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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm really brainstorming on getting a pressurized CO2 system for cheap, and I honestly am not that experienced with it.

So I'm running around Dallas, trying to think outside the box and I end up at Harbor Freight.

$99 for 10lb CO2 tank seems like a decent deal, so I may be doing that if I don't find it cheaper elsewhere. I'm surprised how hard it's been trying to find a used one.

And then I see a $36 argon/co2 regulator, too. Now I'm thinking this is way too good to be true. Can I use a welding regulator for this? Is it the same thing as what I can find at the LFS? Does it work the same?

Here is the link to it on their website:
Regulator Gauge


Thanks!
 

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Hi Sharper,

Yes, it too good to be true! Not all regulators are the same. That is a flow regulator, which controls flow not pressure. For our CO2 applications we need a pressure regulator that we can set to 20psi - 30psi and hold a constant pressure needle valve which in turn allows a constant pressure to the to the diffuser, reactor, or whatever is being used to add CO2 to our tanks.
CO2/Argon Flow Gauge Regulator
 

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CO2 is definitely not something you want to cheap out on. Get a quality dual stage regulator that won't give you fluctuating CO2 levels (which will lead to algae problems) or gassed fish.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sooooooo glad I didn't buy it! Thanks for the advice! I see this is just going to take some time by buying one piece at a time before I can get a complete system.

I checked craigslist and I'm seeing some systems at an okay price, but when I contacted them, they were all sold already. I've been at 2 major LFS in this area and neither had used CO2 systems. :/

Great find on the 20# on Amazon! I'll do a search there now!
 

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You don't "need" a dual stage regulator. A single stage with a quality needle valve is more than adequate for our purposes. A good needle valve will prevent fluctuations in flow. Yes, after the tank has emptied of liquid CO2 and only some gas remains you may begin to see an increase in working pressure and bubble count, but it's nothing that can't be easily managed by adjusting your needle valve until you refill your tank ( any first hand EOTD stories would be welcome ). There's no reason to spend $300 or more on a chrome plated dual stage reg unless you want to.
 

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You don't "need" a dual stage regulator. A single stage with a quality needle valve is more than adequate for our purposes. A good needle valve will prevent fluctuations in flow. Yes, after the tank has emptied of liquid CO2 and only some gas remains you may begin to see an increase in working pressure and bubble count, but it's nothing that can't be easily managed by adjusting your needle valve until you refill your tank ( any first hand EOTD stories would be welcome ). There's no reason to spend $300 or more on a chrome plated dual stage reg unless you want to.
Some people on this website have better regulators than I have on my analytical equipment at work!
 

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Does it concern you that they are used? That's one thing that concerns me. Is there any chance they could get damaged over time?
I'd make sure they claim that they tested it, and that it works. E bay will refund your money if the item is not as described. I purchased a few new ones under $70.00. I recently purchased a new $66 Veriflo IR6001 and a new rebranded Matheson Ultra Line for $100 on e bay. If they work when you get them, they likely will outlast your interest in the hobby. All of these below were new, unused. All of them were under $95.00, except for 2. You just gotta know how to look and negotiate.

 

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I'd make sure they claim that they tested it, and that it works. E bay will refund your money if the item is not as described. I purchased a few new ones under $70.00. I recently purchased a new $66 Veriflo IR6001 and a new rebranded Matheson Ultra Line for $100 on e bay. If they work when you get them, they likely will outlast your interest in the hobby. All of these below were new, unused. All of them were under $95.00, except for 2. You just gotta know how to look and negotiate.

Yeah these all look like high quality parts. I'd just wouldn't know how to look out for these.
 

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Sure, there are used dual stage regs on ebay for not a lot. Of course those regs require the addition of a needle valve, solenoid, etc. I was referring to those reg we see commonly sold on the forum. If someone wants to put their own together then it's a different case and won't cost more than some new single stage set ups. I have a dual stage Victor that I picked up off ebay for $35 a few years ago when the dual stage rage began. I added an Ideal needle valve and Burkert solenoid from the single stage I was using. Years later it's still rock solid and I don't see every needing another regulator.
 
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