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re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1292

On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Dan Dixon wrote:

> On Tuesday, September 21, 1999 2:48:02 PM, I blundered and wrote:
> > Is the Nupro S valve model B-4MG2 still the valve of choice for CO2
> > fertilization?
> Oops. Sorry, I got the model numbers confused. I think the model number of
> the Nupro S valve is B-SS4 or B-SS2 (which is best, the 1/4" or the 1/8"?).

I've seen both types B-4MG2 and B-SS4 numbers referred to; they may be the
same valve for all I know.  As for the pipe size differences, I think
they're the same valve but with different thread, so the only thing
different is the adapter fitting you buy to fit it to the first stage
regulator (typically 1/4 NPT... now I can't remember) and the hose barb on
the downstream side.  With the flow rates we use, the size doesn't matter.

> I'm setting up a manually controlled CO2 fertilizer system. The Cornelius
> regulator I got has what appears to be a 3/8" male NTP fitting on the low
> pressure outlet (not sure about this; that's what it measures across the
> threaded nipple...it could be a 1/4" fitting). Do I adapt the metering valve
> directly to this, or should I put some air hose between the regulator and
> the needle valve?

The safest (and classiest, IMHO) approach is to get an adapter.  They're
pretty cheap; you can get them at the same place as the needle valve.

> Will I need a ball valve (shutoff valve) or can I just shut off the CO2 at
> the tank? Or the metering valve? If needed, should the valve go before or
> after the metering valve?

I beleive when people use a solenoid, they put it before the needle valve.
If you turn off the main tank, it will take quite some time for the CO2 to
turn off.  Why do you need something to turn off the CO2 quickly anyway?

> What type of hose material should I use? (PVC? Polyethylene? etc?)

Vinyl airline hose has worked great for me over the years.  Interestingly,
the green silicone hose (which I tried because of warnings that vinyl
would disintegrate under the CO2) has frozen up and solidified!

> I'm currently bubbling CO2 (from a yeast reactor) into the intake of my
> canister filter, but I'd like to add a sintered glass diffuser to increase
> dispersion. Where can these be found?

Pet Warehouse sells the Eheim model.  You can probably get them from Dave
Gomberg (www.wcf.com), though I think he's more into selling the complete
systems. Also I got e-mail recently that Monolith Marine Monsters is back
in business and selling freshwater plant goodies again; they might have

One note on the diffuser: using it renders the expensive needle valve
useless; it provides a similar role directly, by regulating flow.  Many
just hook them up directly to the output of their regulator and drive it
at 13-15 PSI.  I personally had a very bad experience with one, where it
somehow dumped the entire contents of a 15 pound cylinder into the
aquarium over a few hours, and killed off my fish.  Dave told me this is a
normal thing when they're first broken in, but there's no way you'll catch
me with one on my good aquariums.

  - Erik

Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com