Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

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Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Tirtha » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:58 pm

Before I start, I have a request. If you find any idiot saying or Writing, It's a copy paste job from anywhere else, simply Slap him on face even before asking me. Whatever I am going to write here, is from my own experience but as it is a standard activity/ equipment, you may find lot more similar posts in internet.

CO2 Cylinder:

The container of CO2 Gas. There are many variant of this, like Iron, Aluminum, Steel etc. but the most popular and cost effective is the iron one. Normally we use fire Extinguisher cylinder for Aquarium purpose. Before you go ahead, remember, the cylinders which used to hold liquid CO2 ONLY can be used not those used to hold Dry/Powder CO2.

Here is the Iron CO2 cylinder I am using.

Image

Now these cylinders can come with 2 types of top valve. One is same like a knob installed top of fire extinguisher and another one specifically used for industrial use. to use the top valve used for industrial use, you need a key to operate it. You have to buy that extra along with the cylinder.

Image

Safety measure:

Most of the Fire Extinguisher cylinders are being used for years with a very bad maintenance. So while buying, ask the seller to do a pressure test. All the iron cylinder having an warranty period of 15 years. While doing the pressure check up, they will test the remaining thickness of the wall. If the cylinder is too old, the inner wall eroded out badly and unevenly. Using it inside home for aquarium purpose is bloody dangerous. The test will cost you some money, but better to be safe than sorry.

WARNING:: Never ever fiddle with the knob of a full cylinder when it is not connected to a regulator properly. have you ever blew a balloon and let it go without making the knot?? The same effect you will see, the only difference will be a air born high velocity 14KG iron lump.

Regulator:

The next most important thing in CO2 setup which needs a complete safety and quality. Cause it drives a huge pressure coming from cylinder.

There are mainly 2 types of regulators, Dual stage and Single stage. I will not go into technicality. But Dual Stage is much safe and robust than a single gauge regulator. But honestly, for aquarium use, single stage regulator is more than enough.

Now we will talk about 2 types of available regulator.

One what we use most of the time is industrial standard regulators. It comes with 2 gauges. One indicates the cylinder pressure and another to indicate the output pressure. In market you will find many Chinese name regulators along with 2 India made regulator. Most famous and dependable Indian brands are ESAB and Eagle. You can use any of them.

Here goes a picture of a Chinese regulator,

Image

Have to find out the picture of my current ESAB to post.

Chinese regulators are good for 2 years if you are lucky. Or else, it will go kaput within 1 year. The internal valve quality of these regulators are not good. Otherhand ESAB/ Eagle are established name in industry and has reputation making very good quality regulators. ESAB regulator ONLY will cost you around 1600/- Max.

You can find another type of regulator, available in Aquarium shops from some aquarium brands comes with a Single gauge. it comes with built in Needle Valve. But I can't vouch for any of their quality as I never used them for a long time (Means currently I borrowed one as I sent my ESAB for repair).

Image

If you are using a double gauge regulator, open the cylinder knob fully. To pass the gas out of the regulator, you have to tighten the regulator knob. Keep it tightening till the time it cross the 40 mark. You may have to tweak the output pressure for some diffuser if required.

Washer and Teflon tape:

2 very small but very important component for a pressurized setup. They make sure, their is no leakage between the regulator and the cylinder. Before you fit the regulator, slip one washer at it's end. Use a good quality synthetic washer (3-5/- each) for long run.

Image

Image

Teflon tape is a very fine tape used as all purpose leak fix. It is used to avoid leak between joints of water pipes, Gas pipes etc etc. One roll will cost you 10/-. Use some on the cylinder thread before you attach the regulator.

Solenoid Valve:

If you don't want to supply CO2 for 24x7 then Solenoid comes into picture. It's a Power driven valve which cut off the CO2 flow when switched off. Not mandatory but if you want, you can use it to shut off the CO2 at night if required. In Market there are couple of brands but all are same quality wise. Price varied from 800 - 1000/- I used to have solenoid attached to my regulators, but I found I am keeping it ON for 24x7. So I have removed it recently.

The small transparent Box in the below fitment is a solenoid valve

Image

To be continued...
Regards,
Tirtha

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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby tigermath » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:34 pm

Nice and timely article, but complete it in a single post will be better IMO, just edit this post and continue.

Thanks for the write up btw,, :)
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Avik

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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Tirtha » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:49 pm

tigermath wrote:Nice and timely article, but complete it in a single post will be better IMO, just edit this post and continue.


Yes Sir. That's the plan. :)
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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Abhinaba » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:51 am

Cool!! Waiting for more.
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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby sourav » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:13 am

Hi Tirtha da, very nicely narrated, many thanks for the info.
By the way where can I get these kind of washers in Kolkata.

Rgds,
sourav :)
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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Achintya » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:53 am

thanx tirtha da for sharing such a valuable information.waiting for next update.
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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby tigermath » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:25 pm

sourav wrote:Hi Tirtha da, very nicely narrated, many thanks for the info.
By the way where can I get these kind of washers in Kolkata.

Rgds,
sourav :)

Marshall House is the address.

Tirthada, write something about the pressure reading on the gauges. I forgot exactly what they read before and after we allow the gas to enter the tank. And did you miss that we actually have to tighten the regulator to allow more gas to pass rather loosen it. :) Make this article a sticky after you finish every minute details.

I shall email you some more photos of solenoid,connectors,pipe,regulators etc.
Regards,

Avik

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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Rohan » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:50 pm

Was waiting for such an informative article froma long time :D

Thanks a lot Tirtha da for posting :D

And rightly said in the first few lines dada which some fishkeepers(I will not call them hobbyist) are spreading now a days ;)

a few queries :

1. How we will know if the regulator is malfunctioning and will there be any danger if it malfunctions?

2. Does the ESAB regulator a dual or single gauge one?

3. Which is the top valve? The steel colored wheel like part(first pic) ?

4. What is that black handle like part in the first pic?
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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Tirtha » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:00 pm

Rohan wrote:1. How we will know if the regulator is malfunctioning and will there be any danger if it malfunctions?

Once you attach everything, you have to do a leak test of every joints with soap water to see if it is bubbling anywhere. Sometimes you also may found Input pressure are showing correctly where as the output pressure are showing very low even when you have tightened the knob to the proper pressure before. Or cylinders are becoming empty within very short period of time.

2. Does the ESAB regulator a dual or single gauge one?

ESAB is the company. They have both.

3. Which is the top valve? The steel colored wheel like part(first pic) ?

Thats the normal release valve comes with regular fire extinguisher tike a tap knob.

4. What is that black handle like part in the first pic?


Thats the handle to carry the cylinder. Take a look at a regular fire extinguisher setup. You will get the answer. :)
Regards,
Tirtha

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Re: Pressurized CO2 Setup :: Practical Guide

Postby Tirtha » Mon Jul 23, 2012 5:03 pm

tigermath wrote:Tirthada, write something about the pressure reading on the gauges. I forgot exactly what they read before and after we allow the gas to enter the tank. And did you miss that we actually have to tighten the regulator to allow more gas to pass rather loosen it. :) Make this article a sticky after you finish every minute details.

The pressure reading will change with different regulator. But I keep 40-50 at output. Added the tightening part. ;)

I shall email you some more photos of solenoid,connectors,pipe,regulators etc.

I will update rest of the thread tomorrow. Send me the pictures fast.

Regards,
Tirtha

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