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CO2 cautionary tale

887 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  PlantedRich
After taking a one year hiatus I started back into planted tanks and checked over the CO2 regulator and found the coupling gasket deteriorated and the bubble counter acrylic cracked. It appears that CO2 is quite toxic to materials, and in no way inert. If I didn't check my system before starting broken pieces of the screw in seal would have been driven into the regulator.
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· Administrator
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What is a coupling gasket? Do you mean the nylon washer that is used between the CGA320 nut and nipple and the CO2 cylinder? If so, these are meant to be replaced on a regular basis.

In addition, CO2 is generally not considered inert (unlike noble gases).
 

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I have never used a Permaseal, as I could not justify the cost. As mentioned, nylon washers are cheap and easy to replace. I often get a few free when I take my cylinder in for refills.
 

· Plant Whisperer
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CO2 is not very chemically active, it is about as close to inert as you get, they even use it for a shielding gas with MIG welding because it is not very reactive and prevents the metal from oxidizing.

Your part likely cracked because of a pressure issue. If too much pressure builds up in the bubble counter it cracks. Also, some bubble counter liquids corrode seals.
 

· Collectoritis Patient
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I tried those permaseals as well. There's nothing permanent about them. Stick with nylon washers. You can get large packs of them cheap online. Just replace it every other time or so and you're good to go.

Cheap acrylic gets brittle over time and cracks easily. I'm not sure CO2 is to blame for that either. It's true it's not entirely inert, but it's pretty close.
 

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I think this is something that happens quite a bit in hobbies. Somebody notices an item and makes an assumption. The asumption can often be wrong when they don't have the right information or don't think it through correctly.
There is CO2 involved with both items but there are lots of other things involved as well. During storage lots of things happen to plastic/acrilic type items. One that we do know happens a lot in storage is heat. Heat and cracked plastic often go together.
No matter the cause, it is always a good idea to look over any equipment that has been stored. Things often break down when stored.
 
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