I'm beginning to think that some of the bad reputation that paintball systems have is at least somewhat undeserved.
I recently added CO2
injection to my 40g tall tank (30"x12"x24), due to space constraints I went with a paintball tank based system
Since the space was far more limited than budget on this project, I went ahead and sprang for a decent diffuser (Atomic one), needle valve (Fabco NV-55-18), solenoid, etc., for the project. I figured that if I ever get more space to work with, I'll only have to replace the tank and regulator (I used a special initial regulator that allows me to keep the bottle horizontal -- space limitations again), and in the long run that would save me money by having to replace less equipment. I also went for the biggest paintball tank I could scare up, a 1.5# one, since it was still small enough to fit where I could put it. The set up allows me to stay "in the green" at 2 bps, 10 hours/day.
I expected to have to fill it pretty frequently, and recognized that I was accepting a higher cost of ownership, but given my space constraints, my only other option was to forgo CO2
entirely, so .... :shrug:
Cutting to the chase, I'm now on Day 50 of my first post-set-up tank
(I blew a lot of gas in the set up and testing phase, so the first fill only lasted a couple of weeks). I expect it to go any time now, and I've half decided to go ahead and fill it this weekend even if it's still running, because I'll be out of town part of next week.
At 50 days per fill, I'm looking at just over 7 fillings a year, at $4 bucks a pop that's only a bit over $28/year, and the place I get my refills does a buy 4 get one free thing, so it's closer to $25 a year. Yes, that's more than I'd pay if I had a 10# tank and filled it once a year for $15 or so, but it's not that
burdensome a refill cost.
This has me wondering if part of the reason that paintball tanks have the reputation of not lasting very long may be because the support equipment is cheaper, and consequently less efficient. For example, if I hadn't bothered with a solenoid, and just let it run 24/7 I'd be looking at 24 hours/day instead of 10, which would put me closer to 20 days to empty the tank to the level I'm at now (whatever that actually is). If I were using a less efficient, less expensive diffuser, I'd prowly have to run more bps to get the CO2
concentrations where my drop checker wants them, resulting in still faster gas consumption. If I had a less precise needle valve (for instance, like the first one I bought
) I might have fluctuating gas flow, which could affect the consumption in either direction. Obviously, if I had a bigger aquarium I'd need to use gas faster, but then I'd have a bigger stand to hide the CO2
tank in, and would not have gone this route in the first place.
What do y'all think, could it be that part of the reputation for short-livedness of paintball systems might be a result of the use of cheaper, less efficient, less effective ancillary CO2
suggesting that paintball is as cost-effective as a larger tank, or anything, I'm just wondering if it might not be as bad as seems to be the generally accepted belief.