Recommendation on CO2 regulator
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Equipment


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-10-2012, 04:24 AM   #1
manzpants92
Planted Member
 
manzpants92's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Oconomowoc WI
Posts: 209
Default

Recommendation on CO2 regulator


Hey all.....just wondering if i could get some input. I'm looking at purchasing a new regulator but there are just so many out there. I'm really not looking to break the bank but also if im going to spend the money on a new one i don't want something that isn't going to last. So if you any of you have some idea's for me or products that have worked out really well for you let me know!
manzpants92 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-10-2012, 04:41 AM   #2
oldpunk78
ಠ_ಠ
 
oldpunk78's Avatar
 
PTrader: (105/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: 96007
Posts: 5,230
Default

I'm pretty bias but the best, cheapest, longest lasting regulator is the one build yourself. It's worth doing some research. Well... I ain't gonna lie, it's a lot of research/reading. It's worth it though.

It's at least worth researching what all the components are and what they do.

There really aren't that many options for a regulator. The main three that will be thrown out there will be the Milwaukee, aquateks, (there's 3 of them) and maybe azoo. (Stay away from the really cheap fleabay only units.)

Other than those (they are the cheapest) you have gla which is about the only retailer left making their own. They have good customer service and a reliable yet a little overpriced (IMO) product. They probably have the best warranty. They also have many options. I would contact their customer service for advice on which one would be right for you.

Beyond what I've mentioned above, there are a couple custom builders here on the forum that will make you a nice unit. (cheap to full on stainless steal) That's a whole other animal though.
oldpunk78 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 05:30 AM   #3
Darkblade48
Moderator
 
Darkblade48's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 9,110
Default

+1 to everything oldpunk78 mentioned.

If you want the cheapest route, do the research on parts, and then build your own setup. If you are patient on eBay, you can get great deals (the operative word being patient). Good deals are far and in between, but it is possible to get very cheap regulators (I scored a single stage Victor for $12 awhile back).

Otherwise, you are looking at buying from users on these forums, or going through a retailer such as GLA.

Of course, you can also buy the commercially available products; opinions regarding these products are pretty varied, so it is also a good idea to do your own research (and thus your own judgement call) for this.
__________________
Anthony

A Primer to Pressurized CO2 and A Primer to Planted Tanks
Eheim Pimp #362 - Eheim 2213 x2, Eheim 2028, Eheim 2217, Eheim surface skimmer and Eheim autofeeder.
Victor Pimp #33 - HPT272-125-350-4M
Darkblade48 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2012, 02:06 PM   #4
manzpants92
Planted Member
 
manzpants92's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Oconomowoc WI
Posts: 209
Default

Yeah i've been checking out the ones that GLA sells and even though they are a little bit more expensive they have a nice 2 year warranty. I've seen some of the milwaukee products to sell for around 100 bucks. Mainly the MA957 model but the reviews for it are pretty up and down
manzpants92 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 02:28 AM   #5
FreshPuff
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Austin TX USA
Posts: 87
Default

Hey manza -
I was in your shoes about two years ago. I started with a generic regulator at first and I had problems with it every so often. Green Leaf Aquariums have some very well build regulators. I took the plunge with their Ultimate II CO2 Regulator. It's pricey but it's solid, well built, and no end of tank dump (I have had my co2 tank run empty a couple of times). And the warranty is pretty good. Don't skimp on a regulator that can eventually malfunction and kill your livestock. Good Luck in your quest!
FreshPuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2012, 08:14 PM   #6
etgregoire
Planted Member
 
etgregoire's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 280
Default

I had a ma957 and after i started having problems I saw someone post "if your first regulator is a Milwaukee then you will buy a second one soon"

I think the problems i had with mine were pretty unusual but if i could go back i would have spent more time researching and be more patient. I was too excited to start co2. I just bought the first one I learned about basically

I wasn't comfortable building my own or dyi in general. I'm really big on peace of mind is worth every penny. There are people on here who build them and I think that their expertise can be worth the extra money unless you are great with mechanical pieces. I'm not volunteering him but oldpunk recently sold me one that I am super happy with. I haven't been all the way to the end of a tank with it yet but everything else has been awesome.

So do yourself a favor and take the time to learn!!!
etgregoire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 01:41 PM   #7
jmhart
Wannabe Guru
 
jmhart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (33/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Atlanta,GA
Posts: 1,613
Default

I've used many MA957's over the years. Never had a problem. I think people just hate on them because they are mass produced and don't cost $300.

I've probably owned 5, 4 of which I bought used. The only reason I only have 2 now is because I only have 2 tanks, and sold the other regulators. All worked perfectly.
jmhart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:00 PM   #8
etgregoire
Planted Member
 
etgregoire's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 280
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhart View Post
I've used many MA957's over the years. Never had a problem. I think people just hate on them because they are mass produced and don't cost $300.
Well... I wasn't going to get all into it, but since you brought it up... The reason I bought it in the first place WAS because it didn't cost $300. I have a whole thread about it - but short form:

Ever since I had the regulator, it would always take 2-3 weeks of tinkering with the settings to get the flow to be consistent after replacing the tank. I would get the bubble rate set at a good pace, and I would come back an hour later to find that all of the pressure had gone and I would have to adjust all the knobs to get the flow going again.

After almost a year the solenoid went bad and would never kick on. I called Milwaukee (who I will say were EXTREMELY helpful on the phone) and they instructed me on how to purchase a new solenoid and get the regulator working again. I did this, and it worked again for a few months - but the same as above.

Then a about 2 months ago I came home to find all of my fish at the top of the tank floating vertically, gasping for air, and the tank had so many bubbles it looked like 7up. All of my cories were huddled together in one corner dying together, rolled on their backs, gasping. This happened twice that week. And to a lesser extent a third time.

So I will say that is probably a dramatic example, and not really very common. But I also definitely say that I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for and peace of mind is something that I'm willing to pay for. I travel quite often on the weekends so, to know that I have a quality regulator that isn't going to have a flare up like this is priceless.
etgregoire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
jmhart
Wannabe Guru
 
jmhart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (33/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Atlanta,GA
Posts: 1,613
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by etgregoire View Post
Well... I wasn't going to get all into it, but since you brought it up... The reason I bought it in the first place WAS because it didn't cost $300. I have a whole thread about it - but short form:

Ever since I had the regulator, it would always take 2-3 weeks of tinkering with the settings to get the flow to be consistent after replacing the tank. I would get the bubble rate set at a good pace, and I would come back an hour later to find that all of the pressure had gone and I would have to adjust all the knobs to get the flow going again.

After almost a year the solenoid went bad and would never kick on. I called Milwaukee (who I will say were EXTREMELY helpful on the phone) and they instructed me on how to purchase a new solenoid and get the regulator working again. I did this, and it worked again for a few months - but the same as above.

Then a about 2 months ago I came home to find all of my fish at the top of the tank floating vertically, gasping for air, and the tank had so many bubbles it looked like 7up. All of my cories were huddled together in one corner dying together, rolled on their backs, gasping. This happened twice that week. And to a lesser extent a third time.

So I will say that is probably a dramatic example, and not really very common. But I also definitely say that I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for and peace of mind is something that I'm willing to pay for. I travel quite often on the weekends so, to know that I have a quality regulator that isn't going to have a flare up like this is priceless.
I suppose I should edit my response. I love the MA957, but I also use a pH controller so that things like over-gassing never happen.

I can buy a pH controller and MA957 (brand new) for less than the cost of a nice/fancy two-stage regulartor.
jmhart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:32 PM   #10
oldpunk78
ಠ_ಠ
 
oldpunk78's Avatar
 
PTrader: (105/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: 96007
Posts: 5,230
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhart View Post
I've used many MA957's over the years. Never had a problem. I think people just hate on them because they are mass produced and don't cost $300.

I've probably owned 5, 4 of which I bought used. The only reason I only have 2 now is because I only have 2 tanks, and sold the other regulators. All worked perfectly.
Over the years, how much do you think you've spent on probes, calibration solution, and what not. How much time invested in maintenance? Just curious.
oldpunk78 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:40 PM   #11
etgregoire
Planted Member
 
etgregoire's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 280
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhart View Post
I suppose I should edit my response. I love the MA957, but I also use a pH controller so that things like over-gassing never happen.

I can buy a pH controller and MA957 (brand new) for less than the cost of a nice/fancy two-stage regulartor.
A ph controller certainly would have prevented this from happening. But I will also say that this wasn't end of tank dump, which better regulators could prevent, but is maybe considered a hazard of the trade. It was just a random Tuesday, with a 3/4 full tank.

I'm not trying to start an argument here, because your setup is clearly working for you. And I'm happy that you didn't have an experience like mine! But I just want to caution the OP to the potential hazards of making a decision about buying something just because the cost is appealing.
etgregoire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 03:09 PM   #12
jmhart
Wannabe Guru
 
jmhart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (33/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Atlanta,GA
Posts: 1,613
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpunk78 View Post
Over the years, how much do you think you've spent on probes, calibration solution, and what not. How much time invested in maintenance? Just curious.

Not much. I use the pH controller as a tool, not as an analytical instrument. I'm not so interested in what the "pH" of my water is according to the pH meter (because if I were, I'd have to calibrate at least every week, if not more frequently). More of a relative position from CO2 "off" to CO2 "on" As is, I calibrate about every 6 months. I've replaced 3 pH probes in 5 years. If they continue to calibrate, correctly and I don't see a noticeable drop, I keep using them (despite the conventional widom that you should replace them every 6-12 months).

I set my "pH" point to what my fish can handle, not what a chart tells me. This is why I like pH controllers because they allow you to easily make incremental changes versus a needle valve (or a $200 metering valve).

So, maybe $40 in pH probes (ebay), maybe $10 on calibration solution (don't buy it from an aquarium supply retailer), and probably maybe 2 hours over 5 years changing out/calibrating pH probes.
jmhart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 03:26 PM   #13
hbosman
Wannabe Guru
 
hbosman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Leesburg Virginia
Posts: 1,595
Default

I think patience, research and Ebay will give you the best result over time. I've had a RedSea paintball regulator, a Total Beverages regulator that I ran on paintball tanks with an adapter and I've even run Victor VTS 250 Dual Stage Regulators on Paintball tanks until I had a larger stand allowing a 5 lb cylinder. All of the setups did work, I never killed any fish but, you see the progression, I've spent money all along the way and ultimately, had to do the research and build my own. I've been using VTS 250s for about three years now and never had CO2 this easy. Dual Stage are truly...set it and forget it until the tank runs out. I just make sure it won't run out on the weekend though. :-)

Below is my first dual stage:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/h_bosman/4379697140/

I bought 2 VTS 250s for $55.00 not including shipping. It was an Ebay auction.


The reason I bought VTS 250s is, if you see a VTS 253, meaning its' specifically for CO2, the price jumps. A CO2 specific nipple can be purchased for $10.00 in brass. a VTS 250 is for inert gas and works fine for CO2 if you swap the nipple and it saved me alot of money. Just took a little more research and questions from people here.
hbosman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 03:41 PM   #14
AUvet14
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
AUvet14's Avatar
 
PTrader: (7/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Auburn, AL
Posts: 455
Default

I have the GLA Atomic V3 regulator and I'm really happy with it. It's compact, works great, the warranty is nice, plus, it's relatively affordable, especially compared to some of the others that GLA sells.
AUvet14 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 04:01 PM   #15
talontsiawd
Planted Tank Guru
 
talontsiawd's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Concord, CA
Posts: 4,048
Send a message via AIM to talontsiawd
Default

I got my whole co2 setup for free. I will be upfront, it am about 99% sure it was purchased for growing weed and was left by a friend's roommate who bounced out on him. Now, mine has worked pretty decently over the years but I feel I have the same issues as some of the lower end CO2 systems.

Even though I could maintain a reliable bubble count, the only way I really know how to gauge consistency, it was impossible to make fine adjustments as my "needle valve" or more so, flow meter, was not made for fine tuning.

Even though I got mine for free and may or may not be comparable to lower end regulators (It actually seems to be better), by the time I replaced the important components, I would have paid the same or more than building a great regulator, assuming I actually paid for mine to begin with. That's a big reason I would recommend just building one.

Furthermore, even though I am happy with my reg to a point, I still plan to just go ahead and build another. Partly from curiosity to see if I will get better results, partly for cosmetic reasons, partly because it just interests me to DIY one.

Again, my regulator may or may not compare to other cheap ones, I don't really know.
talontsiawd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 05:01 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012