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Re: CO2 Regulation
Thank you Bruno, for your recent post. Hopefully, it will help calm some
tempers and focus attention back on an issue every bit as helpful and
important as "Why is my water green?"
(B.T.W., that was a joke folks........)
I spent several hours last night reviewing the APD archives, the KRIB, and
several manufacturer's web sites.
(Gawd, I need a life - spending a perfectly good Saturday night surfing the
web when I could have been out doing hands-on research at my local pub,
which sells a variety of beers and ales "on-tap".)
In _most_ of the "plant related" material (APD and the KRIB) that I looked
at, it seems that we are an awfully "trusting" bunch. You have to look long
and hard to find any real information - or maybe I should say any
information that is obviously based upon stated manufacturer's specs. I kept
being reminded of the "Hagen vs. Eheim" wars. Lots of smoke and mirrors but
little _real_ information or explanation as to why one item is preferable to
another. Needle valves have received much more specific attention than
regulators but even there I found a lack of "reasoned argument" as to what
to look for in equipment selection. When details are discussed, quite often
the underlying theory is missing from the discussion, so it is hard to
distinguish fact from fiction.
As Bruno noted in his post, and I have made abundantly clear on several
occasions, I am NOT an expert in compressed gas technology. Until I got into
hi-tech plant tanks, my exposure to compressed gas of any kind was limited
to using a small propane torch to caramalize the tops of Crème Brûlée (thank
you, Martha Stewart!). In short, compressed gas scared the willies out of me
(whether or not that fear is valid isn't important - it was and is real).
Seeing post after post about how this isn't rocket science and how easily
(and cheaply) people were putting together CO2 systems bolstered my own
confidence enough to get one for myself. But many months later, I'm still
not sure if I selected the appropriate components and I'm sure that there
are _many_ people on this list who remain just as much in the dark about
what constitutes "good" from "bad" in this area. Nowhere do I see any
comprehensive list of things to look for in CO2 components and just as
important, what to avoid.
Personally, I've always had problems dealing with those whose prime
motivation when buying anything is low price - especially so when the items
which are the cheapest usually come with few published specifications and
even fewer guarantees. Value is of course a concern for us all but when
dealing with something which has even the slighest potential for damage to
me, my home or my fish, I'd rather know what I'm spending my money for and
the confidence to feel that I've selected wisely.
Based primarily on what I have discovered from the BOC Gases and the Air
Products web sites (among others), it seems (to me, at least) that there is
a lot to this discussion which we are missing because it just isn't being
discussed or the discussions too easily degenerate due to disjointed side
issues. Whether or not such a discussion is appropriate for open forum or
should be conducted in private among a group of interested individuals
might be something to think about. I think that an updated FAQ could quite
easily be formulated for posting to the KRIB if there is sufficient
Things like the basic workings of a regulator and how different materials
might affect both price and service; regulator types and uses; needle valve
useage and selection, together with discussions of the various parameters
(of both regulators and needle valves) which can be specified and how those
"specs" can affect useage; selection and sizing of fittings to tie
everything together; the list could go on and on...... but the bottom line
is that I think it might help cut through some of the hype and excitement
and replace fiction with fact.
Those who are more concerned with price over value are of course free to
continue as they have been doing but if we as a group hope to "spread the
gospel" of planted tanks, having a concise and authoritative FAQ on
Compressed CO2 to point people to would be most helpful.