carbo plus
    by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/yahoo.com> (Tue, 5 Sep 2000)
  14. Some Carbo-Plus answers
    by "Jody Heming" <claybirds/erols.com> (Thu, 7 Sep 2000)
  15. Carbo Plus-New Lower Price.
    by Dgrim62/cs.com (Fri, 19 Jan 2001)
  16. carbo plus
    by Harneloot/aol.com (Fri, 9 Feb 2001)
  17. Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #834
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Sat, 10 Feb 2001)
  18. Carbo Plus
    by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/earthlink.net> (Fri, 16 Feb 2001)
  19. Carbo Plus
    by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Fri, 20 Jul 2001)
  20. (No Title)
    by ()
  21. more on Carbo Plus
    by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Fri, 20 Jul 2001)
  22. Carbo Plus
    by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca> (Sat, 21 Jul 2001)
  23. Carbo Plus
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Wed, 25 Jul 2001)
  24. RE: Carbo Plus
    by Scheele Juergen <juesche/earthlink.net> (Wed, 25 Jul 2001)
  25. Re Carbo Plus
    by "S. Hieber" <shieber/yahoo.com> (Thu, 26 Jul 2001)
  26. RE: Carbo Plus
    by Scheele Juergen <juesche/earthlink.net> (Thu, 26 Jul 2001)
  27. Yea, I did it! / More on Carbo Plus / (a.k.a. Newbie #3)
    by "Caleb Clapp" <caleb/cushingco.net> (Thu, 26 Jul 2001)
  28. Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money
    by "Dave Johnson" <dsj000/charterpa.net> (Thu, 24 Jan 2002)
  29. Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money
    by "Kefalas, Nicholas D" <NKefalas/SIKORSKY.COM> (Thu, 24 Jan 2002)

Electrolysis CO2 System

by Casey Huang <yhplsing/singnet.com.sg>
Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your input.

Sorry to disappoint you (I never get screwed) but I got mine
at less than half of the U.S. published price based on exchange
rate at time of purchase which was 6 - 7 months ago. I am
a bar-gainer not a screw-gainer.

I was attracted to it because it is based on the principle of
electrolysis of H2O.

When I first saw it on an exhibition and it was not for sale,
I went back and made one out of plastic sheet (as spacer),
stainless steel sheet and graphite plate the same day. I
connected it to a benchtop DC power supply and the prototype
was working straight away creating lots and lots of fine bubbles.
After running for a few hours, I discovered that the graphite
plate started to disintegrate and small pieces of carbon particles
started to flow out with the bubbles. Since the power supply has
constant voltage / current, overload / short circuit protected,
I could continue using it without problems. Later I lowered
the current to reduce the intensity of the process but after a
few days, the graphite plate still broke off in flakes and the
centre part became de-laminated. I called the agent and bought
2 of the demo units from the exhibition at slightly cheaper than
normal end user's price. One of the unit I have replaced with a
new carbon plate one month ago, the other one I am still able to
use it despite some cracks. Other than the high replacement cost
for the carbon plate, low CO2 output and occasional cleaning of
the scum, I don't have other problems. I feel that the
electrolysing process for CO2 generation is very promising
as an alternative to CO2 bottle (especially for people like me
whom do not like to be near or work with high pressure vessel).
Also one can use the same method to generate O2 which could be
used to increase the dissolved oxygen level to support
overstocked tank, help to oxidise organic waste in the tank,
oxidise the iron (I know George is going to say something about
this), maybe (disclaimer again) kill some bacteria. Kind of like
having Ozone / KMnO4 dosing.

By the way, I have read from "Koi Health and Disease" by
Dr. Erik L. Johnson, D.V.M. (I am not related to him in
anyway other than I bought his book - disclaimer again!!)
he mentioned in his book that there is a new product under
development called Oxy-Klear manufactured by NOGSYS technology
seems (disclaimer again) working on the same principle. You
can get some information about koi health and disease 
(applicable to people not keeping koi since koi are also fish
right?) at http://www.koivet.com. Get the book because it
provide more detailed information.   

I am not an expert in electro-chemistry (I am not trying to be
modest but disclaimer is very important before you say anything
on the internet) but from the limited knowledge I have
and experience gained through toying with my own prototype, I
think NISSO must have done some research on the power supply
(I suspected but never confirm the DC waveform on a scope) and
especially on the Carbon / Graphite plate in terms of density,
grade, particle size, strength, grain direction etc.. so that
the carbon plate can last for months not days.

I don't think one can get just any piece of carbon plate with
the same size as replacement. I do hope, someone would come
up with a replacement carbon plate that cost much less and last
much longer and oh before I forget self cleaning. In the worst
case, I can always use the NISSO control unit (power supply) to
power my 2nd prototype (improved version) which is still
cheaper than the benchtop DC supply I was using initially. 

If anyone have any experience / information about the NISSO
system and inforamtion on electrolysis please give me / us
(can I speak for others? I know Roxanne would be interested
also) your input.

Sorry, for the long post. Must be getting old. 

Regards
Casey Huang


CO2 Electrolysis

by Roxanne Bittman <RBITTMAN/hq.dfg.ca.gov>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998

I have some experience with the CO2 electrolysis
method of generating CO2.  I have used the Nisso 900
model that was available thru m3.

The design sounds exactly like what Bob described.   I
have a rather negative report about it though.  Yes, it
produced some CO2 in very fine bubbles, like
"smoke."  It was pretty easy to set up and the carbon
block lasted 2-3 months on my 20g tank.  I had to turn
it on full blast to get significant CO2 generation
though; and at full throttle, it created about 9ppm in the
tank -- a little low for my taste.

Also, whenever I changed the carbon block, the new
one gave off something the SAEs hated.  Sometimes
they jumped out of the tank!  Sometimes a few just
died overnight.  The ghost shrimp, if any, also died.   I
started turning it off at night (ok, I run all my CO2
things all night with no problem usually).  This only
helped a little.  I have no idea what harmed the fish
and shrimp since the unit is supposed to only put out
CO2, H, O,???

Since I couldn't figure it out and hated losing the
animals so frequently, I gave up on it.  It's now in the
closet.  I replaced it with a CO2 gas cylinder,
regulator, needle valve, ADA scintered diffuser, etc.

If anyone wants the Nisso 900, it is for sale for a lot
less than I paid for it.  Email me privately if you are
interested.

Roxanne Bittman



Carbo-plus CO2 System

by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998

Bob,

I've had my "Carbo-plus" unit since May (got it in Germany) and it has been
running since then!  With good lighting and mild fertilization with
"Flora-Boost", my plants are gorgeous!  The "plus" in "Carbo-plus", the
manufacturer says is that it will also reduce the carbonate hardness of
your water by depositing the calcium carbonate on the inside of the carbon
block reactor that is in the aquarium.  My plants have never looked better
and this apparatus is quality made!

The explanation that you gave below is exactly correct!  The price,
however, was more -- even in Germany; but worth every penny and much less
expensive than the gas systems in the long run!

Merrill

>I don't know if it is available in Singapore, but I have been using a
>"Carbo-plus" unit that comes from Germany.  It is available here from That
>Fish Place in Lancaster, PA (retail plus Mail-Order House) and our LFS in
>Randallstown, MD has it.
>
>It doesn't use gas!  CO2 is produced electronically with a carbon block
>reaction.  No CO2 reactor is needed as the CO2 comes off the block in a
>"smoke" in the water that is absorbed before it reaches the surface.  You
>don't need a Bubble Counter as you control the amount with a dial outside
>the aquarium; no pressure tank; no valves or gauges; the carbon block is
>replaceable -- lasts about 4 months if you use it 24 hours a day and about
>8 months if you put it on a timer with your lights; the carbon block is
>inexpensive (much less than filling a gas tank for that length of time)
and
>many other advantages.

Bob Wurster wrote:

I saw this unit at a recent Potomac Valley Aquarium Society meeting. The
output and dissipation of the gas was quite impressive. It really did look,
and disappear, like smoke. I don't remember the specific prices. The carbon
blocks seemed reasonable, but the controller was in the $150 range. The
Aquarium Products sales guy in the booth said that the unit works through
electrolysis, with water being split into O and H. The O reacts with the
carbon molecules in the block and voila. I guess the H2 joins the
atmosphere in your living room. It is a very simple looking device, a block
of carbon surrounded by a metal collar (electrodes for electrolysis?) with
a cable leading to the controller. The controller is a small box with a
single control knob and a an LED bar meter that indicates the output level.
I am guessing that it is simply a variable power supply. I wish now that I
had looked more closely at the point where the wires connected to the
carbon block/collar construct. Seems like there is a lot of DIY potential
with a device so apparently simple, but maybe I missed something. I can't
help but wonder what the constant charge on the water in the tank does to
the plants and fish, though. Anyone have input?


End of Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #684
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"Carbo-plus" CO2 System

by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998

Paul,

This is a different arrangement and you will have to see it to believe it. 
The manufacturer says , ""Carbo-plus" is the electrolytic reaction between 
the carbon and the water -- breaking down the water into hydrogen and
oxygen.  Then, the carbon from the unit is combined with oxygen to create
carbon dioxide which is utilized by the plants for superb growth".  

It is not just ordinary electrodes; CO2 is definitely produced as the pH is
lowered and the plants are easily seen giving off oxygen when it is on with
the lights.  It also reduces the carbonate hardness of the water by
depositing the calcium carbonate on the inside of the reactor (easily
seen).  This does not happen when the unit is turned off.  "Seeing is
believing"!

It must be a different arrangement than what you are thinking!  The German
hobbyists would never let them get away with an item like this that doesn't
work.  The German Societies would "blackball" this reliable company!

Merrill

> >It doesn't use gas!  CO2 is produced electronically with a carbon block
> >reaction.  No CO2 reactor is needed as the CO2 comes off the block in a
> >"smoke" in the water that is absorbed before it reaches the surface.  

	To put it mildly, this sounds dubious.
> 
> The
> Aquarium Products sales guy in the booth said that the unit works through
> electrolysis, with water being split into O and H. The O reacts with the
> carbon molecules in the block and voila. 

	You can electrolyse water quite well using carbon electrodes,
but the products will be H2 and O2.

	



CO2 Electrolysis

by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998

Roxanne,

The "Carbo-plus" unit is different than the Nisso 900 (which is no longer
sold here or elsewhere because they copied incorrectly from the German
unit.)  This unit has no effect on fish (I have 12 SAE's) in my aquarium
and the unit produces .29 grams of CO2 per hour.
With the "Carbo-plus", you can definitely see a change in pH and oxygen
being given off by the plants.  My carbon block lasted from May though
October.  This is a fine piece of equipment that is guaranteed by the
manufacturer to do as it says -- and it does.

I would like to see your unit in order to compare it and see where the
Japanese fouled up, but I don't want to buy what I have already been told
was "copied incorrectly".  Send it to me and I'll send it back to you.

Merrill

Incidentally, I think that m3 is out of business also.
_____________________________

Roxanne Bittman wrote:

I have some experience with the CO2 electrolysis
method of generating CO2.  I have used the Nisso 900
model that was available thru m3.

The design sounds exactly like what Bob described.   I
have a rather negative report about it though.  Yes, it
produced some CO2 in very fine bubbles, like
"smoke."  It was pretty easy to set up and the carbon
block lasted 2-3 months on my 20g tank.  I had to turn
it on full blast to get significant CO2 generation
though; and at full throttle, it created about 9ppm in the
tank -- a little low for my taste.

Also, whenever I changed the carbon block, the new
one gave off something the SAEs hated.  Sometimes
they jumped out of the tank!  Sometimes a few just
died overnight.  The ghost shrimp, if any, also died.   I
started turning it off at night (ok, I run all my CO2
things all night with no problem usually).  This only
helped a little.  I have no idea what harmed the fish
and shrimp since the unit is supposed to only put out
CO2, H, O,???

Since I couldn't figure it out and hated losing the
animals so frequently, I gave up on it.  It's now in the
closet.  I replaced it with a CO2 gas cylinder,
regulator, needle valve, ADA scintered diffuser, etc.

If anyone wants the Nisso 900, it is for sale for a lot
less than I paid for it.  Email me privately if you are
interested.



Carbo-plus system

by krandall/world.std.com
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998

>> >It doesn't use gas!  CO2 is produced electronically with a carbon block
>> >reaction.  No CO2 reactor is needed as the CO2 comes off the block in a
>> >"smoke" in the water that is absorbed before it reaches the surface.  

Paul Sears wrote:

>	To put it mildly, this sounds dubious.

It really does what these guys say.  I saw it in action.  It _does_ produce
lots of _very_ fine CO2 bubbles that are small enough that they _do_
dissolve before reaching the surface if placed near the bottom of the tank.

>You can electrolyse water quite well using carbon electrodes,
>but the products will be H2 and O2.

Would that lower the pH?  This thing does.

I'm not convinced that it is ceaper than a DIY pressurized system, but it
was pretty neat, and has the advantage that there are none of the dangers
of a pressurized gas cylinder.  Of course you do have potential electricity
and water hazards...<g>


Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association



Carbo-plus CO2 generator

by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998

	Someone asked that there be a follow-up to the off-digest exchange
on the CO2 generator discussion.  I have received information from Merrill
on the power consumption, claimed CO2 production rate, size
of carbon block and extent of visible gas emission.

	Based on the following:

	There is no visible hydrogen emission.
	There is no visible erosion of the carbon block
	There is deposition of a solid, believed to be CaCO3

	I am pretty confident that the stated mechanism for formation
of CO2 is not correct (electrolysis of water, with the O attacking the C).
Given the specifications of the device, the hydrogen emission should be
easily visible, the carbon block should be eroded quite noticeably, and
CaCO3 should not be deposited.

	It _may_ be making CO2 by:

	Ca++  +  2HCO3-   ->  CaCO3  +  CO2

	I would be interested to hear how well it functions in very soft water.

- -- 
Paul Sears        Ottawa, Canada



CO2 Options

by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/ix.netcom.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999

Y'all,

Just for the record, I am still having great success with the "Carbo-plus"
electronic unit that produces CO2 by electrolysis.  No gas, no tank, no
bubble-counter, no diffuser necessary and it gives off a "smoke type" fine,
fine bubbles-- adjustable as to the amount of CO2 and the carbon block that
it utilizes lasts for months and months.  It can be hooked up to your light
timer to go on and off with the lights and no worry about getting my CO2
refilled.  $279.00 at That Fish Place (and probably other mail order
houses).  The plant growth is fabulous!

For what it is worth, I'm running this unit with Triton lights and now have
two 70 gallon aquariums with "Carbo-plus".  Both aquariums are highly
successful and both have laterite substrate. pH stays around 6.8 with just
a plain old clam shell in the aquarium.  I take plants to my LFS weekly
from these aquariums.

Merrill Cohen
AGA


Carbo-Plus - again

by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca>
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999

	After the initial postings on this (back in December), Merrill and
I had a fairly lengthy e-mail exchange, and he was kind enough to fax
me the printed specifications of the unit.  From the specifications
and various observations of Merrill's, I can say quite definitely that
the unit does not produce CO2 electrolytically in the manner claimed.
If it did, the hydrogen produced would provide a very obvious bubble
stream (not just "smoke") and would present a significant explosion
danger.  What is more, CaCO3 would not be deposited.

	If CaCO3 is being deposited, then some CO2 is being generated
by:		2HCO3-   ->  CO3--  +  CO2  +  H2O

	Given that my CO2 cylinder has been providing CO2 (to one tank)
for over three years on its first fill, and that I haven't had to adjust
anything for months, I can't see how th Carbo-Plus unit could possibly
compete with the cost of cylinder CO2, or reduce the amount of work
involved.

	I note that the fax from Merrill came from "Aquarium Products",
with a Baltimore, MD, USA, area code.  Are you in the business of selling
these things, Merrill?

	As I said at the beginning:  Caveat emptor.

- -- 
Paul Sears        Ottawa, Canada


RE:Carbo Plus

by "Jody Heming" <jjheming/erols.com>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2000

I have had one for 6 weeks and for ease of use I love it.  I know the
general consensus here is that it isn't worth the money, but it does work
and is much less equipment/hassle IMHO...  If you want to know more you can
feel free to email me.  Hope this helps!!

Jody

jjheming@erols.com


Zeo Max

by "Ole Larsen" <oleo/larsen.dk>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000

The Zeo Max is from AquaTechnic (phone 7144 862873, and no, I´m not a
dealer,
associate or friend)  in Germany. A "bottle" is connected by a airtube  into
the tank. At the end of the hose is the membrane ( one side facing the hose,
one facing the water ) The partial pressure(?) (over the membrane) adjusts
the dripping (in the bottle) of HCl on CaCO3.
It is said to work well, and it is supposed to be the cheapest way to get
automatic CO2 injection. The only reason I don´t use it is the fact that
I´ve found a easier and cheaper way.
They produce ion-exchangers as well and the prices ( in Denmark ) are OK
( a Kati S 2 - for 9000 hardness/liters of carbonate hardness is 899 Kr -
divide by
6-7 for USD )
Ole
oleo@larsen.dk


Some "Carbo-Plus" answers

by Merrill <merrill34/home.com>
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2000

William Beckerman asked:
Cornelius, NC
<Thanks for the info Merrill, could you give us a little more on the 
"Carbo Plus"? Like what size tank and how it is planted, how long
between 
carbon blocks, any downside to the unit? Is the controller a PH 
controller or does it just regulate the C02 output? Last, how would you 
say it compares it to a CO2 pressure tank system? 
I've been thinking about a CO2 system, but am nervous about a big fish 
kill if I don't use an electronic regulator.>

Reply:
I've been using the "Carbo-Plus" for well over two years (maybe longer)
and I'm very pleased with my aquatic plant growth of a great variety of
plants in two different aquariums.  Claus Christensen and Karen Randall
have seen one of these aquariums with the lush plant growth.

I like the unit because I don't have to get my CO2 pressure tanks filled
and most places here don't want to service these 8 pound bottles.  When
I first saw this "Carbo-Plus" unit in Germany, I was quite impressed and
purchased my original one. My plants flourished just as well, or better,
as with the CO2 gas unit.  So, I bought another and got the same
results.

I find it no more expensive than the gas unit, perhaps much less
expensive!  It is connected to the timer that controls my lights.  In a
90 gallon aquarium, the replaceable carbon block lasts approximately 6
months.  The only checking that you have to do is pH -- in the event
that you might be getting too much CO2.  The controller controls the
amount of CO2 that is being produced.

It does soften the water and deposits the calcium material on the
stainless steel outer casing that holds the carbon block.

Changing the carbon block is not difficult and it comes with a contact
piece of metal to also be replaced.  It costs me less than traveling
around trying to get my CO2 gas tanks filled.

I now have no association with the company that sells these units, nor
do I benefit financially from it.  When I like something different, I
like to tell about it.  After all, I've been a hobbyist for over 65
years and I want more people to love the hobby by making it just a
little easier and, perhaps, better.

Hopefully, I've answered all your questions and will be pleased to
respond to any others.

Merrill Cohen
Pikesville, MD


Carbo plus

by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000

Merrill wrote:
 >I like the unit because I don't have to get my CO2 pressure 
>tanks filled
>and most places here don't want to service these 8 pound 
>bottles. 

I'd have a hard time getting those sizes(8lbs) too:)
Is there something preventing use of standard
sizes(5-10-20-50lbs etc)?

 >When
>I first saw this "Carbo-Plus" unit in Germany, I was quite 
>impressed and
>purchased my original one. My plants flourished just as well,
>or 
>better,
>as with the CO2 gas unit.  So, I bought another and got the
same
>results.

I found that if the gas is injected well I had the same results.
The CP unit dissolves it very nicely IMO. This may be a CO2
amount/injection/this system works well for *your* maintenance
routine kinda-thing?

>I find it no more expensive than the gas unit, perhaps much
less
>expensive! 

Uhhh? Not in this country:)I can set up a nice gas system for
much less(like half based on MO places) and fill the tanks(that
last about the same amount)for about 4 times less the cost for
the same amount of Carbon blocks.

 >t is connected to the timer that controls my 
>lights.  In a
>90 gallon aquarium, the replaceable carbon block lasts 
>approximately 6
>months.

So does a 10lb tank. Refill=12$ here in CA. Amount used is
likely close to most folk's usage. The blocks were more.

  The only checking that you have to do is pH -- in the 
>event
>that you might be getting too much CO2.  The controller
>controls 
>the
>amount of CO2 that is being produced.

And a needle valve does the equivilent thing.

>t does soften the water and deposits the calcium material on 
>he
>sainless steel outer casing that holds the carbon block.

But how much softening is done in how long? I didn't see it but
I also do big water changes often & the KH was very stable as a
result so I could have over looked this item very easily(oops!)

>hanging the carbon block is not difficult and it comes with a 
>ontact
>Piece of metal to also be replaced.  It costs me less than 
>traveling
>around trying to get my CO2 gas tanks filled.

This part is nice. But the CO2 gas place is about a block away
from me:)

My big beef with the unit is cost and add-ons. I cannot daisy
chain or add extensions to a single unit really like I can with
a gas system. With a gas set up, if you do decide to get another
tank needing CO2(how many of you only want one plant tank:))all
you need is a "T" and a needle valve and your set for 25$ or so.
Lots cheaper than the 279$(Mail Order) for the CP unit if you
need another one:)
Merrill has two and he likes them. I tried one once.
It's a cool idea and a neat item to have IMO but the main thing
for me was the dissolving issue was great. 
I didn't pay much for my CO2 tank/reg or needle valve and these
are easily found throughout the USA and parts are available and
prices are easier to haggle over since there are many companies
that make them unlike the CP unit.

I recently had a client that had a ballast explode(inside the
wall!) from a well respected German company(Giesmann-Pet
Wharehouse sells them)that cost an arm and leg(and two fingers)
and we have not had the best of luck getting the part shipped
over here nor trying to deal with three companies that sell and
distribute the products as it changes hands to get to this
market over here.
I fear the same type of thing(finding parts)could happen with
this unit potentially if something does go wrong with it.
Fortunally, the Electrician installed the ballast so it's his
butt but I still have to get the part and it's not something I
wish to do again. Local/Domestic is good. We have good
substrates here, CO2, tanks and stands, lighting and so on. 

My cost for 4 plant tanks with CO2 gas came to a total of 45$
for a used 10lb CO2 tank, 19$ x 4 for the needle valves, 55$ for
the regulator and about 20$ for the reactors/powerheads ea.
Now I can haggle and look around for the cheapest prices here
and there and with lots of help from some friends here you too
can find cheap prices or also get the stuff from Dave Gomberg
for peanuts.
The same amount of money could get one Carbo Plus unit.
If I want to add more it doesn't cost much(50$each) for semi
automated control using the canned CO2.
Seems that this might be a good item for a company here to try
to make cheaper as it does work well IMO. The softening aspect
may help folks with harder waters also but so will some plants
such as Egeria:)
I did not have the unit long so I cannot give the best review of
it but these are just some observation I found.
Take care,
Regards, 
Tom Barr 


__________________________________________________


Some Carbo-Plus answers

by "Jody Heming" <claybirds/erols.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000

Jody, if you're reading this, what do you think of your Carbo-Plus system
now?


Well David, I wish I could say I was as happy as Merrill is.  From my
experience, I would say she is lucky.  I deal with a big aquarium store in
this area  (The Aquarium Center in Randallstown), and they had the same
trouble as I did after replacing the carbon block the unit wouldn't work
properly.  I had to replace the entire bracket that holds the block, and I
wasn't crazy about that.  I still have mine, but use it as a back up to a
gas system.  (In case I run out over a holiday or something like that)  It
seems to work better in areas with hard water from what I've been able to
tell from talking to some people.  I have a KH of 3 out of the tap, and I
wasn't crazy about having it go to 2 from the carbo-plus.  It seemed to
level out and not be as effective after 3 months in my tank, (could be my
prejudice) and it never decreased the pH below 7.0-7.2, which wasn't low
enough for my situation.  (Fish breeding, ect.).  I have recommended it in
tanks that are 50 gallon and less, but I am no expert and am speaking from
my experience only.  Feel free to email me with any further questions or
comments.   Good Luck!!

Jody
Ellicott City, MD


Carbo Plus-New Lower Price.

by Dgrim62/cs.com
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001

Hi everyone,
This is just an FYI. There has been some discussion about this unit so I 
thought anyone wanting to try it would be interested in this. Pet Solutions, 
a mail order company many of you are probably familiar with, just mailed out 
their spring 2001 Catalog. Their regular price for the full Carbo-Plus unit 
has dropped to $149.00, and is currently on sale for $139.00. Someone from 
the company told me they have another distributor. Sounds like the same 
scenario when Eheim Filter prices dropped considerably a couple years ago. 
I've never seen this priced at less than $259.00 or so.Their URL is 
www.petsolutions.com, and their tel# is 1-800-737-3868. I have no affiliation 
with this company.
Regards,
Dave 


carbo plus

by Harneloot/aol.com
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001

yes, i too have noticed that the carbo-plus has a hard time lowering
pH.......i run mine at about five green bars for the 11 hours that the
lights
are on and the plants are doing wonderfully (i can even see them
pearling in
the evening) so i assume there is enough CO2 in solution....is this a
wrong
assumption? (though when i meassure it with a Lamont CO2 test, it comes
out
as 8ppm, a bit low right?) my pH is currently 7, so i can live with
that, and
my fish and plants seem fine with it too....my carbo unit is simply in
my
tank right under the outflow bar of my cannister filter...

anyone else?

my tank-
pH - 7
KH - 4
GH - 2
90 gallon
200 watts of pwer compacts


- - -john guild


Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #834

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001

Scheele Juergen wrote:

> I may find "heavy resistance" here on the list by saying that
> CO2 and in particular the "Carbo Plus" unit is not there for <lowering>
> the pH !

I'll have you know that I'm *not* heavy for my height and age! :)

Even if the Carbo Plus unit isn't being used for the express purpose of
lowering the pH, it should have that effect.

> You can "adjust" the pH with CO2 slightly, others on this list
> may elaborate further on this, but the main point is,
> check your parameters, something is wrong !
> KH bigger then GH is a big no, no !
> KH should always be 70% - 80% of the GH !

Why is that?  Alkalinity (KH) in my water is seven or eight times higher
than my GH and I've never attributed problems to that ratio.  I *really*
don't see a reason for prescribing KH that is 70% to 80% of the GH.

And back to the original question...

John Guild wrote:

> yes, i too have noticed that the carbo-plus has a hard time lowering
> pH.......i run mine at about five green bars for the 11 hours that the
> lights
> are on and the plants are doing wonderfully (i can even see them
> pearling in
> the evening) so i assume there is enough CO2 in solution....is this a
> wrong
> assumption? (though when i meassure it with a Lamont CO2 test, it comes
> out
> as 8ppm, a bit low right?).

If the plants are doing well, then apparently 8ppm is enough.  I don't
know any more what I get in mine.  When last I checked (a couple years
ago) the CO2 was 8-10 ppm and the plants were just fine.

But then, I'm using yeast-generated CO2.  I don't have much up-front
cost invested in a system that won't give me more than 8 ppm CO2.


Roger Miller


Carbo Plus

by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/earthlink.net>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001

> From what you wrote to me, it seems as though you had a Japanese copy or
> some other copy of the German "Carbo-Plus" so I don't think it fair to
> give the impression that you didn't like the original product.  FWIW, I
> think it is so great -- no problems, just carbon for my plants which are
> growing beautifully.  The "Carbo-Plus" is extremely reliable and long
> lasting!  (I have nothing to do with the company!)
> 
> Merrill Cohen
> Pikesville, MD

You had got me going on this product. So I tried it. I did in fact get the
"Carbo Plus". That's what it said and it had the German/English translations
etc. (No "Hecho en Mexico") so unless someone else is selling a German made
product called "Carbo Plus" I doubt it is copy. It is very simple to use
IMO. I did not get the impression "long lasting" considered what the
literature said. Average use for the carbon block was 8-10 weeks in 60
gallon tank according to the info. The block needed to seasoned for 2 days
before placing into your tank. I really don't like that part. My water is
rather rock hard and the unit played havoc on my pH probe anywhere I put it.
The unit was larger than I thought as well. I think it can still be a good
method but it's not going to get any converts until the cost of the block
comes down and the unit is smaller. I don't like being without CO2 until the
unit/block is seasoned any time a refill is needed. Having multiple tanks or
flexibility concerns also, I cannot say to someone to get such a unit if
they plan on having more than one planted tank with CO2.
Good idea though. I like some aspects certainly and the affect on the plants
seemed good but so does any source of CO2. I certainly respect those who get
one but it's not for me. Gas tanks are still much cheaper in the short and
long run. Bigger and uglier also:)

I think the unfair part might be the fact I've used Canned CO2 for many
years and am go at adding it and know the system well. The Carbo Plus unit I
cannot say this based on experience whereas you may. I did use it for about
a week. But for the beginner, I think the Carbo plus system would be easier
hands down to set up and deal with. But it does cost more.

Regards, 
Tom Barr
 
 


Carbo Plus

by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001

Folks,

I don't own a CarboPlus, I've never used one and I don't have an opinion
about them.  Paul Sears has a theory about how they work, and I want to
propose another idea.  I think they work pretty much like the electrolysis
CO2 system sold by M3, but differ in their construction.  The
Marine-Monsters web site provides a good description of how the
electrolysis CO2 system works.


(No Title)

by

The unit works by maintaining a voltage between the anode and cathode that
is sufficient to break down water.  

The half reaction at the cathode is

4H2O + 4e- -> 4OH- + 2H2

The half reaction at the carbon anode is

2H2O + C -> CO2 + 4H+ + 4e-

Both the hydrogen and the CO2 should be produced as gas.  The reaction
produces 2 molecules of hydrogen gas for each molecule of CO2 produced.  
Of the visible bubbles produced, only 1/3 are CO2 bubbles.  The rest are
hydrogen gas.

Ideally, the 4 hydroxide ions (OH-) and the 4 hydrogen ions (H+) would
combine to form 4 water molecules.  However, the two ions are not produced
in the same location, so there won't be a 100% recombination to form
water.  Instead, some of the OH- will react with bicarbonate to form
carbonate.  In most water that will cause a calcium carbonate crust to
form on or near the cathode.  An equivalent amount of the hydrogen ion
produced must also react with bicarbonate.  The effect of both reactions
is to lower the GH and the alkalinity of the water, with a larger decline
observed in the alkalinity than in the GH.  The actual amount of decline
will be highly variable.

A pH probe placed at different points near the working surface of the
CarboPlus unit should show very large swings in pH.  The pH variations
may be negligible as little as an inch away from the unit.

The hydrogen gas produced by the unit should have some effects of its own.
Dissolved hydrogen gas is like candy to anaerobic bacteria, so a tank with
a CarboPlus unit may support some real active anaerobic activity.
Further, the hydrogen gas probably should be picked up by an ORP meter; I
imagine that truly bizzare (low) readings are possible.

I don't know if this will help anybody get more out of their CarboPlus,
but it might help explain some of it's behavior.  In particular it might
explain how you can get a nice steady stream of bubbles off the unit
without having much CO2 production.  Only about 1/3 of the bubbles are
CO2.  This also might explain the water-softening effect that some people
have observed.  It doesn't explain why some people seem to get better
results from hard water then from soft water.


Roger Miller


more on Carbo Plus

by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001

Something that occured to me after I sent my first letter on this topic...

The CO2-producing reaction at the anode:

2H2O + C -> CO2 + 4H+ + 4e-

is actually two reactions.

The first reaction is the oxidation of water:

2H2O -> O2 + 4H+ + 4e-

and the second step is the combination of the oxygen with the carbon
anode:

O2 + C -> CO2

If the device is 100% efficient, then all of the oxygen will combine with
the carbon anode and the gas bubbling off the anode will be pure CO2;
that's unlikely to happen.  Only a part of the oxygen will actually react
with the carbon anode, so the gas bubbling off the anode should be a
mixture of CO2 + O2.  The proportions between CO2 and O2 depend on how
well the carbon is combined with oxygen.  If the anode isn't working well
there might not be very much CO2 in the bubbles coming off the device.

Inefficient reaction at the anode seems like a likely explanation for the
case where the CarboPlus bubbles along without having much effect on pH or
plant growth.  Perhaps a new carbon block would work better.  In fact, if
the efficiency drops as the reaction rate increases then you might
actually get a better result by turning the device *down*.


Roger Miller


Carbo Plus

by Paul Sears <psears/nrn1.NRCan.gc.ca>
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2001

> From: Roger Miller <rgrmill@rt66.com>
> Subject: Carbo Plus
> 
> From descriptions I've read and pictures I've seen, it appears that the
> CarboPlus submersed unit is an integrated anode-cathode pair, with a
> carbon anode and probably a stainless steel cathode. It is the carbon in
> the anode that supplies the carbon for the CO2 produced by the system.  
> The anode is eroded with use and needs to be replaced periodically.

	The first problem is that the anode isn't eroded anywhere near as
fast as it should be according to the current draw and the claimed CO2
production.  The CO2 production also isn't consistent with the current draw.
It isn't an electrolytic device, as far as I can see.

> The unit works by maintaining a voltage between the anode and cathode that
> is sufficient to break down water.  
> 
> The half reaction at the cathode is
> 
> 4H2O + 4e- -> 4OH- + 2H2

	Oe usually writes:  H+  +  2e-  ->  H2   

	H2O  <->  H+  +  OH- is fast enough to make the two essentially
the same.
> 
> The half reaction at the carbon anode is
> 
> 2H2O + C -> CO2 + 4H+ + 4e-

	From the point of view of electrolytic chemistry, this makes no
sense.  Carbon is very inert.  If you _could_ run this electrode reaction,
the unit would be doing something fuel cell makers would love to do.

> Both the hydrogen and the CO2 should be produced as gas.  The reaction
> produces 2 molecules of hydrogen gas for each molecule of CO2 produced.  
> Of the visible bubbles produced, only 1/3 are CO2 bubbles.  The rest are
> hydrogen gas.

	The amounts of hydrogen produced would be large enough to be
obvious and a definite hazard.

> The hydrogen gas produced by the unit should have some effects of its own.
> Dissolved hydrogen gas is like candy to anaerobic bacteria, so a tank with
> a CarboPlus unit may support some real active anaerobic activity.

	Hydrogen is essentially insoluble in water.  It will leave.

> Further, the hydrogen gas probably should be picked up by an ORP meter; I
> imagine that truly bizzare (low) readings are possible.

	I doubt it.  Hydrogen is pretty unreactive, as well as insoluble
in water.

- -- 
Paul Sears        Ottawa, Canada


Carbo Plus

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001

Neil Frank wrote:

> Exactly! When I make water changes in my higher light [fast grow] tanks, I
> rountinely add lime and NaHCO3. Otherwise the KH gets too low.

I think that if either Paul or I are right that you should be relatively
safe if you keep alkalinity greater than the calcium hardness.  The
Carbo Plus should drop them equally, so when the calcium content gets
too low to support any further net deposition of calcium carbonate then
the alkalinity should stop dropping as well.  Hopefully that would
happen at concentrations were the GH isn't too low for the plants and
the alkalinity is still high enough to maintain the pH in a reasonable
range.

Turning the Carbo Plus off at night also might help redissolve some of
the deposits and postpone or prevent a complete crash in the alkalinity.
 

Roger Miller


RE: Carbo Plus

by Scheele Juergen <juesche/earthlink.net>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001

Interesting to see this thread coming up again and again and.....,

Well, I remember a couple of years ago a huge
"Fight" broke out on the premiere german Plant List
between Zoo Zajac (inventor of Carbo Plus) and Dennerle,
regarding the Carbo Plus method of producing CO2 through
electrolysis.
Dennerle pretty much stood their ground and proofed
it with a lot of data and comparison.
Zoo Zajac came in with Tetra as undersignee.

Well, as both (Barr/Frank) mentioned,
first hand experience is what counts,
and under certain conditions.....

Juergen

BTW
I still have the URL on file and a
print out with all the data...
if someone can read german..?


Re Carbo Plus

by "S. Hieber" <shieber/yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001

This is the description of the Carbo Plus process offered by the
developer, I believe,


http://www.zajac.de/carbo/carbo.html


This is the same description in English

http://www.trueaquariumplants.com/articles/carboplus.asp

Now, where's that Dennerle description????????




__________________________________________________
http://phonecard.yahoo.com/


RE: Carbo Plus

by Scheele Juergen <juesche/earthlink.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001

..upon request,
here is the URL

Dennerle vs. Zoo Zajac

http://home.t-online.de/home/michael.guth/elektr.htm

I'll be willing to help regarding translation,
please contact me off-line.

Juergen


Yea, I did it! / More on Carbo Plus / (a.k.a. Newbie #3)

by "Caleb Clapp" <caleb/cushingco.net>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001

Thank you all for your help with my intro into planted aquarium keeping.  If
you recall I have been searching for "direction" on my 29g 6 week old tank w
Carbo Plus, high lights etc.  I had an early major algae breakout, wrestled
with nutrients, over-handled my plants, etc.  I believed everything was now
correct, but still had slow plant growth and no pearling, ever.

Well, yesterday it finally happened.....my plants started to pearl like
crazy.   Yea!!

Why?  The answer is totally clear:  at noon I replaced my Carbo Plus with a
C02 tank system (from M3).  When I returned home 7 hours later, there it
was...nirvana...pearling plants.  My dissolved oxygen tested at 8.4 ppm (up
from 3-4 ppm average) and C02 29 ppm, yes this is too high (up from 10-15
ppm).  The new C02 system vs. Carbo Plus generated C02 effect was absolute.
Yes, my Boston water is soft 3.5 GH and KH.

If one of you is seriously interested in experimenting with the Carbo Plus
to determine its true benefits and shortcomings, I am willing to loan it to
support these efforts.   Let me know.


Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money

by "Dave Johnson" <dsj000/charterpa.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002

I can second this opinion of the Carbo Plus.  I also have been running one
in a 75g plant tank, although with a higher kH (6 to 7).  The results have
been poor, and the unit has been unable to keep the pH anywhere close to 7.

They recommend a "break-in" for the electrodes in a separate small tank,
before using the unit in the main tank.  This must be so that the purchaser
can convince his/herself that it works, as it has no trouble taking a 2
gallon tank down to a pH of 5 to 6 with low kH clean water.  But, in
retrospect, I could probably do that by exhaling through a tube into a 2
gallon tank for 1 or 2 days!

I replaced it with a real gas CO2 system about one month ago, with the
(dwee...) expected positive results.

Amazing how we all fall for the "German engineered" line.  I even work with
German suppliers professionally (for hydraulics, other high pressure
systems, specialty insulation systems, and other technical stuff) and know
that "German quality" is mostly a myth (vis-a-vis American).  But even then
I fell for the Carbo Plus story, and just assumed that they would not sell
something so deficient in performance.

Some here (on the list) have written about the suspect chemistry of the
Carbo Plus, and I feel embarrassed at not having thought the chemistry
through more completely before buying, after reading these notes.

Dave Johnson





Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money

by "Kefalas, Nicholas D" <NKefalas/SIKORSKY.COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002

Well here is my experience with Carbo Plus

After 6 months in a 75 g tank I have discovered the following:

The unit is marginal at best. It does produce CO2, but not a quantities that
even come close to a pressurized system. For my tank size it has to run at
full blast for 24 hrs a day in order to maintain a ph of 6.9 and KH of 5.
The results of running at full blast are an unsightly accumulation of what
appears to be calcium based deposits on the unit itself and the surrounding
gravel and any plants that are near by. The unit is placed horizontally near
the bottom of the tank. I have seen very limited "pearling" on my plants.
The carbon block does not last long at this setting (2 months at best). At
$24 a block, 6 blocks a year it costs me $144 / year to run !!!. That is
practically a new CO2 pressurized system every year. And for what ? Marginal
results.

I don't know how well the unit would work in smaller tanks. Most of the
positive responses that I have heard were based on people with tanks in the
20 to 30 G range. They seem to be able to get better results and the unit
doesn't have to run at full bore. Blocks in those system seem to last 4
months which reduces the annual cost to a more palatable $72 / year.

Still, I fail to see the benefits of the system in the long run both
financially and benefit wise. Be very careful in your choice of a CO2
system. I bought mine thinking that the unit would save be the pain of
dealing with the gas, leaks, space, fine needle adjustments,etc... I guess
in the end the unit failed to perform to my expectations.

Like the old saying says "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."


I am waiting for my new M3 CO2 system to come in and replace the Carbo. I
will be selling Carbo plus soon on ebay.


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This page was last updated 17 February 2002