I have been going nuts trying to adjust my bubble count with the Milwaukee MA 957 CO2 regulator. I set the needle valve for a nice even bubble flow, and then later, I have to open it up more for the same flow. This went on several weeks as I tried to adjust the effluent flow, the primary and secondary CO2 pressure gauges, and whatever else I could fiddle with, hoping to get a steady bubble flow. Finally I saw mention of a clogged needle valve and found this instruction:
MA957 Clogged Needle Valve Repair Procedure
Over time dirty CO2 gas flowing through the regulator will start to deposit dust and dirt in the small gas line located inside the needle valve. When these deposits become large enough the gas flow becomes restricted and eventually will stop. When you add more gas pressure, forcing the gas pass the inline restriction, the flow will start back but as the backpressure subsides the gas flow and bubble count will also diminish and will again eventually stop. This yo-yo effect causes the operator to apply even more pressure from the large black main regulator knob (Macro adjustment) until the backpressure is so high that the solenoid will not close, even when power to the solenoid is turned off. This high backpressure in the solenoid piston chamber will allow gas to continue to flow through the regulator dropping the pH to 5.5 causing a catastrophic effect on all biological life in a tank. Field repair procedure - Turn the tank off and take the regulator off the tank. Take the bubble counter off the regulator needle valve. Open the needle valve all the way open by turning the knob counter-clockwise until it stops. Use a 1/16” drill and go through the top hole of the needle valve and drill through the base of that hole until you feel the drill pass through into the main chamber. Drill time is only about 2 seconds at full drill speed. Turn the regulator over and tap the needle valve on a table to knock out the drill filings. Remount the regulator. Note: If 1/16” drill is not available then go to next size which is a 5/64” drill bit.
Eureka, I found the problem. So I drilled out the valve and reassembled. ......Started out fine, but after a short honeymoon, it again slowly shut off the flow of gas. So either I did the procedure wrong, or something else is wrong.
OK, next solution -- install the highly touted CarbonDoser. Should solve my problems, right? Not!!! The used unit I bought for $250 did not work. No gas flow. So I put it into a box and sent it into AquariumPlant.com for repair. Back to manual daily two part dosing. Crapola, solving our country's immigration challenge would be easier than this. FYI, I already know the answer to that problem.
I am starting to get curious about calcium reactors and how hard they are to get started using? I have never been able to get SPS growing well and am debating on getting a calcium reactor to help get my tank levels more stable to assist with that.
What is everyones preference? I have always used B-ionics 2 part but am seriously considering switching.
How much maintance does a calcium reactor cost?
what media do people run in it?
for minerals do you need to dose anything extra for trace elements?
How often do you need to refill/change the media?
how often do you test your parameters once its dialed in?
I have seen a few people selling some used ones which is also adding to the possibility to switch.