Co2 Bubble Counter: A Cautionary Tale - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Oak Hills, California
Posts: 32
Co2 Bubble Counter: A Cautionary Tale

I recently switched my ceramic diffuser for an atomizer and added a bubble counter. Having read another thread about the risks of getting the mineral oil in the tank, I was careful to fill the counter less than half way.

I don't have a solenoid for my system so I usually turn it on and off manually via a valve after the regulator.

My system tends to "dump" Co2 initially after opening the valve, which I believe is due pressure build-up after closing the valve. This morning I went to turn my system on, and the dump started creating micro-bubbles in the bubble counter. After a minute or so, mineral oil began making it's way up the hose, and around the bend into my tank. I pulled the plug.

It took only five or ten minutes for the bubbles to dissipate inside the counter, but I did have to remove the hose and clean it out manually.

I'm not sure why I'm having this issue exactly, as I haven't seen it discussed too much aside from a horror-story thread that I stumbled across a while back.

My gear is pretty standard: I have a Matheson dual stage regulator and a crappy Clippard needle valve that I bought before I knew any better. My counter is not attached to the valve, but is up closer to the tank (less than 10 inches of hose from the counter to the atomizer).

For the time being, I'm just going to leave my system on at night, but I'm curious to know if anyone's had this problem before and if there's any solution other than maybe moving the counter down lower.

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 07:21 PM
Plant Clown
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 4,200
From time to time, a burst of gas sends bubble counter fluid into the line. My fix was to switch to water.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 11:04 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: California
Posts: 483
Step-by-step, how do you shut off your CO2 and turn it on again?

I second the suggestion to use water in your bubble counter.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old Today, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Oak Hills, California
Posts: 32
Water sounds like a very good idea. I'll be making that switch shortly.

Originally Posted by Argus View Post
Step-by-step, how do you shut off your CO2 and turn it on again?
I have a valve after my regulator and before my needle valve (where the solenoid valve would usually go. I just tighten or loosen it.
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