Working on a plan... need help on CO2 delivery - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Working on a plan... need help on CO2 delivery

So, I have been researching for a few weeks and so far here is the plan:

I am hoping to do a semi-heavily planted tank with medium light.

I already have my tank, filter, and heater. Lighting, substrate, and CO2 are waiting for a final decision.

Tank: 50G (48X13X18)
Filter: Magnum 350
Heater: Visitherm 200W
Substrate: black Flourite mixed with brown/tan gravel (50/50?)
Lighting: 2X55 watt as seen here - http://www.ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm



Now the CO2...

I have access to a lot of high pressure equipment/parts where I work, so I have a few options here.



This is a regulator from a breathing air cart we used to use. It is a basic high pressure to lower pressure regulator that uses a valve to adjust output pressure. Don't mind the funky fittings, adaptors, and Ts... I have all parts needed to connect it in a standard configuration.







This is a different regulator we use sometimes for precise calibration for gas monitors. It is a high pressure to VERY low pressure regulator. The acrylic block on the left is something called a rotameter and we use them to measure flow rate in liters per minute. Essentially it is just a needle valve with a floating ball to show how fast the gas is moving.






The second regulator/valve set is a much nicer set in my opinion, but, every regulator I have seen in kits sold for aquariums is similar to the first. What are your thoughts?



From what I can tell the easiest thing for me to do would be to run the gas into an in-tank diffuser like the one in the link below. I was also considering getting one with a built-in bubble counter so I don't have to do the soda bottle with tubing glued to it.

http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/co...spiro-500.html


Barring CO2, does everything else seem to be in check? Or am I missing anything? I plan to begin working on the tank in about a month, so I have plenty of time to work on the setup.

Any and all opinions are welcome and appreciated.

~Thanks,
Devin

Last edited by DevinWolfe; 08-01-2009 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Correct dimensions format
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 04:05 AM
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It looks like the second one is a dual stage model with a single gauge. Is that correct? How low do you mean "low psi?" 5 to 15 psi is usually plenty for our use.

Do you need a needle valve for it? There is a nice Parker metering valve on ebay for $18 including shipping. It is item number: 350215833992

You do have a CGA-320 nut and nipple, correct?

I haven't used a Spiro diffuser. Here are some other choices. The 5000 or a similar ADA diffuser may work well.

I wonder if you could use your Magnum 350 for a diffuser?

If you haven't purchased the Magnum filter, you may want to consider a Filstar XP3 or one of the Eheim models like a 2026, 2028, 2217 or a Pro 3 model.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 04:43 AM Thread Starter
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I am honestly not sure what the internals on the second regulator are. All I know about it is that it was special ordered to be 10 PSI as a combo with that adjustable regulator next to it. As a pair they are incredibly easy to use, giving precise adjustment from 0-1 LPM.

Edit: The adjustment part of the regulator actually is a needle valve, but it is integrated to that flow meter.

As for the fittings, yes, all of our cylinders are CGA320 and the regulators have correct the nut.

I am not really set on a particular brand of diffuser, the Spiro just happened to be the one that caught my eye. Would the 5000 offer the same dissolution as one with a spiral inside?

I read a few stories about some peoples canister filters burning up due to air/co2 pockets building up when using them as diffusers so I had avoided that as an idea. Somewhere I had also read that those types of things only happen when the CO2 is introduced on the inlet side of the filter, so maybe this could still be a viable option.

Oh, and I do already have the Magnum 350. Found it at a blowout sale price of $75, so I jumped on it.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 05:10 AM
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I wouldn't use that AH Supply kit for a tank only 13 inches high. That is a low tank, and the intensity at the substrate from the AH Supply light would be very high. Instead, consider two T5NO single bulb fixtures, spaced several inches apart over the tank. For example: http://www.marineandreef.com/Product...tCode=RES58009. Even this might be more intensity than you will want, but you can raise the fixtures a few inches and reduce it enough.

Don't even look at "watts per gallon" unless you are talking about standard height tanks, using T8 or T12 fixtures. T5 and AH Supply PC fixtures give a much more intense light than T8 and T12.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for not specifying. The tank is 18" tall, and 13" wide.

Edit: just realized why you said 13" tall, corrected my original post.

It shares the exact same measurements as a standard 55G but 2 inches shorter (height, not length).

My primary goal is to get enough light to do dwarf hairgrass and a few types of sword/long/broad leaf plants. I was hoping for the CO2 to be more of an anti-algae tool as I know i wouldn't NEED it with only those types of plants in mind. Although, I may find something that does once I get started.


Would that additional 5" make a difference enough, or should I still consider the Coralife fixture instead? I guess I misunderstood the WPG rule not applying when you go with smaller diameter tubes. It does make sense though. My prior experience in lighting is with reptile UV lighting, so I understand exactly what you mean.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 03:07 PM
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I used a 2 x 55 watt AH Supply light on a 20 inch deep tank for awhile. It gave me far too much light, so much that even with as much CO2 as the fish would tolerate, I had algae that was a royal pain to deal with. I removed one bulb, and it got better, but until I raised the fixture about 6 inches above the tank I still had more algae problems than I could deal with. When I was able to borrow a PAR meter I understood a lot better what was wrong - I had high light intensity at the substrate with the single 55 watt light. I think the Coralife fixture would give you far fewer problems, and still let you grow the plants you want. Without pressurized CO2 even with that it might be hard to avoid algae problems, but with two single tube fixtures you have a lot of flexibility, so that is the light I would look seriously at. One downside to that light is that the variety of bulbs available for it is less than for a T5HO light.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 03:41 PM
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If the co2 reactor is in place after the magnum or out put side of magnum there is no way it can get co2 back into the filter. Building a diy rex type is easy and cheap. I used clear pipe so i could make sure it was working right. If you build one be sure to put a relief valve on the top so you can release pressure!! makes it way easier to prime the system again after filter cleaning
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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The Rex idea is brilliant, after looking at how the magnum (my first canister filter, sorry) will return water it appears that this type of reactor will work very well, removing the need to use an in-tank diffuser.

As for a bubble counter I suppose I have plenty of stuff at work to figure out some kind of device for this.

Just so I'm clear about the lights, the 2X55 AH kit even with one bulb is still too powerful, and I should just go with a single 28W T5 bulb, correct?

Thanks for the input guys!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevinWolfe View Post
Just so I'm clear about the lights, the 2X55 AH kit even with one bulb is still too powerful, and I should just go with a single 28W T5 bulb, correct?

Thanks for the input guys!
I think I would use two of those 28watt lights, so you can get high light if you want it later, and you might even get by with both lights without really good CO2. Having two independently switched lights is a big advantage over a two bulb fixture.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-01-2009, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevinWolfe View Post
... I read a few stories about some peoples canister filters burning up due to air/co2 pockets building up when using them as diffusers so I had avoided that as an idea. Somewhere I had also read that those types of things only happen when the CO2 is introduced on the inlet side of the filter, so maybe this could still be a viable option.

Oh, and I do already have the Magnum 350. Found it at a blowout sale price of $75, so I jumped on it.
I was thinking that the Magnum 350, H.O.T., etc. series of canister filters were OK to use for CO2 diffusion because the motor/impeller is on the bottom.

Anyway, I think that your choice for a Rex type CO2 reactor is a very good one.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2009, 02:19 AM
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make the reactor out of clear schedule 40 and you dont need a bubble counter
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