Pressurized CO2 System Questions.
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Old 07-15-2004, 07:04 PM   #1
ColinAnderson
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Pressurized CO2 System Questions.


I have my pressurized CO2 system just about up and running.

I have a 5lb aluminum CO2 cylinder from beveragefactory.com (due to arrive today, at which time I will take it to a local welding supply and have it filled).
I have a dual-guage regulator from beveragefactory.com
I have a Clippard MNV-4K2 needle valve from marinedepot.com

I bought an aquamedic bubble counter from a new LFS I found yesterday, which came with six feet of airline tubing that's supposedly safe for CO2 (according to the gentleman running the store).

Now, I don't have enough money for a solenoid or PH monitor as of yet, so for now I'm going to do without. Herein lies my question:

Do I need to stop the CO2 at night? This guy at the LFS told me I needed to in order to avoid rapid CO2 accumulation, and I'm positive he's perfectly knowledgeable about everything -- you should see his store.

However, I've read otherwise, and just wanted to know what everyone here recommends. It seems to me if I shut off the CO2 at night, there's going to be big PH swings. It seems to me if I keep the CO2 going at night, there's going to be big PH swings (because the plants won't be using the CO2 at this time).

What do I need to do?
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Old 07-15-2004, 08:43 PM   #2
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Before I went to automation, I used to leave the CO2 on and throttle up the filter and rarely saw more than .1-2 swing in a 75 gallon. With your filter, I'd probably turn the flow down and leave the CO2 because your probably outgassing quite a bit right now.
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Old 07-15-2004, 08:48 PM   #3
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Hey Colin,

Are you still running your E280 or have you switched to canister filters yet? I haven't really noticed a drop or rise in pH if I shut my CO2 off at night (my solenoid is on a timer to click off when my lights go off) but then again I'm running 2 canisters so I have no agitation. If you're still running the E280 then you may have enough surface agitation to lose CO2 and hense get a rise in pH.

I think some people keep it running constantly and run an airstone at night for a few hours to provide some oxygen for the fish. Remember plants respire just as we do and so at night its common to see a drop in pH because of Co2 given off by plants. However, if you're running the E280 then you could shut the Co2 off at night and I'm pretty sure things would balance out. It may take some fiddling with for a week or so to get things right.

Since I was fortunate enough to afford the glass-gardens combo I have the solenoid and pH controller, so I'll let anyone else chime in on what you could do. Good luck!
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Old 07-15-2004, 08:54 PM   #4
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Um, your running the controller and regulator on a timer?
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Old 07-15-2004, 09:07 PM   #5
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The regulator (solenoid) is on a timer but the controller is always on...I should have said that clearly
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Old 07-15-2004, 10:26 PM   #6
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Default Just test and see

I say just test both ways and see.

I kept mine on for a long time then tested with it off and found out the pH didn't really drop overnight, so now I shut it off.

If you let it run, you will have a slightly slower input rate, since you need to be certain that the pH is not too low in the AM. And then you test to see that it doesn't fall too much in the day as the CO2 is depleted from the water.

If you shut it off, you can run a slightly higher rate in the day as the CO2 is being used.

Whether you actually use more or less is still a question to me, since you might use it faster but for a shorter time.

Either way can work, just depends on your water buffering, and your loss rate and your usage by plants.
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Old 07-16-2004, 06:04 PM   #7
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Thanks.

So what do you guys recommend starting out? Everything I've read on-line has been focued on getting the parts and putting them together, but I haven't really read anything on getting it working.

What should I set the regulator to output? 5 PSI? 10 PSI? 20 PSI?
(Which direction do I turn the regulator? A gentlemen at Home Depot who helped me find fittings for connecting the needle valve to the regulator mentioned somethign offhand about screwing outward was off and inward was on, but there doesn't seem to be any markings on the regulator. I just want to be safe. )
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Old 07-16-2004, 06:16 PM   #8
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Clockwise raises pressure, counter clockwise lowers or shuts it off completely.

I'd start with 20 PSI and basically try to establish a constant bubble rate and then if it's a little flaky raise the pressure a bit or lower it, tweek it until you get a good consistent rate.
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Old 07-16-2004, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glass-gardens.com
Clockwise raises pressure, counter clockwise lowers or shuts it off completely.

I'd start with 20 PSI and basically try to establish a constant bubble rate and then if it's a little flaky raise the pressure a bit or lower it, tweek it until you get a good consistent rate.
Thanks! I'll give that a try as soon as I get off of work!
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:25 AM   #10
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Alright! Cylinder: 1000 PSI. Flow: 10 PSI. Bubble counter: 1 bubble every 6 or 7 seconds or so.

Homemade CO2 reactor: Smashing bubbles to bits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

It's at a fairly low bubble rate (usually I usually hear of people doing 1 bubble every 5 seconds), so I'm going to hope that's going to be safe for tonight. I'll check it when I get home from work tomorrow and see where the PH lies -- if it changed much.

Hehe, I'm so happy! *Screams!*
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Old 07-17-2004, 02:07 AM   #11
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Congrats Colin!! Better get some pics for us! I'm getting ready to tear the scape down now...then the fish and water tomorrow for the move .
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Old 07-17-2004, 01:41 PM   #12
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Good luck with the move, man! I'm sure it will go off without a hitch, and you'll be able to show us a new aquascape when you get it set back up. You know ... if you want to.
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