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Old 05-19-2013, 06:52 PM   #1
Jafooli
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Changing To Pressurized CO2, Advice/Help Needed, Budget 150


Hi

Need advice on which parts to buy and what's best for my 100-150 budget.

I am having a few problems and I'm a little worried about changing over as you can see below.

So after having some algae issues with fluctuating DIY CO2 and now having my tank look very nice with plants, I want to go to pressurized to stop the algae for once and for all, and hopefully have a co2 system working for 4 months +

I have done some research and read a couple of great threads, and learned the basics but I'm still finding it a bit daunting, I stumbled upon the AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated COOL TOUCH Solenoid, which seems to have a lot of good things said about it and not being so good at DIY I thought this would be a better option than building my own and risk wasting my cash, how ever a guy on youtube said the Solenoid once it switches on again it don't stay at the same bps and needs to be re-adjusted which I don't really want, so how could this be fixed, this is why I am now thinking of maybe building my own, depending on cost.

My next problem is I am from the UK so, does a USA Regulator work on UK CO2 Cylinders, and also if I purchased a CO2 Cylinder from USA can I get that re-filled in the UK?, because I have read information saying they just swap cylinders, maybe the connections are different?

My next problem lol, is that I can't find anywhere in the UK that sells CO2 Cylinders, and I found some pub/beer sites that do, but there CO2 mixes are 50/50 or 40/70 which is really confusing, not even sure what there on about. I've also done research on what other UK people in general do, and all I've found is that... people have purchased lovely CO2 cylinders from USA, to then get them re-filled and the people turn around and say we don't refill but we swap, so then you have to swap your brand new lovely cylinder for a old second hand one... also if I did go down the paintball route which I read would last me around 2 weeks, seems pointless and a route that will gradually empty my bank...... Also apparently in the UK, this is what I read... you have to pay to play paintball first before they offer you a re-fill for your tanks.

I did find a good youtube video about a guy who uses refurbished CO2 fire extinguisher's but then he started dipping it all in water, and was mentioning about you don't want co2 leaking into your room which is worrying.

"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2KchsR8Bd8"

So if anyone can help a beginner change to pressurized in the UK that would be great, I am looking for something to last 3-6 months before re-fill, if I can find somewhere, and I also want a good solenoid as I will have it on a timer, one that wont change the co2 output.... and I am also really worried about the end of tank dump so I would want a regulator that is well known and preferably that won't give me this problem.

So what does everyone recommend? so far my mind is thinking taking a chance with the Aquatek and a second hand fire extinguisher from ebay, and hopefully the USA regulator connecting to a UK cylinder/extinguisher.

Sorry for the essay and you can probably tell I am little worried, but I want to make sure I'm comfortable and know everything before spending 100+

Tank Size: 20 Gallons.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I have done some research and read a couple of great threads, and learned the basics but I'm still finding it a bit daunting, I stumbled upon the AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated COOL TOUCH Solenoid, which seems to have a lot of good things said about it and not being so good at DIY I thought this would be a better option than building my own and risk wasting my cash, how ever a guy on youtube said the Solenoid once it switches on again it don't stay at the same bps and needs to be re-adjusted which I don't really want, so how could this be fixed, this is why I am now thinking of maybe building my own, depending on cost.
I personally would not recommend the mass produced, commercially available regulators, as since they are mass produced, you will inevitably run into problems with some of the units. Many people have had good experiences using these regulators, while others have not, so it is up to you to decide whether or not to purchase it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
My next problem is I am from the UK so, does a USA Regulator work on UK CO2 Cylinders, and also if I purchased a CO2 Cylinder from USA can I get that re-filled in the UK?, because I have read information saying they just swap cylinders, maybe the connections are different?
Most likely not. The British standard is likely different from the North American standard, so regulators and CO2 cylinders are not interchangeable.

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
My next problem lol, is that I can't find anywhere in the UK that sells CO2 Cylinders, and I found some pub/beer sites that do, but there CO2 mixes are 50/50 or 40/70 which is really confusing, not even sure what there on about.
Home brewing sites should have CO2 cylinders. You can also check out hydroponics stores and also fire extinguisher websites.

The 50/50 and 40/70 mixture that you are indicating are likely mixtures of CO2 and N2.

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I've also done research on what other UK people in general do, and all I've found is that... people have purchased lovely CO2 cylinders from USA, to then get them re-filled and the people turn around and say we don't refill but we swap, so then you have to swap your brand new lovely cylinder for a old second hand one...
Each refill place is different, so you will need to ensure that the place that will do your refill does a on the spot refill, and not a cylinder swap as you have described (this is if you want to keep your CO2 cylinder).

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Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I did find a good youtube video about a guy who uses refurbished CO2 fire extinguisher's but then he started dipping it all in water, and was mentioning about you don't want co2 leaking into your room which is worrying.
I also use a CO2 fire extinguisher. Aside from the bright red paint on the outside, there is nothing wrong with using one.

Dipping the connections in soapy water is to simply ensure there are no leaks. Small CO2 leaks are more annoying (and less so a danger to your health), as they can cause your CO2 cylinder to empty within a week (and it becomes a hassle to refill it).

Unless you live in an air tight room, and you have several large CO2 cylinders (20 pounds and up), I would not worry about CO2 hazards under normal use conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
and I am also really worried about the end of tank dump so I would want a regulator that is well known and preferably that won't give me this problem.
If you want to ensure that you have no end of tank dump, then it is best if you look into purchasing a dual stage regulator (the Aquatek is not one).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
So what does everyone recommend? so far my mind is thinking taking a chance with the Aquatek and a second hand fire extinguisher from ebay, and hopefully the USA regulator connecting to a UK cylinder/extinguisher.
As already mentioned, the Aquatek is not a dual stage regulator, and will not prevent EOTD. For the second hand fire extinguisher, just ensure that it has a UK standard so that it can be refilled. Ensure that whatever regulator you purchase also fits the fire extinguisher.


If you have not already, take a look at my primer to pressurized CO2 (linked in my signature below) for more information.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Darkblade,

I did read your primer, its the reason I learnt the basics of what things do in this setup etc lol, so thanks for that also.

I also did research yesterday and soon learnt about the USA fittings being different to the UK fittings which I believe are (DIN477) and USA (CGA320), so am now going to have to start all over.

I spent a while looking for UK regulators, and found a couple of threads on a site called http://www.ukaps.org/ which may be worth joining for this scenario, anyway they was recommending the http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/tmc-...77-p-3702.html , I read it comes with a fixed working pressure which not sure if that's bad for me? people said it should only/maybe effect inline diffusers, mine's just a nano diffuser.... it also does not list dual stage in its specs, and I also presume this is mass produced as its sold on a lot of sites. So I really am stuck.

I really don't want to spend 90 on a regulator that is going to give me issues, especially with inconsistent co2 or the solenoid or EOTD etc.

Also you mention dipping the connections, surely I don't want to dip the whole regulator into a bowl? so what's the best method or are most regulators water tight, I don't want to get water inside the gauges or solenoid etc, could I use shaving foam?

I will also look into purchasing a UK fire extinguisher once I find a good regulator, do you tie a cable around the extinguisher handle once set-up to keep it going? and I'm still worried about messing with pressurized canisters, or getting the wrong type of CO2 like you mentioned above, I don't want 50/50 mixtures.

It's a shame there's not more info on UK setups, I could only find the TMC V2 and a cheap Ebay regulator, and heard something about the JBL regulator which could be around 180.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
I read it comes with a fixed working pressure which not sure if that's bad for me? people said it should only/maybe effect inline diffusers, mine's just a nano diffuser.... it also does not list dual stage in its specs, and I also presume this is mass produced as its sold on a lot of sites. So I really am stuck.
Fixed working pressure is a limitation; as you mentioned, for inline diffusers that require slightly higher than normal delivery pressures, it may be problematic. If you are just planning to use a nano diffuser, however, I do not see a problem.

That particular regulator you linked is not a dual stage regulator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Also you mention dipping the connections, surely I don't want to dip the whole regulator into a bowl? so what's the best method or are most regulators water tight, I don't want to get water inside the gauges or solenoid etc, could I use shaving foam?
You do not need to dip the actual connections (though some people do this!). I just use a solution of soapy water and use a paintbrush to paint it onto all the connections to ensure there are no leaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
do you tie a cable around the extinguisher handle once set-up to keep it going?
You do not want a normal fire extinguisher (the type that has a handle that you have to press down). Instead, you want one that has a valve and is not much different from a CO2 cylinder that would be used for home beer brewing.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick reply Darkblade,

How can you tell if one is dual stage or not, with out reading a products specs?

I also will stick to using my nano diffuser, that should be more than sufficient enough I hope.

Thanks for the tip about the paintbrush and soapy water.

When I am checking for leaks, do I have to have the regulator switched off how ever I do this as I've never had one, or do I have to have it on and then look for bubbles coming from the connections.

Also thanks for mentioning I don't want a normal fire extinguisher, I just saw in the videos this is what they used and also on this thread: http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/f...isher-co2.266/ so am now mind boggled.

To be honest with you, I am starting to worry even more and am starting to think maybe I should stick with my yeast and just try to perfect my setup, in the thread there were people saying its not safe and the fire-extinguisher could blow off and go flying through the house lol, or even hit you, and that could be the same even with a normal co2 cyclinder, maybe I'm being over cautious but its still a bit daunting, and it seems like over here in the UK our choice is very limited, there is also no point investing in USA equipment to find no where in UK does re-fills for USA connections, its a shame really I really want my tank to flourish.

Thanks for helping me though and offering me your advice, I guess all I can do is more research, but no where can I find dual stage listed, and no where can I find good UK regulators, maybe I should ask on the UKAPS site, if they have had problems with EOTD with that regulator, or hope someone on here from UK can share with me what they are using
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:18 AM   #6
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How can you tell if one is dual stage or not, with out reading a products specs?
Dual stage regulators have a large hump on the back of the regulator casing (this is the second stage of regulation). Single stage regulators are flat on the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
When I am checking for leaks, do I have to have the regulator switched off how ever I do this as I've never had one, or do I have to have it on and then look for bubbles coming from the connections.
The regulator does not do any switching, it is the solenoid that turns on/off and will allow CO2 gas to flow. Without a solenoid, once the regulator is set, gas will automatically begin to flow (and will not turn off unless you manually do so).

If you are checking for leaks, you should have the CO2 regulator set to allow gas to flow (though you can have the CO2 main cylinder valve on or off).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Also thanks for mentioning I don't want a normal fire extinguisher, I just saw in the videos this is what they used and also on this thread: http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/f...isher-co2.266/ so am now mind boggled.
I have never done what is shown in the link. I believe CO2 cylinders that are made for fire extinguishing have other chemicals (i.e. foaming agents) mixed in anyway, so you would not want to use a "normal" fire extinguisher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
To be honest with you, I am starting to worry even more and am starting to think maybe I should stick with my yeast and just try to perfect my setup, in the thread there were people saying its not safe and the fire-extinguisher could blow off and go flying through the house lol, or even hit you, and that could be the same even with a normal co2 cyclinder, maybe I'm being over cautious but its still a bit daunting, and it seems like over here in the UK our choice is very limited, there is also no point investing in USA equipment to find no where in UK does re-fills for USA connections, its a shame really I really want my tank to flourish.
The choice is up to you, but the only way a CO2 cylinder can "blow off" and "flying around the house" is if you were to mistreat it badly (i.e. you take a hammer and a nail to the cylinder).

As long as you do not mishandle pressurized gases, you will be fine.

Thanks for helping me though and offering me your advice, I guess all I can do is more research, but no where can I find dual stage listed, and no where can I find good UK regulators, maybe I should ask on the UKAPS site, if they have had problems with EOTD with that regulator, or hope someone on here from UK can share with me what they are using [/QUOTE]
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for the reply,

I have a few last more questions if you don't mind

Its good to know I shouldn't have any problems with it flying through my house then but It is still a bit worrying as you said your self its pressurized gases and I've never worked around regulators or pressurized cylinders.

Anyhow I did more research yesterday and apparently the EOTD is not that common and most people actually use single stage regulators with out realizing and have never experienced an EOTD, me personally would rather listen to your professional advice, and the poster in another thread where I read this from, also did not want to take the risk of buying a single stage but apparently that's what most people use and even the aquarium branded regulators are single stage.

How ever people explained if he was to replace/refill his cylinder when he noticed the cylinder pressure gauge dropping, he would be able to avoid the EOTD situation but would lose out on some gas, if I was to do this, how long would a FE work on a 20Gallon at 1bps for instance, and does it take a while for the tank pressure to drop? I cant see why it would not drop each day, so am a bit confused there and I don't want to be wasting lots of money.

I also read in other places, most EOTD give an increase of 3psi , which I don't quite understand fully but they said with the solenoid turning the co2 off at night, the EOTD would happen in the day when the plants are giving out most of the oxygen so it shouldn't be a problem where others said it would still kill the fish and the ph drop would also kill the fish. Whats your opinion on this and I read bigger cylinders have a higher EOTD, so not sure how much a FE would dump in my tank.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
Anyhow I did more research yesterday and apparently the EOTD is not that common and most people actually use single stage regulators with out realizing and have never experienced an EOTD, me personally would rather listen to your professional advice, and the poster in another thread where I read this from, also did not want to take the risk of buying a single stage but apparently that's what most people use and even the aquarium branded regulators are single stage.
Single stage regulators will work fine. There is a chance that EOTD will occur when using them, especially if you decide to try to run your tank to emptiness.

This phenomenon does not occur with dual stage regulators.

What you choose is up to you, as both will work. Dual stage regulators are generally "industrial grade" which is usually overkill for our hobby. However, when a good deal (i.e. a dual stage regulator for single stage regulator price) comes by, it may be better to go with a dual stage regulator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
How ever people explained if he was to replace/refill his cylinder when he noticed the cylinder pressure gauge dropping, he would be able to avoid the EOTD situation but would lose out on some gas, if I was to do this, how long would a FE work on a 20Gallon at 1bps for instance, and does it take a while for the tank pressure to drop? I cant see why it would not drop each day, so am a bit confused there and I don't want to be wasting lots of money.
Yes, if you refill your cylinder when you notice the cylinder pressure beginning to drop, you will avoid EOTD (though you do lose out on some gas).

It depends on how large of a fire extinguisher you get. In addition, how long a CO2 cylinder lasts depends on not only how fast you are injecting, but also how long (i.e. controlled via a solenoid or not) and also whether you have any leaks during the initial setup.

The pressure will not drop each day. This is because the CO2 that is inside the cylinder is compressed and is a liquid. A small portion of becomes gas, and this is the pressure that is indicated on the manometer. As long as there is liquid CO2 remaining, the pressure will remain the same (barring temperature effects).

As you inject more CO2 gas, some of the liquid CO2 gas will vaporize, keeping the apparent pressure to remain stable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jafooli View Post
EOTD would happen in the day when the plants are giving out most of the oxygen so it shouldn't be a problem where others said it would still kill the fish and the ph drop would also kill the fish. Whats your opinion on this and I read bigger cylinders have a higher EOTD, so not sure how much a FE would dump in my tank.
Well, EOTD will only happen when the solenoid is open, so normally during the day. Yes, plants will be giving out oxygen. However, a sudden increase in CO2 can lead to suffocation (and a drop in pH, though it is the increase in carbon dioxide concentration that suffocates livestock).

I would not say that EOTD has anything to do with the size of the cylinder.
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A Primer to Pressurized CO2 and A Primer to Planted Tanks
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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Thanks Darkblade48

You've been a great help and I appreciate the time you spent helping me.

I think its going to come down to me just buying the equipment and then changing the FE when I start to see the tank pressure drop, my only concern is I want something to last at least 3-4 months minimum, and obviously I want a good regulator, I will carry on searching around and see what I can find and maybe see what people on UKAPS recommend for UK regulators.

Thanks again.
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