Pressurized CO2 with two aquariums? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Pressurized CO2 with two aquariums?

Hi Everyone- Question here on my new CO2 system. I will be upgrading from a DIY citric acid/ baking soda system to a pressurized system. Have an Aquatek Premier regulator and 5# tank. Currently I am running a ceramic diffuser on my 29 gallon tank (running a Marineland 200 HOB). I will be converting my 55 gallon from African cichlids over to a planted rainbow tank here very soon. The 55 gallon filtration is a SunSun 303B filled with 2L of MarinePure balls and 2L of Seachem Matrix, with a SunSun 602 pre-filer with the mechanical filtration.

My question is, with wanting to run these two aquariums off the same CO2 tank, what would be be best option for the 55 gallon to diffuse CO2 into it: Ceramic diffuser, inline reactor, or inline atomizer?

I am leaning towards a reactor due to its efficiencies, however I am curious if the huger PSI used for the ceramic diffuser on the 29 gallon will be too much pressure for the inline reactor on my 55 gallon. The ceramic diffuser is likely too inefficient for a 55 gallon, and I hear stories of the fizz effect with inline atomizer.

Anyone have any experience or thoughts on this? Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 12:49 PM
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In tank ceramic diffusers should work at around 20 psi. In any case, you will need a needle valve per tank and that makes the output pressure sort of irrelevant.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 01:03 PM
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I have three tanks sharing one CO2. All have their own dedicated needle valves, so it's like having three separate systems once the tubing leaves the regulator. From that stance, you can use whatever setup you want in each tank.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Okay- Yes my diffuser is working at 20PSI right now. So the needle valve for each tank should be enough to regulate flow? That is good to know. Now just need to decide on needle valve (the aquatek one takes about a 1/4 turn from off to insane bubble count...)
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 01:38 PM
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You also need a manifold to split the flow evenly between the needle valves.


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 01:46 PM
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When you have a diffuser that works at that low PSI, it should not be a problem to match it to another tank using most any reactor. I did find it somewhat difficult to match a ceramic using 50PSI to a Grigg's reactor as the high pressure did make it more difficult to adjust both.
What I found was it does make it easier to get to the exact "sweet spot" when I can play the pressure up/down as well as the needle valve opening , the resulting volume of gas output being the result of both settings. Not impossible but just easier with the ability to play each up and down.
If DIY is okay for you, I highly recommend the Grigg's reactor for 55 and above. I actually use them on all my tanks including 20 gallon as I like only having the filter output rather than two separate items. The filter does a better job of spreading the cO2 around the tank than simply letting it out in one spot. I might also advise adding a small powerhead in the 55 to make sure it goes further. I can see the difference when it collects on plants . A bit hard to tell "pearling" from collecting but it collects on wood that I'm sure does not "pearl"!
For needle valves, I tend to go middle of the road. Not the higher dolar types but "good enough" and that moves me to using mostly Fabco NV-55 as I like the smaller size and mounted away from things on tubing rather than the NV-55-18 which uses hard plumbing. I like to mount the needle valve next to the item showing me the flow. Sometimes that is a bubble counter and other times it is Dwyer flowmeters. I like the flowmeters for more precise answer when I can buy them at the right price. I hate counting bubbles that are flowing so fast I can't see!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 02:14 PM
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My three needle valves are by far the most costly part of my entire setup.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 02:27 PM
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A good needle valve makes all the difference. I don't mind (well I do) paying ~$70 for Ideal, with their 32 turns close to open.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
When you have a diffuser that works at that low PSI, it should not be a problem to match it to another tank using most any reactor. I did find it somewhat difficult to match a ceramic using 50PSI to a Grigg's reactor as the high pressure did make it more difficult to adjust both.
What I found was it does make it easier to get to the exact "sweet spot" when I can play the pressure up/down as well as the needle valve opening , the resulting volume of gas output being the result of both settings. Not impossible but just easier with the ability to play each up and down.
If DIY is okay for you, I highly recommend the Grigg's reactor for 55 and above. I actually use them on all my tanks including 20 gallon as I like only having the filter output rather than two separate items. The filter does a better job of spreading the cO2 around the tank than simply letting it out in one spot. I might also advise adding a small powerhead in the 55 to make sure it goes further. I can see the difference when it collects on plants . A bit hard to tell "pearling" from collecting but it collects on wood that I'm sure does not "pearl"!
For needle valves, I tend to go middle of the road. Not the higher dolar types but "good enough" and that moves me to using mostly Fabco NV-55 as I like the smaller size and mounted away from things on tubing rather than the NV-55-18 which uses hard plumbing. I like to mount the needle valve next to the item showing me the flow. Sometimes that is a bubble counter and other times it is Dwyer flowmeters. I like the flowmeters for more precise answer when I can buy them at the right price. I hate counting bubbles that are flowing so fast I can't see!
I was reading some of your posts and am really interested in the NV-55. I am not totally up to par on my plumbing, so how would you / do you attach this to your airline? Having the adjustment inline next to the bubble counter (for flow gauge, that would be great, like you said, at the right price) would be optimal in my opinion to help with finer adjustments.

So my thought would be from the Aquatek regulator, split off into two brass fitting, then to two airlines, into the NV-55, check valve, then bubble counter, check valve, and some type of diffuser.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 04:52 PM
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The difference in NV-55 and NV-55-18 is the second is larger to allow room for drilling/fitting a hole for 1/8" pipe. The internal parts are the same. The 10-32 is the same as a size 10 screw with 32 threads per inch.
So I like having it remote and find the little 10-32 fittings are not a problem for me. When folks use hard plumbing and 10-32 fittings, they break way too easy but when they are just inline on tubing, I don't break them.
So my lineup is reg to solenoid and how to do that depends on which Clippard solenoid I find best price. Some I use a manifold mount and that makes 1/8" fittings. But if I find a Clippard without manifold mounting, it uses 10-32 and that can make it tricky as I have a hard time finding fittings/adapters to go from my reg to the 10-32.
After the solenoid. I come out with which one is needed but go into the Fabco using the 10-32. I use just simple airline that I buy at the hobby shop, etc. and it fits well on a barb fitting. So for ease of shopping, I go to the local RC model place and buy the fitting they use for fuel lines on cars and planes.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, this makes sense. So coming off of my Aquatek Regulator I would need a manifold to split into two airlines. Am I correct that it is 1/8 NPT thread into the regulator?

Then from the manifold I would have two airlines going out that would essentially run into a 1/8 barbed fitting to a 10/32 male fitting. The fitting then goes into the NV-55 and out the other side is another 1/8 barbed to 10-32 male. Then Bubble counter and so on (with check valves of course).

Do these sizes seem right? Also, what is the best place to find the two outlet manifold without breaking the bank?

Thanks everyone for the help.

Also, for the cost of the connectors and the NV-55 Needle valves, what about GLA's 2 way?

GLA CO2 Manifold - Dual | Green Leaf Aquariums

Not sure if anyone has experience with this one and how the adjustments are.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-31-2018 at 08:10 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 09:07 PM
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I would want to check the 1/8 out of the reg as I have not used that specific one and some do use 1/4 . But then the main question/confusion may be the manifold idea. Lots of things that are the same as a "manifold" but we don't call them that. It is really just any set that lets you come in one place and go out at two or more places or directions.In house plumbing, there is often a manifold but all it really means is that they come in on a line and add as many tee fittings as they need to use. We can use a ready made machined brass manifold but it also works the same if we use some fitting like a tee. If we want to have two out, we use one tee or add a second and have three out.
Since I only wanted to feed two tanks with one reg and solenoid, I just did reg, solenoid to a tee and then ran to two needle valves side by side with bubble counters mounted on a board just below the two tanks. For most of us garden hoses make more sense as we use them more. So when we have two sprinklers on a hose by adding a tee or "Y", we've got a manifold!
The GLA is a manifold but with extras as the knobs out to the right are for adjusting the built in needle valves just below the barb fittings sticking up. Neat, small package but I'm not up on how well the needle valves are at making the small adjustments we like. Maybe somebody who has used them can pop in with their thinking on how easy they are to work?
From left to right, there is a fitting (nipple?) probably 1/8? the Tee going to close(short) nipple and elbow with two needle valves sticking out to the right. Two check valves sticking up with barb fittings to finish it off?

Last edited by PlantedRich; 03-30-2018 at 09:09 PM. Reason: correct type
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, this makes a lot of sense, thanks for breaking it down for me. I feel like I still want to go with the NV-55 so I'll work on putting together something that will work.

Lots of reading to still do on the reactor stuff, but this forum has plenty of good materials. I'll probably DIY if I do go reactor based on some threads I have read.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 01:24 AM
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I like the Grigg's but then I never really tried the other DIY reactor. I'm cheap and reluctant to spend so when the first Grigg's worked, I never went into the other options? Part of my plan for hobbies is to NOT think too hard, so why reinvent the wheel when the first one worked!
I almost always have a can of PVC cement setting somewhere going bad so the hardest part for me is getting the right size barb fittings to come out in the direction I want. I like to avoid 90 els as they do tend to slow the flow more than straight but it seems like when I want a 5/8 straight I can find the els but not the straight and then when I do want the el, I can't find those???
This is pretty much my "bible" for reactors:
How To Build A CO2 Reactor | Build a Regulator | Test Kit
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Great information, thank you for sharing. I see there are a couple other threads with this as well, so I'll keep following those discussions as I get closer to switching the 55 gallon over. Thanks again.
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