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Re: CO2/K+

> I wasn't quite clear in my post regarding my Co2 system. While I do have
> a Gromberg system, I took off the ehiem high pressure diffuser, as I
> could never get it to seal properly, and it didn't seem to atomize very
> well. As well, the one time I did get it running properly, it clogged up
> and blew the hose off and dropped the ph of the tank very low. And, it
> ran a lot more than the system I use now, consuming more Co2. I now run
> it through my powerhead, and am awaiting a "mixer j" diffuser from M3
> that hooks up to a canister filter. The system actually works quite well
> now, and does not dump at the end of the tank. As I mentioned though,
> the propane reg won't allow me to use a check valve. Most folks don't
> seem to worried about that, however.

You needed to clean it:) It's not so much your pH you need to worry about
that is not what kills the fish, it's high lethal CO2 levels.

Unless your KH is very low and the the potential for bottoming out there,
(make sure its at least 3-4). Then pH can go all over. But it sounds like
you need a needle valve and add that to your CO2 diffusing device/reactor.
You can add the plug from your powerhead to your light timer so there's a
CO2 off at night effect since it will not diffuse unless the pump is
A solinoid will do the same thing. But you still need the powerhead no
matter so you may as well use that instead IMO. At least that takes out some
of the heavy CO2 amount through out the night relieving some stress on your
fish if you run high CO2 levels. It will take awhile to build back up in
your tank in the morning but your plants are groggy as well:), by the time
they get going, so is your CO2 level getting up there as well. I've run it
24/7 but I like the effects of on during the day and off at night. If things
vary much this will at least give a 50% chance for the CO2 to escape during
the night. You don't need it at night either. Some will say that it's the pH
but it's the high levels of CO2 that cause fish deaths. So I've never seen a
good reason besides pH to keep it going all night. If something goes wrong
this takes 50% of the chance away. My fish don't need the CO2 at night,
neither do the plants and the ph rise doesn't cause the issues, the level of
CO2 does. 

Sounds like the bastard of CO2 set ups. You got two reg's, a check valve
that sounds nice but is a thorn in your side and a few diffuser/reactors
that don't match up with your original equipment.
Just get a needle valve. Remove the weird reg and dial in your rate. All you
need is a tank(or two for that empty refill) a needle valve, a regulator,
and some line to run it into your tank & a reactor/diffuser for adding
getting it efficiently into your tank. A soliniod is an optional thing but
can save you a fair amount of gas perhaps paying for itself in about 5-10
years for a 75 gallon tank in CO2 gas savings. If you run multiple tanks off
one single reg then this might be a worth while device.

> So let me see if I have this straight. A needle valve, without a check
> valve in line past it, should be able to handle the pressure rise at the

> end of tank dump?

Yes. If you used line from your CO2 reg to your valve it will fail prior to
the valve failing as well. Too little CO2 is much preferred to too much
CO2!I don't, but know a few that do this.  Another method is to rely more on
your input device(reactor/diffuser) to dump when an excess amount of CO2 gas
is shot into your tank. I have designed such a device that works very well.
If you add beyond a certain bubble rate or amount it bleches out CO2 rather
than dissolving it into the water. At lower levels of CO2 it's 100%
efficient but as you get more CO2 in there it starts wasting and
bleching/off gassing the CO2. Disc can never do something like that, as
elegant as they are for small tanks.

> In any case the bottom line is most folks don't have any reg dump
> problems with just a needle valve, no? And do most have a check valve
> anywhere?

I would certainly take THIS check valve off. It's caused enough grief. Bury
it. If I used it, I'd place it before the needle valve right after the reg.
I would not use it though.

I don't on almost all. I have one on a dupla set up. It's fine. No
problems(better not for as expensive as that stuff is).
And No#2:

>>I live
>> in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest LFS is 2 1/2 hours away, so I
>> won't get a test kit for a while. Any guidlines on a small but safe
>> amount to add untill I get a test kit?

Did you see my post on adding for a 55 gallon tank?  a 1/4 teasoon 2x a week
will give you an extra 10ppm about in addition to your trace elements that
you add that likely have some. Dave Gomberg sells it as well so the mail
order thing will help you and for the test kit as well.
I would not recommend you buy a test kit for K+, spend it on a good NO3 kit
like LaMott.
The range of K+ is large for good growth rates, NO3 is another story. If you
add only K2SO4 you won't need the test kit. You should IMO get a NO3 kit.
That's an important one. pH, KH and Fe are the others. P as well if you dose
Hope it all works out. Sounds like your on your way and want to get it done
right. Testing will help you analyze things well. I would not bug too much
on the check valve(I'd remove it) but get a needle valve. It will help and
they are cheap. So is adding K+ to your tank. Not hard at all and no kit

Tom Barr