How does a co2 system work?

Unknown9182

I always wondered how a co2 system works with the nozzles, tubes, and canister and whatnots. It sounds confusing. Does anyone have a full picture of what a c02 system looks like because it sounds interesting because it boosts plant growth speed.
 

RayClem

The objective of a CO2 system is to increase the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water column above the level normally achievable with water to air gas exchange at the water surface. Carbon is a macronutrient for plant growth and the most common source is Carbon Dioxide.

There are a number of sources of CO2. You could purchase carbonated water in bottles and add that to your tank. However, that is expensive and difficult to control.

When yeast ferments sugar, the byproducts are alcohol and carbon dioxide. Thus, there are some people who set up bottles to which sugar water is added along with yeast. The carbon dioxide produced can be introduced into the aquarium. However, it is difficult to control the rate of CO2 production and it is messy.

When sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is mixed with an acid, carbon dioxide is released. In theory, any acid can be used, but one of the more commonly used acids is citric acid, which is available in powered form. Unlike the one bottle fermentation system, the citric acid/baking soda system uses two bottles. Bottle 1 contains a solution of baking soda in water. Bottle 2 contains a solution of citric acid. The two bottles are connected and bottle 1 also has an outlet for carbon dioxide which goes to the aquarium. The nice thing about this system is that the reaction is self regulating. If too much pressure builds up in bottle 1, citric acid will cease to flow from bottle 2 to bottle 1 causing the reaction to stop. When the pressure is relieved in bottle 1, the citric acid will flow once again.

If you have a very small tank, one suitable method is passive CO2 absorption. In the aquarium there will be in inverted container. That container will be filled with pressurized CO2 from a bottle. At he water CO2 interface, some CO2 will be absorbed into the water. When the CO2 is gone, it will be necessary to refill the chamber.

The most reliable systems involve the use of pressurized CO2. Liquid CO2 has a pressure that exceeds 800 psi depending upon the temperature, making it unsuitable for use in the aquarium. The solution is to use a pressure regulator to reduce the 800 psi down to about 20 psi. Less expensive pressure regulators are single stage which means they reduce the pressure from 800 psi to 20 psi in one step. Many people use these regulators successfully, but the disadvantage is that when the tank becomes close to empty with no liquid CO2 left, the regulator can allow excess CO2 to escape. While this is rare, it can introduce so much carbon dioxide into the tank that the fish can suffocate. Thus, if you get a single stage regulator, it is necessary to monitor the cylinder pressure so the cylinder can be replaced or refilled before it is empty.

A dual-stage or even triple-stage regulator drops the pressure in multiple steps. This eliminates the end of tank dump situation. I have a dual-stage regulator on my 5 pound CO2 cylinder. The cylinder is nearly empty, but I will wait until it is completely empty before refilling as I do not worry about a CO2 dump.

Pressurized CO2 cylinders are available in a variety of sizes. The smallest are the 20 gram (0.7 ounce) disposable cylinders sold by Fluval. These might be suitable for very small aquariums. They are not refillable, so you have to purchase new cylinders frequently.

The next step up is the 95 gram disposable cylinders. They contain 3.35 ounces of CO2, so they do not need to be replaced as frequently.

Some people with smaller aquariums use either 20 -24 ounce paintball CO2 cylinders or SodaStream cylinders. These hold 7 times as much CO2 as the disposable cylinders. Plus, these cylinders can be refilled. Please note that the paintball tanks and SodaStream tanks have non-standard fittings, so you need to make sure you have a suitable regulator or adaptors.

Finally, for larger tanks the best solution is to get a standard CO2 cylinder. These are available in a wide variety of sizes. I use a 5 pound tank on my 55 gallon aquarium. This tank has been running now for four months. It will soon need to be refilled.

The advantage of the small disposable systems is that the initial cost is inexpensive, usually less than $100. However, the disposable cartridges are expensive so in the long run, they can cost more than a system using a standard tank. I paid about $250 for my system up front, but the CO2 refills will cost me about $5 per month. This is a pay me now or pay me later type of situation.

No matter what type of CO2 generation system you get, you will need a pressure guages, a needle valve to control the flow of CO2, a bubble counter so you can monitor the flow, a drop checker so you can monitor the CO2 concentration in the tank and some type of CO2 diffuser to mix the CO2 with the water in the tank. There are a variety of ways of doing this.

I have tried to introduce you to the various options. I spend many hours of research before determining the CO2 system and individual components for my tank. Everyone will have a slightly different situation, so what works well for me might not be ideal for you.
 
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Chanyi

I always wondered how a co2 system works with the nozzles, tubes, and canister and whatnots. It sounds confusing. Does anyone have a full picture of what a c02 system looks like because it sounds interesting because it boosts plant growth speed.

You have a few main components:

Canister (for storing the CO2).
Regulator (to regulate CO2 flow from the canister in a controlled manor).
Solenoid Valve (to electronically turn the flow of CO2 on or off).
Needle Valve (to fine tune the flow of the CO2 from the regulator into manageable amounts).
Bubble Counter / flow meter (to determine the rate at which the CO2 is flowing).
Check valve (to prevent liquid / gas moving from the tank towards the CO2 equipment).
Diffuser / Reactor (where the CO2 is dissolved into the tank water).

It all works as follows:

CO2 is regulated from the canister by the regulator into either the needle valve or the solenoid valve, then through the bubble counter or flow meter, through a check valve into the diffuser or reactor where it dissolves into the tank water.
 
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Unknown9182

You have a few main components:

Canister (for storing the CO2).
Regulator (to regulate CO2 flow from the canister in a controlled manor).
Solenoid Valve (to electronically turn the flow of CO2 on or off).
Needle Valve (to fine tune the flow of the CO2 from the regulator into manageable amounts).
Bubble Counter / flow meter (to determine the rate at which the CO2 is flowing).
Check valve (to prevent liquid / gas moving from the tank towards the CO2 equipment).
Diffuser / Reactor (where the CO2 is dissolved into the tank water).

It all works as follows:

CO2 is regulated from the canister by the regulator into either the needle valve or the solenoid valve, then through the bubble counter or flow meter, through a check valve into the diffuser or reactor where it dissolves into the tank water.
Do you have a full photo of the CO2 system if you don’t mind.
 
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RayClem

Do you have a full photo of the CO2 system if you don’t mind.

Your best bet is to look for some of the YouTube videos that show you step by step how to set up a pressurized system. They will be far more valuable than a photo.
 
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