The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

After mulling over whether to get a GLA GRO regulator from the US, a 5lb tank, and the cost of conversion to CDN, plus duty and shipping, I decided to go a potentially less wise route and bought an Ista Professional 1L kit. This size tank better fits my daughter's room where it will be used for her planted 60-F tank.

I'm completely new to planted tanks and pressurized CO2 systems. While I did a great deal of research, including reading Darkblade's excellent primer on the subject, I did encounter something with the regulator that I'm not sure is normal.

After connecting the regulator to the CO2 tank, plumbing the lines, then opening the tank valve, I loosened the [STRIKE]regulator[/STRIKE] needle valve about 1/16th of a turn and the CO2 started coming out quite rapidly through the bubble counter (probably 20 bps)! In order to get 1 bps (or less), it felt like I had to pretty much close the [STRIKE]regulator[/STRIKE] needle valve. I don't think this can be normal because if it is, adjusting the regulator might require a VERY light touch. I'd have to check in the morning but I believe the first gauge is reading 900psi and the 2nd gauge, which I assume is the working pressure, is reading 40psi. That seems high to me but I'm not sure if it is possible to reduce the working pressure with this regulator.

So I guess my question is whether it is normal to only have to turn the [STRIKE]regulator[/STRIKE] needle valve a degree or two to get 1 bps. I'm going to play with it some more tomorrow but any insight would be much appreciated.

Thanks guys!

P.S.

While looking at the limited reviews of this CO2 kit, I noticed that people complained about not being able to fill the supposedly refillable bottles due to a fitting issue. An employee at Big Al's mentioned that Ista shipped the wrong bottles (euro fitting) but this has been corrected and now the bottles are using the proper CGA320 fitting. So I should be able to have them filled locally, as well as upgrade to a 5lb tank down the road if necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,083 Posts
You should have 3 "valves" on this system AFAICT.
Bottle valve is always full open or full off.
The regulator "valve" on the reg. body itself should control the working pressure (why it is called a regulator.)
Set that to whatever your CO2 dispersion method requires. In-line atomizers (put on a filter hose) require 30-40psi.
"Bubblers" I'm not sure of..

LAST and the most important one is the small valve past the regulator. That is the metering valve. THAT is what mostly adjusts the bubble rate..
small warning don't try to close it too tight..You can damage the small metering needle.

Bump:
Does this kit not come with a needle valve?
The Ista kit certainly does..

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Media/PDF/76974-CO2-Supply-Set-Instructions.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for clarifying the terminology. It's definitely the needle valve that requires a ridiculously small amount of travel to achieve 1 bps; though to start, I'm shooting for one bubble every two seconds to start for my 60-F. It certainly feels like the needle valve is almost completely closed in order to achieve 1 bps.

It also seems that the working pressure can probably be adjusted as well. The working pressure is 30psi and not 40psi like I mentioned earlier, so that seems inline with what I've read. I guess other than stiff needle valve that requires incredibly minute adjustment, everything seems to be working fine.

Looking at the regulator this morning, since the needle valve is simply threaded on, is it reasonable to assume that I could buy a higher quality one down the road to give me finer control?

Thanks again guys. I'm still a newbie to all of this and really enjoying all the information on this site. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
There are several small points that need to be considered when looking for quality needle valves.
When turning the adjustment, we are moving something like a screw to open/close the passage. If this "screw" has large course threads, the opening changes a lot. Also the shape of the needle is important. Some have a very fine angle like the point of a needle while others have a point more like a nail might. High quality, precise needle valves have both fine threads to move the needle only a small amount while the needle is also finely tapered so that movement changes the opening a very tiny amount.
The truth is that most common commercial needle valves are not precise and may require a lot of fuss the get to the right spot.
That is where many find it takes lots of work to get it set and then the setting may wander off after a few days as the gas pressure turns on/off. After a few months of frustration many do replace the needle valve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,083 Posts
It also seems that the working pressure can probably be adjusted as well. The working pressure is 30psi and not 40psi like I mentioned earlier, so that seems inline with what I've read. I guess other than stiff needle valve that requires incredibly minute adjustment, everything seems to be working fine.

Looking at the regulator this morning, since the needle valve is simply threaded on, is it reasonable to assume that I could buy a higher quality one down the road to give me finer control?
The most important factor is consistency of rate.. not so much the gross bubble count as long as it is in a range you use..
Many needle valves are not designed as a "shutoff" valve so that is also a non-factor in general..

Point is yes you can get better needle valves but is it worth it???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,461 Posts
A good needle valve is the difference between hating your CO2 system and enjoying it. I think it is well worth the cost to buy a good needle valve, and I consider a Fabco needle valve to be a good one. If you can afford it, and can figure out how to install it, I would recommend getting a Fabco valve. Micro-Fineâ„¢ Needle Valve with 1/8 NPT Ports ~ Fabco-Air, Inc. ~ Gainesville, FL
That stock needle valve is a very common low endvalve, stuck on a lot of off-the-shelf systems. Yes, a touch of a turn will cause great variations. AND they will drift once you "think" you have it set.

I have an old JBJ system with that cheapy needle valve and I constantly fight it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
A good needle valve is the difference between hating your CO2 system and enjoying it. I think it is well worth the cost to buy a good needle valve, and I consider a Fabco needle valve to be a good one. If you can afford it, and can figure out how to install it, I would recommend getting a Fabco valve. Micro-Fine™ Needle Valve with 1/8 NPT Ports ~ Fabco-Air, Inc. ~ Gainesville, FL
Not to hijack but will that work with an aquatek regulator? I was thinking of buying the aquarium plants carbon doser but this would be a cheaper fix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
I also like the Fabco but there are two type that have totally the same inside parts. One is the NV-55 which uses a small part called a 10-32. Same as a standard size 10 screw with 32 threads per inch. Some find those are more delicate and want to use standard 1/8" hard plumbing which works with the NV-55-18 model. Both are good and I use both but I now find I like the NV-55 somewhat better. A lot smaller and I like to mount it on tubing off the reg but it is also a bit cheaper. Mounted inline on simple airline tubing, I have no trouble breaking the fitting. I stocked up on ten 10-32 plastic fittings and thought I would just swap them out if I broke one. At ten cents each, I figured why not give it a go but I've not broken any yet.

NV-55-18 on left mounted on DIY bracket with NV-55 and fitting on right?
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top