Regulator for DIY CO2?
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
BrettAA
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Regulator for DIY CO2?


I'm quite new to this planted tank thing (loving it!), and I've been reading up on CO2 in general, DIY especially. None of the DIY setups I find include any kind of regulator. They just seem to jet directly into the tank with whatever pressure they are producing.

Is this because DIY setups rarely produce enough pressure to worry about? I've got a Fluvel Edge (6.6 gal) now that I'm putting a Fluvel CO2 setup on. I just bought a 10 gal rimless that I'm going to plant, and I am looking at a John LeVasseur style CO2 setup for it. (http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html#3)

So, should I just not worry about a regulator? Is it not an issue? I'm just surprised that I haven't seen any reference to it, despite some very involved and helpful tutorials.

Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
ktownhero
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Yes, you answered your own question: DIY CO2 doesn't produce enough pressure for a regulator to be required. Not even close. If it did, your concern wouldn't be regulating the pressure, but what to do about the sugary yeast water that exploded everywhere :P

With DIY CO2, you're thankful for every bit of pressure you get... as it doesn't typically produce enough for a tank to get overloaded.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
Hoppy
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Just to be contrary: DIY CO2 does produce enough pressure to be concerned about. If you try to stop the flow of CO2 from the bottle it may cause the bottle to burst, spraying the sugar/yeast water all over the place, and possibly draining the water from the aquarium. That's why you can't use a regulator or needle valve on DIY CO2. The most you can do is vent the CO2 to the atmosphere when you want it to stop going into the aquarium.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
ktownhero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Just to be contrary: DIY CO2 does produce enough pressure to be concerned about. If you try to stop the flow of CO2 from the bottle it may cause the bottle to burst, spraying the sugar/yeast water all over the place, and possibly draining the water from the aquarium. That's why you can't use a regulator or needle valve on DIY CO2. The most you can do is vent the CO2 to the atmosphere when you want it to stop going into the aquarium.
Well, yeah... if you block it. But that's not what you do hehe.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
radioman
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Regulators are bad for diy as stated above but it is possible to overdose co2 using a diy system since I have done it. You just have to find the right mixture for your setup.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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I'm concerned because its only 10 gallons. I suppose I should just keep my eye on it to be sure. Thanks, all!
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:13 AM   #7
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Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to use a needle valve and pressure guage to provide a regulated DIY CO2 system. I have been using one for some time with great success.

I use this this hardware, but I use yeast/sugar for the CO2 production rather than the acid+bicarb they use.



I purchased mine from Ebay, search for Complete DIY CO2 System to check it out.

As long as you use a yeast/sugar mix that isn't excessive for the regulated BPS you require you shouldn't see the system pressure rise much above 1-1.5 Bar over the course of the mixture's active life.

However I also take the precaution of using a joiner in the CO2 tubing that doesn't have lock nuts and is therefore a weak spot that will pop long before the bottles would blow.

It has the added benefit that even after the yeast mixture has started to slow down, the system will continue to supply CO2 from the store in the bottle. I also find that my flo nano diffuser is much more efficient at the higher pressure.

Since I have been using this system I have had an easy to regulate, steady CO2 flow and I have to replace my CO2 mix less frequently.

I'm currently using this on a 200L heavily planted tank, and I'm maintaining a CO2 concentration of around 50ppm.

I've read a lot of threads advising against this, but I'd have to say that as long as you take the correct precautions you are no more likely to encounter problems than you might with any other setup.

This is a picture of my tank from a few days ago.
URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/685/dscn03611.jpg/][/URL]
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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Add or remove yeast in your mixture to control flow. Less yeast = less CO2. I use 2 cups sugar, 4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon yeast... lasts about 3 weeks and gives me 1 bubble every 4-5 seconds. Keep in mind that the more yeast you use, the more often you'll have to change your mixture out.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #9
Munchy2007
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I'm running my CO2 at 4 BPS (although BPS is subjective as it is dependant on the diameter tube in your bubble counter) and to achieve this I use 2 x 2 Litre Bottles each with a mixture of 3 cups sugar, 2 tsp Yeast plus water.

Because of the high amount of yeast I get an initial rapid burst of CO2 production and then it slows down.

Prior to using the regulator I found it impossible to achieve such a high BPS and keep it constant from start to finish of the yeast mixture.

Now the needle valve controls the bubble rate, which remains constant throughout the entire life of the yeast sugar mixture. During the first 4-5 days of the mixture's life the pressure in the system gradually rises as it's producing more CO2 than the needle valve will allow through, then it pretty much stabilizes as the yeast mixture settles into a lower rate of production. Once the yeast mixture is spent the pressure will slowly drop as the stored CO2 is used up. When it's almost gone it's time to make a new mixture.

Obviously you need to be familiar with how much yeast/sugar to use to match your required regulator setting, but that isn't hard to find out with a bit of experimentation.

I've never had the system pressure rise much over 1.5 Bar before the yeast dies and the pressure starts to drop. I've also never had an explosion.

Another benefit is that most ceramic diffusers produce a better mist at higher pressure. My flo nano diffuser, whilst it worked with my conventional DIY CO2 which ran at about 2-3 PSI, now works much, much better due to the system pressure being 15-20 PSI most of the time.

I've been using DIY CO2 for a long time, both this way and the more conventional way, and I can state categorically that as long as you follow a few common sense procedures, using a needle valve and pressure gauge on a yeast CO2 generator is far better than without.

So I'm just making the point that despite the number of posts I see on numerous forums saying no, don't not ever! It does actually work, it won't explode if done properly, and it's better.

This is coming from someone that's actually done it both ways and has the empirical evidence to make the comparison.

Last edited by Munchy2007; 03-02-2013 at 04:56 PM.. Reason: rewording
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