Repairing the CO2 System

Yesterday (day 5) saw the normal dosing of Excel in the morning (~4ml) and ferts in the evening.  I also picked up the replacement solenoid valve. Today, however, demanded some actual repair work: replacing the solenoid valve. First, some pictures from yesterday:

I left the CO2 off this morning and skipped the Excel dosing.  Disconnecting the tubing going from the bubble counter to the aquarium, I brought the entire CO2 system up to the kitchen where there was plenty of light to help me see what I was working on.

As I started to disconnect the old solenoid valve, I immediately realized I would have to dismantle the entire setup just to remove it. Clearance was the problem–there was no room to turn various pieces without running into something else. I decided it would be prudent to take some photos in case I ran into trouble putting it all back together again.  Good thing I did, as I found myself referring back to those photos during the reassembly stage.

The new solenoid did not come with a power cord, so I needed to transfer the cord from the old solenoid. Again, photos helped remind me where the wires went. It was a tight fit, but I managed to get the power cord attached.

Reassembly was just as tricky as disassembly. Parts needed to be attached in the right order, and in some cases before tightening, due to tight clearances. With everything back together, I tested for leaks. Dish detergent and water do a fine job revealing any leaks, as the detergent will bubble at even the slightest leak.

I found two joints that were leaking. Since tightening these joints would throw off the alignment of the other parts, I had to make an additional complete turn to tighten them.  This required removing parts due to clearance issues–what a pain.

Finally, I sealed up all the leaks.  Tested the solenoid in the off position, the flow of CO2 stopped.  Mission accomplished!  Photos follow: