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Billinet at aol_com noted, in part:

> I use sponge filters only and I am very happy with them. . .

>  Leaving the filter
> running 
> constantly won't hurt anything, in my opinion, assuming that the air
> flow is 
> set low enough to minimize surface disturbance.

I might be nuts but I sometimes get the notion that some people think
they can sneak up on CO2 loss to the atmosphere -- as if it only
happens if the turbulence of the water is high -- beyond some threshold
of whitewater.  Actually, you can have the water as turbulent as you
want and still have high levels of CO2 in the water (at least within
reason) -- *provided* you add enough CO2 fast enough.  The greater the
amount of turbulence, the greater the amount of CO2 loss (other things
being equal), the greater the amount you have to add to maintain levels
in the water.  You can use biowheels, air-bubble pumps, trickel
filters, have waterfalls in paludariums, etc. and still enjoy the
benefits of CO2.    

There are limits on keeping up with CO2 loss rates that are imposed by
the efficiency of your injection method.  You can add more CO2 and
faster with Barr's reactor than with Eheim's diffuser (IME).  So you
can suffer greater maximum turbulence with a Barr reactor setup (which
gets all the CO2 into the water) than with the Eheim diffuser setup.

And you can reduce CO2 loss without reducing turbulence.  George and
Karla Booth ( I'm never sure which of the two deserves credit for what
on their site) did an experiment with CO2 and a trickle filter.  They
found that a covered trickle filter didn't present a problem, the CO2
that was being "lost" into the atmosphere wcould only go into an
enclosed trickle chamber, but from there it could escape no farther. 
The build up of CO2 concentrations in the enclosed chamber limited the
rate of CO2 loss for the water. Moral:  enclose your turbulence and
fear CO2 loss.

And CO2 is relatively cheap, $10-$20 for about 5 pounds in most places,
I believe.

Scott H.

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