Proper CO2 system setup? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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Question Proper CO2 system setup?

So I am planning on installing a CO2 system on my established 90 gallon planted aquarium and the biggest issue that I am running into is making a flow chart for a timer to shut off CO2 at night and a pH controller to help maintain a specific pH range and for monitoring purposes.

I think the best way to do this is to have the power go into a timer and then the pH controller then finally the solenoid of the regulator.

Flowchart attached.

The regulator is the CO2 Art Pro-Elite Series.
The pH controller is the Milwaukee MC122US.
The timer is just a grounded appliance power timer off Amazon.

Is this correct? Will the pH controller have a problem with having the power turned off nightly? The manual for the pH controller does not indicate if it will retain user settings if behind a timer. I have about a week or two before my orders start arriving to make sure I have it straight in my head. The only other way I can think of doing it is to remove the pH controller from that loop but then it just becomes a quick visual check of the current state versus actually helping to manage the pH by reducing CO2 injection.

Any insight is helpful. I'd prefer to have the pH controller in the loop just to help make the system more automated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-01-2021, 09:19 PM
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Your logic and flow chart are both correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayarrgh View Post
The manual for the pH controller does not indicate if it will retain user settings if behind a timer.
I am not sure about this either, but this is important to check. If it does not remember the settings, then I would remove the timer from the setup entirely, and just have the setup maintaining a set pH (albeit you may not be able to set the pH as low as you would like due to possible CO2 intoxication at night).
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2021, 01:24 PM
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@jayarrgh - you want to;
1.) plug the main power supply into a dedicated outlet on your strip.
2.) Then you want to plug your timer into a separate plug on your strip.
3.) Then plug your MC122 controlled switch power into the timer.
4.) Then plug your CO2 solenoid power into the MC122 controlled switch.
5.) Then find out your tanks DEGASSED pH level.
6.) Then set your MC122 pH controller in the "Above" position.
7.) Then set the MC122 "dial" to 1 point lower than your DEGASSED pH level. ie. - if your DEGASSED tank pH is 7.5 then set your dial to 6.5.

Doing it this way, you never lose power to your pH controller baring a power outage and you control the solenoid with the switched power during the time frame you specify with your timer.

Attached are a couple rudimentary alterations to your original schematic.

Hope this makes sense.

Please feel free to tag me with any questions that may be unclear.



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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 02:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeferRusso View Post
@jayarrgh - you want to;
1.) plug the main power supply into a dedicated outlet on your strip.
2.) Then you want to plug your timer into a separate plug on your strip.
3.) Then plug your MC122 controlled switch power into the timer.
4.) Then plug your CO2 solenoid power into the MC122 controlled switch.
5.) Then find out your tanks DEGASSED pH level.
6.) Then set your MC122 pH controller in the "Above" position.
7.) Then set the MC122 "dial" to 1 point lower than your DEGASSED pH level. ie. - if your DEGASSED tank pH is 7.5 then set your dial to 6.5.

Doing it this way, you never lose power to your pH controller baring a power outage and you control the solenoid with the switched power during the time frame you specify with your timer.
I myself am a bit confused by this setup; the timers I have seen plug into an outlet, and only have a single socket.


How do you accomplish steps 2 - 4? The timer is plugged into a socket in step 2, so I don't see why the MC122 switched power output would go into the timer controlled socket.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 03:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I myself am a bit confused by this setup; the timers I have seen plug into an outlet, and only have a single socket.


How do you accomplish steps 2 - 4? The timer is plugged into a socket in step 2, so I don't see why the MC122 switched power output would go into the timer controlled socket.
I think Reeferrusso is talking about the timer relay switch.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 03:41 AM
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Honestly a timer is not needed , I run my co2 24/7. no timer
if you are worried about night time oxygen levels use a surface skimmer on your canister filter input which will keep oxygen levels up.
But if you want to , you can plug power supply of the ph controller into a timer to turn it is off at night.

It will retain settings just fine .
My milwaukee been running 24/7 for 14 yrs+
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I myself am a bit confused by this setup; the timers I have seen plug into an outlet, and only have a single socket.


How do you accomplish steps 2 - 4? The timer is plugged into a socket in step 2, so I don't see why the MC122 switched power output would go into the timer controlled socket.
@Darkblade48 - I should have been more specific and as @Bettatail mentioned, I plug the relay switch into the timer. I do it this way because the Milwaukee unit is not designed to be turned off and on so frequently while a good solenoid is designed for a minimum of 100,000 cycles. Also, I run a couple of air stones at night to fully degas my tank and like knowing where it sits after degassing.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-06-2021 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Fixed quote
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2021, 02:45 PM
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I don't know why you think the Milwaukee is not designed to be turned on and off.
When I first started using mine I had it that way it was fine. Once I started using an input skimmer . I just kept it on all the time.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2021, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeferRusso View Post
@Darkblade48 - I should have been more specific and as @Bettatail mentioned, I plug the relay switch into the timer. I do it this way because the Milwaukee unit is not designed to be turned off and on so frequently while a good solenoid is designed for a minimum of 100,000 cycles. Also, I run a couple of air stones at night to fully degas my tank and like knowing where it sits after degassing.

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Ah, I am assuming the timer that you are using is digital then, and has some kind of battery backup for keeping time?


I was thinking of a basic mechanical timer, that stops keeping time once power is cut.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Ah, I am assuming the timer that you are using is digital then, and has some kind of battery backup for keeping time?


I was thinking of a basic mechanical timer, that stops keeping time once power is cut.
Yes, I use digital timers with battery backup for all my timers. I know a number of members use Smart power strips, like the one by Kasa, but I am not especially keen on using something that depends on a WiFi/Internet connection to maintain settings. I have heard many horror stories, on the Reefkeeping side of tanks, of lost connectivity which leads to a myriad of problems. I will admit though, I have been eyeing up a couple different Smart strips. Ideally, once I move and get my tanks set up the way I would really like them, I'll be building and modifying a reef-pi (Raspberry Pi based) controller.

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-11-2021, 04:58 AM
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I'm always one that likes old fashioned methods (for certain applications), especially if they are low maintenance.

I don't like remembering to replace the batteries on the digital timers. If power goes out, and you forgot to replace the battery, it can throw off your entire lighting/CO2 schedule (disaster if you're on vacation!)

At least with a basic mechanical timer, whatever duration you set will still be there, albeit skewed by however long the power was out for
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