Stoopid CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Stoopid CO2

I have a shoddy DIY CO2 setup on my 20g high tank. I have the same regulator used on Rex's Best Aquarium Regulator. I have a paintball adapter on a 20oz PB tank. I used the washer with the reg, between the reg and the adapter. I crushed the washer and tightened everything with a wrench. To replace the tank, I only unscrew the tank from the adapter, and have left the adapter connected to the regulator nipple since I installed it. I'm using "Elite Silicone Airline Tubing" from ramazon on the Fluval 88g diffuser. At ~1 bps I'm at around 10psi on the reg. I just put this together on Sunday. I'm now 2 20oz tanks in for 3 days (today is Wednesday). Monday, tank had dumped when I got home from work, drop check was yellow. I figured that the guy hadn't filled it correctly or that I may have wasted a lot of CO2 during the initial setup. I got a digital fish scale. Got tank filled and weighed out CO2 to ~16-18oz. I placed the entire setup, including all line and the diffuser into a 5 gal bucket and saw no bubbles @ 10 psi. I ran 1 bps yesterday, turned it off overnight, ran 1 bps today. I just got home and the 2nd tank is gone. Now I know that silicone tubing isn't the best for CO2, but from what I can tell 1 bps on a 20oz tank shouldn't amount to a couple of days, much less one. Most posts seem to state that they run 1bps+ on a 20/24oz tank for at least a month.



Any thoughts, ATM this rig seems to defy the laws of physics...
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:07 AM
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Ive never had good luck with silcone tubing. It always seemed to waste c02 to me with anything over 4 psi..just my. 2 cents

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 01:12 AM
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You must have a leak somewhere. You mentioned that you crushed the washer, I'm assuming you're talking about the white nylon seal? Did you put in a new one? If not, that may be part of the problem. You're supposed to replace it with a new one every time you take the regulator off and then back on. Every single time, no exceptions. You can usually get a handful at the place refilling the tank.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 01:20 AM
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i always dunk my setup in a bucket of water to check for leaks if that helps. if you're losing the entire tank of co2 in a day, it should be visible in the bucket.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 01:52 AM
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+1 for replacing the polyurethane washer. I made the same mistake with my first pressurised setup. Noticed an audible leak days after setting it up.

Always, clean the surfaces and carefully install a new washer every time. I've also found it unnecessary to over tighten the regulator.

Always immerse your setup in a sink of water to observe fine leaks.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:12 AM
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Are you guys saying to immerse the regulator in water?

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:21 AM
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I'm not sure you will see the leaks you might have by dunking it in a bucket. The way I found is easiest to use is to use a mix of a little dishwashing detergent in water, and brush or dribble it on every single spot where a leak is possible. Wait several minutes, then look for tiny piles of very small bubbles. Where you find them is a leak. I could discharge a 5 pound bottle in a few days with a leak that showed up as just a tiny pile of bubbles. You need to seal everything so well that there are no bubbles at all after even 15 minutes or longer.

The connection to the CO2 bottle is a typical leak spot. Also, at any threaded fitting, at all places on the regulator, the needle valve and the bubble counter. Don't worry about the silicone tubing - you can't lose enough CO2 through that to have any effect at all. I did some testing to verify that for myself, with the cheapest silicone tubing I could buy.

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the suggestions. When I said that I had crushed the washer I was meaning that I placed the new nylon washer in between the regulator nipple and the adapter and then wrenched both pieces together with 1 1/2' crescent wrenches. I am certain that this is as tight a fitting as I can possibly get. I have also put new o-rings on my tank and I find that there is a definite tight stop to the attachment of the tank. There doesn't seem to be any additional play to the adapter connection. I did stop out and get 7oz put into my tank for free because the store's tank had gone dry. I also picked up some temporary vinyl airline just to be certain. I re-taped an reattached the 1/4" brass check valve and the nipple attached to the end. When I had tested previously I had dunked the entire setup (regulator, bubble counter, and all airline) into a 5 gal bucket with no visible bubbles. I will try the soap method, as I have heard that people have had good success with that. Long term, once I feel comfortable about operating CO2 on my tank and know what effect it will have on my flora and fauna, I'd like to move up to a 5# or 10# setup with a dual-stage. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can purchase good CO2 resistant airline? I think 6mm OD, 4mm ID is what I have seen recommended as most barbs or quick connects will accommodate this size. Also, I perused some "for sale" threads for a metering\needle valve and solenoid, but it appears as though some sellers may be taking the summer off. Anyone yet around that deals in these at all?

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!

-SF
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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Fixed it all somehow. Was running ~1oz/day on the cheapo reg with the paintball can. Went ahead and got a 10# cylinder and a Concoa dual-stage reg. Now I'm just trying to wrap my head around whether or not I can snag a 3-way mouse off fleabay or if they will vent my precious CO2 to the atmosphere. Anyone have any thoughts regarding 24/hr CO2? I like the idea on the surface, maybe run an airstone inversely to my photocycle? Risk\Reward? Personal preference?

Thanks again for the assistance.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 03:09 AM
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This thread may help you understand why people suffocate their fish/bugs.

http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=10282

IME you can run co2 24/7 or timed with the same results to plant growth and lifestock only if you have good surface agitation (no splashing, no airstone) or a surface skimmer.


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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 03:10 AM
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No reason to run CO2 24/7. Or use an airstone. Pick up a $5 analog timer, plug the solenoid and lights into it, set it for 8 hours a day or so, and done.

If you want to play with it, you can get two timers, and run the solenoid an hour or so ahead of lighting, as many do, but, honestly, there's no confirmation of this having any effect whatsoever on growth beyond what having the lighting and CO2 on and off at the same time does. Besides, with a paintball can, you want to conserve CO2 as much as you can. As it is, it's 1/4 the size of a 5# cylinder. Without a solenoid, you'll use 12 paintball cans for each 5# with a solenoid.

A 3-way solenoid act identically to a 2-way solenoid if you A) plug the 3rd port (if there is one) or B) run a check valve anywhere beyond the solenoid. But keep in mind that if there's an "M" in the model number of the Mouse, then it requires a mount, available only through Clippard.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 06:42 PM
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I run my CO2 24/7, but with the help of a pH controller. Since the pH controller shuts off the CO2 at night automatically, I'm not really running it 24/7. I just let the pH controller determine when the CO2 in the tank drops and needs to have more injected. As a result, I can maintain an extremely high level of CO2 without worrying about gassing my fish. Without a pH controller, I think it would not only be wasteful to run the CO2 24/7, but it would also be risky.

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
I run my CO2 24/7, but with the help of a pH controller. Since the pH controller shuts off the CO2 at night automatically, I'm not really running it 24/7. I just let the pH controller determine when the CO2 in the tank drops and needs to have more injected. As a result, I can maintain an extremely high level of CO2 without worrying about gassing my fish. Without a pH controller, I think it would not only be wasteful to run the CO2 24/7, but it would also be risky.
Hey, I have a question:

Does a ph controller work ok with buffering substrates?

Have you heard of anyone having one of those fail and inject too much co2 thus affecting the livestock?

Thanks!


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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 07:30 PM
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buffering susbtrates usually do their work pretty quick. so i'd say if u keep ur controller probe clean, and chagne it when it becomes inaccurate. you'll never have a problem like that

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 08-11-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
Hey, I have a question:

Does a ph controller work ok with buffering substrates?

Have you heard of anyone having one of those fail and inject too much co2 thus affecting the livestock?
I honestly can't say since I've never used a buffering substrate. In theory, I would think the main thing is the water parameters would need to be stable in order to use a pH controller since it is the change in pH that the controller uses to determine when to turn on/off the CO2. If a buffering substrate caused the pH to shift, that would affect the pH controller's behavior.

I would also expect it to depend on just when the pH shifted, how quickly it made the shift, and how stable it remained after the shift. Let's say, for example, the buffering effect lowered the pH of newly added water after a water change, but did so quickly and then the pH remained stable after that (until the next water change). Then that should be okay. But if the pH shift was slow after the water change or if it made a constant downward shift between water changes, then that would really mess up the use of a pH controller.

So the answer would depend on how stable the pH is with the buffering substrate. A quick swing with a stable pH after that would be fine, but a long, drawn out swing would not work.

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