Comparing CO2 Systems - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Comparing CO2 Systems

Hello there, I'm pretty new here and the song, "Young, Dumb, and Broke" sums me up around 2/3 of the way since I try to be as smart as possible. I was trying to do as much research before setting up a planted 5-gallon tank with high light and co2 carpets such as the HC and Monte Carlos or DHG. I was going for the DIY CO2 routes since the prices $120, $150, $200, $250+ seems to be a huge holdback for me until I found some Aquatek Regulators:
https://goo.gl/u2mcL5
^Is the Mini Aquatek

and

https://goo.gl/Kk2v6w
^Basic Aquatek

The thing is, I realized that the DIY method will not be as effective in long-term and for $80 and a $6 replacement every couple months for a 24oz refill of a paintball tank, this isn't too bad since I know my plants will be happier and healthier than ever.

I would like to know which one will be better for my future 5 gallon aquarium (mini or regular --> both have a solenoid which I need to research more about). Anyone have any experiences? It seems like the Aquatek mini goes for a higher regular price. Thanks a ton.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 05:36 AM
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Well, I would avoid the HC and then go with MC and DHG. Both of these i have had great success with without co2. Just make sure you have plenty of light. Starting with a large amount of plant mass helps as well. There is also a new type of co2 look up glass aqua online. The UNS co2 system in a bottle. It is very very affordable and lasts a long time. Itís also super easy to set up. Iím looking into getting several for my smaller tanks. I just set up a tank with DHG Ďminií and it grows very well very fast and very short in non-co2 set ups. (:

Hope this helps, Skye
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 10:28 AM
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I agree that if you know you want CO2 to skip DIY and go pressurized. I started with DIY to 'learn' but the citric acid and baking soda IMO was a huge pain. Rough to keep constant pressure and flow of CO2. For what it's worth I have the aquatek premium off the auction site for under $100. They are not the 'best' but it's working for me. Only other recommendation, especially for a small tank, woul be a better needle valve. The aquatek one I have is pretty much useless to dial in. But you could try it first and see before spending more.

The solenoid works well for me. Put it on a timer and it comes on before lights on, if before lights out. This way the water gets saturated with CO2 before lights on to help plants have best chance to thrive, and mitigate algae growth.

For a 5 gallon paintball seems to be a good value, and lower startup cost when including cost of tank.

Also, skip the HC for now and start with monte carlo or something a bit easier, just a thought! Good luck!

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 02:57 PM
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Can I throw in an alternate that may seem to be a total curve ball?
For best value, I find the ready made commercial sets are pretty low ball on the important things. The reg is often where we look but those are pretty simple things and most all of them do well enough. But when we buy a set, we get a really low quality on the things that bite us most often. The solenoid is not the best as they use a "standard black box" one that uses so much power that it often overheats and that can cause the lube to dry and the metal parts to swell/distort and they stick. The needle valves are like mentioned and really funky to get set right and then they also have a tendency to drift off the setting.
To make my suggestion work, you will need to be able to do some shopping to save money but also be able to screw a few basic parts together. Can do that?
I suggest the metro areas will have place like home brew supplies to walk in and buy a new single stage reg, made for brewing using CO2. That gets you a workable single stage reg, that needs quality parts added to give the long term, stable precision we need. One I often use:
https://www.austinhomebrew.com/Tapri...16_p_4709.html
Those parts can come from lots of study and careful shopping or they are also really ready and handy from this site:
https://www.diyco2regulator.com/co2-...post-body-kits

Post body kit #1 gives high quality add-on parts that you will be pleased to use and you can get most of it, quick and easy to avoid multiple shipping charges.
If this sounds doable, ask the questions that are certain to be on the mind and there are lots of folks here who can advise on all the little points.
Good to think of alternates or a simple bad idea? Depends on where we each stand! Good luck on either chase!

Last edited by PlantedRich; 05-15-2018 at 03:05 PM. Reason: added
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 06:52 PM
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I have the Aquatek premium for around 6 months. No problems so far. It stays cool. The needle valve is stiff, which is a good and bad thing, I believe. Adjusting it to where you want takes some patience, but once set it has not appeared to move. Before you go with a paintball setup, I recommend that you check if there is a place near you that will fill paintball tanks.

The premium model allows the output pressure to be adjusted, which helps with adjusting the flow rate with the needle valve.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 07:07 PM
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Yeah my aquatek solenoid stays cool as well, and good point on the premium and adjustable vs. static output pressure. I would not like it as much were it static. Also, took probably a month or more to 'break in'. The working pressure would bounce +/- 5 psi every 10 sec at around 25psi. Bumped up to 40, still did that, but the past month or so has been pretty solid at 40psi working pressure, no adjustments.

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