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Discussion Starter #1
so i've decided that i wanted to get a CO2 system instead of making a DIY system because in the long run all the sugar changes are going to start to cost a lot... and the hassle of having to change a bottle every week.

i didnt want to buy a whole system as they tend to cost quite a bit more unless i can find a used one.
does anyone have suggestions for:
which solenoid to use?
which glass diffuser?

i know i need a check valve as well, seen one thats brass with a bubble counter
and what others parts i should get?

i know i can use pretty much any dual gauge regulator for air.
 

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what you do need is a two stage regulator, needle valve, check valve, co2 resistent tubing, and bubble counter.

you only need a solenoid if you want to shut the supply of co2 at lights out. but you need to be careful of where the solenoid is located. just check out the thread on exploding co2 tubing. but it's not critical to your system.

IMO i would suggest a inline co2 reactor instead of a glass diffuser. they're nice looking, but the ceramic discs clog up after time, and some don't perform like new after a cleaning. and if you don't have good water circulation in your tank, all of the co2 just degases out the top of your tank. efficient reactors ensure the co2 disolves completely into the water.

hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks freydo! i'll look into a inline diffuser then.

and as for the exploding co2 tubing, i have a feeling that they were using an inline solenoid and had a plastic pipe going from the regulator to the solenoid.
i dont know much about plumbing, but seems to me it jus wouldnt be smart to use plastic tubing there due to the pressure build up.

is it better for the fish to have the co2 turned off at lights out to give them a break?
 

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it wasn't so much the type of tubing being used, but the placement of the solenoid and pressure build up.

some people turn off the co2 for that reason, and the fact that when lights are off, plants to do not take in co2. instead they start taking in oxygen, which competes with the fish. as well, you save co2 as it's only open for ~8 hours each day.

others keep the co2 going 24/7 without any ill effects to the fish, which i am part of. of course, the amount of co2 being injected is probably lower than those that shut off at night.

so set up properly, either method has it's pro's and con's.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i guess i could have an air pump on a timer so that it turns on at night, set it to turn on an hour after the solenoid goes of the that the co2 can bleed off and so that it doesnt cause a sudden change in pH?

i found a regulator (dual gauge) with a solenoid for $64
 

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i added co2 to my 210 and maid my own defuser in my sump with a power head and then into my main pump so i see very light micro bubbles in my tank. but the best thing i can say is to look around for a tank from your local ice co. or welding supply house or micro brew supply, i use airgas for refill but got my tank from baggliy ice and just so you know ahead of time, some company's will not fill tanks from, coke or Pepsi in my area, anti theft i am sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i would have considered making my own inline reactor, but since i just have a 29 gallon tank, i think i'll wait on that till i get a bigger tank, cause i need to add a power head for that lol
 

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so i've decided that i wanted to get a CO2 system instead of making a DIY system because in the long run all the sugar changes are going to start to cost a lot... and the hassle of having to change a bottle every week.
If you think you are going into this hobby for the long run, I wouldn't buy cheap but good and this is a really good regulator! OK this ain't cheap at $190.00 but it really is the best regulator in the world.

http://www.aquariumplants.com/AquariumPlants_com_s_Electronic_Co2_Regulator_p/co2.htm

BTW the price includes an internal check valve and a bubble counter, needle valve and solenoid valve, which are part of the electronics of the regulator. It even comes with a 3 year warranty! The only other thing you would need is a timer or CO2 regulator.

I don't have stock in this company and no relation with it but I do own this regulator and it is great.

I had two other regulators, 3 needle valves and 2 bubble counters before I purchased this one and they all had problems.

Maybe you could ask for one for your birthday?

An in line reactor is the best way to add CO2 any other way will waste CO2 because the CO2/H2O contact times will be relatively short. Again, the best way to go is with a power filter and an in-line reactor. There are a lot of options here and I don't think any one is the best.

These are my recommendations for the long run. My feeling is that if you buy cheap, you will be like me and have 2 or 3 regulator systems that you can't use.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i was thinking the same thing about cheap products. but from what i've learnt expensive isnt always better.

i got my regulator and solenoid from Aquatech of California. its not that far from where i live so i guess if i have a problem i can always call and ask for help.

i think i'll wait to get a reactor, im going to be selling a bunch of random equipment i have.
 

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freydo mentioned using dual stage regulators. They are what I use. The first stage is where you set your working pressure. The second stage controls this setting.

Let's say that you set your working pressure to 10 psi. The second stage never allows the pressure to go above 10 psi. The only time it will go below 10 psi is when the CO2 cylinder empties. You can run a CO2 cylinder until it is practically completely empty without any worry of "end of tank dump."

Left C said:
How do you like your Victor duall stage regulator?
I love it!
I have it set up with a DIY 3-way manifold using some cheap needle valves.
When I first noticed the initial high side pressure drop from 900 to 600 psi, I kept a close eye on the low side-(Initial setting of 5psi). 3 days later 400 psi and the low side didn't budge. It wasn't until the tank was near empty (200 psi), that I had to adjust the low side to get every bit of C02 possible. This Regulator is not only very precise, but it got me another week of C02 and NO END OF TANK DUMP.:)
FROM: http://www.scottecatalog.com/scottt...057078ba0233fc8a85256b8f0059ad09?opendocument



TECH & SAFETY DATA

How to Choose a Gas Regulator That's Right For Your Application

SINGLE-STAGE GAS REGULATOR



TWO-STAGE GAS REGULATOR



What is the difference between the Single Stage and Two Stage Gas Regulator?

Gas pressure regulators are used to reduce the pressure of gas supplied from a high-pressure cylinder of gas to a workable level that can be safely used for operating equipment and instruments. There are two basic types of gas pressure regulators: single-stage and two-stage.

Single-stage pressure regulators reduce the cylinder pressure to the delivery or outlet pressure in one step. Two-stage pressure regulators reduce the cylinder pressure to a working level in two steps. Since the performance of each is influenced by mechanical characteristics, the choice of gas regulator depends on the type of application for which it is intended.

The two most important parameters to be considered are droop and supply pressure effect.

Droop is the difference in delivery pressure between zero flow conditions and the gas regulator's maximum flow capacity. Supply pressure effect is the variation in delivery pressure as supply pressure decreases while the cylinder empties. For most regulators, a decrease in inlet pressure causes the delivery pressure to increase.

The effect of these differences on performance can be illustrated with some examples. For instance, when a centralized gas delivery system is supplying a number of different chromatographs, flow rates are apt to be fairly constant. Supply pressure variations, however, may be abrupt especially when automatic changeover manifolds are used. In this scenario, a two-stage regulator with a narrow accuracy envelope (supply pressure effect) and a relatively steep droop should be used to avoid a baseline shift on the chromatographs.

Single-stage and two-stage gas regulators have different droop characteristics and respond differently to changing supply pressure. The single-stage regulator shows little droop with varying flow rates, but a relatively large supply pressure effect. Conversely, the two-stage regulator shows a steeper slope in droop but only small supply pressure effects.

On the other hand, if gas is being used for a short duration instrument calibration, a single-stage gas regulator with a wide accuracy envelope (supply pressure effect) but a comparatively flat droop should be chosen. This will eliminate the need to allow the gas to flow at a constant rate before the calibration can be done.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

REGULATOR SELECTION (MATERIALS)

General Gas Use

The selection of the proper gas regulator involves many factors including body and internal materials of construction. For general use, regulators of brass construction with elastomeric diaphragms will give good service in noncorrosive service where slight contamination or diffusion from an elastomeric diaphragm is not important. Brass regulators with stainless steel diaphragms prevent air diffusion and adsorption of gases on the diaphragm. This is particularly important with low concentration mixtures of hydrocarbons in which the trace component may be adsorbed on the elastomeric diaphragm.

The gas regulator must be constructed using materials suited to the application. Industrial general purpose regulators are often constructed with either Buna-N or Neoprene diaphragms. Regulators with Buna-N or Neoprene diaphragms are not suitable for GC analysis that can be affected by the diffusion of atmospheric oxygen through the elastomer diaphragm or the outgassing of monomers and dimers from the elastomer. In fact, laboratories that perform temperature programmed analysis are faced with excessive baseline drift and large unresolved peaks due to this diffusion and outgassing.

High-Purity Gas Service

The ideal construction for high-purity gas service is a gas regulator that has a stainless steel diaphragm. Such regulators are noncontaminating and assure satisfactory use for all applications of noncorrosive and mildly corrosive gases. Regulators for corrosive gases must be selected from those recommended with each gas listing.

A gas regulator equipped with a stainless steel diaphragm has several advantages over the elastomeric type. It does not outgas organic materials and it also prevents the diffusion of atmospheric oxygen into the carrier gas. Both Buna-N and Neoprene diaphragms are permeable to oxygen. The chemical potential of oxygen between the carrier gas and the atmosphere provides sufficient driving force for oxygen to intrude the carrier gas through a permeable diaphragm.

Materials of Construction Summary

The intended gas service for which the gas regulator is used must be compatible with the materials of construction that come in contact with the gas stream. The wetted materials must be compatible with the gas composition.

o Noncorrosive (Typical Materials): Aluminum, Brass, Stainless Steel, Buna-N, PCTFE, Neoprene, Teflon®, Viton®, Nylon
o Corrosive (Typical Materials): Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Monel®, Nickel, PCTFE, Teflon®

Regulator Gauges

Generally single and two-stage gas regulators are equipped with two gauges: a cylinder or inlet pressure gauge, and a delivery or outlet pressure gauge. The cylinder pressure gauge has the higher pressure range and is located adjacent to the inlet port. The delivery pressure gauge of lower pressure range is located adjacent to the outlet port. Although most cylinder regulators have two gauges, regulators utilized on cylinders containing liquefied gases may not have a cylinder pressure gauge because the cylinder pressure varies only with temperature as long as liquid is present in the cylinder.

Operating Delivery Pressure Range

Determining the delivery pressure range can be confusing. First, it is important to determine the gas pressure that is needed. Second, determine the maximum pressure the system might require (these two pressures are often the same). Third, select the delivery pressure range so that the required pressures are in the 25 to 90% range of the gas regulator's delivery pressure (a regulator's performance is at its best within this range).

Regulator Placement (Cylinder or Line)

Specialty gas regulator applications are divided into two types. The first is when the regulator is fastened to a gas cylinder using a Compressed Gas Association (CGA) fitting (or BS or DIN). The second application is when a regulator is located in a gas line - providing a means to further reduce the line pressure. A line regulator is identified by having the inlet and outlet opposite of each other, and by a single gauge which is in the 12 o'clock position to indicate the reduced pressure.

Buna-N® and Teflon® are registered trademarks of E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Company.
Monel® is a registered trademark of Inco Alloys International Inc. Viton® is a registered trademark of DuPont Dow Elastomers.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________



SELECTION CRITERIA SUMMARY


The application determines which gas regulator to select. For example, a brass regulator should not be used in corrosive gas service. The duration of gas use time helps to identify whether a single-stage or two-stage regulator provides the best service. A single-stage is a good performer for short duration gas usage. A two-stage gas regulator performs best when it is attached to the cylinder and adjusted to the desired reduced pressure, and then remains in service until the cylinder is ready for changeout.

Consider this criteria when planning your next pressure reduction requirements.

1. Use a gas regulator for all pressure reduction requirements.
2. Use a valve for flow control.
3. Materials used in the gas regulator construction are to be compatible with the intended gas service.
4. Determine the delivery pressure requirements.
5. Do you need a cylinder regulator or a line regulator or perhaps both?
6. Determine the accessories to be included with your gas regulator.
7. Determine how you intend to use the pressure regulator. Generally a single-stage regulator is good for short duration applications; a two-stage regulator is good for long duration applications.

The safest means to reduce cylinder pressure is through a pressure reduction regulator. Scott offers over 40 regulator series with more than 120 different pressure ranges. All are intended for a specific application.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

REGULATOR OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

To operate a pressure regulator, you should be trained in its proper use or be under competent supervision.

1. Use safety glasses when installing and operating gas handling equipment.
2. Mark each new gas regulator with its intended gas service and never use a regulator for more than one service. Regulators that have been used in oxygen or oxidizing gas service must not be used in another service. To ensure safety and to avoid contamination, it is strongly recommended that regulators be dedicated to one gas service.
3. Never heat or expose a cylinder or gas handling equipment to temperatures above 125°F (52°C).
4. Never use a regulator as a shut-off valve. Be certain that the gas stream is shut off at its source when not in use.
5. Be certain that the gas cylinder valve and regulator connection are clean and compatible with the service for which they are used.
6. The Scott Models 14, 27, 209, 211 and 318 series regulators have a built-in safety device to prevent over-pressurizing the second stage. Never plug, obstruct or tamper with the safety relief device.
7. When the regulator is pressurized and/or in operation, no attempt should be made to reposition or detach the regulator.
8. Do not subject the regulator to an inlet pressure greater than is recommended.
9. Gas cylinders should be moved only on carts designed for cylinders.
10. Never move a gas cylinder without its valve protection cap in place.
11. Consult your nearest Scott Specialty Gas facility for gas regulator recommendations for use with pure gases and gas mixtures.

Victor Regulator Information





Here are pictures of the front and back of some Victor dual stage regulators. You can see the "hump" on the back. That is the second stage section.

Front Shot


Rear Shot
 

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I highly recommend Chiaheads reactor.
Since you are a SCAPE member and since SCAPE and AAPE will be becoming sort of sister sites, he might give you the same discount that AAPE gets, but I can't speak for him, you will have to ask him.

IN a 29 gallon, one other thing you can do is put the glass diffuser directly under the intake of the filter.
This way your filter IS the reactor (some do OK with this, some don't like it, the bubbles that is so it will depend on the filter you have) and you get almost the same results as adding an inline reactor.
You will get 90% to 95% what you would get with an added inline reactor, and you won't have to worry about the extra push the filter needs to get it thru the reactor.
Reactors clog also.
And this way, you still get to display your glass diffuser.
I like them, they are cool to look at.
Just clean them with bleach, be sure to never touch the disc, that will clog it for sure,
and all is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
if i put the diffuser under the intake, since i have a HOB wouldnt this just blow off all the co2 im putting in there? or most of the co2.

i think my regulator just has one control... but it has a needle valve as well
 

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Actually NO.
even with a HOB, it works quite well.
I have not done it, but have heard of great success doing so.
I have heard of others actually running the tube right into the intake of a HOB filter, like drilling a hole and silicone it in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
hmm that is interesting. i'll try it for a few weeks with diffuser under the intake for the HOB and see how that works out. i'll start another thread with a log of the results. that way it will help me figure out the best position and maybe help others as well
 

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Do you have a drop checker.

You can move it around the tank to see if the color changes at all and see if there are areas in the tank that have more co2 then others.
Using the HOB as a reactor so to speak, you should see the levels more consistent thru the tank then if you just had the diffuser in a corner sort of under the outflow. When I positioned it under the outflow of my lily pipes (or on the opposite wall of the outflow) I never got the full diffusion that I started to get when I placed it so that most all the bubbles were sucked up by the intake. I did move the drop checker around with different diffuser positions and there was more difference then I thought there would be.
 

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... I have heard of others actually running the tube right into the intake of a HOB filter ...
It does work pretty good.

One of my aquariums has the CO2 running into the intake strainer of an AquaClear HOB filter. I use a Tom's airline elbow wedged through a slit in the intake strainer. It is turned so that the part that is inside the intake tube is pointing upward. The CO2 tubing is connected to the other end.



 

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Discussion Starter #18
I do have a drop checker. I got the one form Green Leaf - the oracle
I'll definitely move it around to see if I'm getting a more or less even distribution/circulation. I was thinking of just wedging the tubing directly into the intake of the HOB but I know someone that had done that and when she got a CO2 leak checker there was a lot more co2 coming out of the top of the HOB than there was when she tried it with a diffuser under the intake
 
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