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CO2 diffusers

> The diffuser was some type of white ceramic or other stone
> cylinder that passes only micro size bubbles of CO2.  The was no
> reaction chamber or any type of water driver.  Apparently the idea is
> that the tiny bubbles will dissolve before reaching the surface of the
> water.  Has anyone seen one of these in operation?  

There are some problems with this type of diffuser (via ceramic surface).
The bubbling is not uniform, i.e. certain parts of the diffuser is not used.
Don't place it in an area with direct light - algae grows on it and soon it'll 
be clogged.
You might get violent explosions in the water when the diffuser gets clogged or 
if you accidentally increase the pressure to the diffuser.

Barring the above, there are a number of companies which make excellent 
diffusers (Ehiem, Dupla, Kare, Sera, JBL to name a few) and they are all small 
and un-obstrusive.
A cheaper alternative is to simply place the CO2 outlet hose from the bubble 
counter into the inlet of your cannister filter.  The CO2 bubble goes through 
the cannister, diffused and chopped up before being let back into the tank.