So I Got a Free Co2 Tank.... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 27
So I Got a Free Co2 Tank....

Now what?

I've been trying to figure out what parts I need to make this thing work for my 55 gallon fish tank, so far I think I need a needle valve, tubing, a diffuser and a lot of aspirin. Given myself a headache trying to figure this out but I overloaded on info. It seems so simple but I'm having trouble figuring out a fairly easy and inexpensive way to modify this thing without spending hundreds of dollars on fancy schmancy stuff I can't afford at this moment. If possible, I want to be able to just go to my local hardware store and grab the parts needed to make this regulator work, so I can get back to tending to my aquariums and save the extra cash for x-mas coming up.

So, this is what I have to work with (Expressed my interest to a friend in doing a full on planted fish aquarium, then he surprised me by yanking this off his kegerator and giving it to me!)

-5 pound Co2 bottle
-Taprite regulator

The existing hose connector thing on it is 5/8".

The regulator is this:

EXCEPT it ONLY has THIS one gauge on it (the other spot is plugged off):

If someone could please share a simple list of adequate, inexpensive parts and sizes of needed to make this work I would be forever indebted! (I'm assuming that 5/8" connection will be too big and it needs to be made smaller somehow)...

And yes, I do plan on upgrading it after the holidays, just need it up and running for now with the smallest dent possible to my wallet. Wifey will go ape on me if I spend too much on this right now


Also, feel free to ask any questions that might help you, help me!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 08:44 PM
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I see you have a control valve all ready on the regulator. All you need now is a solenoid to shut it off when the lights are turned off.

Go to pet They will have what I'm talking about.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 08:53 PM
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you dont really need a solenoid although its nice to have, especially if you are going to set it on a timer so it switches off when your lights go out. Even with a solenoid i dont switch mine off, i just run mine 24/7 so i dont have to mess with making sure my drop checker is at the correct color before switching my lights on.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado
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The control valve is the grey section in the middle with the screw and locking nut, or the black valve where the Co2 comes out? Please excuse my inexperience

I didn't plan on using a solenoid with it at this time...

Also the 5/8" nipple ribbed thing I'm assuming needs to be swapped for something smaller? there was a section of hose attached to it... looked WAY too big to be used for aquarium tubing. Do I need a nipple the size of normal aquarium air tubing?

Also read about such things as needle valves, check valves, low pressure regulators, etc. Are these absolutely necessary to make this function?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 10:48 PM
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You will need a needle valve, this will screw into the regulator where the valve and barbed fitting currently are, then you need a bubble counter. This can either screw on or have hose barbs to run inline, then you run your hose out to the tank and to a diffuser.
I'm currently using a fluval buuble counter and fluval diffuser and while they arent great tgeyre definity good enough, and cheap.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-05-2012, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Colorado
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Can I use any old needle valve from home depot or lowes? They have a brand called Watts and is under 10$ compared to some of the fancy ones I've seen in threads like the Fabco for $20+ and I'd have to order it online. Obviously I'd rather pay half and get it asap if it works

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Oops... the one attached to this bottle appears to be 1/2" at the threads...
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 02:31 AM
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that will not fit on the regulator that you currently have... you would need to fit the right fitting for it... i say take the regulator to home depot and ask them they will more the likely to help you out with what you need and also make sure you buy the "brass" kind so they dont wear or break on you down the road...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 02:55 AM
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You really do need a needle valve, not the valve already on the regulator, and not something from the hardware store. The Fabco needle valve is the cheapest good needle valve I know of, but you can also find usable ones on Ebay.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 03:36 AM
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I like to look at things starting at one end when I'm not sure where I'm going. (Often)

Colorado is a nice friendly kind of group so I might start out looking for local help that can lay hands on and really be familiar with regulators. Have you got some welding gas suppliers nearby? I would take this in at a time when they are not real busy and then just admit you need help! Amazing how many guys like to tell you all they know and since they deal with CO2 everyday, they often know a LOT. Take your tank along and ask them what it will take to fit your reg to your tank. They may have the parts on hand if they are a place who does repairs. I would also want to add a second meter (gauge) to show the tank pressure. The one you have will show you the outlet or working pressure as it leaves the reg toward the tank but you will have no notice that the tank is nearing empty without a gauge on the high pressure side. You might ask about that as well.
Those will get you gas coming out of the reg and then you need the needle valve to control the flow more precisely and a bubble counter which will let you see the results of turning the needle valve adjustment. Yes, you will need an adapter to fit in the hole at the bottom and reduce it down to the size of your tubing. At the tank end, you will need something to disperse the CO2 into the water.

I just go slow and figure it one item at a time as it goes along the way to the tank.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-06-2012, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Colorado
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I do appreciate everyone's help. Figures my luck though, I spend all day trying to research this, then I just found a guy on craigslist selling a complete setup with 17.5# Co2 tank, milwaukee regulator, diffuser, etc. for only $60. About the same amount I was about to spend on the fittings from Clippard to make this one work. I'll go check it out this weekend and post my findings, Maybe keep the 5# as a backup tank and set the kegarator back up, who wants a beer? lol
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 03:44 AM
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There is ia middle ground too. The Milwaukee regulator works, and with enough attention it is a very usable regulator, but the beer regulator is better quality. You could pretty easily take the needle valve, bubble counter and solenoid valve off the Milwaukee regulator and install them on the beer regulator, for a better quality assembly. (Just my opinion)

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-07-2012, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm.. I hadn't thought the Tap-Rite could be better quality for this application. I'll have to examine them both in detail when I have them. Set up a time to pick up the new equipment thursday afternoon. Turned out to be a pretty sweet deal, the guy is getting out of the aquarium hobby and has a ton of equipment he's going to part with for EXTREMELY cheap He basically said "As long as you take this 70/75 gallon aquarium home with you for free, just get it out of here I need the space, I'll give you $500+ in equipment/supplies/decorations for under $150.00! Which is incredible for me, as I'm in dire need of more supplies, filtration especially. And my budget is quite limited.

Updates to come on what I find.. ooOooo I'm excited!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 01:00 AM
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As for a second gauge: get a 0-3000PSI to 0-5000PSI (normal high side should be around 800-900PSI)

The plugged off port should be stamped "HP"; just back out the plug, wrap up the gauge threads with Teflon tape or pipe dope and thread it in. Easy fix.

Last edited by proaudio55; 10-08-2012 at 01:49 AM. Reason: better punctuation
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-08-2012, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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I'm assuming the milwaukee regulator should have one on it already I can switch to the taprite. But if not, about how much does one of those gauges run? And what is that particular gauge called?
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