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All plants will benefit with any amount of CO2 injection into the water column. The 1 bubble per second rule is good for tanks between 10 and 75 gal. It may also be sufficient for larger tank. 10 to 15 ppm is more than adequate for many tanks. The key is to achieve a balance between light, nutrients, and growth.
 

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I use a Victor single-stage regulator and a brass Ideal 52 series -1- needle valve with 0.019 Cv (full open). It takes 20 turns to go from full shut-off to full-open. The valve is rated up to 3000 psig. Cheaper valves do not have full shut-off capability. If one cannot afford the $75 price tag, then go with the Fabco NV-55 valve. It's around 15 to 20 bucks with FULL taper needle for a bubble tight shut-off.

So do I run the tank to zero psi? Absolutely. Never had any problem with excessive CO2 level in the water column since 1996.

http://www.idealvalve.com/brassvalves.htm

"Normal" CO2 injection should not cause the pH to vary more than 0.8 point. This is safe for all aquatic inhabitants. However, a drop of 2 points can cause problem for aquatic life unless there exist a period of acclimation.
Would this be as good? Ebay Needle Valve

Also, I see that some regulators have a release valve that dumps the excess CO2 when the pressure drops. Are they not that trustworthy? I rarely see them discussed, but it's a feature on even some of the cheaper regulators.
 

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Would this be as good? Ebay Needle Valve

Also, I see that some regulators have a release valve that dumps the excess CO2 when the pressure drops. Are they not that trustworthy? I rarely see them discussed, but it's a feature on even some of the cheaper regulators.
Not much information about that valve except that it has a flow coefficient value of 0.004 at 1000 psig.

http://www.swagelok.com/search/product_detail.aspx?part=B-SS2-A#Documentation

My favorite low-cost needle valve is the Fabco air NV-55. It incorporates a lot of high-end features like bubble tight shut-off, straight tapered needle, and linear flow vs # of turns graph. List price is around $20, but I've seen them for $15 or less. DO NOT overtighten ANY needle valve because this can damage the orifice and needle assembly!

A cheap regulator may have difficulty maintaining the desired pressure (+/- 1 psig) as the tank's internal pressure approaches zero psig, but this should not result in a huge spike in inlet pressure at the needle valve. The NV-55 should have no problem absorbing a 2x spike.

I always run my tank to zero psig and have never encountered these mysterious CO2 dumping episodes.

http://www.fabco-air.com/pdf/Sec_12.pdf

http://www.fabco-air.com/distributors.html
 

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Yes, the more expensive 31 series "S" Swagelok valves are good, but they also cost an arm and a leg. These units are rated up to a maximum flow coefficient of 0.004 at 10 turns.

The Ideal 32 series -1- are rated at 0.0019 with 20 turns. I like the 1/8" female NPT connections. Pipe threads are very strong and provide a bubble tight joint without much hassle.
 

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The burst disc is a required safety feature of all regulators. It's there in case the cylinder is over filled or gets over heated. Much better to have the burst disc rupture than the cylinder have a catastrophic failure.
Ok, thanks for the info, I just see it listed on some models, but not others...but you are saying it's there on all of them?

I came across an article recently that I hadn't seen before and it mentioned having a release valve as a way to avoid an end of tank dump.

I believe it also said that an EOT dump is considered a failure and often times damages the regulator, but I hadn't heard that before...I'll try and find the FAQ

http://www.wcf.com/co2iron/faq.html

Found the FAQ, it brings up some questions as it seems to contradict itself a bit, but I think it's more in just the way it's written, not exactly clear and concise. Combine that with being new to it all and it's a bit frustrating. When I have more time I will go through it and ask some specifics and see if anyone is up to answering.
 

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Not much information about that valve except that it has a flow coefficient value of 0.004 at 1000 psig.

http://www.swagelok.com/search/product_detail.aspx?part=B-SS2-A#Documentation
Is that good? You refer to the coefficient value at 1000 psig, and below in the other posts the coefficient at a certain amount of turns, so it's hard for me to compare since I am not knowledgable enough about what characteristics to look for.

My favorite low-cost needle valve is the Fabco air NV-55. It incorporates a lot of high-end features like bubble tight shut-off, straight tapered needle, and linear flow vs # of turns graph. List price is around $20, but I've seen them for $15 or less. DO NOT overtighten ANY needle valve because this can damage the orifice and needle assembly!
Yeah, I saw that very valve mentioned in the FAQ I was referring to in my reply to REX. It was closer to 30 dollars though so I was looking at the one Rex mentioned to see if it's similar.

Are these all the metering type as Rex mentioned?

Not having run a system myself it took me awhile to get a mental picture of how all this works...Rex your guide helped quite a bit there...and now that I'm learning about this on a more in depth level it's hard for me to evaluate the components without a high level of working knowledge in regards to high pressure plumbing.
 

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Yes, the more expensive 31 series "S" Swagelok valves are good, but they also cost an arm and a leg. These units are rated up to a maximum flow coefficient of 0.004 at 10 turns.

The Ideal 32 series -1- are rated at 0.0019 with 20 turns. I like the 1/8" female NPT connections. Pipe threads are very strong and provide a bubble tight joint without much hassle.
Is the Ideal series the Swagelok?

Are those type of connections something I could use with any valve I buy?

It's hard to keep up with you guys when specs. and features are mentioned with no frame of reference for them.

I'm sure you 2 are following each other, but some of us bystanders may not be. :p
 

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Is the Ideal series the Swagelok?

Are those type of connections something I could use with any valve I buy?

It's hard to keep up with you guys when specs. and features are mentioned with no frame of reference for them.

I'm sure you 2 are following each other, but some of us bystanders may not be. :p
In general, a needle valve with lower Cv and higher # of turns will give you more flexibility when metering the CO2 to your tank. If you have extra $ to spend, then go with the Ideal 52 series -1- straight body brass valve. I believe it is one of the best needle valve under $100. You can buy the Ideal valve by contacting the manufacturer or through Mc Master Carr. You can also purchase 1/8" brass female NPT connectors from Mc Master Carr to attach this valve to your regulator and your CO2 line. BTW, Mc Master is a very good source for many needle valve interconnects.

Swagelok is another mfr of needle valve. They use another type of connector that can be a little challenging for the novice aquarist. Good Swagelok stuffs will cost more than $100.

The Fabco NV-55 uses 10-32 threads at the inlet and outlet ports. Again, get the appropriate interconnects from Mc Master Carr. This valve should work well with virtually all tanks.

The KING of needle valve is probably Parker's HR-0 needle valve. It is wickedly expensive (+$170), but it can be customized with many types of connections.

http://www.idealvalve.com/brassvalves.htm

http://www.fabco-air.com/pdf/Sec_12.pdf
 

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Thanks for the followup.

I have to be price conscious, but always try to find that bang for your buck product. Sounds like the Fabco will be it.

Are the 10-32 fittings sufficient enough to hang other hardware off of like the bubble counter? I think I read a post somewhere that suggested that it would be best to run the counter off of the tubing if using that size fitting.
 

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I inject the CO2 into my filter's intake tube. That's my bubble counter. The 10-32 fitting is strong, but you can crack it by applying too much force at one end. A short 1" tubing would act like a flex joint to reduce stress on the connector. You may be able to obtain a sampler from a local distributor.

Fabco's NV-55 is the best needle valve under the $30 price range.
 

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I don't recommend hanging things off the 10-32 connectors. I work with them on an almost daily basis and they just don't take a lot of stress. It's very easy to even shear them off by over tightening them. And I have seen a lot of them get cracked or broken by a pet or child yanking on the tubing.

Brass is soft. 10-32 brass threads with a hole through them are very soft.
 

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I have been following the sometimes heated debate on wether or not to run a CO2 system at night or to supliment O2 with an airstone or powerhead at night and wether or not we are putting our fish at risk. I realize that in a well balanced tank with everything running smoothly, a CO2 system running at night should not deplete O2 levels to a dangerous level or cause a major fluctuation in pH.

But, what if something goes wrong? I have a beautifuly planted 55g tank that had, I emphasize had, a great little population of micro and dwarf rasboras. It was filtered by a HOT magnum. Thursday night we had some storms go through and lost power for about an hour. The HOT magnum decided not to fire back up. Today, I found most of my cool little fish floating with a few staglers gasping for their final breaths. I may save 4 out of about 12 of the fish.

A small air pump with an airstone and a timer could have prevented this tradjedy. It also would have been much cheaper than replacing the fish.
A UPS is your best insurance against this happening again......DC
 
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