Did I make a mistake? Setting up Co2 injection 5.5g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Did I make a mistake? Setting up Co2 injection 5.5g

Hi all, I found a regulator & paintball adapter for cheap so I scooped them up to do Co2 injection soon on my 5g.

My GH is 8 and using a BPS calculator site it concluded my tank needs .1 - .3 bubbles per second. My question is what does that actually look like? 1 bubble every 5-10 seconds? Id just barely turn the needle valve on the regulator to get that effect or is a bubble count that slow in need of some other piece of equipment?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 06:15 PM
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my 5.5 gal with around 4.0 actual gals of water required 1.0 bps with a decent ceramic disk diffuser, 0.1 bps or 0.3 bps would be a starting point, but you;ll liiely need to up to to around 1bps.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Rnasty View Post
Hi all, I found a regulator & paintball adapter for cheap so I scooped them up to do Co2 injection soon on my 5g.

My GH is 8 and using a BPS calculator site it concluded my tank needs .1 - .3 bubbles per second. My question is what does that actually look like? 1 bubble every 5-10 seconds? Id just barely turn the needle valve on the regulator to get that effect or is a bubble count that slow in need of some other piece of equipment?
1/(bubbles per second) = seconds per bubble, so 0.1 bubbles per second is 10 seconds per bubble and 0.3 bubbles per second is around 3 seconds per bubble.

That being said, I'm with quagulator. When I was injecting CO2 in my 5.5 gallon, I required about 1 bps to reach 30 ppm dissolved CO2. A 5.5 gallon doesn't provide a tall water column in which for the CO2 to dissolve, so quite a bit is lost to the atmosphere. You should be able to achieve this (or even the much slower rates you proposed) with a needle valve, though it may be quite hard to dial it in if the valve is cheap.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies guys, makes me feel a lot better about jumping on the reg! i forgot what brand it is but i trust the lfs owner who sold it to me, he uses them on all his showtanks
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 05:30 PM
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my 5.5 gal with around 4.0 actual gals of water required 1.0 bps with a decent ceramic disk diffuser, 0.1 bps or 0.3 bps would be a starting point, but you;ll liiely need to up to to around 1bps.
I also use about 1 bps for my Spec V (5 gallon).
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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So I went out last night and bought the rest of what I needed. Everything is working well but the diffuser. I grabbed a cheap fluval one just for now. It does not release small bubbles through the diffuser at all, and at the seams large bubbles form and quickly shoot to the top. I've seen some places online that the disk can take time for pressure to break through but it seems to me that I got a defective product since the large bubbles are coming from the seams and not the disk.


Am I doing something wrong or is this a case of me getting what I paid for?


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 11:21 PM
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There are multiple reports on TPT on that Fluval diffuser being hit or miss. Looks like yours is in the miss category.
A ~$7 glass ceramic disk diffusers from Ebay / Amazon work fine, get some spares for when you need to clean one. This one has been gathering fans lately https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MLT716...ing=UTF8&psc=1

If your regulator cannot deliver working pressure above 30 psi, pay attention to the cracking pressure of the difusser, to be on the safe side.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 12:50 PM
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I've always had really good luck with the fluval ones, until the last 2 I bought...

Both required more than 30psi to work correctly, which my regulator cannot do, so I was having very inconsistent CO2 delivery.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 01:01 PM
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The Fluval diffuser comes apart in order to replace the ceramic disc, so just try tightening it a bit and see if you can get that leak to stop.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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I went back and swapped out the diffuser, but the second one also was leaking from the seams. I'm going to swing by my LFS in a few hours on my lunch and get something better quality.

I did have an air stone laying around and it produces very, very fine bubbles, just like the fluval diffuser. It got me to 30ppm in about an hour and it stayed there. It's working very well as the bubbles are super fine and stay under water 5+ seconds at very least. Many of them get shot into the tank by my filter and hang onto the plants.

Last edited by Rnasty; 06-07-2018 at 06:08 PM. Reason: more info
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Ugh I'm so frustrated! After 2 fluval diffusers didn't work I went and bought one at my LFS that I need to return because the glass appears to have a hole in it producing this effect. Am I doing something wrong?





Further, when inspecting it and trying to remove the hose, it broke so I may not even be able to return it.

Below is a picture of the airstone I've been using.


Last edited by Rnasty; 06-07-2018 at 10:34 PM. Reason: more pics
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 10:39 PM
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How long did you actually run the fluval ones before giving up? I've used the ISTA brand (same design) and had similar issues at first with it leaking from the seams. I just left it in there to do it's thing and it eventually started working correctly a day or two later. You could also try soaking the ceramic in 50% bleach 50% distilled solution for an hour or two. Then let it sit in a bowl of heavily Prime treated water for another hour before using it. I think these pores get clogged easily due to the density. It could be from the manufacturing process. One thing I'll say is once they start working, they put out a super fine mist like no other. At least mine does at 48 psi. It's worth a shot.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Not very long at all, I figured that since the gas was leaking from multiple spots along the seam that it would never build enough pressure to go through the ceramic. I have not returned it yet so I suppose I could try again tonight

I'm a bit confused how I find out what PSI my tank is outputting. I just have a co2 tank connected to a single stage regulator. What PSI would i be putting out

Last edited by Rnasty; 06-07-2018 at 10:52 PM. Reason: more info
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:03 PM
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Yeah, the ceramic seems clogged like mine was. The gas will just take the path of least resistance, sometimes even blowing the tubing off the diffuser. Mine leaked around the top side under the rubber seal but I had already soaked mine in distilled water overnight before attempting to use. I had big 'ol bubbles that just rose to the surface. I ended up taking it apart, flipped the ceramic, tightened it up real good and tried again. This time I got a single stream of bubbles that were coming from ceramic, so I let it be.

Funny thing is, I ended up replacing it with a glass diffuser and I just let it sit in a box for months. I didn't even bother to clean it because the ceramic was still nice and white. I put it back in commission last week without even cleaning it. It worked great from the start and it's still putting out really fine bubbles. I just can't run a high flow rate with it because the tube pops off. If only they used a barbed fitting...

Bump: Hard to say what your working pressure is if you don't have a gauge. Mine is an aquatek paintball reg so it has a gauge for that (even though working pressure is preset). The first kit I bought was a disposable kit that didn't have a gauge for working pressure but it was preset high enough to work with the diffuser. I'm guessing over 30 psi.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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How did you unscrew it? I even tried with a pair of pliers on the first diffuser I got. I stopped because I was putting dents in the side and still wanted to exchange it.

I don't know if this information helps, but if I cranked up the co2 the diffuser would work, but it would also let out even more from the sides.

I'll try all these methods and get back in a few hours.

Last edited by Rnasty; 06-07-2018 at 11:12 PM. Reason: typo
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