Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Northern California
I assume you'll have a canister filter.
I recommend a reactor for your tank that's plumbed in-line with your canister filter. Water is pumped through the reactor and CO2 is injected directly into the reactor. Water turbulence helps dissolve the CO2 bubbles. A diffuser is basically a ceramic disc that breaks up the CO2 bubbles into smaller bubbles (much like an airstone) so they can dissolve quickly in water. For a 60 gallon tank, I doubt a diffuser will be efficient enough.
As far as automated systems go, I'd go with a 10# (or the biggest size that will fit) tank, regulator, solenoid, a good needle valve, and a check valve.
I have always run my CO2 systems without a pH controller and don't feel a need to...but this is my personal opinion. I have a timer that controls the solenoid and turns it off at night and turns the CO2 flow back on in the morning.
There's a wide range of regulators out there, from "economy" types to more expensive types. I've always used the "cheaper" ones, but they've always worked well for me. The only thing I would do is buy a better needle valve (which fine tunes the flow of CO2) if you end up going with an economy model since they come with poor needle valves.
You can find economy models on eBay going for $72-75 shipped to $140, $150 all the way up to $190, $200+ models from other sources. Yes, the components are better, but again, I've used the economy models (at least half a dozen setups) without problems in the past.