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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-02-2010, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Santa Monica, CA
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Nano regulator build for pressurized CO2 - (shown on a Fluval Edge)

A couple people have asked about the nano regulator I built up for my Fluval Edge. This post details that build as well as some of the info I dug up while figuring out how to do it.

While some of this is specific to the Edge, hopefully it will be helpful for anyone who is considering the ADA CO2 Advance system or another nano system.

The goal of the project was to build a pressurized CO2 system that could fit in the back housing of the Edge, under the HOB filter. Based on my measurements there was at most 7.25” of vertical clearance available (more on this later). A secondary goal was to minimize ongoing CO2 costs given that a cartridge based system is already one of the more expensive ways to get pressured CO2 (vs. refillable canisters). This meant finding something that would work with standard threaded mini cartridges.

It quickly became clear that many of the available nano systems would not work for one reason or another:

Brand / Name / Height / Threading
UP Aqua / “Pierce” / 9.06” / Distributor did not know thread spec
Hydor / Green NRG / 7.5” / 5/8-18 threads
ADA / CO2 Advance / 8” / Metric threads + proprietary stand-off

The UP Aqua system is too tall and difficult to find in the US, while the ADA system has proprietary threads which restrict you to their cartridges. The Hydor looked too tall originally, but I discovered later that by locating the CO2 rig carefully within the rear housing of the Edge (way off to the left or right) there may be another 0.5” to play with. On the other hand, the Hydor system cost is still relatively high ($110-130) and has no pressure gauge, solenoid, etc. But this might be a prepackaged alternative that would work for the Edge.

One clarification before we move on to the build – the reason why I was focused on a regulator with standard threading is standard cartridges are 40-60% cheaper than the ADA or Hydor cartridges:

Source (Size) - Cost per cartridge - Cost per gram of CO2
ADA (74g) - $14 - 18.9c
Hydor (74g) - $17.50 - 23.7c
Williams Brewing (45g) - $3.50 (1) - 7.8c (59% cheaper than ADA refill)
Midwest Supplies (74g) - $8.48 (2) - 11.5c (39% cheaper than ADA)

(1) $3.50 / each if you buy 8 or more, $5.90 /each for lower quantities
(2) $16.95 for a 2-pack, $8.95 individually

If these canisters generally last 1-2 months, this is potentially $44 / year savings if you can use the Midwest 74g cartridge.

Last edited by tuonor; 03-20-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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