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Re: Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money

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

Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 09:19:12 -0500
From: "Kefalas, Nicholas D" <NKefalas at SIKORSKY_COM>
Subject: Carbo Plus. Don't waste your money

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

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.