CO2 start up - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 start up

I'm sorry to keep asking about CO2 ... I'm saving my $ and want to go with a pressurized system.

I know I need a tank, regulator, diffuser or reactor. There are also some extras I'm not sure what's needed:

1) I'm considering a Green Leaf regulator, but should I go with a GL diffuser, or the Aqua Medic 1000 reactor? (Is it possible to clean the GL inline diffuser without their cleaner)

2) I know some people plug the regulator into the timer for the lights. I'm also thinking about a Ph controller / meter and running the regulator through that. Is that worth the $?

3) If I have the Ph controller / monitor, do I need a drop checker?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 02:14 PM
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I have mine plugged into a timer that comes on 2 hours before the lights come on and turns off an hour or so before the lights turn off. This allows the CO2 to build up before the lights come on. I use a drop checker. I haven't used a pH controller but it seems like more hassle then it is worth since it is one more thing to spend money on (both the initial cost and replacement probes). Also unless you have the pH controller on a timer you will be running CO2 at night as well to keep the pH stable which is a waste of CO2.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 02:28 PM
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Sounds like a time for some breaking down the question into smaller sections so that they are easier to figure. These can come all built together or bought separately. All built together units tend to be cheap stuff with poor quality questions.
Tank and then a reg. The reg cuts the pressure down to what we need to use. Second is a way to turn the gas on/off without having to be there and close the valve. A solenoid does this. Just an electrical switch to close the gate. Whether you turn it on/off manual, with timers, or controllers is a personal choice of convenience. Many find timers good enough for $5 rather than $150-200. After that most use a needle valve to give them a fine adjustment of the gas. Many put a check valve (one way valve) between these and the liquid in the next item. A bubble counter is a liquid container designed so you can see the gas bubble through the liquid. It serves no purpose other than letting you see when you adjust the flow. Kind of like a bike speedometer? You can do without but it does give you visual that you have in fact changed the flow. A bit better than the bake item? Then you need to mix the gas in the water. Diffuser, reactor or others are different ways with different names but do the same.
I advise starting at one end and making decisions on each part. Boggles the mind less?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 02:48 PM
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Co2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew RJ View Post
I'm sorry to keep asking about CO2 ... I'm saving my $ and want to go with a pressurized system.

I know I need a tank, regulator, diffuser or reactor. There are also some extras I'm not sure what's needed:

1) I'm considering a Green Leaf regulator, but should I go with a GL diffuser, or the Aqua Medic 1000 reactor? (Is it possible to clean the GL inline diffuser without their cleaner)
This might be blind leading the blind cause I too am new to this CO2 adventure. I bought the GL diffuser and I have no regrets. It produces a fog of CO2 which easily dissapears into my tank water (to my nake eye). The cleaning the ceramic diffuser... Im sure that you can clean it without their cleaner if you can find the same product elsewhere. (I have not researched this yet.) How does it compare to the reactor? Not sure, I can only tell you that I'm stoked on my purchase. Might depend on your tank size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew RJ View Post
2) I know some people plug the regulator into the timer for the lights. I'm also thinking about a Ph controller / meter and running the regulator through that. Is that worth the $?
I also thought of a Ph controller but again since I was just getting my feet wet I decided to start with a drop checker. I have my CO2 and light on separate timers like others have suggested (real simple timers). My CO2 comes on an hour before my lights do. Maybe after I feel my tank is dialed I will invest in a Ph controller...

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Originally Posted by Matthew RJ View Post
3) If I have the Ph controller / monitor, do I need a drop checker?
See above.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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jimgriz,
I asked about cleaning the intank diffuser in a private message. Here's the reply I got:
Clean the diffuser using pure bleach (Clorox) enough to completely submerge the diffuser in a small cup and soaking for 12+ hours. Clean with Prime a dechlorinating agent after.

What about cleaning their inline diffuser?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 01:25 AM
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Checked back to see how the search was going. I might throw out a couple ideas to think over. When cleaning tank items with bleach there may be a couple small points. One is that most bleach is the same except when they add smells like lemon, etc. which are not recommended for tanks as they are just an added unknown item. Safer to stay with the really cheaper stuff. Reading on the labels will tell you what percent of chlorine each brand has to I go the more pure cheap stuff. Then when you want to clear it of the chlorine, either soaking in a dechlor like Prime will do or if not in a hurry just let it dry off so the gas can escape. Cheaper but slower.
I don't see any explanation of the drop checker yet. It is really a simple deal. it gives you a visible sign by color of how much your PH has dropped. Blue is not enough drop, green just right and yellow, look out, too much! You can see it is not a real precise thing and you really need to watch any fish for stress more than the drop checker. Some get stressed way before other might.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds like the Ph controller is safer ...my big fear in all this is gassing the fish! Thanks for the warning about bleach.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 03:17 AM
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That entry by PlantedRich was very helpful to me, another newbie trying to work my way thru all the acronyms, tech-names and shorthand descriptive terms that mean nothing when taken out of context [like "reactor", for example…]. I, too, have been trying to figure out the how/why of CO2 systems. Thank you!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 03:22 PM
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I currently am cutting back on tanks and I'm down to two planted. On one I got a used setup that had the controller so I went with it. It is handy in many ways. One is that it does give one more line of defense on EOTD. When we might let the CO2 tank get low enough that a single stage reg can't regulate well and let the pressure rise, The controller should turn the solenoid off. The solenoid should close the gate and gas flow stop. But then there is currently the "tail of woe" posting which proves that nothing is totally safe. If the solenoid is sticking at the same time the tank runs into the end of the liquid, it's still bad. These things seem to come around just in time to catch us when we get a little busy or relax a bit more then normal. Since the price of CO2 is so totally cheap, it is just much wiser to go get the tank filled when it gets low. Waiting to scrape out the last ten percent can have really bad results IF one other part goes down. But the best defense is constant attention to the little details.
Airline crashes are almost always a series of small meaningless events strung together to make disasters.
The SFO crash?
The pilot was new and nervous, he did not want to say so.
Part of the nav system was down for construction
The flight speed controller did not work for whatever reason
The pilots deferred to the senior man

And four experienced pilots flew the plane into the ground!

Don't depend on any equipment to replace good solid observation!
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