Is there anything I need to know when dealing with CO2 pressurised gas cylinders?
Please note two important points:
1) Cylinder: Reusable cylinders are TÜV tested and this is stamped on the cylinder. This test needs to be renewed every 10 years, with the bottom of the cylinder and the valve sealing and threaded joint being tested.
2) The carbon dioxide: Depending on its concentration, carbon dioxide is harmful in the air.
The respiratory rate and pulse rate increase at a carbon dioxide concentration of 3-5%. Other symptoms are headaches, discomfort and ringing in the ears. Carbon dioxide concentrations of 8-10% and more cause these symptoms to become more pronounced. This may lead to cramps, fainting, apnoea and death from suffocation.
One 500 g cylinder contains 500 g CO2. This is equal to 11.36 mol (chemical substance amount unit). One mol of a gaseous substance has a volume of 22.414 l under normal conditions (273.15 K, 101325 Pa), so that 500 g of CO2 result in a volume of 254.7 l. CO2 is heavier than air, so that it collects on the ground. This corresponds to a CO2 height level in the range of 12.735 mm = 1.27 cm for a room of 20 m². If it is mixed completely with the air in a room of 20 m² and a height of 2.5 m (corresponds to 50,000 l), this corresponds to a maximum gas concentration of 0.5 volume %, which is well below the dangerous level.
Where did my algae come from?
Algae problems in an aquarium can never be traced to just one factor or general condition, and instead, are always the result of a combination of different factors, which include light, fertilization, water changes – specifically, how often and how much – feeding, fish population and, of course, the specific water parameters.
According to analyses that were performed over a course of a number of years, red algae, at least the common brush algae and beard algae, occur in descending order at the following parameters:
1) too little carbon dioxide (in relationship to 100 % of the measured tank); the pH level should be in the slightly acetic range, depending on the carbonate hardness, in every case.
2) elevated phosphate levels (over 90 %); phosphate limitation by means of JBL PhosEx ultra is often helpful here.
3) too little and too irregular fertilization (there should always be traces of iron at least).
4) insufficient water changes; a weekly water change of over 30 % is recommended for algae problems.
5) not enough fast-growing plants.
Can/May I also use auch compressed gas cylinders by other manufacturers?
The connections on reusable CO₂ systems are generally standardised so that they can be used with other cylinders, with the exception of a few cases.
However please note the following restrictions. Some larger-sized cylinders are not approved for non-stop operation with pressure reducers and you will lose your warranty claim if you use such systems.
How do I know that my CO2 pressure gas cylinder still has gas in it?
The cylinder pressure of 50 – 60 bar, depending on the room temperature, remains constant until the cylinder is almost completely empty. The easiest method is to weigh your CO2 cylinder incl. bracket when it is completely empty. This way you will know the exact tare weight of your CO2 cylinder with its attachment parts at any time. If you forget it you can read the tare weight on the CO2 cylinder (stamp marking at the neck of the cylinder) and add 0.5 kg for the safety bracket. A full m500 CO2 cylinder with security bracket weighs according to that tare + 1 kg (0.5 kg bracket + 0.5 kg filling) – a m2000 tare + 2.5 kg (0.5 kg bracket + 2 kg filling).
After installing the JBL ProFlora compressed gas system, no CO2 enters the reactor. However, the cylinder pressure and working pressure displayed are in the proper range.
Please check whether the check valve (JBL SafeStop) is installed properly. It should be installed as the last element before the reactor and with the tip of the arrow pointing to the reactor (JBL Taifun).
What’s the best way to deal with brush and beard algae?
1. Increase the volume of water changed each week to about 30-50%.
2. Fertilise regularly after each water change, e.g. with JBL Ferropol.
3. If necessary add a daily dose of Ferropol 24.
4. If algae promoting nutrients (especially phosphate) are present in higher quantities, use e.g. JBL PhosEx ultra to keep them under control.
5. Most important is carbon dioxide. Beard and brush algae are always a sign that there is too little carbon dioxide in the water. If a CO2 system is in use, increase its dosage. Alternatively consider installing a CO2 system like JBL ProFlora u401 or m601.
6. Put in fast growing stem plants as nutrient competitors.
7. If there is strong current, reduce it slightly.
Does the use of bubble stones and a strong current expel the important plant nutrient, CO2, from the water?
During aeration and/or when there is a strong current, a gas equilibrium is achieved between the ambient air and the water. As a result a corresponding but very low CO2 content occurs too. BUT this low CO2 content is far too low to for most aquarium plants to thrive. The aquarium owner is therefore dependent on an additional CO2 supply by a CO2 fertiliser system. The higher CO2 content this achieves is reduced or, as commonly referred to in aquatics, expelled by the aeration and strong current. Therefore well planted aquariums should only be slightly aerated at night, if required.