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-   -   CO2 regulator question. Where did all my co2 go? (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=383129)

NorthMan77 07-14-2013 06:46 PM

CO2 regulator question. Where did all my co2 go?
 
I started a 55gallon planted tank about 2 months ago, not my first planted tank, but first time using pressurized CO2. I got a regulator off a guy who had been using it on a paint ball cylinder, it had a needle valve and a bubble counter and he had swapped out one CFM gauge for a psi one.. I didn't want to use a paintball cylinder so I got a 20lb cylinder(smallest I could get). I have been running it for 2 months now at around 20psi, all of a sudden the tank seems empty, it was at 15psi this morning and I cannot increase the pressure. The main gauge reads 0. None of my fish are dead and the level in the fish tank appears safe. I leak tested it the first couple weeks I had it and again just now for what good it would do. I am really confused, because I know a 20lbs tank should have lasted much longer. I suspect it's leaking, but why wouldn't the leak bubble? I soaped it up all the way to the reactor.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH...tle=imagec.jpg

Ach1Ll3sH33L 07-14-2013 07:24 PM

If there are no leaks, then it probably wasn't filled properly or all the way. make sure you take it to an airgas or similar location that fills the tanks by weight as opposed to equalizing pressures like most liquor stores or small shops do.

niko 07-14-2013 09:21 PM

Underfilling is common. You can't really be sure how much CO2 they give you when you exchange the tank. One way to double check is to weigh the bottle when it is empty and weigh it again when it is full. Except you need to do that at the store to avoid a trip back if it is underfilled. You will certainly look like a picky bastard.

Best advice was already given - find a place that you are always happy with. Stick with it.

Also, in case you do not know, the high pressure gauge of the CO2 tank does not show a gradual decrease as the CO2 runs out. It will stay at say 800 forever then within a day or within a week will go down to 0. It basically tells you "I am full" and "I am empty" with very little room to react. Some folk have reported a sudden dump of the remaining CO2 - when it gets very low it messes up the regulator and it does not escape gradually but at once. That does not happen every time but it could happen.

NorthMan77 07-15-2013 03:48 AM

Well thanks for the replies and info niko and ach. I will go get it refilled tomorrow and I will make sure it is full. My main concern is something is leaking and I missed it somehow, so I took the regulator off and tightened the fittings and I will be getting a new gasket for the tank. I will also be more thorough with my soapy water tests in the future.

Just wondering if the gas line Teflon tape is adequate for co2 fittings?

Darkblade48 07-15-2013 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NorthMan77 (Post 3826361)
Just wondering if the gas line Teflon tape is adequate for co2 fittings?

I think it is overkill for our purposes, and can actually be difficult to work with due to its slightly thicker width.

exv152 07-15-2013 02:14 PM

I would suspect a leak like you said. When you do your soap test I would spray everything from the main tank connection, all the way to the last check valve in the hose (including the regulator, solenoid, NV, BBC etc). Also, pay particular attention to the right side safety valve in the pic below. It has been a source of leaks for some folks.

http://file.seekpart.com/productsima...7135949269.jpg

The next time you get your tank filled make sure you weigh it too. A 20 lbs alluminum is 25 lbs empty or 45 full, and a steel is about 32lbs empty vs 52 lbs full approximately.

xiaoxiy 07-15-2013 02:54 PM

I know this may sound stupid, but did you make sure to tighten the CGA nut completely and use a permaseal or teflon washer?

I had this stupid leak that I couldn't find, and it turned out to be me not tightening the CGA nut enough.

talontsiawd 07-16-2013 12:01 AM

It would have to be seriously under filled for it to have no leaks on a 20lb and only last 2 months. I understand it is your first tank so it may have been under filled but I suspect a leak.

OVT 07-16-2013 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by talontsiawd (Post 3831545)
It would have to be seriously under filled for it to have no leaks on a 20lb and only last 2 months. I understand it is your first tank so it may have been under filled but I suspect a leak.

+1 agree

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