10 gallon – week 8 (good news!)

Once again, I skipped a week. Unfortunately, the bad luck with the CO2 regulator in week 6 and a busy schedule prevented me from updating in week 7. But, there’s good news here in week 8. I was able to fix the CO2 regulator! Based on the issue I had, I knew there was some kind of damage to the diaphragm or some other gasket within the body of the regulator. It wasn’t able to hold the pressure coming from the CO2 cylinder.

So, I took it apart and examined the parts. The diaphragm seemed to be in good shape with no apparent cracks or tearing. The next thing was a rubbery, silicone-like gasket that held a spring loaded piston to regulate the pressure. This gasket seemed to be worn on one side, but the other side was butted against a metal rim of the piston. I removed the gasket, trimmed the worn side so it was once again flat and then flipped the sides, ensuring the unused side previously against the metal rim was now the side facing outward. I reassembled everything and attached it to the cylinder.

Now, was the moment of truth. I took the cylinder over against a wall and covered it with some couch pillows just in case it blew, shrapnel wouldn’t be flying every which way (at least that was the intention. more than likely it would have gone right through the pillows, but it made me feel a little better). I opened the valve slowly and felt the pressurized CO2 fill the regulator and the dials turned. Slowly, I opened the valve further and further until it was completely open. Then, I waited. Five minutes went by, then ten, then before long an hour had gone by and there was no sign of any hissing or failure.

After four hours of no issues, I attached the CO2 line to the regulator and turned on the solenoid valve allowing CO2 to once again feed into the tank. I watched as tiny bubbles rose from the diffuser and with a cautious smile, I waited once again to see if there would be any hissing. Hours went by and nothing happened. At this point, I was confident that it was going to hold and my fix had worked! Of course, there’s no telling how long it will continue to work but I feel that this would be the case if I had purchased a brand new one anyway. For now, it worked and my plants would be receiving pressurized CO2 on a daily basis from now on.

So, this week’s water change required a trim. The plants are filling in nicely even without the pressurized CO2. There is definitely some algae but nothing that was out of control. Having the pressurized CO2 will help reduce the algae and potentially even eliminate it completely.

before water change and trim
after water change and trim

In the after photo above, you can see the tiny bubbles filling the water. The CO2 is being spread around the tank as it diffuses, which is perfect. While the drop checker is currently showing a bluish green, the goal is to adjust the amount of CO2 so that this becomes an emerald green for most of the lighting period.

This update may have been a week late, but I’m happy to share the good news. Hopefully, in a future update, i’ll be able to share a new background to give the tank a much more vibrant look. We’ll see. Until next week!

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