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Can Co2 leak where water doesn't?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Crazymidwesterner, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Could Co2 gas leak out somewhere water couldn't? Aside through non CO2 tubing of course. I am trying to dial in my Pressurized system and am having issues getting my drop checker to go green. I am useing an inline reactor but it doesn't have any media in it as I was informed it was unneccesary. The result is essentially a combination dissolved Co2/misting and it is shooting out many very fine micro bubbles. Either way my drop checker isn't turning lime green. I wonder if my soulution is any good. Does that 4 dkh solution go bad?

    I just pulled all the solution out and added more. Maybe I accidentally got some tank water in it. We'll see.
     
  2. captain_bu

    captain_bu Prolific Poster

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  3. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    I bought my drop Checker and solution from a guy on another forum. My fish aren't gasping at the top of the water or anything so I have no reason to believe that the checker is wrong yet other than the fact that I have my CO2 cranked up quite a ways. I just further increased my co2.

    I have no surface agitation so so should be no outgasing there.

    I did use tubing I bought at the hardware store to run from my reactor to my outlet. Would this out gas my water any more then the Rena supplied kind? I am kinda grasping at straws. maybe this bubble rate is just common. I can't imagine it is as i can't even count the bubbles they are coming out of the bubble counter so fast.
     
  4. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    If your bps (bubbles per second) is that fast, I think you do have a leak ... assuming you don't have a bio-wheel going and your filter output isn't a waterfall. For my 50G tank, 3 bps is more than enough, no matter what method I have used: 1) external DIY reactor, 2) CO2 directly into filter intake and 3) CO2 into needle-wheeled powerhead. Without a leak, the inline reactor would be very efficient. You also didn't mention your filter's gph, it might be too low to get good CO2 to wherever your drop checker is, especially with your inline possibly taking away gph.

    If it is easy enough for you to dismantle your inline reactor, perhaps you can try # 2 above for a couple of hours ... I'm sure your drop checker will turn green at your current bps (more likely yellowish green). At 3 bps, my drop checker starts leaning toward yellow.

    I recently found out just how easily airline couplings and elbows leak. My air line unions were hard to put together, so I thought the joints were air tight ... but they were pulling in more oxygen from outside than I realized. If I ever absolutely must have couplings or elbows in my airlines, I will silicone them!
     
  5. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have had an ongoing issue with my setup where there is a low pressure regulator (LPR) on the CO2 regulator before the needle valve, and there are one of those ADA knock-off diffusers in my tank. What I suspect has been happening is that the pressure required to evacuate water from the diffuser, and maintain a steady air pressure, exceeds what the LPR is trying to regulate. Because of this CO2 is constantly escaping from the LPR and bleeding off my CO2 canister at a much faster rate than it "should".

    If I use one of the small manifolds to feed 2-3 tanks (adding additional needle valves and diffusers), and put duct tape over the escape vent in the LPR, things last longer.

    I realize this is probably not a "kosher" way to do it, but for now it seems much improved with regard to CO2 duration.

    Perhaps you have something similar occurring?
     
  6. swylie

    swylie Prolific Poster

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    That vinyl tubing should be fine. It's about as CO2-tight as the authentic CO2-resistant polyurethane tubing, but unlike polyurethane they say the vinyl gets stiff over time with CO2 exposure. That's why people go for CO2-resistant tubing, not because the cheap vinyl stuff leaks.
     
  7. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for the replys. Swylie I put the drop checker directly underneath my output initially just to see if it still worked thinking I would get a relatively quick green however I did not.

    I finally got a green today but I really had to crank up the CO2. I would say at least 5 BPS but who can count that fast. I can't accurately count how many over any period.

    I will play more with it tommorrow and see what I come up with. My CO2 line goes straight out of my bubble counter and into my reactor. There is no connector on the reactor the line simply feeds into it through a drilled hole and it is water tight so I assumed air tight.

    I tested all around the bubble counter for leaks and found none, and any before that shouldn't matter as that would not affect the bubble count and what CO2 makes it into my water. (I checked as well though just because I don't want leaks :))

    I may simply have to add media to my reactor to make it more efficient, as their are very fine bubbles coming out of my spray bar.

    For circulation I have a RENA XP3 on my 75 gallon with two penguin 550's to help out. I only use the supplied sponges and some floss in the RENA. I can't imagine circulation is the problem since I placed the Checker right next to the outlet.

    Any other suggestions are welcomed.
     
  8. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    A simple test for leaks that found one for me, though your setup is different: Run your CO2 pump with your CO2 solenoid unplugged, so no CO2 is going into the bubble counter at all. If you still notice bubbles going thru anywhere, you know you have a leak. The leaks can also be INTO the system (as was my case) and air bubbles would make your CO2 bps seem greater than it really is. If no air gets thru with the CO2 off, you have me stumped.

    One thing that puzzles me a little is why you are constantly getting little bubbles out of your reactor -- this makes me suspect an air leak into the system. My external DIY reactor only got bubbles coming out in the afternoon-- in the morning the CO2 was always dissolved completely into the water. Same goes when I feed the CO2 into the filter intake. When I had the leak in the airline, however, little bubbles always came out because air does not dissolve well like CO2. With the needle wheel powerhead setup there are bubbles galore, of course, but my drop checker still turns a yellow green at 3 bps (on a 50G setup).
     
  9. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Okay the bubble checker stayed green all night and its on the side opposite my filter output now. Is this normal to stay green overnight? My solenoid turns off an hour before the lights. No bubbles coming out at all while it is off. The checkers a pretty lime green this morning. I reduced the BPS to around 3 or 4, since it is already reading green. We'll just leave it stable there today and see what happens.

    Maybe it was due to a lower GPH of my filter so initial saturation took longer.

    Pressurized is all new to me so pardon the stupid Questions :eek:

    Got a live video feed here MySpace.com - The Flushmaster - 25 - Male - Dixon, Illinois - www.myspace.com/streiticus, don't mind my ugly stand.

    Hopefully you don't see me gassing my fish on accident :eek:

    I just did a rescape but I'm not sure I like it yet.
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When you look for a CO2 leak, keep in mind the extremely low bubble rate we use. A "normal" bubble rate of 3 bps would show up as a leak of 3 bubbles per second if all of it leaked at one point. But, if you only lose one third of that to a leak you would see just one bubble per second when you put soap solution where the leak is. And, if the leak is spread over 4 locations you could be seeing only one bubble every 4 seconds at each leak. These small leaks are hard to find unless you really soak the leak site with soap solution and wait a minute or two before looking for mounds of bubbles. I'm not sure yet that my CO2 system is leak free, even though I check it almost everytime I refill the CO2 tank.

    I don't think you can get air leaking into the CO2 line. That line will always have one psi or more pressure in it, and the CO2 flow rate is far too small to get any venturi effect that would reduce that pressure to below atmospheric pressure. Air leaks can occur in the filter inlet line because that line will likely have below atmospheric pressure where it goes over the top of the tank. But, the CO2 lines should never see below atmospheric pressure.
     
  11. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    If your drop checker stayed green all night with the CO2 off, you likely have the dreaded scum (protein?) layer across the bottom of your drop checker. Pull it out and wipe it out as well as you can in the funnel area with a cloth and put it back in. I have to do this to mine every few days -- every day when I had a newer tank.
     
  12. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    I just pulled the drop checker out and cleaned it up and refilled it. We'll see if it changes to green again.
     
  13. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    For the record, I do not refill mine with new solution each time I clean it ... I just wipe it out well and put it back in. I stick to the once-per-week solution change and have not had a problem.
     
  14. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks,

    Yeah I just wanted to be sure. It turned green again pretty quick. I have been maintaining that with about 2-3 BPS now so I'll stick there for now.
     
  15. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    So, what was the fix for the problem - removing the biofilm from the drop checker opening? It will be very helpful to know, so we can tell others to expect this problem if they leave that film intact.
     
  16. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    Ok, I have frequently asked for an approximate BPS rate for my 55 gal on this forum and every time it seems I was attacked and told that BPS is irrelevent and that I need a drop checker and just adjust my CO2 until I get the proper color in the solution. Now that it seems BPS is acceptable discussion, I would like to mention that I run an inline reactor with a BPS beyond what I can count accurately. Each bubble is still distinguishable, so the rate is not so high that the bubbles are blurred together. At this rate I achieve a light green dependably. I run 2 -55w T5 bulbs on this tank for 7 hours a day. I made the 4dkh water according to the forum linked in a previous post in this thread, using an accurate digital scale. I am still not having good growth. I recently added some Red Ludwigia and Alternanthera, and the new growth is slow, and has a bleached look. Any ideas on whats wrong?
     
  17. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Vaughn I wish I had an answer for you. I played with my bubble rate as well as cleaning off and replacing the solution in my drop checker. After messing with it even more I think I just initially underestimated how much CO2 I needed. Initailly I had it set up at like 1.5 to 2 BPS. Now I realize I need at least 4-5. It seems high but the fish don't seem to mind so I am going to run with it and see how long my CO2 tank lasts. Haven't noticed a big change in plants yet aside from my rotala rotundafolia. It had always had very small leaves except near the top of the aquarium. Now the new growth is growing very well. It has only been a couple weeks so I am excited.
     
  18. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    The drop checker really is the best way to know. I used my drop checker in reference to my BPS just to get a rough idea. I have heard many who have a 55 say 2-3 BPS. That is dependent on a lot of things so if your drop checker is green you should be good. I would say your lighting Watts is right on. What color temp do you use? Does it have good reflectors? Lastly, what is your fert dosing regimen?

    I now use EI and I only have 130 Watts of power compacts above my 75G and have good results. I have red ludwigia that grows well but it only has gotten pink in my tank so far. I think this is because of my lower light output. I have no experience with the other plant.
     
  19. swylie

    swylie Prolific Poster

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    I have a dramatic example of why BPS isn't that great a measurement when you're comparing against someone else on the internet. I built a new bubble counter a couple of weeks ago, and it's a check valve stuck inside a syringe with water inside the syringe. To fill it, I sucked on the syringe, which pulled water through the check valve. So now there's water in the syringe, but also stuck inside the cheap plastic check valve.

    The point is, I can see bubbles in two places. The bubbles inside the check valve are about 3x slower than the bubbles inside the syringe, but they're about 3x bigger. The CO2 flow is the same, but the bubble rate is different because the orifice size is different. I can compare against myself with great accuracy, but I'd hesitate to compare my bubble rate to someone else's setup.
     
  20. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    I use one 3000K and one 4100K temperature bulbs. The reflectors are 96% reflective German.
    I pre-mix my macros in solution, based on a weekly introduction of 2 tsp. a week of KNO3 and 1/4 tsp. a week of KH2PO4.

    I dose micro and macro daily but about 30 minutes apart.

    I use a dose pump to dose KNO3 and KH2PO4 from a pre-mix 5 gallon reservoir with a submerged powerhead that circulates the water daily before and during each dosing event.
    I dose 1 cup of macro, daily. This is done based on a ratio of fert to water derived at by dividing 2 tsp. KNO3 by 7 days = .29 tsp per day. x 4 cups of water per qt = 1.16 tsp per qt of water. 1.16 x 2 = 2.32 which comes out roughly to 2 9/32 tsp. to 2 qts of water. Does this mix make sense anywhere outside of my own head? Seems like it should be right. I do the same for KH2PO4.

    A seperate pump head doses undilluted TMG from a seperate reservoir, 7 ml daily.
    50% WC on Wednesday and Sunday

    Thanks for your time.
     
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