Tropica Nano CO2 or Fluval 88g CO2? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Tropica Nano CO2 or Fluval 88g CO2?

I'm setting up a Fluval Spec V and was going to do DIY CO2 but my husband didn't like the look of 2 pop bottles sitting on our table. He wants something 'prettier'. The Tropica co2 and Fluval co2 look very similar to each other. Is one better than the other? The Tropica one says that one canister will last 60+ days on a 5 gallon. Do they really last that long?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 02:46 PM
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I previously had a 95g iSTA disposable CO2 system on my Spec V. The disposable kits are all pretty much the same, quality wise. I got around 6 weeks worth on my tank but that included manually shutting it off after 8 hours of running around 15-20 bubbles per minute. If I were to run it at optimal levels (30 ppm +), it wouldn't have lasted that long. I would expect more like 30 days if your diffuser is working perfectly the whole time.

The biggest complaint I see with the smaller units is the needle valve. They take a good 15-20 minutes of fiddling to get a steady flow rate. This had to be done everyday. Fluctuations in CO2 levels can bring on the dreaded BBA quickly, so this is something you might want to consider. I have seen a few modded 'mini' regs that had solenoid valves plumbed into them to allow shutting them down via a 24 hour timer. This keeps from wasting CO2 during night cycle when photosynthesis is no longer occurring and helps to keep O2 levels elevated during this time as well. These modified mini regulators did look a bit ugly, if that's really a concern.

Another thing I didn't care for was the price of the cartridges (~$10 each) versus refilling a paintball tank at $4.50. After doing the math, a 20 oz. paintball tank last about 6X longer. There may be an adapter that will accept paintball tanks with those mini regulators but I'm not sure. I would still want to add a solenoid, so there goes more modding...

I ended up getting a new Aquatek paintball reg w/ solenoid and a bubble counter for under $70 on fleabay (had a coupon) and a 20 oz. tank for $20, a couple of cheap glass diffusers for $10 each and a cheap $8 timer. So for just over $100, I had a much more reliable system than the disposable kits. Even without the coupon, the Aquatek reg goes for about $80. It's a quite a bit nicer than the regulators that those disposable one use, although the needle valve is still finicky. At least you don't have to keep adjusting it, thanks to the solenoid. It's also nice to not have to get refills but a couple times a year.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I found a solenoid valve on Aliexpress that works with a disposable system that I just ordered, fingers crossed it works. I hate to throw money away but to keep the peace I have to give it a go.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-25-2018, 06:33 PM
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Buy a 2kg bottle last you a long time and is much cheaper long term. Or a 500g bottle for that size tank.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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We have reached a compromise! I'm getting a paintball setup with a shiny aluminum tank that Ista makes (20oz) and the Aquatec regulator and solenoid. Too bad I already ordered that other solenoid valve for a disposable system. Maybe I can use it for a backup diy yeast system if I can't get the co2 tank filled up right away. Or is it better to leave the tank running with no co2 for a little while?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 04:22 PM
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I like my Aquatek Mini quite a bit. Its been "set and forget" for me. I hope its not too late for this tidbit, but DON't buy directly from their website!!! For some crazy reason, if you buy from their site, the price is $140 but THEY sell them on Eek bay all day long for $80! Seller is actually Aquatek, too... Big difference in price for the same item if you ask me. (Yes, the $80 one has the cool touch solenoid.) Buy from the Bay, and keep the other $60 for plants, etc. I have them on Tippman tanks from Amazon, which were in the $20 range, fwiw

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip! Found them at $80 so I'll be placing my order. That silver tank is going to cost me double what a regular paintball tank would have been. Good thing I saved on the regulator.
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