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Some Carbo-Plus answers

On Mon, 04 Sep 2000 16:38:50 -0700, Merrill <merrill34 at home_com> wrote:

> 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.  

Merrill, thanks for the info.  Can you comment on the CO2 concentration you've been able to achieve in the 90 gallon aquarium (at 1 carbon block/six months)?  

Is Merrill the only lister who has used Carbo-Plus systems for a long time?

On Thu, 11 May 2000 17:19:30 -0400, Jody Heming <jjheming at erols_com> wrote:

> 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.

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

On Tue, 05 Sep 2000 13:44:47 -0700, Dave Gomberg <gomberg at wcf_com> wrote:

> While you can figure on about $90-180 per year to 
> operate your Carbo-plus (plus electricity), a compressed gas system costs 
> more like $1-2 per year to operate.   Maybe $4 for your 200 gallon tank.
Thanks for the info.  I'm sure there are a lot of people who pay only a few dollars/year to operate a compressed gas system.  How lucky they are! 

For me, I suspect the annual cost of a compressed gas system would between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude greater than Dave's estimate.  I live right in the middle of old, historical Paris, and there are no suppliers of CO2 nearby.  Since I don't have a car, refilling a gas bottle is going to require a round trip in a taxi to the outskirts of town, where the building supply stores are located.  Depending on traffic jams, we're looking at $30 just for the taxis, *if* I can convince them to transport a gas bottle in the first place.   

(And I don't even want to think about transporting a gas bottle in the subway.  First of all, they look a lot like the homemade bombs that terrorists planted all over the Paris subway in the mid-1990s and that every man, woman and child here has been trained to recognize from far away. Second, I suspect that compressed gas bottles are considered hazardous materials by Paris Metro regulations, so transporting them in the subway would be illegal anyway.)

Then there's the high cost of labor here.  Sure, the compressed CO2 itself costs next to nothing, but paying a welding or softdrink supply shop person to do *anything* is going to cost twice as much in Paris than in most places in the U.S.

In my case,  these extra costs could reduce significantly the economic advantage that compressed gas systems have over Carbo-Plus.   Also, with Carbo-Plus, there is no risk of a safety value shooting off or a gas bottle flying around, there is no risk of getting a lot of CO2 dumped into the aquarium as the gas bottle empties, and no one and no thing is ever going to asphyxiate.  (Now I know somebody is going to say that because electricity is involved, Carbo-Plus can be dangerous, too, but since there's only low voltage going in the aquarium, and since my aquariums are on 2 ground-fault circuit interrupters in series (one near the aquarium, one in the breaker box), I'm not too worried.)

I'm almost willing to believe that a Carbo-Plus system really could supply CO2 in a slightly safer, slightly more convenient way than a compressed gas setup, albeit at a higher price.  Whether this happens at a slightly higher price (my case?) or an astronomically higher price (Dave G.'s case) may depends on a lot of variables, making it hard to generalize.

I'm still concerned, however, that a Carbo-Plus system might not be able to achieve a high enough concentration of CO2.  Can anyone reassure me on this point?  Is there any technical information on Carbo-Plus available on the web other than the APD archives and http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/electrolysis.html?

If, for me, the annual cost of a Carbo-Plus really came down to only 2 or 3 times the cost of compressed gas, I would be willing to consider it, mostly for the added convenience.