Need Co2 regulator help! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Need Co2 regulator help!

Hi - just installed my co2 regulator/tank/diffuser. I got the pro-se kit with bazooka diffuser from co2 art, for reference.

I'll get to it - by the time the pressure builds up in the co2 tube (from bubble counter on regulator to diffuser in tank) my ability to control the bps dramatically decreases.

Ex- I connect the co2 tubing to regulator and have free ability to customize bubbles per second so I set it at around 1 bps. By the time the tube is filled with co2 and the diffuser has started diffusing the bubbles per second goes down to about 1 every 5 seconds. From here, if I use the needle valve to try to increase bps it does nothing, I can turn it all the way open and it will still tick at the same speed than if it is slightly open. My working pressure is ~35 for reference.

I think my only way to increase bubbles per second is to increase the working pressure... seems kind of dumb but maybe I'm just missing something.

My bubble counter is not leaking and my regulator is not leaking.

Sum it up: by the time my diffuser begins to diffuse the needle valve becomes useless and does not actually change bubbles per second.

Thanks in advance for any help!!

It was the bazooka diffuser... put a new diffuser and needle valve reacts as it should - thanks for all the advice/help

Last edited by Julip; 02-03-2019 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Update
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julip View Post
Hi - just installed my co2 regulator/tank/diffuser. I got the pro-se kit with bazooka diffuser from co2 art, for reference.

I'll get to it - by the time the pressure builds up in the co2 tube (from bubble counter on regulator to diffuser in tank) my ability to control the bps dramatically decreases.

Ex- I connect the co2 tubing to regulator and have free ability to customize bubbles per second so I set it at around 1 bps. By the time the tube is filled with co2 and the diffuser has started diffusing the bubbles per second goes down to about 1 every 5 seconds. From here, if I use the needle valve to try to increase bps it does nothing, I can turn it all the way open and it will still tick at the same speed than if it is slightly open. My working pressure is ~35 for reference.

I think my only way to increase bubbles per second is to increase the working pressure... seems kind of dumb but maybe I'm just missing something.

My bubble counter is not leaking and my regulator is not leaking.

Sum it up: by the time my diffuser begins to diffuse the needle valve becomes useless and does not actually change bubbles per second.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
It is possible that your diffuser needs more than 35 psi to diffuse properly. Especially after pushing the water back through it. This could change over time. I think you may be on the right track on the pressure increase idea. Does not hurt to try. You may want to put another check valve closer to your diffuser so that water does not climb as far down your lines.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 01:48 AM
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I have 2 of these kits, on separate tanks.

Adjust your pressure to 40 psi and see if you have better control over injection rate.


If you can't get the psi higher than 30, . . .

Did you open the cannister valve all the way? How many psi is shown on the right side dial ?

Last edited by psychofisho; 02-03-2019 at 02:12 AM. Reason: .
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by psychofisho View Post
Adjust your pressure to 40 psi and see if you have better control over injection rate.


If you can't get the psi higher than 30, . . .

Did you open the cannister valve all the way? How many psi is shown on the right side dial ?
I upp'ed the working pressure to 40 and saw a decent increase. I think I counted 17 bubbles per minute or something along those lines (want to start low, anyways -- plus I have algae). My right gauge says around 750.

My tank is not fully open, only rotated it one full turn per some video I had watched. I think for now its OK but it seems strange I can't get near 1 bps at 35 psi working pressure just by adjusting my needle valve. Needle valve seems useless after the tube/diffuser has been pressurized.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 02:55 AM
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Don't think its "okay for now," your regulator is not functioning as designed. It has the open-wide capacity to blast enough bubbles in a 20gal tank in 3 min to look like you filled a tank full of 7-Up (It was an interesting experiment I must say, and the 4 neons and 2 guppies are okay, they don't remember being transferred unconscious to another tank).

I think I had the same user-induced issue momentarily when I first installed my co2art.

Do you see a red glow from the LED indicator of the solenoid unit?

Last edited by psychofisho; 02-03-2019 at 03:18 AM. Reason: .
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 03:30 AM
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To me it still sounds like you have a leak. Use soapy water to re-test all connections.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julip View Post
I upp'ed the working pressure to 40 and saw a decent increase. I think I counted 17 bubbles per minute or something along those lines (want to start low, anyways -- plus I have algae). My right gauge says around 750.

My tank is not fully open, only rotated it one full turn per some video I had watched. I think for now its OK but it seems strange I can't get near 1 bps at 35 psi working pressure just by adjusting my needle valve. Needle valve seems useless after the tube/diffuser has been pressurized.
750 psi is pretty much normal for liquid state of CO2 dependent on ambient temperature. You should never have your tank valve partially open. This creates a restriction that has very little control and could fluctuate wildly.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 05:13 AM
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What I read happens sometimes with a first time user is that they are told to shut off the control knob before opening the cannister.
Due to life experience (clockwise to screw down or close a valve), they crank the knob many turns clockwise until it stops, to " fully close the regulator" (not).
They then open the tank valve, even a full rotation will be enough . . . to detach, deform, or whatever it is that happens to a diaphragm when a fully opened regulator gets hit with 750psi. I'll let others describe the mechanics of the Kiss of Death blowout for a virgin regulator.

I think the other possibility is the power plug is not fully inserted into the solenoid. On mine, I had to use quite a bit of force and also twisting to make electrical contact. While he shouldn't be seeing .28 bubbles per second with a closed solenoid, if the solenoid is faulty and doesn't seal completely, and the electrical plug is not fully inserted, I think that could explain why there's only .28 bubbles per second regardless of the needle position.

If the solenoid is energized with a click and a red light, and the needle position doesn't influence the injection rate at even 40 psi, he'll need to talk to customer support for next steps.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 07:04 AM
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OK a few things.
some atomizers need a pre-soak period prior to working right.

second it does sort of sound like a leak but there are a few other things.. like a high demand atomizer or even sticky check valve

Third, the tank valve should be full open or closed.. not in-between.

fourth and to be brutally honest..those cheap 2 stages are not worth fighting with .. I personally have no love of them..
it's practically impossible to make a "kit" at that price point w/ any quality parts..PERSONAL opinion and would LOVE to be proven wrong..


And related to that..fifth, those needle valves are not very precise..

soapbox aside..now back to the problem on hand
Quote:
I upp'ed the working pressure to 40 and saw a decent increase.
Though a bit unusual THAT just may be the sweet spot for your atomizer..or "system" in general (sticky check valves can be an issue)
Keep in mind when playing w/ it sometimes it takes a wee amount of time before the system fully responds. W/ low bubble counts it can take probably a minute or so (depending on length of tubing).

If you get it stable at 40psi ..so be it.
After awhile you will prob need to futz w/ it, then you can attempt to lower the outlet pressure a bit at a time and leave for awhile to
see how it responds..
40psi is listed as max output pressure btw..

Quote:
It is recommended that you set the pressure on your regulator to a minimum 2 bar as a starting point.

Please allow a few minutes for sufficient pressure to build up to allow the CO2 to begin passing through; it may not begin instantly.
note 2bar is 30psi approx..and listed as minimum..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 07:13 AM
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When he upped the pressure from 30 to 40 psi, with the needle wide open, he only increased bubbled count from .20 bubbles per sec ("1 bubble every 5 sec) to .28 bubbles per sec ("17 bubbles per minute").
In other words, increasing pressure from 30 to 40, didn't help anything worth noting. Can't even get a bubble/sec. No sweet spot.

Also, poor quality or faulty needles tend to produce erratic and inconsistent output. But here we have the opposite result. The OP says that opening and closing the needle position does not affect output. The output is consistent (consistently almost no bubbles per second) I would think this eliminates the needle as being the source of the problem.

Last edited by psychofisho; 02-03-2019 at 07:33 AM. Reason: .
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychofisho View Post
When he upped the pressure from 30 to 40 psi, with the needle wide open, he only increased bubbled count from .20 bubbles per sec ("1 bubble every 5 sec) to .28 bubbles per sec ("17 bubbles per minute").
In other words, increasing pressure from 30 to 40, didn't help anything worth noting. Can't even get a bubble/sec. No sweet spot.

Also, poor quality or faulty needles tend to produce erratic and inconsistent output. But here we have the opposite result. The OP says that opening and closing the needle position does not affect output. The output is consistent (consistently almost no bubbles per second) I would think this eliminates the needle as being the source of the problem.

OK so back to this:


Quote:
second it does sort of sound like a leak but there are a few other things.. like a high demand atomizer or even sticky check valve

Barring a screwed up gauge.. outlet pressure is fine.
Next obstruction is solenoid (working or not? Dirt?)
Next is the needle valve (assuming it's not broken inside or dirt)
Next obstruction is check valve in bubble counter (I assume there is one but ???)
Last would be the atomizer itself..


Only leaks could be in the bc fitting or any pre-attached places..like around the needle solenoid or bc fittings..


Most point to a failure in the manuf..regardless of which part..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
OK so back to this:





Barring a screwed up gauge.. outlet pressure is fine.
Next obstruction is solenoid (working or not? Dirt?)
Next is the needle valve (assuming it's not broken inside or dirt)
Next obstruction is check valve in bubble counter (I assume there is one but ???)
Last would be the atomizer itself..


Only leaks could be in the bc fitting or any pre-attached places..like around the needle solenoid or bc fittings..


Most point to a failure in the manuf..regardless of which part..

Just turned my tank 100% open... will leave the WP at 40 psi and watch when my solenoid turns on today to see what happens.

I will reiterate the sort of procedure I went about doing to discover this:

At first - my whole system was hooked up but was unable to adjust bps (bubble counter attached to regulator) using needle valve so I turned everything off, released the pressure, took off the bubble counter, filled it with a slight bit more water (3/4) full and then screwed the bubble counter back on, hooked everything back up.

THEN

For the first few minutes (before co2 made its way to the atomizer) I was able to full adjust bps using the needle valve - slight too big of a turn, it would crank way up. Everything was fine.

ONCE

After the co2 started coming out of the diffuser I was the UNable to adjust the BPS, whether slightly open or fully open the rate doesn't change.

Side ntoes:
my tank still looks like a champagne bottle
The diffuser doesnt really like like its diffusing out of 100% of the surface as maybe it should be (usually bubbles come from the bottom or the sides rather than the top vs the GLA diffusers)
My drop checker stayed blue all day yesterday even when being placed above my diffuser
My plants pearled

I aint no scientist but if I had to guess just from watching it all happen I would guess that the diffuser doesn't diffuse as much as it should to keep up with the pressure the regulator is putting out. Thus pressure is being built up against the bubble counter, making the bubbles appear slow. I saw a video of someone putting their finger on the top of a regulator-attached bubble counter and it slowed the rate at which the bubbles counted.

I think having a more porous diffuser (or it soaking longer) may fix this issue.

Let me know what you guys think.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julip View Post
the diffuser doesn't diffuse as much as it should to keep up with the pressure the regulator is putting out.
Is this a new tank with all new tap water, filled just yesterday? I don't think the champagne look and what appears to be pearling plants has anything to do with co2 injection, especially if the drop checker has never changed from blue.

I don't think its the diffuser. Its brand new, unclogged and not plugged. No such thing as a new diffuser blocking 40 psi of co2. Any new diffuser with 40 psi and the needle wide open will be blasting a huge cloud of micro bubbles, whether the diffuser has been soaking 5 seconds or 5 days, and the bubble counter would be going so fast, you'd need a high speed camera to catch 17 bubbles per second. But you were getting 17 bubbles per minute, not per second, with the needle wide open.

If you haven't done anything to the set up, there shouldn't be anything different to the bubble count you see this morning as you open and close the needle.

I hope to be wrong, and that its all good for you this morning. Very interested to hear what you find. Your local fish store will probably have a $9 diffuser you could try if you continue to feel the diffuser is causing backpressure and restricting injection to only .28 bubbles per second.

Last edited by psychofisho; 02-03-2019 at 03:55 PM. Reason: .
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychofisho View Post
Is this a new tank with all new tap water, filled just yesterday? I don't think the champagne look and what appears to be pearling plants has anything to do with co2 injection, especially if the drop checker has never changed from blue.

I don't think its the diffuser. Its brand new, unclogged and not plugged. No such thing as a new diffuser blocking 40 psi of co2. Any new diffuser with 40 psi and the needle wide open will be blasting a huge cloud of micro bubbles, whether the diffuser has been soaking 5 seconds or 5 days, and the bubble counter would be going so fast, you'd need a high speed camera to catch 17 bubbles per second. But you were getting 17 bubbles per minute, not per second, with the needle wide open.

If you haven't done anything to the set up, there shouldn't be anything different to the bubble count you see this morning as you open and close the needle.

I hope to be wrong, and that its all good for you this morning. Very interested to hear what you find. Your local fish store will probably have a $9 diffuser you could try if you continue to feel the diffuser is causing backpressure and restricting injection to only .28 bubbles per second.
Heres the latest - solenoid turned on this morning and went at a rate of what looked like 5 bps for a few seconds and then (my guess is when the co2 tube pressurized) dropped down to sub 1 bps again. I checked for leaks again this morning (and double checked)... wasn't able to notice any leaks anywhere. I can post a video of what my diffuser looks like - doesn't look like its outputting near as much as it should be (or what it looks like on the homepage of the CO2 Art website).

Tank has been running for a month, near end cycle algae growing and everything. Not done water change in a few weeks, just topping off.

Here is a link to my diffuser:


Last edited by Julip; 02-03-2019 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Added link
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 06:24 PM
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I've not taken the time to fully read all the post here but a couple things did jump out that I might comment on as they are often not well understood. One is that looking at videos is a good place to get info. WRONG , as it only takes two things to make vids and neither require knowledge, just guts enough to expose yourself.
Some better checking on sites which are reliable will tell you to open the valve fully and there are two major reasons. One is that the valve is often designed with a type of "packing" or other item to prevent leaks when they are fully open or closed but not in between. Also after a tank valve has been used and potentially abused, the space along the valve shaft can become worn or scratched which can lead to a space for gas to escape. Opened fully, the portion of the shaft at the seal is less likely to be damaged.

The "why" of the order of opening valves and reg settings is pretty simple. The reg may take a few milli-seconds to actually get the correct balance between pressure and springs and actually start to regulate the output. So if we leave the working pressure setting in our normal position, it leaves the passage open from the tank high pressure (800 + PSI ?) to the low pressure side where the working/low pressure meter sets. That means that when you leave the working pressure normal and open the tank valve, you may let 800 PSI hit a meter reading max 60-200 PSI and that will cost you a new meter!

Are there any specs given for the working pressure of this diffuser? I thought that I had read about some taking as much as 50 PSI?? I might want to check that and I am not a diffuser user so have not paid much attention to the specs on them. There is also always a potential for a new item to be defective.

Last edited by PlantedRich; 02-03-2019 at 06:29 PM. Reason: added
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