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Me Too/CO2

Maybe this will help someone not feel so bad. I too had a recent CO2
incident. I have used pressurized CO2 for at least a couple of years
now. In the beginning I had two total disasters...probably related to
the whole Dave Gomberg/no needle valve issue. But this time was
different. I will preface this by stating flatly that I SHOULD HAVE
KNOWN BETTER. Unfortunately, that didn't help this time.

What happen was that my 10 pound tank was near empty (I never let them
*get* empty anymore) and I took it in for a replacement. I brought the
tank home and, when I reattached the unaltered valve assembly, there
were no bubbles! What I should have done was waited, but like a fool I
turned it up until there were bubbles. I then proceeded to go and work
16 hours the next day, and the day after that I noticed that some of
my fish were missing. All the fish in this tank are small fish,
guppies, tetras, and small rainbows. Actually, what I first noticed
was that all the Otocinclus were gathered together on one wall of the
tank. Otocinclus are how I gauge the amount of CO2 to put in the tank.
If the plants are not pearling then there isn't enough CO2. If the
plants ARE pearling and the Otocinclus are behaving normally (i.e.. I
can't really see them) then the CO2 is just right. However, if the
Otocinclus are gathered together on the side of the tank then there is
too much CO2. It is actually a good system.

ANYWAY, I turned back down the CO2 and realized what I had done. The
valves had been set for a tank of CO2 nicely warmed by the inside of
the tank stand. The replacement tank of CO2 had just been driven home
in the back of my pickup, and was much cooler then its normal
operating temperature.

The lessons I learned from this are:

1) Always allow the tank to come to room temperature before trying to
set the flow rate.

2) Never adjust the flow rate unless you are going to be around to
check on the tank at least every hour for a significant period of
time. Don't adjust the flow and then go to bed or to work.

3) Try to "set and forget" your CO2. Every time you adjust the valve
there is the potential for disaster.

4) Try harder to remember the lessons you learned the last time you
screwed around (or up) with the CO2.

As Murphy's Law would have it, the only fish that I lost were the
really rare and expensive ones. At least I was able to replace them.

Good luck to all!


"You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive."   Or start
using CO2.

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