pressurized co2 system
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Old 08-24-2002, 07:41 PM   #1
m.lemay
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I just recently installed a DIY co2 system with a 20# tank on my 75 gallon planted tank. I was getting sick of mixing sugar and water. I'm having a problem keeping my ph reasonably stable. My kh is at 4,which I thought was ideal but the c02 from the bottle seams a lot more potent than the home-brew stuff. I'm still fine tuning the needle valve to find a good flow rate. I have a few questions. Does anyone know of an inexpensive ph controller? Has anyone built one?
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Old 08-26-2002, 01:14 PM   #2
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You seldom hear the words "inexpensive" and "pH controller" in the same sentence, but there are a few great bargains out there. Keep adjusting that valve a little longer, though, its a rare case you can't get a stable pH with a good needle valve. How many bubbles per second are you getting? What type of reactor do you have? It must be super efficient!

Also, it would be a good idea to add some sort of buffer to help stablize pH and raise KH a point or two.
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Old 08-26-2002, 07:29 PM   #3
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Yeah, I think your right about the ph controller, but I did find one at the link below for $129. Seems to be the ticket, it even comes with the probe and 110 vac controlled outlet.
Right now I got the bubbles at about 2 bubbles per second and it seems to be pretty stable. The ph goes up to 7.2 during the day and drops down to 6.8 before the lights come on. Is that excessive? My gh is at 8deg. As I said before my kh is 4 deg. What should I adjust the kh to? Will that stabilize the ph.
I built the reactor myself based on some ideas I saw on the krib page. Its an old activated carbon plastic jar, I drilled a hole near the top on the side for a 600gph powerhead, another hole about midway down the same side for a microfine airstone , and a series of 1/4 inch holes arond the perimeter of the base. I cut some filter material to line the inside of the bottom of the jar so that all the turbulence would'nt force undissolved c02 bubbles out the holes at the bottom. Then I put 3 or 4 good size rocks inside it to weigh it down and create extra turbulence. It works great. absolutely no c02 bubbles escape until its completely dissolved. The only problem is that it takes 6"x6" spot at the back of the tank. I can live with it. Should I use baking soda to up the kh a little? Thanks for your input.
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Old 08-27-2002, 01:26 PM   #4
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That is a pretty significant pH swing for most fish. They seldome see those types of pH swings over a period of a week, nevermind 12 hours! Baking soda would help stablize things, but I'm not sure of the proportions, etc.
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Old 08-27-2002, 02:24 PM   #5
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A 0.4 pH swing between day and night is not uncommon at all for planted tanks. Ponds and rivers can experience much greater drops and much larger CO2 levels than we see in a given day. I have the same 0.4 pH swing daily too, and have for several years. It does bother some people, if it bothers you then there are two easy solutions.

1) Run an airstone to come on when the lights go out. (controlled by a timer).

2) Add a solenoid to your CO2 regulator and use a timer to shut off your CO2 when your lights go out, many people (including Tom Barr) don't run they CO2 24/7.

And lastily, but a bit more expensive and problematic is to use a pH controller. While the controller can maintain a constant pH, it does need regular calibration and is subject to failure which can result in CO2 being dump at lethal amounts.
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the info. I think I'm gonna try the timer routine. I don't like the airstone idea because it seems like such a waste to aerate all the co2 out of the water and then bring it back up in the morning.
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