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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for some help on setting up my CO2 system from the beginning. I've got a CarbonDoser regulator, and a Milwaukee PH controller, but I'm unsure how to calibrate this to work appropriately with the actual CO2 system. I think I can handle getting everything hooked up, but what do I need to know/do to get these two to work well with each other? Also, is it a bad idea to have everything going into a power strip that is hooked up to a timer that shuts the CO2 system off at night, or does this totally defeat the point of the PH controller?? :surprise:
 

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The CarbonDoser regulator's solenoid should be plugged into the pH controller. You can adjust the desired pH level on the pH controller (refer to your instruction manual on how to do this). Most people aim for about a 1 unit drop in pH, which is (roughly) about 30 ppm of CO2.

You should not have the pH controller plugged into a power strip that is hooked up to a timer, as this would defeat the purpose of the pH controller. The controller should be plugged in without a timer.
 

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my understanding is co2 exchange only occurs when with photosynthesis, so only when lights are turned on. you run the risk of raising the co2 levels in your aquarium at night to dangerous levels but a airstone will help, just better to turn the co2 off
 

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Have your solenoid on a timer and shut it off 30mins before the light goes off. Run the airstone during the night. Turn off the airstone 30mins before the CO2 comes on and have the CO2 come on 30mins before your lights come on lol.
 

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Seems like everyone except for @Darkblade48 is missing the point here. You either run your co2 system (solenoid) on a timer so it shuts off when the lights aren't on; OR you use a ph controller to handle that for you. The ph controller will turn the co2 solenoid on/off depending on the ph in the tank (and is not dependent on the lighting in this scenario). If your "normal" ph is say 7.5 you want to aim for a ph of 6.5 (because this is 1 point less than your starting point) after the co2 has been on for about an hour. There should be a way to set your ph controller to that (which you'll have to confirm how through documentation from Milwaukee). Essentially if the ph is higher than 6.5 it keeps the co2 running and once it reaches 6.5 it'll shut it down. Dont use a timer for the controller or for the co2 solenoid as that defeats the purpose in this scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I got everything hooked up, and set the PH controller to on above 6.5, since my water is at a 7.5 currently. Everything seems to be going well so far, but I have a question about the pressure gauge, I have the cylinder all the way off, and I am still seeing a PSI reading? Doesn't seem right to me, take a look at the picture.
 

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So I got everything hooked up, and set the PH controller to on above 6.5, since my water is at a 7.5 currently. Everything seems to be going well so far, but I have a question about the pressure gauge, I have the cylinder all the way off, and I am still seeing a PSI reading? Doesn't seem right to me, take a look at the picture.
Well if you just shut the cylinder you're stopping the source of gas but are not necessarily allowing the pressure to be released. A regulator should hold that pressure when the cylinder is shut and that proves it is not leaking.

But, why did you shut the cylinder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was just curiously checking to see what the gauge would do. What you said would make sense if the reactor in the aquarium wasn't on, but even with the tank closed, and the reactor on, I'm not seeing this pressure decrease. Probably a silly variable I'm missing here. .
 

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I was just curiously checking to see what the gauge would do. What you said would make sense if the reactor in the aquarium wasn't on, but even with the tank closed, and the reactor on, I'm not seeing this pressure decrease. Probably a silly variable I'm missing here. .
I'm pretty sure Iksdrinker is right. The pressure you're reading from the output pressure gauge is quite low and due to the back pressure of being hooked up to the reactor. This is why you need check valves.
 

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You can easily check this by disconnecting the CO2 line to the diffuser, with the CO2 tank shut off. The gauge then should read zero. If it doesn't you may have slightly damaged the gauge by opening the CO2 tank shutoff valve with the regulator not set at zero output pressure. That can deliver a real jolt to the output gauge on cheap regulators. On Milwaukee regulators it destroys the output gauge.
 

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I was just curiously checking to see what the gauge would do. What you said would make sense if the reactor in the aquarium wasn't on, but even with the tank closed, and the reactor on, I'm not seeing this pressure decrease. Probably a silly variable I'm missing here. .
Well you should eventually see the pressure decrease as it is released into the reactor and the aquarium. It shouldn't happen immediately.

Or as noted by @Hoppy you may have damaged the regulator. If you disconnect and remove the regulator from the tank both gauges should certainly read 0. If not, something is wrong. That could be as simple as a broken gauge, or your regulator is toast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So even with the regulator unhooked from the CO2 tank, shouldn't the psi output drop to zero as well? Take a look at the attached pic, I didn't even open the tank until I read the directions. Wish I would have remember what the hell the gauge looked like before I installed it. .

Bump: Pictures help. .
 

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Seems like everyone except for @Darkblade48 is missing the point here. You either run your co2 system (solenoid) on a timer so it shuts off when the lights aren't on; OR you use a ph controller to handle that for you. The ph controller will turn the co2 solenoid on/off depending on the ph in the tank (and is not dependent on the lighting in this scenario). If your "normal" ph is say 7.5 you want to aim for a ph of 6.5 (because this is 1 point less than your starting point) after the co2 has been on for about an hour. There should be a way to set your ph controller to that (which you'll have to confirm how through documentation from Milwaukee). Essentially if the ph is higher than 6.5 it keeps the co2 running and once it reaches 6.5 it'll shut it down. Dont use a timer for the controller or for the co2 solenoid as that defeats the purpose in this scenario.
You should never run your CO2 at night, with or without a pH controller. This is a sure way to have a tank full of dead fish. It may not happen right away, but eventually it will happen.

Always use a timer to shut off your CO2 at night. The more advanced controllers have a timer built right in, not sure about the one you are using.
 

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Make sure you've let all the gas out of your regulator, plug in your solenoid and keep it on, if it still reads pressure after your certain you've let all gas out then you may have a problem with your gauge or reg.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I actually have my PH controller on a timer that turns on/off with the lights. Even with the CO2 on all day, it rarely drops under 7.0 PH, and I have it set to turn off at 6.5, which means the CO2 would be pointlessly running all night. I like the PH controller because it is a good insurance policy to kick everything off and save my fish if something bad were to happen while I was away.

As for the gauge, it hovers around 3 with no pressure, would it be safe to assume that 3 would be 0 psi? For example, if I set the gauge to 9psi, would that be 6? I doubt the precision of the PSI even matters, but I don't want to be too far off what I think it is.
 

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As for the gauge, it hovers around 3 with no pressure, would it be safe to assume that 3 would be 0 psi? For example, if I set the gauge to 9psi, would that be 6? I doubt the precision of the PSI even matters, but I don't want to be too far off what I think it is.
I found it to be much easier to maintain consistent bubble rates if my CO2 outlet pressure was about 20 psi. Lower than that and the bubble rate could vary widely. Much higher and adjusting the needle valve was very tricky. If you use 20 psi, the 3 psi error will mean nothing. (I'm assuming the gauge still works and you see higher pressure as you adjust the regulator for higher pressure.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've considered buying a bubble counter just to see how accurate my regulator is with the psi I am using. The manufacturer claims that anything between 6-10 psi is ideal for every time the light blinks, you get a guaranteed bubble.
 
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