1st ever post here! Intro to me and co2 system help for 200 gallon. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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1st ever post here! Intro to me and co2 system help for 200 gallon.

Hello! I've lurked here forever and finally signed up a few months ago but this is my first post.

Introduction to me: I have had aquariums all my life and for about 8 years in the middle had a 30 gallon, 55 gallon and 180 gallon full blown reef tanks and breed clownfish. When I moved states I didn't have anything for about 4 years. When I got back into it about 1-1/2 years ago I found the joy (mostly from this forum) of freshwater planted tanks!

I now have a 5 gallon round (in my youngest daughters room), a 10 gallon with frogs, a 40 gallon with turtles, green tree frogs and an Oscar, a 125 gallon and a 55 gallon fully planted with angels (that just breed, I have about 35 fry in a 5 gallon now also). The 55 and 125 are put end to end on the same stand and the same light hood so it almost looks like a 10' long tank. This is the system I'm asking for help with. It has a 25 gallon sump with an automatic water change/topoff system that drips water in, and a tube at the correct level in the sump that drains overflow water outside through the wall, and a 25 gallon refugium that I run the lights on opposite schedule so it uses the co2 at night because I have a DIY co2 system (a 3 gallon and 3-1 gallon) that I can't really shut off fully.

I dose E.I.
The automatic water change does about 30 gallons a day so I change about 50% weekly.
Plants are:
Dwarf Hairgrass
Glossostigma
Dwarf baby tears
Red flame sword
Amazon sword
Alteranthera reineckii
Wisteria
Bacopa
Cardamine Lyrata
Anubius
Riccia moss
Java moss
Rotala Indica

SORRY for the long intro! On to the question.

I'm going to be getting Discus soon in the 125 soon and I want to do away with the DIY co2 and get a pressurized system with ph controller. My budget is about $400. Sounds like I should probably get a dual stage regulator so I can hopefully avoid the EOTD, but then some say a single stage is fine. I'm a little lost. I like Amazon and would like to buy there possibly but not set on Amazon completely.

What I think I need:

co2 tank (craigslist maybe)

regulator (looking at)
http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-Instruments-Solenoid-Regulator-Counter/dp/B001DTNWF2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394045624&sr=8-1&keywords=milwaukee+co2+regulatoror
http://www.amazon.com/AQUATEK-Regulator-Integrated-Solenoid-Hydroponics/dp/B008TRUI62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394045243&sr=8-1&keywords=deluxe+aquatek+co2+regulator
solenoid (on regulator for now)

ph controller (looking at)
http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-MC122-Controller-Mounting-Accuracy/dp/B0080HPEEW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394045297&sr=8-1&keywords=milwaukee+mc122+ph+controller
Ph probe (looking at)
http://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Hydroponic-controller-Electrode-Connector/dp/B00DI5PM7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394045452&sr=8-1&keywords=aquarium+hydroponics+ph+controller+electrode
Is this all I need? (co2 line also) Do these choices suck? Would I be better getting stuff from someone on here? I need some guidance.

Thanks!

Last edited by shutupandboard; 03-05-2014 at 05:54 PM. Reason: fixed links...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 06:01 PM
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I used to be the only one who built his own Co2 system but recommended retail. Why pay twice as much when you don't have too? Beside the quality and looks, they both do the same thing right?

Well, no.


A friend of mine started this hobby and got the Milwaukee, and surprise surprise, he too was faced with the same problems. His bps is day to day, and I can't imagine trying to grow plants when your Co2 supply is up and down.

But here the kicker, there are people with working retail kits. There are people with Milwaukee regulators who have great tanks.


Buy a retail kit from a source that has an easy return policy. Try it out, and see if you like the performance. The only hassle free method is buying, or building a Co2 system with parts made for scientific and medical research.

Here is what the "average" price for parts you need:

Regulator: 60 - 100
Needle Valve: 20 - 50
Fittings: 10 - 50
Solenoid: 20 - 60

Also, expect some sellers to label parts as "new old stock" which is basically "old, but I clean it with a rag".

To give you an idea on what condition regulators are sold as:
This regulator was label as used (honest seller) and if what you're buying looks worse than this, then it's super used.



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 06:29 PM
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The Milwaukee setup is a mediocre single stage regulator. You can build a superior unit for less fairly easily. Personally I'd go with a dual stage since it's only slightly more, but Tom Barr swore by the single stage regs for a while. Your biggest concern is getting a consistent bubble rate and a quality reg and needle valve are critical to achieving this. If the bubble rate fluctuates you'll have an algae farm on your hands.

I would skip the pH controller. All you need is a solenoid and a timer. I would go with a 20 lb co2 tank for that size aquarium.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I was hoping there would be kind of a "default regulator" that's good quality for good price.

So I would like to go with a two stage regulator then.

So no PH controller huh? Man, I would think that it would be perfect for keeping everything consistently stable.

username "AlenLe" pm'd me about something he has, so maybe I'll look at possibly getting something from him.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 08:54 PM
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The pH controller is designed to maintain a certain level of CO2 saturation. So in layman's terms, if you set your pH controller to a pH of 6.9 it will constantly shut on an off to maintain that pH regardless of whether the lights are on or off.

In a planted tank, plants take up CO2 during the day and release O2 at night. When there is no light for photosynthesis, CO2 intake from plants decreases to a significant degree.

CO2 injection in my opinion should not be used to maintain a constant pH level in your tank. It is meant to aid in plant growth. While the CO2 is running during the day, the pH in the tank will drop to a certain level based on how much CO2 you are injecting and then creep back up to the pH level before the CO2 injection started. Usually, this pH swing is around one full point (for example 7.0 to 6.0 then back to 7.0). Again this is all variable depending on the conditions of your water and how much CO2 you are injecting. Most fish will do just fine in a one full point pH swing over the course of 10 - 12 hrs and back again.

Discus will do better in water that is more on the acidic side, but CO2 injection should not be used to achieve this. It is best achieved by using RO water and discus buffer if need be. I was never a fan of using powdered buffers to achieve a certain pH, but reefing has taught me otherwise.

With discus, your main focus should be on large weekly water changes with RO water. Keeping proper temperatures in the 82 degree range and feeding them a healthy discus diet. I would also advise using plants that can tolerate discus temps.

In terms of purchasing a regulator, all I can say is read as many reviews on the products as you can. Unfortunately, you will find that every regulator has received poor reviews at some point. I have heard great things about Milwaukee brand and have heard awful things. The only consistent review I have heard about Milwaukee is their terrible, terrible customer service if something breaks or malfunctions.

I would skip the pH controller. All you need is a solenoid and a timer. I would go with a 20 lb co2 tank for that size aquarium.[/QUOTE]

+1 to this. Just use a timer and run your CO2 for X amount of hrs during the day and have it shut off completely at night.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-06-2014 at 01:40 AM. Reason: Back to back posts
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 09:02 PM
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pH controller

I like automation and would have gone with a pH controller too. Except the drop in pH is also tied to the KH/GH levels. So, its not possible to lock in a dissolved CO2 level on pH alone.

Then there is always the possibility of a miscalibrated pH probe gassing everything to death.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2014, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shutupandboard View Post
Thanks, I was hoping there would be kind of a "default regulator" that's good quality for good price.

So I would like to go with a two stage regulator then.

So no PH controller huh? Man, I would think that it would be perfect for keeping everything consistently stable.

username "AlenLe" pm'd me about something he has, so maybe I'll look at possibly getting something from him.
There's a few lists of which regulators to look for on this forum. Here's another one from the Barr report: http://www.barrreport.com/showthread...and-other-tips!

As long as you aren't picky about the exact model (and there isn't a reason to be as any 2 stage reg with the right specs is plenty good for our purposes) then you should be able to find one in good shape at a good price on ebay pretty quickly. Getting an already built one from a member is another good way to go.

I was going to go the pH controller route myself when I was building my system since I thought it'd be the best way to go. Turns out that isn't the case. Most people have better luck setting up a "simple" system and dialing in the bubble rate. The pH method is much more expensive and it's not nearly as accurate as you at first think. Then you also have to worry about calibrating the probes. My advice would be start without the pH controller and see how it goes. If you really want to add one later it's very easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForensicFish View Post
The pH controller is designed to maintain a certain level of CO2 saturation. So in layman's terms, if you set your pH controller to a pH of 6.9 it will constantly shut on an off to maintain that pH regardless of whether the lights are on or off.

In a planted tank, plants take up CO2 during the day and release O2 at night. When there is no light for photosynthesis, CO2 intake from plants decreases to a significant degree.

CO2 injection in my opinion should not be used to maintain a constant pH level in your tank. It is meant to aid in plant growth. While the CO2 is running during the day, the pH in the tank will drop to a certain level based on how much CO2 you are injecting and then creep back up to the pH level before the CO2 injection started. Usually, this pH swing is around one full point (for example 7.0 to 6.0 then back to 7.0). Again this is all variable depending on the conditions of your water and how much CO2 you are injecting. Most fish will do just fine in a one full point pH swing over the course of 10 - 12 hrs and back again.

Discus will do better in water that is more on the acidic side, but CO2 injection should not be used to achieve this. It is best achieved by using RO water and discus buffer if need be. I was never a fan of using powdered buffers to achieve a certain pH, but reefing has taught me otherwise.

With discus, your main focus should be on large weekly water changes with RO water. Keeping proper temperatures in the 82 degree range and feeding them a healthy discus diet. I would also advise using plants that can tolerate discus temps.

In terms of purchasing a regulator, all I can say is read as many reviews on the products as you can. Unfortunately, you will find that every regulator has received poor reviews at some point. I have heard great things about Milwaukee brand and have heard awful things. The only consistent review I have heard about Milwaukee is their terrible, terrible customer service if something breaks or malfunctions.
Good point about getting plants that will tolerate the higher temps discus require. I disagree on the pH though. My father has had discus for years and they do just fine at higher pH readings.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-06-2014 at 01:40 AM. Reason: Back to back posts
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