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Re: Controller set up
- To: <Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com>
- Subject: Re: Controller set up
- From: Thomas Barr <tcbiii at earthlink_net>
- Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 12:12:29 -0500
- In-reply-to: <200301311023.h0VANbZV030159 at otter_actwin.com>
- User-agent: Microsoft-Outlook-Express-Macintosh-Edition/5.02.2022
> 1 single stage regulator
> 1 needle valve
> 1 solenoid
> 1 power co2 bubble counter/diffuser
> 1 5 lb co2 tank
> My question is this. I also have been sent a free computer controlled (by
> use of a pH probe) co2 controller by a company that would like me to review
> it on my website. Now, I am trying to figure out the best configuration of
> the above equipment but really don't know where to put the pH probe co2
> controller in the set-up. I am wondering if I have gone a bit overboard
> with all the equipment. I really just need a step by step setup diagram or
> "how to" so I am hoping you can help me. I must confess this system was not
> purchased from you. I have been slowly building it piece by piece myself so
> here I am....flailing aimlessly trying to set this thing up with as little
> head ache as possible. Can you help?
Set the reg, solenoid and needle valve up and gas tank.
Plug the solenoid into the the controller.
Place pH probe in tank somewhere out of the way with good current and where
it will not get algae. Clean every month or two.
You'll need calibrate the probe, decide on how much CO2 you need, measure
the KH and pick a pH to get the CO2 reading.
Set the output pressure from the reg at 15psi or so.
You will need to set the bubble rate higher than you would if you set the
system up without a controller.
A controller see saws to play catch up then it rest/stops. So to catch up
you'll need a _higher rate_ than if you just used a simple set rate for the
lighting cycle. When the system achieves the pH, the solenoid shuts the gas
flow off till the pH rises again.
You will need a good flow rate through the reactor and a good mixing pattern
when the CO2 rich water enters the tank.
CO2 tank=>Reg=>Solenoid=>Needle valve=> CO2/silicone tubing=> CO2 reactors.
Plug solenoid into pH controller. This is the control point. You can also
use the reactor if it's on a separate pump/powerhead for a control point.
Make certain all connections are good and sealed. Set CO2 bubble rate and
fine tune with needle valve.
I've never found any good reason to even have a pH controller and no one has
ever presented any argument worthwhile to have one except they like techy
stuff and don't mind spending another 100$ or more vs a pH monitor.
A pH monitor is a good item for measurement but controlling the pH with a
needle valve and a good CO2 reactor/flow and tank flow works as well as any
pH controller system I've set up over the years.
It really seems silly to think a pH controller is any easier to adjust than
a needle valve which you are going to adjust anyway to set the rate for the
If the pH probe, the solenoid or anything electrical goes wrong then you
have set yourself up for a heavy CO2 dosing since you have to have it add
more when the CO2 solenoid is in the open position.
A decent designed non controller system is very stable with a cheap clippard
11$ needle valve, a CO2 reactor that has good flow and tank mixing, as
stable(pH) as any pH controlled system and in many cases more stable.
I might adjust the valve 1-3x a year for a few seconds.
Here's the **real advantage** to NOT having a pH controller and learning to
rely on the valves:
#2) you can use multiple needle valves from a single CO2 tank/reg to control
many individual plant tanks accurately, imagine using 10 controllers, for 10
planted tanks. I only spend 11 $ plus the reactor cost for each tank.
I get the same control as you for less $, and it's more reliable, simpler,
less prone to failures, easier to set up.
I don't believe you gain, but actually lose in using one.
I've had them for many years and so have a number of tanks I've maintained.
I also see little need to fret over the pH using CO2 gas systems much beyond
the plant's needs. They only need the CO2 during the day. I've not seen
anything either in nature nor any tank I've had set up to suggest that CO2
off at night is bad or the pH rise due to CO2 loss is detrimental in any
The level of CO2 in the water is the important element, it's not some
specific amount set point, a good CO2 range is all that's required for good
plant growth during the day.