Affordable CO2 Systems - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 05:43 PM
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Do you want to spend $150 with the cylinder or without?
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 05:50 PM
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Isn't the dual stage version just a 'little' more? Ahh, just like life... always something a little more desirable... getting us in trouble.


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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:14 PM
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Isn't the dual stage version just a 'little' more? Ahh, just like life... always something a little more desirable... getting us in trouble.


More consistency. No need to adjust the output pressure. If thereís one thing Iíve learned about planted tanks, itís that consistency pays off!


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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:15 PM
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If the $100 regulator was comparable to the $200 regulator why would the people that have been into planted tanks for 10+ years spend the money on the higher priced one?? Why not just do it right the first time and simply add another quality needle valve down the road if you want another? No... the cheaper regulators do not have the same reliability and durability of the higher quality GLA ones. It's just that simple. I knew a guy who would buy used tires for his 600hp truck for years... and then one burst and he totaled the vehicle and was out about 30k in upgrades that were not insured. All that money he "saved" for all those years... nope... saved $1500 in tires and it cost him 30k... It's simple statistics. The odds will be realized at some point.
Used GLA from a reputable member or new GLA is as low as I would ever go knowing what I know now. I chose a custom built by Alan Le. Worth every penny... and then some.

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:48 PM
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I agree with the dude 1. I spent a good amount on my dual stage SS regulator. When I started another tank I just added another needle. The accuracy and consistency is close to none. To think that this regulator will last me a lifetime is very justifiable with what I paid. Given that the only part that might malfunction is the solenoid.


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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-19-2017, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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I think all this has done is made me more confused...


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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:45 AM
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Affordable CO2 Systems

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If the $100 regulator was comparable to the $200 regulator why would the people that have been into planted tanks for 10+ years spend the money on the higher priced one?? Why not just do it right the first time and simply add another quality needle valve down the road if you want another? No... the cheaper regulators do not have the same reliability and durability of the higher quality GLA ones. It's just that simple. I knew a guy who would buy used tires for his 600hp truck for years... and then one burst and he totaled the vehicle and was out about 30k in upgrades that were not insured. All that money he "saved" for all those years... nope... saved $1500 in tires and it cost him 30k... It's simple statistics. The odds will be realized at some point.
Used GLA from a reputable member or new GLA is as low as I would ever go knowing what I know now. I chose a custom built by Alan Le. Worth every penny...


It doesnít compare directly here. For our simple co2 purposes, the $150 chrome plated dual stage regulator with brass components from a reputable source or diy is fundamentally just as sound as the $500 dual stage stainless steel one with all stainless components. This is not to take away from yours, @The Dude1. AlanLe regulators are like custom hot rods. A good reliable Toyota Camry will work. Just wanted to clarify that for the OP since the post is titled ďaffordable.Ē Donít get scared into thinking you must spend tons of money to do it right. The main takeaway is to get a ďgood qualityĒ (read: reliable) dual stage regulator. Heck if youíre careful, even the single stages may suffice, but you have to understand what dedication it will require from you.

However, I agree with @The Dude1 in spirit. Money can be saved, but itíll require research and diligence. To borrow his analogy a little more, u do need insurance, but if you shop around, it can be cheaper. I suppose if you donít have the time or diligence to shop around, you can hire a reputable insurance agent to do that for you.

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I think all this has done is made me more confused...


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And yes, it IS all confusing when u first start looking at it. I canít begin to tell you how much time I spent researching all the avenues of progression for taking on co2. Just take your time. Sleep on your decisions and look at them again. Thatís the problem with wanting to save money. Otherwise, like @Tnalp and @The Dude1 said, just offload the headache to someone else. U just gotta spend the money. Even after all the research, the other part is knowing your own limits too. Using the car analogies again, if you decently understand a car and itís components and you happen to be handy around tools, you can play weekend shade tree mechanic a little when your car breaks down and save money. If you canít screw on a bolt right, then itís better to hire the professionals for peace of mind.
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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 03:10 AM
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I highly recommend a dual stage regulator regardless of the price point. Even the cheaper ones work better imho than single stage as you have to constantly tinker to keep bubble rate even especially if you run a smaller tank where pressure will drop quicker. The rest of the components are usually similar for both single and dual with higher quality and lower quality available. I have a couple different single stage regs like the ones on a keggerator as well as the mini ones sold by ADA and fluval and the one that I wish I started with is the GLA ultimate that I bought 5-6 years ago that I just love, I set it and don't have to touch it for a year plus at a time (10lb tank).


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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 03:34 AM
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I highly recommend a dual stage regulator regardless of the price point. Even the cheaper ones work better imho than single stage as you have to constantly tinker to keep bubble rate even especially if you run a smaller tank where pressure will drop quicker.


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Well. I never thought I would be defending a single stage, but for what itís worth, I feel that if your pressure has started dropping, then thereís no point in squeezing that last bit. Itís a weeks worth tops? Just go for the fill. Catching it when it starts to drop, well, thatís a different story.
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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 12:44 PM
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My single stage keeps bubble rate consistent now that I have a better needle valve. Working psi stays consistent too. Dual stage are best if you can afford one but a good single stage is good enough if you spend time to pay attention to how that model reacts to end of tank issues. I would not spend more than 100$ on a single stage and a good dual stage is around 250$ building your self price will very and depend on luck and parts used. Systems that use needle valves with smaller than 1/8 npt( ? I think) will require more fittings but should probably be more precise.

If building yourself I would think it would be best to get a good enough dual stage and then spend less on the solenoid and fittings and needle valve .

Here is a quick diy pricelist I just checked
Smc needle valve as2301fm series $25
Camozzi ac321-1c2 $20
Camozzi u7h $25
Dual stage regulator $80-170
Cga 320 nut 10

So right now using e bay it seems dyi prices are $165-245

The cheapest dual stage complete that I see right now is a e bay with trigas regulator and fabco needle valve for $230

Sorry if this sounds like a rant or has miss information it is 449 am good night


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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 04:53 PM
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My single stage keeps bubble rate consistent now that I have a better needle valve. Working psi stays consistent too. Dual stage are best if you can afford one but a good single stage is good enough if you spend time to pay attention to how that model reacts to end of tank issues. I would not spend more than 100$ on a single stage and a good dual stage is around 250$ building your self price will very and depend on luck and parts used. Systems that use needle valves with smaller than 1/8 npt( ? I think) will require more fittings but should probably be more precise.

If building yourself I would think it would be best to get a good enough dual stage and then spend less on the solenoid and fittings and needle valve .

Here is a quick diy pricelist I just checked
Smc needle valve as2301fm series $25
Camozzi ac321-1c2 $20
Camozzi u7h $25
Dual stage regulator $80-170
Cga 320 nut 10

So right now using e bay it seems dyi prices are $165-245

The cheapest dual stage complete that I see right now is a e bay with trigas regulator and fabco needle valve for $230

Sorry if this sounds like a rant or has miss information it is 449 am good night
Yep, and I'm the seller of that Trigas regulator. On here, I can sell it for a little bit cheaper, because e bay takes 10%. So if anybody wants it, I can sell it for $220.00 free shipping.
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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 05:56 PM
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I think all this has done is made me more confused...

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It doesn't have to be that confusing.

OK so I've been in the hobby around 10 years. If your going to worry about EOTD (End of Tank Dump) you might as well not put a heater on your tank or ever use co2, because fish are killed by heaters and improperly set co2 for more than the almost mythical EOTD.

Since you asked about affordable regulators. That is what the thread is about. I'll tell you what I have purchased and what I'm using.

Milwaukee regulator - $89 - 10 years old, working fine.
Azoo Regulator - $79 - 7 years old working fine.
Azoo Mini - $79 - 5 years old working fine.

The real problem with the cheaper regulators are the needle valves. Sometimes if your going for a very slow bubble count for a tiny nano like 1-3G it's hard to precisely slow down the co2 enough. Other than that if your using one of the more affordable regulators for a normal size or larger tank I've never had a problem.

I'm actually running my Azoo mini on my 3.5G tank and it's perfect.

I let my tanks go completely empty (no pressure at all) and then I refill. I have never experienced EOTD and/or gased any fish.

The whole Dual Stage thing is just overkill. You really don't need it for this application. The vast majority of people use single stage. If EOTD was something to really fear there would be multiple threads on the forum everyday about this. Many people also mistake EOTD for some other regulator issue.

All you need to get started in co2 is an Aquarium Regulator (around $60 - $100), Cylinder ($50-70), Diffuser ($5), Check valve ($2) and any airline tubing ($2). Some of them come with attached bubble counters some don't. A drop checker is also a good idea as it gives you an estimate whether the co2 in your tank is at safe levels. Most also come with a soleniod that turns off the co2 at night. I would definitely recommend that. You can also go with a paintball type system but you'll be refilling it more often. Look on amazon, bay for aquarium co2 requlators and you can always post here to see who is actually using them. There are some newer ones out besides the ones I mentioned that have gotten good reviews by members here.
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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ipkiss View Post
It doesn’t compare directly here. For our simple co2 purposes, the $150 chrome plated dual stage regulator with brass components from a reputable source or diy is fundamentally just as sound as the $500 dual stage stainless steel one with all stainless components. This is not to take away from yours, @The Dude1. AlanLe regulators are like custom hot rods. A good reliable Toyota Camry will work. Just wanted to clarify that for the OP since the post is titled “affordable.” Don’t get scared into thinking you must spend tons of money to do it right. The main takeaway is to get a “good quality” (read: reliable) dual stage regulator. Heck if you’re careful, even the single stages may suffice, but you have to understand what dedication it will require from you.

However, I agree with @The Dude1 in spirit. Money can be saved, but it’ll require research and diligence. To borrow his analogy a little more, u do need insurance, but if you shop around, it can be cheaper. I suppose if you don’t have the time or diligence to shop around, you can hire a reputable insurance agent to do that for you.





And yes, it IS all confusing when u first start looking at it. I can’t begin to tell you how much time I spent researching all the avenues of progression for taking on co2. Just take your time. Sleep on your decisions and look at them again. That’s the problem with wanting to save money. Otherwise, like @Tnalp and @The Dude1 said, just offload the headache to someone else. U just gotta spend the money. Even after all the research, the other part is knowing your own limits too. Using the car analogies again, if you decently understand a car and it’s components and you happen to be handy around tools, you can play weekend shade tree mechanic a little when your car breaks down and save money. If you can’t screw on a bolt right, then it’s better to hire the professionals for peace of mind.
I did not and could not say it better. My last C6 Corvette was a 700hp monster. I bought a coupe and went through 2 supercharger kits, headers, intakes.. maybe 20k in upgrades plus I had to learn to how to tune it myself and had an onboard wideband setup. So 20k plus the 50k purchase price. It was fast, but it required alot of attention and work on my part... and it did not hold its value (at least the value of the components). It was probably **about** as fast down the quarter mile as my C7 Z07 and at about 70k total versus the 93k I have in my Z06 purchased with 3k miles on the clock. The difference is I have no worries about components and tuning and upgrades with my Z06. Went in and bought it and brought it home and it is scary fast. If and when something goes wrong I bring it in for service under warranty. I get a full on legit race car with the convenience of the aforementioned Camry.
Put in the time and research and take the chances or pay for expertise and piece of mind. As it get older piece of mind is very valuable.

I've got a $100 Aquatek regulator that I'm going to run on my 150. I will probably try to keep it around 15ppm so I've got some room for error. Like mentioned small tanks require more precision than larger ones.
That Milwaukee regulator has been around for a long time. It's probably decent for a reasonable sized tank once the likely finicky needle valve has been set.
It's just piece of mind. Lots of people cruise around with the minimum on car insurance coverage. I can budget anything... It's that one crazy unexpected circumstance that ruins people. Not that a regulator is some crazy life changer Lol
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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 04:02 PM
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Below is a list of what I got. The "regulator" leaked where it connected to the CO2 tank. I had to put silicone tape around the threads and now it works fine. It is cheap so expect some struggles going budget. But if you are good at solving problems it's doable. I also got a used 15lb fire extinguisher cylinder at my welding supply store in town (confirm they have only used C02 in it) and I believe with the tank and CO2 it was around $60. You can go smaller and cheaper I just didn't want to refill all the time. I have mine on a 45 gallon aquarium at around 3bps.



$60 CO2 "Regulator"
http://amzn.to/2yIUDhe




$23 CO2 Diffuser
http://amzn.to/2zwcjtW




$18 Drop Checker
http://amzn.to/2yHv5zx




$10 CO2 Tubing
http://amzn.to/2xilMVm




$12 Timer
http://amzn.to/2y0BtzV
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post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-23-2017, 04:32 PM
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Regarding my above post: I am just starting out on a planted aquarium. As in one of my old used aquariums, cheap plant scraps/starts from the pet store and virtually no inhabitants (a few shrimp). After reading the above comments on expensive setups I'd probably go that way if I was attaching this to an existing setup that I highly valued the occupants. But for me this whole thing is a beginner's experiment with the idea any aspect can fail as I learn. So far everything is thriving beyond my anticipation. I'm quite excited about that.
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