Fully automated semi DIY CO2 system - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Fully automated semi DIY CO2 system

I just replied to a person looking for a cheap automated CO2 system in the Swap and Shop. I wanted to post it here as well, because it could help people get a really good system up for less than half of what I paid for my fully automated CO2 system. I admit this isn't fully DIY, but it is a way to make DIY CO2 worth it's weight in gold.
Here is the text of my post:

I just spent $350 on a complete CO2 system and it works great. There was a problem with a leaky bubble counter at first though, so I hooked up my DIY 2-liter bottle of yeast CO2 to the reactor in the fish tank instead of the CO2 gas. I was surprised at how effective it was at regulating the PH of the tank and a little bummed out that I had just wasted about $150 unnecessarily. I can tell you that you can make an effective CO2 system based on that for about $150.
Milwaukee PH Controller = $80
Rio Reactor 200 = $50
Silicone tubing = $5
Grand Total = $135
This would be a very effective system for a 40 gallon tank, considering in a moderate light 75 gallon tank a single 2-liter bottle did a good job of regulating the PH, mostly due to the effectiveness of the Rio 200 reactor. The only downfall is that the effectiveness of the system would vary, based on the output of the yeast culture and you likely couldn't jack it up to get a PH of 6.5 unless you had really soft water.
If you have any more questions, PM me.

While I wouldn't trade my current system for anything (the results are amazing), I would have definately preferred to keep that extra $215 in my pocket. If I had the chance to do it over, I would probably go with the DIY yeast system.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 02:30 PM
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I was able to put together a 10 lb. CO2 tank with the Milwaukee all in one regulator (bubble counter, solenoid, and needle valve included) for about $130.00. I built a DIY inline reactor for my canister for $10.00 and if I wanted to use a pH controller that would be about $80. All together you can put together a high-tech system for about $150.00 if you DIY the reactor and shop around a bit for CO2 tanks. Add $80.00 to that for a controller if you want to go super high-tech, but the price of not having to mix DIY anymore is well; priceless.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 04:41 PM
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That sounds about right on pricing here in California as well. I picked up a Milwaukee regulator and 2.5# cylinder awhile back for $100 shipped. The 2.5# cylinder works well for the 10 gallon tank, but it empties pretty quickly and I replaced it with a 10# tank ($75 filled) a few days ago.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 04:12 PM
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They way I see it, 90% of people won't have need for a pH controller, so that's $80 in savings.
I pay $90 for a filled 5lb tank (which is actually a tank deposit, I can get $85 back if I ever return it), and $65 for a shipped Milwaukee all-in-one regulator. So $175 for a CO2 setup, cuz for $5 I can build my own reactor.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 04:49 PM
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The other thought is that there is no safe way to controll (stop) a yeast based system. So no controller, and mixing at least bi weekly for any larger size tank...

And the $50 reactor is a lot...

If you don't mind mixing, sure, it can save, but it all depends on how much you need to drop the pH to get the right PPM for co2.

Before I went pressurized, I was running 3 2l bottles just to get my pH at 7.
With pressurized I maintain 6.7 +/- .2

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