First Time Pressurized CO2 - n00b Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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First Time Pressurized CO2 - n00b Questions

So, Today all the bits arrived for me to start pressurized CO2 in my 20 long.

I have a few questions that I'm hoping to get some input on.

I had DIY going, but after doing some maths and seeing how much I was going to be spending on sugar alone, I decided to step up to the standard.

I have a MA957 reg on a 20# tank running to a Cerges' style reactor. A lot of the questions I have will probably only be answerable by those with experience with this regulator.

So, first question. There's a thread here ( https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...stuctions.html ) which addresses this unit. As per the instructions on the box and the mentioned customer service rep advice, I attempted to regulate my bubble rate with the needle valve completely open and using the main reg adjust. I found, when attempting this, that I could use some fine motor control to get the bubble rate where I wanted it, but when I looked ten minutes later, it was decreasing. I.E. I would set a 1 BPS rate, walk away, come back 5-10 minutes later, and the BPS would drop to one bubble every 5-10 seconds. I adjusted, came back, adjusted, came back, on and on. When testing out my solenoid control, I found that if I closed the solenoid and reopened it, the BPS would jump to about a gajllion per second, (solid stream of gas). I then attempted to set a high bubble rate, 5-10 bps, and adjust down to the rate I'm shooting for (around 1 bps to start) with the needle valve. I haven't been able to see the difference in this method, as it was around the lights/co2 off time. My question is, the bubble rate will be dependent on the pressure difference between the bubble counter and the reactor, the higher the difference, the more bubbles. Is that a generally correct statement? So if the gas pressure in the reactor is variable, as it probably is with all the turbulence, is it even possible to get a stabilized bubble rate? Should I set the working pressure on the "right side" gauge and use the needle valve to regulate the bubble rate? Would that lead to the dreaded EOTD? There're are a lot of opinions out there, it's tough to sift the valid insight from the generalized comments based on sheer personal experience.

I'm also curious about the accuracy of the KH/pH relationship using water from the tank. According to the charts and my found readings, (3 dKH, 6.4 pH,) my CO2 concentration is around 24 ppm, which is good. However, while making the switch from the DIY stuff, I had no CO2 running for about three hours (had to drive through traffic to get the tank filled.) I took the reading just before starting the pressurized CO2. This doesn't seem right to me. I suppose the next step would be to get/make a drop checker.

Finally, anyone with experience have any input on what bubble rate I should be shooting for. I'd say 100% of the CO2 is being dissolved, as no bubbles come out my spray bar. Unless it's teleporting out of the reactor/canister, it has to be in the water.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:26 AM
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You can try increasing working pressure to 20psi, then set the bubble rate with the needle valve. My guess is that your working pressure is pretty low, which will often cause screwey results with the cheaper regs.

I have a Milwaukee running into a Rex reactor with a standard 3bps that never changes. Turbulence shouldn't do anything.

As for the KH/pH chart, ignore it. There are just too many variables. Invest in (or make your own) drop checker with a 4dKH solution. It's not terribly accurate, but it will give you a general idea of CO2 saturation.

Lastly, the needle valve on the Milwaukee works ...but it's terribly cheap and very hard to get right. Every time you change it, do like you said and walk away. I'd give 10-15 minutes between tweaks. It's also possible to substitute it with a different needle valve - all the fittings on that regulator rig are 1/8" NPT.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris767 View Post
So, Today all the bits arrived for me to start pressurized CO2 in my 20 long.

I have a few questions that I'm hoping to get some input on.

I had DIY going, but after doing some maths and seeing how much I was going to be spending on sugar alone, I decided to step up to the standard.

I have a MA957 reg on a 20# tank running to a Cerges' style reactor. A lot of the questions I have will probably only be answerable by those with experience with this regulator.

So, first question. There's a thread here ( https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...stuctions.html ) which addresses this unit. As per the instructions on the box and the mentioned customer service rep advice, I attempted to regulate my bubble rate with the needle valve completely open and using the main reg adjust. I found, when attempting this, that I could use some fine motor control to get the bubble rate where I wanted it, but when I looked ten minutes later, it was decreasing. I.E. I would set a 1 BPS rate, walk away, come back 5-10 minutes later, and the BPS would drop to one bubble every 5-10 seconds. I adjusted, came back, adjusted, came back, on and on. When testing out my solenoid control, I found that if I closed the solenoid and reopened it, the BPS would jump to about a gajllion per second, (solid stream of gas). I then attempted to set a high bubble rate, 5-10 bps, and adjust down to the rate I'm shooting for (around 1 bps to start) with the needle valve. I haven't been able to see the difference in this method, as it was around the lights/co2 off time. My question is, the bubble rate will be dependent on the pressure difference between the bubble counter and the reactor, the higher the difference, the more bubbles. Is that a generally correct statement? So if the gas pressure in the reactor is variable, as it probably is with all the turbulence, is it even possible to get a stabilized bubble rate? Should I set the working pressure on the "right side" gauge and use the needle valve to regulate the bubble rate? Would that lead to the dreaded EOTD? There're are a lot of opinions out there, it's tough to sift the valid insight from the generalized comments based on sheer personal experience.

I'm also curious about the accuracy of the KH/pH relationship using water from the tank. According to the charts and my found readings, (3 dKH, 6.4 pH,) my CO2 concentration is around 24 ppm, which is good. However, while making the switch from the DIY stuff, I had no CO2 running for about three hours (had to drive through traffic to get the tank filled.) I took the reading just before starting the pressurized CO2. This doesn't seem right to me. I suppose the next step would be to get/make a drop checker.

Finally, anyone with experience have any input on what bubble rate I should be shooting for. I'd say 100% of the CO2 is being dissolved, as no bubbles come out my spray bar. Unless it's teleporting out of the reactor/canister, it has to be in the water.
I think you may have mis understood the procedure.
you cant ajust bubble count with the main reg ajustment (that is for setting the output pressure) the needle valve then controles the delivery of BPM.
So if the regulator is set up correctly, on one dial you will have the high pressure reading (around 1000Psi) on the other you will have the output pressure (set using the main reg ajustment at around 20-30Psi depending on your diffuser) then the needle valve slows down (but does not change the pressure)the delivery of gas to your reactor.
You may notice the output pressure may rise slightly when the selonoid is shut that is normal.
as to bubble rates it differs for different methods of diffusion.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses!

I kind of figured that this would be the cheaper side of the reg/needle valve spectrum. The process in the thread I posted was the one I followed at first, but it did seem kind of off to me. The only thing that kept me from setting a working pressure and adjusting with the needle valve was the EOTD phenomena I had read about. I figured the lower the working pressure, the less diaphragm interaction and less chance of dump. Tomorrow, or Sunday, I'll put some time into it. I need to work on my reactor as well, my downtube isn't long enough. I'm getting small amounts of gas into the canister, as I'm running my reactor before the canister.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris767 View Post
Thanks for the responses!

I kind of figured that this would be the cheaper side of the reg/needle valve spectrum. The process in the thread I posted was the one I followed at first, but it did seem kind of off to me. The only thing that kept me from setting a working pressure and adjusting with the needle valve was the EOTD phenomena I had read about. I figured the lower the working pressure, the less diaphragm interaction and less chance of dump. Tomorrow, or Sunday, I'll put some time into it. I need to work on my reactor as well, my downtube isn't long enough. I'm getting small amounts of gas into the canister, as I'm running my reactor before the canister.
Dont worry about EOTD it is very very rare, follow Kevmos advise and you will be fine.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 07:38 AM
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Go back and re read that link you posted. It said to open the needle valve all the way, then get about 80 bpm, and then use the needle valve to adjust it after that to what you need.


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