CO2 Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 Questions

Hello, all! I'm new to this forum but I've been fish-keeping for over a year now. My question is: what CO2 kit would you recommend? I'm interested in using CO2 in my tanks....I know very little about using CO2 though.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 02:22 PM
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Are we talking pressurized co2? If so, what's your budget?

Just a noob

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, pressurized co2. I haven't really thought about a budget as the tank I'm going to use it for is a work in progress. I guess...lets start at $3-400.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 05:19 PM
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That can be quite a large budget or it might be just enough!
what makes a big difference is how much and how well you shop as well as how you operate. with some time, effort and shopping for wise choices, one can get in at half that budget. however, if you want bright, shiny and already put together, that amount may be okay.
It gets down to the bells and whistles and how much you want to be involved personally versus getting one "off the shelf".

Easy way for 400+?- one can get one built by some of the forum folks. For less money, one can buy from the auction and screws the various parts together.

How do you fly on those?

My way? I go for a new "beer reg" picked up from a local brew place at about 60 for the reg, shop for solenoid (20) needle valve (30 and DIY a reactor to fit the tank. I buy used CO2 tanks ( 50-75) and do the swapping at local welding supply for the cheapest gas and refills. I don't need shiny as I hide it under the stand anyway!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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It'll definitely be stuffed under the tank, but I would prefer already put together. The shiny and new isn't so necessary. I guess my biggest problem is finding where to purchase one.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-12-2016, 06:51 PM
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Yes! Where, what and how much are almost always a big question and that is also the one that takes the most study to find the correct level to suit what you want. So much of it depends on the small points where we all differ. Like where you live makes a big difference in shopping. Metro areas can have lots of places like brew stores or suppliers that stock more parts than smaller towns might.
I don't see any real consistent answers for what is best as there are literally hundreds of different ways to get it working. Rather than trying to say"THIS' is the one, it usually takes a fair amount of reading and study to get a good feel for what you may like best.
There are several sites which sell ready made stuff that is pretty much plug and play but it still takes a mean amount of study as they all have their different levels of quality and price. Some of the lower priced are okay for starting but then how they fit each differs. Some almost immediately find they have to "fiddle" with the cheaper needle valves that come with the "entry level" sets.
One often starts thinking of CO2 equipment as a single item when it really is a set of parts which are connected together. Which by itself can open a whole discussion. Some are in favor of hard plumbed so that all the equipment sets on top of the tank. Others like myself, find hard plumbing is somewhat fragile and breaks real easy when it is only 1/8 or 1/4 inch pipe. I like to connect the parts in a less standard way using tubing between the solenoid and needle valve and then to the bubble counter.
Some of the "stickies" in the forum will help to sort out many of the questions. It is possibily the most common question but it still has no real firm answer!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 03:34 AM
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As far as everything being put together.. well the fittings would be pretty delicate in shipping, it'd risk a good chance of the threads of something getting boogered up and then it will leak.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 05:05 AM
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I would just post in the WTB section of this forum - there are several people who build them for fun and, maybe, a $20 profit.
If you search there 2 - 4 weeks back, you will find some builds and prices.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-13-2016, 03:09 PM
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Shopping, shopping and more shopping is one good way to get what fits you better and at the right price. One biggie before buying is to study the separate parts so that you can know what makes a good part versus a lesser one.
Some things that appear so simple can really be a big deal when it comes to how they work out in use.
Some parts that give the most trouble when we get too tight on the budget are the needle valve and solenoid so maybe a small primer on them will help? These are two items that are quite commonly not the best in the off-the -shelf sets.

The way we use solenoids is not the way most solenoids are used. Many are used like in cutting off gas to the furnace, etc. and they pull up to open for maybe a half hour and then they release and cool for a time. In our use we tend to want them to turn on and stay for 6-8 hours and this makes heat a much bigger factor. Too much heat for too long and things tend to burn up the lube, distort parts and stick. Low power consumption often means less heat so be aware that higher power may mean less life for the solenoid.
Needle valves can be built super or not so super! Fine machine parts have to be precision made. Long tapered needles tied to fine threads that move the needle tiny amounts when you turn them give much more precise control of the CO2. Short stocky valves made of cheap pot metal are often not the best. They are often cheaper but then is when you need to work out what value you want. Pay more upfront or pay daily for the nuisance of things that never quite work the way we want them.

Time for shopping and money can get the fine stuff while less time and money may cost me more grief over the long run? I've not fully worked out where I stand on all the different variations. That leaves me way out on telling you what is correct!
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