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CO2 diffusers etc.
Just to clarify: I was using a true ADA pollen glass diffuser and although there is no longer any marking on it indicating which size it/they are ( I have two and they are the same), I am sure I got the correct size for my 20 and 40 gal aquariums...I seem to remember there was a range that they fit.
It's true, they diffuse really well and the little bubbles are cute and small; some reach the surface and thanks for reminding me that those can contain other gases (such as O2) as well as CO2. I am certainly not unhappy with the ADA product.
Nevertheless, the Eheim injection method (my name for it) is using less CO2 and I like that. The cost of the CO2 is not so much the issue (although where I live I need to exchange high pressure cannisters and they currently cost $24 for 5lbs; I go thru one every 2 months on the most heavily planted 40 gal; those Rotalas/Hygrophilas/Glossostigmas/Micranthemums love CO2!). The issue is time to drive the 20 miles to get the CO2 - I am sure we each have individual situations on that score. Anyway, I am interested in having it last longer. (And yes, there may be a leak in my system, but I have never been able to find it and prove it despite numerous attempts with soapy water).
In the interest of aesthetics and removing equipment from the aquarium itself, I may indeed go with an outside reactor since it solves three things for me: it's apparently very efficient, the aquarium looks less cluttered with technologh, and it lives under the aquarium for easier maintenance.
RE: filter burp. My Eheim 2228 has always impressed me with its silence. However, toward the end of the day, when the plants have been bubbling like mad, it does occasionally "spit bubbles" or burp or whatever. I have always assumed this to be O2, since if it were CO2 you would expect at any time of day
(I never turn off the CO2).
RE: performance of diffusers affected by cleaning. Well, that is certainly true!! I never managed to effectively shade the ADA diffuser and it would get totally clogged with algae and detritus in days. Sure, you can clean it by soaking in bleach, but it takes up to an hour and it's a bit of a hassle. The diffuser works much less well when dirty since the bubble sizes are noticeably bigger. Just fyi.
Thanks for all the responses!