Do I need a check valve with co2? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Do I need a check valve with co2?

Picked up an Fzone Aquarium CO2 Regulator Triple Stage with DC Solenoid and Bubble Counter off amazon a couple says ago for an upcoming tank. My question is do I need to run a check valve with this setup or does the bubble counter function as a check valve?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 05:40 AM
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Almost always yes. The only time you don't is if the tank is a few inches lower than your bubble counter or regulator. CO2 will draw water above the waterline in the tank, but only to a point.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Almost always yes. The only time you don't is if the tank is a few inches lower than your bubble counter or regulator. CO2 will draw water above the waterline in the tank, but only to a point.
I'm guessing I need one made for co2? What brand do you use?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 03:18 PM
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I'm guessing I need one made for co2? What brand do you use?
I used to use the brass ones that were supposedly made for CO2, but they also failed over (albeit a longer) period of time.


I just went back to cheapo plastic check valves, and replace them on a regular basis, treating them like consumables.

Anthony


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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 03:54 PM
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I’ve read a lot of the stories about the “aquarium specific“ ones metal and plastic and their varying reliability so I went with Swagelok.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 04:17 PM
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Dennerle makes a good one. I like it because it has screw fittings that secure the air line. The first one I tried was what I thought was a good one from GLA that used John Guest speed fittings. It leaked even though I used their air line and they couldn't tell me why.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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I’ve read a lot of the stories about the “aquarium specific“ ones metal and plastic and their varying reliability so I went with Swagelok.
This?
https://www.amazon.com/Swagelok-SS-2...elok+ch&sr=8-5
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 01:33 PM
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I have one like that but in 1/4 tube fitting as my CO2 line is 1/4OD LDPE. If your tube is soft then you might need one of their inserts for the tube fitting to work. I think I’ve seen other people here use them.

I don’t honestly know that much about them but it seems to work well. Consistent CO2 and no water fill into my bubble counters.

I think I have one in 1/3 cracking pressure and one in like 1 psi cracking pressure. I don’t know which one is more appropriate or if they’re even appropriate but they work for me!

I snag them on eBay when I see them for really cheap.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:19 AM Thread Starter
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Not finding any for a decent price. $40 for a check valve seems kinda crazy. I guess I'll just go with the cheap plastic ones and hope I get lucky
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:57 AM
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Not finding any for a decent price. $40 for a check valve seems kinda crazy. I guess I'll just go with the cheap plastic ones and hope I get lucky
Agreed. There’s one up for $17 I made an offer on it weeks ago.

But I paid around 10-17 for the ones I have.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 06:22 AM
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Yes for a check valve. ADA sells a reasonably priced plastic check valve. GLA sells a more robust plastic check valve. GLA seems to sell products that one can buy on EBAY from China for less. Check the arrow for correct air flow direction. Also these plastic check valves have the life expectancy of a tetra so remember to replace them. All the best, john
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 07:15 AM
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How can you tell when a check valve fails?
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 01:26 PM
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here's a couple alternatives that is a little more easy on the stomach. was sick and tired of either having to suck up to some mission critical grade vs cheap generic pet store versions vs 10 dollar "hobby grade" "stainless ones" that are probably mass produced with cheap grade stainless that still rust!!!

So, I went through this check valve rabbit hole for a while and ended up with these "professional grade" ones:

https://www.zoro.com/zoro-select-bal...specifications

and a few other variants:

https://www.usplastic.com/catalog/it...lickid=popcorn



I forgot how I came to the conclusion that the nylon body was the safe one.. perhaps via one of these gas/material compatibility charts:

https://www.coleparmer.com/chemical-resistance
https://www.calpaclab.com/nylon-chem...ibility-chart/


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How can you tell when a check valve fails?
Well, I suppose you find out too late and see the water getting past it or you change them out regularly? At these prices I even double up the check valves for insurance. What if the back one fails before the front one? *shrug* ... I've been lucky so far to see the front one fail first and always be stopped by the back one. I suppose maybe I should take my own advice and switch the back one out regularly.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 06:10 PM
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I don't buy a lot of ADA stuff, but you can get their co2 check valve for $6.99. Never had a problem with it.

https://aquaforestaquarium.com/products/check-valve


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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2020, 01:58 AM
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The way I check my check valve is to install a few inches below the water line and if it fails, I should see water above the check valve.
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