Paintball CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Paintball CO2

So I decided to try my luck with a paintball CO2 tank. It was relatively cheap: under $60 ($35 for the tank, $10 paintball on/off valve, $10 needle valve, $3 for the barbed adapter). I set it all up tonight and was a bit tough to get calibrated correctly but I finally got it going with a good stream of CO2. A few hours after set-up I heard a loud hissing and found the tank leaking at the on/off valve attached to the tank. I reattached it and it did the same thing 15 minutes later.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried this before or is familiar with paintball tanks. How tight does the connection to the tank have to be? Is there supposed to be a gasket that I'm missing? Or is this set-up incorrect and doomed to fail from the start?

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 10:57 AM
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There's supposed to be an o-ring between the on/off valve and the paintball tank
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 12:42 PM
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What needle valve is that? It looks really good for 10 dollars.



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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 01:26 PM
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Re: Paintball CO2

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Originally Posted by FlyingHellFish View Post
What needle valve is that? It looks really good for 10 dollars.
+1!!

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 02:41 PM
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Depends on where its leaking. If its leaking from the weep hole (if it has one - will be close to the bottom of the adapter) or the bottom of the adapter itself, try changing the o-ring on the tank valve. If its leaking from the shaft of the on-off knob, there should be one or two o-rings on that shaft. Lubricant may help on the adapter shaft o-rings. They can be difficult to remove, depending on the manufacturer.

FWIW, 850 psi direct from the valve is a lot of pressure to run without a regulator. I'd anticipate problems with keeping steady pressure from the needle valve. I have a similar rig on a five gal tank. But I use a paintball gun regulator and adapter/on-off. Even with that, I have to monitor it daily to make sure it doesn't go too far in either direction...

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Last edited by jester56; 01-29-2013 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Added info...
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:57 PM
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I would try the soapy water test to determine where the leak is. A others have stated do you have o rings installed ?
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jester56 View Post
Depends on where its leaking. If its leaking from the weep hole (if it has one - will be close to the bottom of the adapter) or the bottom of the adapter itself, try changing the o-ring on the tank valve. If its leaking from the shaft of the on-off knob, there should be one or two o-rings on that shaft. Lubricant may help on the adapter shaft o-rings. They can be difficult to remove, depending on the manufacturer.

FWIW, 850 psi direct from the valve is a lot of pressure to run without a regulator. I'd anticipate problems with keeping steady pressure from the needle valve. I have a similar rig on a five gal tank. But I use a paintball gun regulator and adapter/on-off. Even with that, I have to monitor it daily to make sure it doesn't go too far in either direction...
There was a small clear o-ring just under the first lip of the threads on the paintball tank. It was definitely leaking between the black on/off valve and the brass threads on the tank. No soapy water trick needed (it sounded like an air compressor hose).
The funny thing is, the black on/off valve never really shut anything off. Once it is screwed down, it's on.
850 psi vs 1 needle valve? No wonder it was so tricky to get calibrated to 1 bubble/5seconds. Thats a lot of work for one valve even if its not the fail point so far. So my question is, where'd you get the paintball co2 regulator and how much are they? Also, did you hand tighten it onto the tank or use a wrench to secure it?
Thanks for the enlightenment
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingHellFish View Post
What needle valve is that? It looks really good for 10 dollars.
Used swaglok 1/8"x1/8" needle valve... I think I got lucky on the price. If I wouldn't have stumbled across that valve I wouldn't have gone down this road and could have avoided the situation all together. hah

I should probably mention this now cause people are already liking the set-up.
DO NOT COPY THIS SET-UP. IT DOESN'T WORK CORRECTLY YET.

I'll update this when I get it done correctly and it will work. I'm no quiter
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tvadna View Post
Also, did you hand tighten it onto the tank or use a wrench to secure it?
Thanks for the enlightenment
I wasted a full bottle when I hand tighten it, of course the leak was a ninja and the bottle went empty over night. Mine is running smoothly ever since I used two wrench for the connections.

Here my paintball set up. The JT IVT paintball tank is a new product they came out with that has a level indicator. You can see how much liquid Co2 you have left. They also have the burst disc on the tank rather than the threads. You ASA On/Off guys are brave, I jump at the very sound of my solenoid coming on. DINK!




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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 09:14 PM
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Nice setup you've got there, FHF! Remember that to get a halfway accurate measurement on that 24oz you need to pick it up and swirl it around to get the agitator to stir up the liquid so yo can see it on the read panel.

TVadna, got to replace that o-ring or it will continue to leak (Call me Captain Obvious!). I'd bet that the reason it seems like the tank valve is not cutting off the CO2 is that the needle valve lets such a small amount of gas through that it takes a minuite or two for it to bleed out. You might want to consider one of the little Atomic (i think) PB reg setups. I'll post a photo of my rig when I get home today so you can see it.

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:18 PM
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Here's some shots of my bare bones, use-at-your-own-risk, el cheapo CO2 rig. It consists of a 20 oz paintball CO2 tank with a brass valve/plastic seat/1.8 psi pressure relief disc; A Custom Products ASA (Air Systems Adapter) with venting on off (vents back pressure from the line - can be bad, as it vents some of the CO2 back down the line); Braided stainless lines with quick disconnects; MacDev Products vertical regulator (used $25-40 evilbay) to control flow. There is a gauge, but it is pretty much useless here, as it has a 5K value. There is a second plain ASA with a macro fitting that runs to the tank. I use an airstone for the moment, until I get a reactor for this tank.






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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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MISTAKES HAVE BEEN MADE!

So I finally realized that my on/off valve is reversed from every other valve I'm familiar with. Screwed all the way down is all the way on, and screwed all the way up is off. Cause it is a needle valve.... idiot.

I gave it another go today, barely screwing the valve knob down to crack out just a bit of CO2 for the needle valve to regulate even further. This worked well. I got it calibrated down to a bubble every 2 or 3 seconds and there wasn't enough back pressure to blow the o-ring seal from the tank.

Fast forward a few hours after I got done with a job I got called out on and I returned to find a dead tank. Managed to kill off my entire colony of cherry shrimp and endlers. Now I've got a 10 gallon tank of seafood soup. Who's hungry? Since the CO2 was no longer running, I'm guessing that it released more then just a bubble a second and dumped in my tank and the bottom dropped out of the pH.

Thankfully it was only my 10 gallon and not a bigger tank full of german ram fry. The only thing worse could have been the valve blowing apart and shattering all 3 tanks sitting there. At least I have the plants!

I already said I'm not a quitter.... But I am smarter then I am stubborn. Also smart enough to realize that I won't be running pressurized CO2 without a regulator now.... Lesson learned (the hard way)
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 09:44 AM
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Sorry to hear about your losses.

Just as a side note, pH swings caused by CO2 usually are not harmful to livestock; rather, what killed them was the increase in CO2 that inhibits respiration.

Anthony

A Primer to Pressurized CO2 and A Primer to Planted Tanks
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 01:46 PM
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Wow, Dude! Sorry to hear it. I don't keep livestock in this tank. I worry about the end of fill release. I had it happen once and it just releases co2 at a high rate and bubbles off the last bit from the cylinder. But as you experienced, it can be bad. I'm still trying to find a PB reg that will hold that back. And Anthony's "Primer" is an excellent reference if you're looking to learn more stuff!

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 02:39 PM
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Try one of these! When you have room for a full size cylinder, just remove the paintball adapter.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_bosman/4379697140/
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