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Old 01-04-2014, 11:07 PM   #1
RyanMan
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Getting into CO2


Hey guys, I've been interested in adding CO2 to my tank for some time now (I just needed a job first to save up some money). I have been reading all the excellent articles on Barr Report, and I have to say I agree with one point. Getting into CO2 can seem overwhelming! I learned about all the parts and how I could build a system to save money, or just buy a pre-made system from somewhere (such as GLA). I have a few questions though. I'm wondering what I should get for my tank in your guys' opinion. I have a 54G Corner Tank with a AquaClear 70 on it (Thought I'd mention that because of the importance of flow). I'll attach a picture for better understanding. Any advice would be appreciated such as diy or pre-made. And depending on which option, which parts are considered good quality, or what system would be recommended. Thanks in advance!
Ryan
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:39 PM   #2
hedge_fund
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When I first got into planted tanks back in college I right away got a decent pressurized system and I remember it being somewhat overwhelming. In reality it's actually very simple. Some things you really cannot skimp out on or you'll have issues down the road.

Here is a list of what you definitely need:

1. co2 tank (can be purchased on craigslist...go for a 5lb one first if you have room)

2. regulator (I'd get oldpunk from here to build you a cheaper one that can run at pressures of 30psi+. The reason why I prefer my regulators to be 30psi+ is that I use the GLA atomic diffusers which are great. If the regulator does not go higher than 30psi then the diffuser will not work properly. I believe GLA sells regulators that will power these diffusers too but they might be more expensive than oldpunk building you one so check).

3. bubble counter (you can buy a regulator that has one built in or attach a separate one to your co2 line going from the regulator to the diffuser). A bubble counter will help you fine tune how much co2 you are putting into your tank.

4. co2 tubing (get it from GLA since using regular airline tubing is not good...it will become brittle and disintegrate)

5. diffuser - I use the GLA Atomic diffuser. Go for the biggest one you can get since you can always lower the co2. The lower the co2 is going into the tank the smaller the bubbles. If you get a small diffuser and you try to put the co2 pressure on really high then the bubbles will be large...you want smaller bubbles since they diffuse in the water better instead of just floating to the top.

6. Hydor Koralia Circulation pump - I use one in all my tanks. It's usually pointed at the diffuser so the bubbles go all over the tank. You can be pumping a ton of co2 in the aquarium but it won't do you any good if you're not spreading it all over.

Here are some links to checkout:

diffuser:
http://greenleafaquariums.com/co2-di...ffuser-65.html

tubing:
http://greenleafaquariums.com/co2-re...o2-tubing.html

hydor koralia (they come in different sizes...get a right one for your tank):
Amazon.com: Hydor Koralia Nano 425 Aquarium Circulation Pump 425 GPH: Pet Supplies Amazon.com: Hydor Koralia Nano 425 Aquarium Circulation Pump 425 GPH: Pet Supplies

30psi+ regulator (contact him with a link to this thread and see what he can do for you):
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/member.php?u=18901

On a side note:
You can get a really cheap regulator and just run one of those glass ceramic plate diffusers. This will get you by but the atomic diffusers are really nice. You will get 100 different opinions when it comes to co2 setups so do your research on each one...everyone has their own methods which work. Some are better than others.

Here is my current tank which runs the exact co2 setup that I've described above...it's 75 gallons with 3 foot by 3 foot dimensions:



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Old 01-05-2014, 12:09 AM   #3
RyanMan
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That's a great looking tank! Haha I was aware of all the different parts due to some of those articles I read. I was thinking of doing the setup you mentioned but I was wondering how necessary a circulation pump would be? My tank circulates water pretty well so I could just place the diffuser in an ideal spot to help the CO2 circulate. From what you are saying I guess you would recommend a custom built one compared to a CO2 system sold from someone like GLA? I have the money but wow! I didn't realize they charged that much for CO2 systems.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanMan View Post
That's a great looking tank! Haha I was aware of all the different parts due to some of those articles I read. I was thinking of doing the setup you mentioned but I was wondering how necessary a circulation pump would be? My tank circulates water pretty well so I could just place the diffuser in an ideal spot to help the CO2 circulate. From what you are saying I guess you would recommend a custom built one compared to a CO2 system sold from someone like GLA? I have the money but wow! I didn't realize they charged that much for CO2 systems.

Thanks.

Nope a circulation pump is not necessary but from what I have learned over the years I would not have a co2 tank without it. My current cube has 3 circulation pumps and Lilly pipes from my filter. The water literally spins in a circle. I like having tons of flow since it keeps the co2 circulated and keeps algae at bay. All my koralias are small so the current isn't all that strong; just makes the plants sway a bit.

In terms of the regulator, you do not need to get a custom one built but try to get one that runs at least 30psi. This way you can do the atomic diffuser. I am sure there will be people on here who can recommend you something if you go that route (GLA has them). Mine was custom built but it will pretty much last for a very long time.




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Old 01-05-2014, 12:47 AM   #5
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Also forgot to mention. If you do get the co2 setup and you decide that it's not for you then you can easily sell it on here without losing too much money. I've sold a few older systems on here and I always received a ton of interest. And...if you grow nice plants you can quickly pay for the entire system by selling your trimmings on here (being that you're in high school that's not a bad gig).


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Old 01-05-2014, 12:52 AM   #6
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I guess a circulation pump would be something to add potentially at a later time. Haha it just dawned on me that the Regulator can be custom built or pre-made and purchased. I was confused before and I guess what I meant was whether to buy all the PARTS of the CO2 system separately or together. I think I had visioned buying a CO2 regulator pre-made (like going to a website and buying a regulator). Do I have that understood? I mean I see the GLA CO2 systems which include all of the parts you listed (tubing, regulator, diffuser, needle valve, etc).

Thanks for that last bit of advice! It just seems harder to buy and sell stuff because I live in Canada. Everything is cheap until shipping comes in! I'm not too worried about price (Pizza Delivery pays surprisingly well). Hahaha

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-05-2014 at 06:01 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by RyanMan View Post
I guess a circulation pump would be something to add potentially at a later time. Haha it just dawned on me that the Regulator can be custom built or pre-made and purchased. I was confused before and I guess what I meant was whether to buy all the PARTS of the CO2 system separately or together. I think I had visioned buying a CO2 regulator pre-made (like going to a website and buying a regulator). Do I have that understood? I mean I see the GLA CO2 systems which include all of the parts you listed (tubing, regulator, diffuser, needle valve, etc).
I was saying custom built only so it's powerful enough to do 30psi....many regulators on the market will not run an atomic diffuser since their pressure is below 30psi. This is why I said to check out potentially getting a custom one built by someone on here or just getting one that specifically says that it can put out greater than 30psi. I would think that many of the GLA regulators can run an atomic diffuser.

This is why I like the atomic diffusers...you see how tiny the bubbles are?

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Old 01-05-2014, 01:30 AM   #8
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I've got ya... :p Thanks the video helps me understand since I haven't seen them in action before or I saw it but didn't know what it was haha. That leads to a few more questions. Those atomic diffusers look great and seem like a great option for diffusing the CO2. What do the different sizes mean? What one would be ideal on a 54G tank? Also, is buying a CO2 system from GLA way more expensive than necessary? What I mean is how much money could I potentially be saving, picking and building my own system of a decent to high quality?

Checking out the website I would assume an Atomic Diffuser with the Check Valve would be ideal, correct? The check valve prevents water from entering the tube?

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-05-2014 at 06:00 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:17 AM   #9
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The Atomic diffuser comes with an integrated check valve? No, I wouldn't do that. Do one component at a time so you have better quality control. In fact, anything that comes with a check valve, integrated into the diffuser/drop checker/bubble counter, is going to be garbage. Generally they're either glass with a little red plastic bobber, or they're faux SS, all silvery with a little arrow on them, and in either case, they're useless and you'll need a decent check valve.

A diffuser on a 54g is probably as high as I'd suggest going. It should work, though a canister with a reactor would be better.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:25 AM   #10
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Well if you check out GLA's website they have ones with integrated check valves or ones without. I guess it's not really necessary on the diffuser. Any help on what size and all that stuff? They have like 45mm and go up by 5.
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:37 PM   #11
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Well if you check out GLA's website they have ones with integrated check valves or ones without. I guess it's not really necessary on the diffuser. Any help on what size and all that stuff? They have like 45mm and go up by 5.
Re-read what I wrote....it's in there about the size.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:23 PM   #12
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I promote a quite different approach than buying an all-in-one package. One reason is the design seems to be dumb.
When water or any fluid gets into the solenoid, needle valve or regulator it can stop up tiny openings or tear the diaphram up. Some try to stop this from happening by putting a check valve in between. Some buy really expensive check vales and use two because they expect one to fail. Since I know I CAN depend on water to run downhill, I don't put it right above things that have to stay dry like my reg,etc.
Buy good parts, string them together with tubing so you can locate the parts where YOU want them rather than where the elcheapo designer thought good enough!
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:29 PM   #13
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I promote a quite different approach than buying an all-in-one package. One reason is the design seems to be dumb.
When water or any fluid gets into the solenoid, needle valve or regulator it can stop up tiny openings or tear the diaphram up. Some try to stop this from happening by putting a check valve in between. Some buy really expensive check vales and use two because they expect one to fail. Since I know I CAN depend on water to run downhill, I don't put it right above things that have to stay dry like my reg,etc.
Buy good parts, string them together with tubing so you can locate the parts where YOU want them rather than where the elcheapo designer thought good enough!

I can understand that! If I bought a complete system though, could you still do what you just described? Seems like it wouldn't remove that option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hedge_fund View Post
Re-read what I wrote....it's in there about the size.

Biggest one! Got it.

I found out this afternoon that oldpunk no longer makes regulators for others. I'm honestly leaning towards buying one from GLA then, but I'm going to check out shipping costs, and then there are also duties that I don't even want to know about...

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-07-2014 at 04:30 AM.. Reason: Back to back posts
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:53 PM   #14
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Contact GLA and tell them you want to run one of their atomic diffusers with the cheapest possible regulator. See which one they recommend.


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Old 01-06-2014, 12:05 AM   #15
PlantedRich
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As I see it? Many of the ready built setups do use special fittings which do not make it easy to change out parts. I never tried it but I read lots about the problem. I have gone another way on two systems and they seem to work well enough for me. I see lots of talk about end of tank dump, but for me, it is not a problem. If it worried me, it would require a two stage (not two gauge) reg which would cost more or have several problems to resolve if I bought on E-bay. I look at the reg as a simple part which does a very small job. It has to cut the pressure down to what I use. 50PSI is the super most I would use but right now 4PSI runs my DIY Griggs style reactor fine. I want some assurance that the reg will last so I buy a cheap but new reg from a home brew operation. New should last if I don't let it get wet but it also has a repair kit available for $15. I can handle 50 now and maybe 15 later better than over 100 now. Just a personal choice on that. When I get hands on with the beer reg, I can take it to the hardware and find almost all the fittings I need to fit it. I like to screw them in and see them fit!
The rest is personal decisions on each item that we want to use or change.
My choice goes this way:
Solenoid--Clippard E_-2 or E_-3 fully ported. Choose carefully before buying as there are many types. Some will work, some are a pain or refuse to be used at all!
Needle valve-- Fabco NV-55 using 10-32 fittings (cost $23). Many like the nv-55-18 because it uses 1/8 pipe but it also costs $55 and they use the exact same internals!
My bubble counter is the cheap one from Fluval just so I can have bubbles to watch! I like to hang it on the bungee strap holding the tank upright and secure. That puts it low so the water can't run into the reg, etc.
Since I use a canister I do the DIY Griggs style which uses low pressure and works very well.
I order the plastic 10-32 fittings and plastic check valves online from a plastics company. They are both priced at under a dollar so I ordered several of each while shipping. I do use a check valve as I do lay the reg down while changing tanks and the check valve does keep the water out for the short term.
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