New DIY pressurized system
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Old 08-25-2002, 05:06 PM   #1
m.lemay
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I finally gave in and bought everything I needed for my pressurzed system. Everything has'nt come in yet. But I got it up and running. I bought a 20# tank, I had a regulator(dual guage Harris), ordered some tubing and a needle valve from marine monsters. Right now I got it running with a needle valve I bought from Graingers catalog. Since the one I bought from Marine monsters isn't here YET!!!
I had a real problem trying to get the ARO FO2 needle valve to flow the small amounts that I needed. Then I read an article that said to turn up the pressure since its made to operate at higher pressures, (seems counter intuitive) so I turned the pressure up to 20psi and lo- and behold I could adjust down 1 bubble every 5 seconds. but before that I was trying to operate it at very low pressure and I couldn't get the regulator stablized and it the flow would ebb and rush. frustrating. to make a long story short I left it unattended for about an hour and way too much co2 was coming out. The result was a very high co2 reading from my test kit. Some where around 100ppm. OOOPS. PH dropped to around 6.2. My fish weren't stressing yet but I was. so I turned off the tank and watched for dead fish. Nothing. I didn't want to aerate the water because I was afraid the ph shift might be too great. So I opted to increase the surface agitation a little bit removing the glass top and removing some baffles I had installed around the outlet of my power filter outlet. (Which works very well by the way if you can't afford a canister) I gradually got the ph back up to around 6.8 after about 5 hours. The fish seem fine. The plants, on the other hand ,were in heaven.
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Old 08-29-2002, 04:34 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the new system. A little bit of fine tuning and I'm sure it will stablize. Did the plants begin to pearl after the addition of CO2?
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Old 08-29-2002, 10:04 PM   #3
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The plants are producing o2 like crazy. When I decided to setup a pressurised system, I did it mainly because of the inconvenience of the microbrew mixing. I had no idea it was gonna make this big a difference in terms of plant growth. It's been running about a week now and some of the plants are groming an inch a day.
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Old 08-30-2002, 01:59 PM   #4
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Yeah, I had the same reaction to switching from running non-CO2 to a microbrew setup. I am going to buy the components for a pressurized CO2 system piecemeal and I know my reaction will be even more intense.

Don't quote me, but I remember reading that incidentary CO2 levels in water standing in the atmosphere is 3-4ppm. With a microbrew setup, most tanks are able to achieve 8-12ppm. The target is 25ppm, which is easily attainable with a pressurized system.

So in a non-CO2 system, plants are only recieving 16% of the CO2 they could conceivably need (given adequate nutrient/lighting).
In a microbrew (DIY) CO2 system, plants are recieving almost half of the CO2 they could use, at best.

So switching to a pressurized CO2 system and levelizing CO2 levels around 25ppm should nearly double my plant growth? (I'm sure it's not so linearly simple, but humor me) I prune once a week as it is. I'll have to prune plants every three days! It will be time to get rid of the fast growers like the Giant Hygro and switch to some more challenging plants =)
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Old 08-31-2002, 12:46 AM   #5
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In my opinion the results will be more dramatic than when you went from no co2 to microbrew. They were in my case. Carbon is really the the most essential building block in all living things.
I was really amazed at the improvement.
I think that anyone really considering a planted tank should try the microbrew method first to get thier feet wet and learn the basics, with the intention of going bottled co2 as the next step. If you have the funds up front go bottled co2 right away.
With bottled co2, lighting and nutrients become your limiting factors and those are easier to provide.
Hey, get those components. Build it and they will grow!!!:hehe:
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:06 AM   #6
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I just bought my setup today....
I think its the same gauge... Harris Dual...


Its hard to judge on bubbles right now because they are much smaller then that of yeast...but it is pacing very nicely in my diffuser...

yeast worked great but I am looking for consistency... besides that...the time I spent mixing I can now spend pruning !

What do you have it set at now for pressure after some experience ? Mine is going good at 40 lbs. and just cracked at needle valve...like you said , the lower the pressure the funkier it gets. I tried it very low at first too
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Old 11-28-2002, 01:27 PM   #7
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The biggest thing I noticed with pressurised CO2 is that it seemed that the co2 was way more pure than yeast generated CO2. Therefore a slower bubble rate was required to achieve the same or greater concentrations of CO2 in the aquarium. Monitor your parameters closely in the next couple of days. You can expect a ph variation of about 0.4 between lights on and lights off. My fish never even flinched. I have my output pressure at set at 15psi. Hows yours working at 40psi. What type of needle valve are you using? Make sure you check your system for leaks. Soapy water works good for that. BTW we both live in CT. I'm in Waterbury about an hour from you.
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Old 11-28-2002, 01:58 PM   #8
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It seems I have been deciding recently whether or not to go pressurized (I'm 15, so it would be a BIG purchase), and I say "Well, just give the yeast mixture on more try...". In my tank, the CO2 is the limiting factor, so I will definitely have a pressurized system by Christmas!

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Old 11-28-2002, 03:30 PM   #9
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Im in Norwich so yeh we are very close
Right now its working great at 40 psi . I am getting a bubble every 12 seconds and my PH is at 6.5... which is about where it is in the A.M.
I put my CO2 into the diffuser thingamabob I made and works great.
Its been very consistent if my CO2 supply keeps a nice large bubble of CO2 in it.
Its also a very " pure " looking bubble as opposed to the yeast , I never did perfect a mix with yeast , but my mixes always produced great CO2 for short periods of time.
How long does your bottle last ? I only grabbed a 5lb bottle figuring it will last a long time.
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Old 11-28-2002, 10:09 PM   #10
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Hey Buck;
That looks like a fire extinguisher bottle in the picture.... is it? Geez, I want one so bad I'm fishing for shortcuts I guess! :hehe:
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Old 11-28-2002, 11:45 PM   #11
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I can't wait until I get a pressurized system!!! All this talk is getting me excited! The CO2 generated by the yeast is less pure than the CO2 in the cylinder.

If you have a 5 lb cylinder, it should last 6 months to 2 years, depending on the size of the tank and the amount of CO2 being injected. Good luck with the CO2!!

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Old 11-29-2002, 01:48 AM   #12
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Buck, I got a 20# cylinder on my 75 gal, but right now, I have no clue how long its gonna last. It should last well over a year. Its been running for about 3 months now. 24 hrs a day. I'm thinking about going completely automatic. I love this hobby, cause theres always some way to tinker and improve the tank. I'm using an ARO FO-2 which works OK but I had to fiddle with it to get it to close all the way. I ended up putting a little vaseline on the needle so that it would seal better and that seemed to do the trick. Which needle valve are you using? Hows the control on it?
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Old 11-29-2002, 03:08 AM   #13
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My valve is just a standard ole needle valve outta the welding shop down here. But it adjusts very nicely...
I turned the pressure down to about 20 now and seems to be working nicely.
Where the heck you hide that 20 lb bottle bro ... those are huge !
Heres the gauges and valve I use..


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Old 11-29-2002, 04:57 AM   #14
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My two cents on the pressurized CO2--I also run a 20 lb. tank on a 125 gallon at 3 bubbles per second, but it's hooked into a timer to come on when the lights are on (8 hrs/day on weekdays and 12 on weekends) and it's been going for 6 months....

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Old 11-29-2002, 04:24 PM   #15
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The Bottle is right next to the tank stand, ugly as hell. I'll figure something out to hide it. The reason I got such a large bottle is because I basically didn't want to fill it every 6 months and they told me that the larger the tank is the more CO2 I get because its more difficult to evacuate the smaller bottles completely. So, proportionately I get more CO2 for the money. Yeah ,I'm cheap. LOL
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