Which CO2 regulator to choose? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Which CO2 regulator to choose?

I'm setting up my first high-tech CO2 system and it's been impossible for me to decide which regulator to get, so hopefully you guys can help me out.


I ordered this one off of Amazon because of the price, but I've recently become skeptical of it's quality, for no good reason though. I don't have my CO2 tank yet so I haven't been able to test this regulator yet, but something about a $60 system seems less than ideal.
amazon.com/gp/product/B06XW16L4P/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Another option I've been eyeing is the Aquatek Premium regulator. I have positive feelings about Aquatek products and own multiple products from them, but the Amazon reviews for this regulator aren't very good.
amazon.com/Premium-AQUATEK-Regulator-Integrated-Solenoid/dp/B009WTXYN0


Does anybody have any experience with either of these regulators? Are there any other suggestions for regulators I should get? I know that GLA is top-notch, but I want to stay under $100 for this.
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post #2 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 01:30 AM
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Ugh! I don't see how you can get a good (precision and long-lasting) regulator/solenoid/needle valve setup for much under $200 - maybe used. I have not read good things about the Aquatek and never heard of a BUBBLEBAGDUDE. I fear that, if you buy those, you'll be chasing CO2 problems around forever.

My suggestion is to go into the "For sale" section of the members forum and probe around for a good used one. Some members will build good ones for you at low prices, but not as low as Amazon because quality is lacking at such low prices.

Best are stainless (but not critical), dual stage (GLA has good single stage) and be sure to get a good quality needle valve, such as a Fabco or Ideal, but members will build one for you with high quality components. Search on the forum for regulators and you will learn a lot.
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post #3 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 02:09 AM
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Lots of discussion about this. I bought the Aquatek since it was going on a big tank and I wasn't going to push the limit. The bubble count was difficult to set and wandered more than I liked. I spent about $500 on my custom built regulator and it was worth it. I would do 2 23w CFL's over my tank and spend the money on a decent regulator long before I would spend hundreds on the latest LED light fixture. A portly functioned regulator could quickly and easily kill every fish in your tank in a couple hours. You aren't going to get a quality regulator for $100... you might get lucky and get a gem... but probably not.
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post #4 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 04:04 AM
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Something different:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've been using this regulator with a 24 oz paintball tank and adapter, amazon total of around $75.
The regulator description says it isn't for aquarium use, but it works well from the aquarium reviews (~280 total reviews) on amazon as well as my experience with it during the past month. The solenoid does become a bit hot when on, but not so bad you can't keep your fingers on it. From reading about other solenoids this seems normal.
The flow valve does require some patience and fine tuning to reach the desired bubbles/second. But once there it holds consistently.
It comes with ~10 feet of CO2 tubing that fits on check valves, bubble counters, and glass diffusers. However, it did not fit on a glass Kisstaker bubble counter, fyi.
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Last edited by Aquarium_Noob; 12-10-2017 at 04:08 AM. Reason: grammatical error
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post #5 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 05:07 AM
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At the same time, I'd never spend $500 on a regulator when you can get the same function for less than half that. The regulator I had was great and I think I only paid maybe $200 for it. It was dual stage and while it didn't have an extreme precision needle valve, it was easy to set and never wondered.
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post #6 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 12:44 PM
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I've never spent more than $100 on a regulator and I'm not just saying that, I mean it. There's double jeopardy with cheaper regulators. One it's usually the first regulator for most people so they aren't that skilled in using it. Two, many people buy the cheap regulator used after the 1st person could't work it and they actually ended up breaking it.

They do sometimes take a little tinkering with between the working pressure and needle valve to get it to work the way you want, but I've had under $100 regulators for 8-10 years now and never had a problem with them and let my co2 run completely out before replacing.
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post #7 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's inputs! I think I've decided to just go for it with a GLA Gro-1 regulator. They're having a holiday sale at the moment and if I buy anything used I miss out on their 6 year warranty (which is incredible, imo. Never heard of one that long before)
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post #8 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 05:39 PM
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Before you do that, message @Joshism here on tpt. He makes great regulators, and should be competitive with the price of that GLA. I got mine from him, and the thing is absolutely beautiful.
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post #9 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 05:58 PM
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Industrial 2 stage is under $200 new for a Smith..
https://weldingsupply.com/cgi-bin/ei...F:X:35-125-540

Add a post body kit (Fabco/Clippard)
and swap out the CGA stem..
CO2 Regulator Parts | CO2 For Planted Tanks And Home Brewing. CO2 Regulator Post Body Kit #1 (12v)
CO2 Regulator Parts | CO2 For Planted Tanks And Home Brewing. brass cga-320 nut and nipple for co2 regulator
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post #10 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 06:52 PM
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But that's pushing $300...might as well get the GLA and at least have a warranty.


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post #11 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
But that's pushing $300...might as well get the GLA and at least have a warranty.
It may be worth it. smith is high quality and it may be better quality than GLA, especially since it's a two-stage setup. If it's a good quality/manufacturer it will last nearly forever. Look carefully at any warranty to see what you really get.
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post #12 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 07:42 PM
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From my understanding GLA has a really good warranty and customer service. And GLA stuff is touted as being top of the line equipment. I don't know...never owned anything from them. But they seem to be one of the more highly recommended companies. And sure, Smith may be a high quality regulator. It's still my opinion there's no need to spend that kinda money on one though. I can see splurging on a nice needle valve however.


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post #13 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 07:52 PM
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t's overkill. Some people just like equipment. Some people like certain types of cars. There's no real extra functionally that you need to spend north of $200 on a regulator for this purpose IMO. At least with the car you might go 0 to 60 faster. I guess you could add a turbo co2 accelerator to the mix.
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post #14 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
But that's pushing $300...might as well get the GLA and at least have a warranty.
Arguably MUCH better than the GLA...Whether you need much better is your call..


Quote:
Features
Dependable High Pressure Seat - Sure-Seat technology block debris from entering the high pressure seat for a positive gas tight seal time after time. A copper-nickel filter encases the high pressure seat, protecting it from debris, allowing many years of dependable performance.
Improved Diaphragm - constructed of durable reinforced, laminated Neoprene
Polycarbonate shatter resistant gauge lenses
Auto reset safety relief valve
Extremely Accurate - accurate within +/- 2% of actual gauge reading for both pressure regulators and flowgauges.
Quality - Industrial grade Series 30 regulators are made in the USA from high qualtiy, corrosive resistant materials. Series 30 regulators are covered by a 3 year limited warranty. New design features provide extreme accuracy, dependability and extended service life.
UL listed
100% Tested & Inspected
Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
t's overkill. Some people just like equipment. Some people like certain types of cars. There's no real extra functionally that you need to spend north of $200 on a regulator for this purpose IMO. At least with the car you might go 0 to 60 faster. I guess you could add a turbo co2 accelerator to the mix.
spoke the one who buys $400 plus regulators for $50 used....
Well apparently NOT you (sorry).. but many..
Quote:
Figured these would be right at home with my Azoo and Milwaukee, but I noticed something on the box of the 1st one I didn't expect to see. The words "Two Stage"
BTW: ONLY reason I mention is is for those that want "new" and need a baseline of "possibilities"...

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Last edited by jeffkrol; 12-11-2017 at 08:37 PM. Reason: edit
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post #15 of 71 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
spoke the one who buys $400 plus regulators for $50 used....
Well apparently NOT you (sorry).. but many..
In English?
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