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Re: CO2 Disaster

> Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 07:06:16 -0500 (CDT)
> From: Ayala at ix_netcom.com
>The cause: My CO2 regulator decided to shoot out A LOT of CO2 (~5
>bubbles/second) into my 75 gallon tank.

Do you have a control valve after the regulator?  A regulator by
itself is probably not a good idea, especially at the low flow rates
we are using. Also, was the bottle about empty?  Regulators seem to
become irregular at low bottle pressures. 

> Second, could someone please recommend an inexpensive way of
> preventing this. I know a PH controller connected to a selenoid valve
> would be ideal, but I don't want to spend $300. Is there a way to
> diffuse the CO2 in such a way that if my regulator gave out, the
> excess CO2 would NOT be dissolved?

Probably the safest thing is to use a bell-jar reactor, properly sized
to your requirements.  A bell-jar reactor is an inverted container of
some type (bowl, soda bottle cut in half, etc) that holds CO2 under
the water. In essense, you choose the surface area of the container to
match how much CO2 you want, by trial and error.  If the CO2 goes
crazy, it will simply bubble out from under the container -- you may
get a little more dissolved CO2, but it will generally not be that

You need to empty the bell jar every day or so because the CO2
"bubble" will be contaminated with air over time and will reduce the
effectiveness of the reactor. 

> Third, what is the long term impact likely to be on my plants and
> fish. The PH dropped very low (off the scale) so I am worried that the
> surviving fish and the plants will suffer disease or long term
> effects.

The plants are probably OK but the fish have been stressed and may be
more prone to disease in the short term.  If your aquarium is
generally healthy, you should not have a problem.  I would not buy any
new fish or plants for awhile -- they may bring in diseases that the
stressed fish may not be able to resist.

> Is there any preventative care I can give them now?

Not really.  I wouldn't bother with products like Stress-Coat.