CO2Art needle valve not that accurate? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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CO2Art needle valve not that accurate?

I have a CO2Art SE two stage regulator with the included bubble counter and needle valve. I thought my valve settings were getting jostled as I dial in this new tank and mess with the systems, but I believe at least one issue is sometimes the CO2Art needle valve will generate a different bubble rate after turning the solenoid off and on.

I also notice the needle valve dial is rather coarse. I can fine tune to about .5 bubbles per second. So for example I can hit 1.8bps, but raising ever so slightly, my next reading is 2.3bps, then 2.7bps. I can't get it in between, maybe I don't need to...

I have the tank main value open a full turn. I have the second stage opened to about 45PSI (it seems less reliable at 30PSI). Is it possible I should use a higher or lower secondary pressure? Is it common for needle valves to "drift" when turning flow on/off?
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone have any experience with this? Does your needle valve, whichever brand you use, keep it's setting from one day to next, or is it normal that you have to check it everyday and do you notice it vary to some extent?
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 06:52 PM
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Yeah, I agree. I had the Co2art needle valve that came stock in the tank and I was not a fan. I would definitely notice that tiny adjustments gave me huge variations

It was irksome to try and turn up and down the valve however I found that I needed to make super minute changes over the course of a week and then just leave it alone. I kept following the plants to confirm pearling, drop checker to confirm it is green, and fish to see that they're not gasping. I have a bit of BBA which I'm not sure if it's because the CO2 variability or low flow so trying to chase that down.

I keep my reg at 30 PSI and get better microbubbles form the inline diffuser.

PS. I also found a big variability with how clean the inline diffuser is, I try and clean mine every 6 months.
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Did you end up replacing it with another needle valve? I've tried playing with pressures from 30-45 PSI and can't get rid of the issue. I have a JARDLI stainless diffuser I'm going try in place of the CO2Art Bazooka to see if maybe there is an issue with the diffuser causing it.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 10:03 PM
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Ive had an issue with my CO2 Art regulator too. First 5 lb. tank only lasted a month and the bubble rate wouldnt stay constant. I suspected a leak and they agreed and recommended checking the regulator fittings, bubble counter, and in line diffuser. I did, no leaks.

I then put soapy water on the seam between the solenoid block and bubble counter block, and found the leak, bubbles from both sides. Who knows why they didnt have me check this.

Only two screws to take it apart, which I did. Put some silicone on the O ring and it still leaks. I am now waiting for their recommeneded fix. I assume theyre going to send me a new O ring. Im also going to use silicone sealant between the blocks.

Im not impressed. I have a gla unit on another tank. It works perfectly and I havent had to re adjust the bubble rate in months.
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Last edited by mboley; 09-25-2020 at 03:31 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mboley View Post
Ive had an issue with my CO2 Art regulator too. First 5 gallon tank only lasted a month and the bubble rate wouldnt stay constant. I suspected a leak and they agreed and recommended checking the regulator fittings, bubble counter, and in line diffuser. I did, no leaks.

I then put soapy water on the seam between the solenoid block and bubble counter block, and found the leak, bubbles from both sides. Who knows why they didnt have me check this.

Only two screws to take it apart, which I did. Put some silicone on the O ring and it still leaks. I am now waiting for their recommeneded fix. I assume theyre going to send me a new O ring. Im also going to use silicone sealant between the blocks.

Im not impressed. I have a gla unit on another tank. It works perfectly and I havent had to re adjust the bubble rate in months.
UPDATE: I just received their response; these guys are unbelievable. Here it is:

I would be most grateful for pictures of the items and the Oring section that you described, as I would like record this information for our assembly department and also the tech team.


Thats the response I got. No advise on how to fix the leak.
Terrible service; dont buy from CO2 Art!
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by monkeyruler90 View Post


PS. I also found a big variability with how clean the inline diffuser is, I try and clean mine every 6 months.
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Originally Posted by ahem View Post
Did you end up replacing it with another needle valve? I've tried playing with pressures from 30-45 PSI and can't get rid of the issue. I have a JARDLI stainless diffuser I'm going try in place of the CO2Art Bazooka to see if maybe there is an issue with the diffuser causing it.
This! I'd imagine the diffuser is definitely worth a second look too. I run a reactor and even a faulty check valve (acting like a clogged diffuser, I'd imagine) allowing varying amounts of flow through caused months of headaches for me. I was about to change out my needle valve, until one day, I somehow finally noticed the check valve at fault. So I guess yea, check the check valve too while you're at it
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 04:20 AM
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I run CO2Art regulators on 4 of my tanks and I have had issues like the OP's as well in one tank and the fluctuating CO2 caused a short-term algae problem. After a fair amount of trial and error, we identified the real problem is being the in-line diffuser. The ceramic insert in the in-line diffuser was the problem, we now regularly replace, not clean, those ceramic diffusers inserts when they need it as we do monthly tank maintenance.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm. It’s sounds like I spent a good amount of cash on an all CO2Art solution to have to troubleshoot all the pieces. But being a techy I know how to isolate, it sounds like I need to look at the thing from beginning to end, look for leaks on the unit and solenoid, replace check valve see what happens, replace diffuser see what happens, ...

CO2ARt has not responded much yet

Last edited by ahem; 09-24-2020 at 06:54 PM. Reason: get rid of double post
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 05:39 PM
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Part of the learning curve on most things is learning how much extra it costs to buy low priced stuff!
thinking of why you bought the CO2 art, do you remember a big part of the decision was the price?
Good stuff does cost more but not nearly as much as buying cheap stuff and THEN buying good stuff to replace it.
Looking at he needle valve is the first clue and you can see it from across the room. Is it a nice long,finely machined needle with a long taper? Not likely in that short stubby thing made out of pot metal which even the best machine would have trouble making a fine movement.
Looking at the solenoid, you see a second trouble spot as it is the "black box" variety that has a common problem of sticking. Not an immediate problem like the bad needle valve but it does show up in a few years.
Is a reg that can't regulate the pressure regardless of a bad diffuser really regulating or just kind of setting there?
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post #11 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahem View Post
I have a CO2Art SE two stage regulator with the included bubble counter and needle valve. I thought my valve settings were getting jostled as I dial in this new tank and mess with the systems, but I believe at least one issue is sometimes the CO2Art needle valve will generate a different bubble rate after turning the solenoid off and on.

I also notice the needle valve dial is rather coarse. I can fine tune to about .5 bubbles per second. So for example I can hit 1.8bps, but raising ever so slightly, my next reading is 2.3bps, then 2.7bps. I can't get it in between, maybe I don't need to...

I have the tank main value open a full turn. I have the second stage opened to about 45PSI (it seems less reliable at 30PSI). Is it possible I should use a higher or lower secondary pressure? Is it common for needle valves to "drift" when turning flow on/off?
Yes, I have one of these and I got some drift in my adjustments when I first used it. I finally got it dialed in and left it alone and it's been good ever since. I did purchase the more expensive one so I could run dual manifolds and moved this one to another tank. I had less issues because it was mostly already setup and only needed the most minute adjustment.
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post #12 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Part of the learning curve on most things is learning how much extra it costs to buy low priced stuff!
thinking of why you bought the CO2 art, do you remember a big part of the decision was the price?
Good stuff does cost more but not nearly as much as buying cheap stuff and THEN buying good stuff to replace it.
Looking at he needle valve is the first clue and you can see it from across the room. Is it a nice long,finely machined needle with a long taper? Not likely in that short stubby thing made out of pot metal which even the best machine would have trouble making a fine movement.
Looking at the solenoid, you see a second trouble spot as it is the "black box" variety that has a common problem of sticking. Not an immediate problem like the bad needle valve but it does show up in a few years.
Is a reg that can't regulate the pressure regardless of a bad diffuser really regulating or just kind of setting there?
Is CO2Art considered "budget stuff"? I had no idea. I came to these forums and folks were saying how they are premium quality. CO2Art and GLA were touted. That played into my decision the most actually, I'm always willing to buy quality. But my first trip ever to the CO2 store I saw other more industrial regulators and while less shiny, they seemed sturdier, and for the same price as CO2Art.
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post #13 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 07:59 PM
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Budget is always a factor and I don't fault that as I have certainly been there. But what often happens is that ads tend to sway our opinions way too much! That is actually what marketing is all about, isn't it? We see one point being the most talked about feature of the CO2 art and that is that it is "dual stage" which is a highly regarded part of reg choice. But when the reg setup came out, there was a lot of debate about how they were doing the dual stage as it doesn't have the obvious large bump on the back which most have learned means a reg is dual stage.
But it is highly marketed as dual stage while the obvious defects in other parts of the system are not often mentioned or discussed in debatable terms.
If we look around we find no other product advertised as dual stage and offered with the lower
quality added items and none near the same price.
Since there is no evidence to back the idea that one company suddenly comes up with a dramatically better product and sells it much cheaper than anybody else, I quickly ask why and how they do it. My main thinking is that they do not! It is not logical to think that one company sells a product for two hundred when others sell a same level of quality for four hundred. Business rarely operates that way, so I avoid that product.
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post #14 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 10:01 PM
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I almost pulled the trigger on a CO2Art regulator when i found the build your own regulator post here and had a saltwater friend tell me he has a rebuilt victor 250c that was laying around.

Im so glad I went with the good used industrial regulator solution. I use a Victor 250c, a matherson flowmeter(instead of a bubble counter) and the flowmeter has a good high accuracy needle valve. My co2 system is rock solid and very accurate and repeatable.

It took time, research and patience but I got the regulator, a clippard mouse solenoid, matheson flowmeter with a high accuracy needle valve for 200 bux all total and the quality is much better than what Id have recieved with a commercial "aquarium" type solution
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post #15 of 51 (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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I almost pulled the trigger on a CO2Art regulator when i found the build your own regulator post here and had a saltwater friend tell me he has a rebuilt victor 250c that was laying around.

Im so glad I went with the good used industrial regulator solution. I use a Victor 250c, a matherson flowmeter(instead of a bubble counter) and the flowmeter has a good high accuracy needle valve. My co2 system is rock solid and very accurate and repeatable.

It took time, research and patience but I got the regulator, a clippard mouse solenoid, matheson flowmeter with a high accuracy needle valve for 200 bux all total and the quality is much better than what Id have recieved with a commercial "aquarium" type solution
Yeah I feel like a idiot at this point. I received one support message from CO2Art a couple days ago asking for my bubble rate and working pressure, I sent a reply and sent another follow-up yesterday, but nothing... I think that might be all the support I'll get. I generally OCD on research before buying things but being new to CO2 it was quite overwhelming and I just wanted to get started, so CO2Art seemed like an easy approach...

I don't see myself spending lots of time and frustration to save some bucks rebuilding something but I think if I don't get the consistency issue isolated and fixed, I will look at the more industrial regulator offerings and gently used items. Thanks for giving me a couple brand names to look for!
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bubble count, co2art regulator, co2art se, needle valve, working co2 pressure

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