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Consistent CO2 and how it should be done?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by ityo39, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    Hello there,


    I have a 60x40x40 cm planted tank which I have been running for more than 2 years now.And I have ups and downs, algae problems, diseased fish etc like all others.


    Nothing dramatic though, fish are OK, plants are doing good. I also decided to invest in a pressurized CO2 system about a year ago to allow me to grow carpeting plants. Currently I have Cuba's carpeting nicely. I am having bba for the past 3-4 weeks, I have non-alarming quantitiy of BGA on the bottom of the front glass (just under the substrate as typical), and most importantly some GDA on the glass and rocks etc. I am keeping my PO4 levels above 1.0 ppm, and nitrates around 10-15 ppm range. K, Fe and micro's are also dosed. pH=6,7-6,8 range (I cannot test 4 times a day to see fluctuations etc). kH= 2-3 (more 2 than 3)


    My question is regarding the CO2 system. I am dosing CO2 on a timer which goes on 1 hour before lights go on etc. Everything is as it should be. However I realize when the selenoid goes ON, there is no bubbles on the bubble counter for a long time, then after 30-45 minutes the bubbles come in a gush! and gradually it slows down to a stable 1-2 bubbles per second.Then every 3-4 hours I have a 30 min break (to allow the selenoid to cool down). then the same again. Oh and my parameters are: 60 bars at the tube. 7-8 bars after the regulator.


    I suspect that this is causing some unwanted fluctuations in the CO2 content in my water column. Is this normal? How does your CO2 system work? Once the selenoid turns ON, do your system start immediately at a desired rate of bubbles? Or do you also experience a gush of bubbles like me ... Is this a problem I am facing because of low quality equipment? If YES, then which specific equipment is the cause of my problem do you think? The fine adjustment needle valve at the end?


    That was long, but I am open for any recommendations regarding any of the above topics!


    Thanks for your time,


    Cem
     
  2. Rahul Jawahar

    Rahul Jawahar Subscriber

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    I am using pressurised co2 . Co2 flow is steady the moment solenoid opens. btw i never had to cool my solenoid .Solenoids can get warm. A leak in the line can cause co2 flow fluctuations.
     
  3. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    Thank you for the response, I was also thinking about giving up on the sselenoid "break". It is not too costly to replace anyway. Regarding the line, I am using JBL' CO2 line, which I replaced recently, so I dont think its a leak. I also think a leak would not explain the gush of CO2 ? Am I wrong?
     
  4. Rahul Jawahar

    Rahul Jawahar Subscriber

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    leak cud be anywhere from the neck of your cylinder to diffuser at the joints usually. A faulty flow controller can also do this.
     
  5. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Post pictures of your regulator and possibly its assembly details. Sounds like something is not installed correctly.


    What bubble counter are you using. There are some on tank ones with bad check valves which block CO2 until pressure builds up to high levels.


    Also what is your diffuser?


    Do you also have a check valve on the regulator or down line? Is that installed correctly?


    7-8 bars is a lot of pressure, even the atomic ones run stable at 3-4 bars.


    solenoids will get hot. You don't need to shutdown. If it's a heavy duty type, you might want to consider a low watt model like Burkert 6011.


    you will get a gush of bubbles when you open the solenoid. This is because of the pressure differential between two sides of the Solenoid. When the Solenoid is off, the downward pressure is slowly normalized to as low as it can go (depending on diffuser), while the pressure before the Solenoid is what you set your LP (working pressure) to be plus a little more (set working pressure + lockup). So when you open your Solenoid, the pressure tries to equalize and hence a rush of bubbles.
     
  6. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    I had so much trouble at the beginning with fluctuating CO2. Make up some soapy water and check every joint in your co2 system. Check the connection at the tank as well for leaks. Initially I get a rush of bubbles when my solenoid opens, but there's no strange pressure build up before hand. rajkm Interested to see if it's a reversed check valve, I would never have thought of that. I would argue that your solenoid opening and closing multiple times a day would wear it out faster.
     
  7. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    To answer a few questions: I am using a JBL inline diffuser which also has a incorporated bunble counter, and a check valve also as part of the diffuser itself. 7-8 bars is a lot I know, but its something I did after seeing an hour or more delayed co2 flow following the selenoid turning on. My reasoning was if the build up of co2 is necessary to start the flow into the diffuser, than a high pressure setting would shorten the time between selenoid on and gas flow/bubbles. How are your pressure settings?


    my action plan then will be soapy water and leak detection, followed by lowering regulator exit pressure
     
    #7 ityo39, Apr 7, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2017
  8. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    Check you check valves yo make sure they are in the right direction. The symptom seems to be something which is restricting flow until the high pressure makes it fail and allows pressure to pass.
     
  9. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    In the overall set-up, there is only one check valve which is integrated in the JBL inline diffuser, and it does not allow user to assemble in the wrong direction, so I assume not. Your logic sounds correct. What I did over the weekend was, I lowered the pressure at the outlet of the regulator down to 5-6 bars, but the result was: once the selenoid went ON the next day, there was no gas flow even after3 hours. So I once again increased pressure up to 7-8 bars and the gas gush happened again and I had to decrease flow with the fine adjustment valve, and back to start actually. When I have the time, I will definately buy a new fine adjustment valve and re-do the complete setup myself. (originally I bought the system pre-assembled: cylinder+regulator+selenoid and fine adjustment valve were already assembled.)
     
  10. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    So the first thing I would recommend is testing without the diffuser. Take the tube off and the tip of the tube under water in glass or tank and start the solenoid to see if behavior exists. If yes then its issue with the regulator. If it works fine then the issue is with the diffuser.
     
  11. riskybusiness

    riskybusiness Junior Poster

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    Co2 system, pH level, water filtration, nitrate, ammonia all can control the external canister filter. Do you have the canister filter? You should immediately keep in your aquarium.


    Thanks,
     
  12. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    Sounds right...I will try to do that. My only concern is without the diffuser (directly the CO2 tubing) the abnormal gush of CO2 can be mistaken for the normal increased flow due to less pressure resistance of the diffuser...I hope I am explaining myself good enough here. Anyhow thank you for the direction...I will see what I can find out...
     
  13. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    Yes I do, but it has nothing to do with the problem I am describing above. The filter is working just fine.
     
  14. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    Could your diffuser membrane be plugged? I had one of the atomic diffusers and never could get it to work right, went back to a glass diffuser.
     
  15. ityo39

    ityo39 Junior Poster

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    Dear all,


    I wanted to leave a final note here and update all participants on my situation:


    I tried all suggestions that made sense.


    I bought a glass diffuser (a well known brand made in China, D 521 is the product name I think, nothing special)


    I unplugged the inline diffuser (atomizer as many call it), and connected the CO2 tube onto the new diffuser and plunged it right in the aquarium.


    the working pressure I dropped to 2,5 bars (from 8 bars) and the system works just fine!


    I basically gave up on my desire to have as little apparatus in the aquarium as possible, and instead I have much more reliable system, easier to control.


    Now, looking back to my problems, my opinion about the JBL product is that the main problem was a design flaw (I would call it).


    I believe the problem was the spring they chose for the check valve. It was simply too strong (with typical German safety margins they probably chose this one) and blocked the gas flow up to a point where you applied 8 bars. And they recommend working pressure of 3 bars in their web site! it must be a joke!


    Anyhow, I really loved the design and the product but it simply does NOT work for me! I am simply disappointed and would urge anyone else to stay away from it for the time being until you have confirmation that this problem has been solved, or if you buy the complete CO2 system from the same supllier, it is likely that you wouldnt experience my problems.


    I hope I am not going against some rules here, just wanted to share my experience and warn people as neutrally as possible.


    Cheers,
     
  16. Dennis Singh

    Dennis Singh SynKing!

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    Carry on no worries, no strictness here in regards to your review
     
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