09-08-2010, 06:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
| | Re: New to CO2
Actually when we deal with CO2 we deal with two aspects, pressure and rate of flow.
The pressure regulator deals with the pressure only. It takes the roughly 800 PSI pressure that is in the CO2 cylinder and drops it down to a much lower and safer level......typically 20 - 25 PSI. A good pressure regulator will have two gauges, the high pressure gauge shows the cylinder pressure (800 PSI when full) and an output pressure gauge (20 - 25 PSI). The output pressure of the regulator should be adjustable.
BEWARE! There are some regulators out there that are not "pressure regulators" but are "flow regulators". They are not recommended because they do not drop the CO2 pressure down to a safe level.
The solenoid is typically installed immediately after the regulator. It turns the flow of the 20 PSI CO2 on and off. It can be controlled either manually, with a timer, or with a pH controller/probe. Not a required component, I run my CO2 24/7.
Next comes a manifold. It is used if you are going to split the CO2 to go to multiple tanks. I do use this, I feed my CO2 to two aquariums.
After the solenoid and/or manifold comes the needle valve. It adjusts the flow of CO2, not the pressure. It is the component that allows us to adjust the bubbles per second and determines the amount of CO2 we put into our aquariums. Spend a couple of extra dollars on this and get a quality one, you will be glad you did.
After the needle valve comes a bubble counter, if you use one. It is not necessary, I just put my tubing in the water and count.
Lastly comes a check valve, brass is strongly recommended because CO2 can damage some plastics. This component prevents water from flowing from the aquarium into the CO2 components if the cylinder becomes empty or when I have removed the cylinder to get it refilled. Definitely a necessity.
Hope this helps!
BTW, I do not like the regulator you linked to on Ebay, it does not say "pressure regulator" so I am guessing it is a flow regulator which is further confirmed by the arrow indicating a component after the regulator is designed to "bears the high pressure", it does not appear to be adjustable, and it is copper components, you want brass components....not copper!