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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the best bang for your buck co2 system? I have gone through DIY co2 and I don't think it's too consistent with giving the right co2 levels for optimal plant growth. I have read of gla's, azoo, milwaukee, and others... Just I want to make sure I spend the right money on the perfect system. My tank is a 10g 3.6 WPG.
 

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Have you decided how much money that you want to spend on one?

SuMo, GLA and Rex Grigg make higher quality regulators than Milwaukee, JBJ, Azoo and others. They cost a bit more, but IMO they are worth it. Some people say that CO2 in planted aquariums has killed more fish than anything else. I don't know if it is true or not, but I want good control with my CO2.

Some people are building their own. This can be a cheap way to go by getting high quality parts at fairly cheap prices. Sometimes you have to be patient and wait on deals to come by.

You have a 10g. You should consider this. It doesn't take very much CO2 to OD your aquarium by having faulty equipment. If you have a larger aquarium, the same ppm of CO2 that could OD a 10g may not even be noticeable in a larger aquarium. Therefore, you need a good product.

If I were you, I'd get a good regulator with an Ideal, Fabco, Swagelok, Parker, etc high quality needle or metering valve. There are single and dual stage regulators that are good too. Some of the models include Cornelius, Micro Matic, Smith, Victor, Concoa, and Matheson.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was aiming around less than $170. I saw the paintball co2 regulator with the Fabco needle valve with a Clippard solenoid. Is the solenoid electric? I plan on turning off the system when the lights go off.
 

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Solenoids are electric and can be turned on and off by a timer, pH controller, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, do you think that the paintball co2 regulator is good enough for my 10g? I appreciate your help.
 

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Cool, do you think that the paintball co2 regulator is good enough for my 10g? I appreciate your help.
My advice would be to get the largest tank that you can afford. The cost of CO2 refills are about the same, regardless of whether you have a 5 lb or 10 lb tank. A 10 lb tank would last much longer than a 20 oz paintball canister.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh... No wonder the paintball regulator is cheaper, the average size for paintball cylinders are 20oz. That's a lot of money spent in the long run. I'll rather buy the regular regulators. Thanks. What do you suggest for a 10g?
 

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You can either piece together a regulator build yourself, or purchase one that is already assembled. With the former, you have to do more research, but can get better prices/deals, especially if you bargain hunt. The latter will allow you to purchase a CO2 setup without any research, but may cost a bit more.
 

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The regulator in my avatar is one that I put together. I got a new VTS253D-320 regulator on ebay for $60 and I bought the parts from one of our sponsors.
 

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I'm really new with this. What exactly do you need to make a complete set up? Other than the tank itself.
You will need:

Regulator
This controls the delivery of the CO2. It will reduce the tank pressure from 800 PSI to about 30 PSI. There are many different regulators you can look at, such as Victor, Cornelius, Mattheson, Concoa, etc. There are single stage and dual stage regulators. Try to get a dual gauge (note, dual stage is not the same as dual gauge) regulator, so that you can monitor both delivery pressure as well as the CO2 tank pressure (amount of CO2 left in the tank).

Needle/Metering Valve
A good needle/metering valve is your best friend and arguably the most important piece of equipment. The needle/metering valve will reduce the pressure from 30 PSI to a few bubbles per second. Again, you have several brands to choose from including: Clippard, Fabco, Swagelok, and Ideal. The latter 2 are probably the "best" brands (i.e. they are ht most reliable and will not float once they are set).

Solenoid (Optional)
This will allow you to turn off your CO2 automatically via a timer or a pH controller. Some people like to keep their CO2 on all the time, while others use a solenoid to turn it off at night.

Check Valve ("Optional" - see below)
Technically optional, but is required. You don't want water to back siphon and destroy your regulator. Brass ones are better than plastic ones, which will be corroded by the CO2 with time.

Bubble counter (Optional)
Will allow easy monitoring of the CO2 flow rate. You can DIY one yourself if you want.

Drop checker (Optional)
Allows easy monitoring of the amount of CO2 in the aquarium. Again, you can DIY one yourself or purchase one.
 
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