The Planted Tank Forum banner

21 - 37 of 37 Posts

·
Premium Member
Rank Amateur
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
If the $100 regulator was comparable to the $200 regulator why would the people that have been into planted tanks for 10+ years spend the money on the higher priced one?? Why not just do it right the first time and simply add another quality needle valve down the road if you want another? No... the cheaper regulators do not have the same reliability and durability of the higher quality GLA ones. It's just that simple. I knew a guy who would buy used tires for his 600hp truck for years... and then one burst and he totaled the vehicle and was out about 30k in upgrades that were not insured. All that money he "saved" for all those years... nope... saved $1500 in tires and it cost him 30k... It's simple statistics. The odds will be realized at some point.
Used GLA from a reputable member or new GLA is as low as I would ever go knowing what I know now. I chose a custom built by Alan Le. Worth every penny...


It doesn’t compare directly here. For our simple co2 purposes, the $150 chrome plated dual stage regulator with brass components from a reputable source or diy is fundamentally just as sound as the $500 dual stage stainless steel one with all stainless components. This is not to take away from yours, @The Dude1. AlanLe regulators are like custom hot rods. A good reliable Toyota Camry will work. Just wanted to clarify that for the OP since the post is titled “affordable.” Don’t get scared into thinking you must spend tons of money to do it right. The main takeaway is to get a “good quality” (read: reliable) dual stage regulator. Heck if you’re careful, even the single stages may suffice, but you have to understand what dedication it will require from you.

However, I agree with @The Dude1 in spirit. Money can be saved, but it’ll require research and diligence. To borrow his analogy a little more, u do need insurance, but if you shop around, it can be cheaper. I suppose if you don’t have the time or diligence to shop around, you can hire a reputable insurance agent to do that for you.

I think all this has done is made me more confused...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


And yes, it IS all confusing when u first start looking at it. I can’t begin to tell you how much time I spent researching all the avenues of progression for taking on co2. Just take your time. Sleep on your decisions and look at them again. That’s the problem with wanting to save money. Otherwise, like @Tnalp and @The Dude1 said, just offload the headache to someone else. U just gotta spend the money. Even after all the research, the other part is knowing your own limits too. Using the car analogies again, if you decently understand a car and it’s components and you happen to be handy around tools, you can play weekend shade tree mechanic a little when your car breaks down and save money. If you can’t screw on a bolt right, then it’s better to hire the professionals for peace of mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,129 Posts
I highly recommend a dual stage regulator regardless of the price point. Even the cheaper ones work better imho than single stage as you have to constantly tinker to keep bubble rate even especially if you run a smaller tank where pressure will drop quicker. The rest of the components are usually similar for both single and dual with higher quality and lower quality available. I have a couple different single stage regs like the ones on a keggerator as well as the mini ones sold by ADA and fluval and the one that I wish I started with is the GLA ultimate that I bought 5-6 years ago that I just love, I set it and don't have to touch it for a year plus at a time (10lb tank).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Rank Amateur
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
I highly recommend a dual stage regulator regardless of the price point. Even the cheaper ones work better imho than single stage as you have to constantly tinker to keep bubble rate even especially if you run a smaller tank where pressure will drop quicker.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Well. I never thought I would be defending a single stage, but for what it’s worth, I feel that if your pressure has started dropping, then there’s no point in squeezing that last bit. It’s a weeks worth tops? Just go for the fill. Catching it when it starts to drop, well, that’s a different story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
My single stage keeps bubble rate consistent now that I have a better needle valve. Working psi stays consistent too. Dual stage are best if you can afford one but a good single stage is good enough if you spend time to pay attention to how that model reacts to end of tank issues. I would not spend more than 100$ on a single stage and a good dual stage is around 250$ building your self price will very and depend on luck and parts used. Systems that use needle valves with smaller than 1/8 npt( ? I think) will require more fittings but should probably be more precise.

If building yourself I would think it would be best to get a good enough dual stage and then spend less on the solenoid and fittings and needle valve .

Here is a quick diy pricelist I just checked
Smc needle valve as2301fm series $25
Camozzi ac321-1c2 $20
Camozzi u7h $25
Dual stage regulator $80-170
Cga 320 nut 10

So right now using e bay it seems dyi prices are $165-245

The cheapest dual stage complete that I see right now is a e bay with trigas regulator and fabco needle valve for $230

Sorry if this sounds like a rant or has miss information it is 449 am good night
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
My single stage keeps bubble rate consistent now that I have a better needle valve. Working psi stays consistent too. Dual stage are best if you can afford one but a good single stage is good enough if you spend time to pay attention to how that model reacts to end of tank issues. I would not spend more than 100$ on a single stage and a good dual stage is around 250$ building your self price will very and depend on luck and parts used. Systems that use needle valves with smaller than 1/8 npt( ? I think) will require more fittings but should probably be more precise.

If building yourself I would think it would be best to get a good enough dual stage and then spend less on the solenoid and fittings and needle valve .

Here is a quick diy pricelist I just checked
Smc needle valve as2301fm series $25
Camozzi ac321-1c2 $20
Camozzi u7h $25
Dual stage regulator $80-170
Cga 320 nut 10

So right now using e bay it seems dyi prices are $165-245

The cheapest dual stage complete that I see right now is a e bay with trigas regulator and fabco needle valve for $230

Sorry if this sounds like a rant or has miss information it is 449 am good night
Yep, and I'm the seller of that Trigas regulator. On here, I can sell it for a little bit cheaper, because e bay takes 10%. So if anybody wants it, I can sell it for $220.00 free shipping.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,942 Posts
I think all this has done is made me more confused...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It doesn't have to be that confusing.

OK so I've been in the hobby around 10 years. If your going to worry about EOTD (End of Tank Dump) you might as well not put a heater on your tank or ever use co2, because fish are killed by heaters and improperly set co2 for more than the almost mythical EOTD.

Since you asked about affordable regulators. That is what the thread is about. I'll tell you what I have purchased and what I'm using.

Milwaukee regulator - $89 - 10 years old, working fine.
Azoo Regulator - $79 - 7 years old working fine.
Azoo Mini - $79 - 5 years old working fine.

The real problem with the cheaper regulators are the needle valves. Sometimes if your going for a very slow bubble count for a tiny nano like 1-3G it's hard to precisely slow down the co2 enough. Other than that if your using one of the more affordable regulators for a normal size or larger tank I've never had a problem.

I'm actually running my Azoo mini on my 3.5G tank and it's perfect.

I let my tanks go completely empty (no pressure at all) and then I refill. I have never experienced EOTD and/or gased any fish.

The whole Dual Stage thing is just overkill. You really don't need it for this application. The vast majority of people use single stage. If EOTD was something to really fear there would be multiple threads on the forum everyday about this. Many people also mistake EOTD for some other regulator issue.

All you need to get started in co2 is an Aquarium Regulator (around $60 - $100), Cylinder ($50-70), Diffuser ($5), Check valve ($2) and any airline tubing ($2). Some of them come with attached bubble counters some don't. A drop checker is also a good idea as it gives you an estimate whether the co2 in your tank is at safe levels. Most also come with a soleniod that turns off the co2 at night. I would definitely recommend that. You can also go with a paintball type system but you'll be refilling it more often. Look on amazon, bay for aquarium co2 requlators and you can always post here to see who is actually using them. There are some newer ones out besides the ones I mentioned that have gotten good reviews by members here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,229 Posts
77
It doesn’t compare directly here. For our simple co2 purposes, the $150 chrome plated dual stage regulator with brass components from a reputable source or diy is fundamentally just as sound as the $500 dual stage stainless steel one with all stainless components. This is not to take away from yours, @The Dude1. AlanLe regulators are like custom hot rods. A good reliable Toyota Camry will work. Just wanted to clarify that for the OP since the post is titled “affordable.” Don’t get scared into thinking you must spend tons of money to do it right. The main takeaway is to get a “good quality” (read: reliable) dual stage regulator. Heck if you’re careful, even the single stages may suffice, but you have to understand what dedication it will require from you.

However, I agree with @The Dude1 in spirit. Money can be saved, but it’ll require research and diligence. To borrow his analogy a little more, u do need insurance, but if you shop around, it can be cheaper. I suppose if you don’t have the time or diligence to shop around, you can hire a reputable insurance agent to do that for you.





And yes, it IS all confusing when u first start looking at it. I can’t begin to tell you how much time I spent researching all the avenues of progression for taking on co2. Just take your time. Sleep on your decisions and look at them again. That’s the problem with wanting to save money. Otherwise, like @Tnalp and @The Dude1 said, just offload the headache to someone else. U just gotta spend the money. Even after all the research, the other part is knowing your own limits too. Using the car analogies again, if you decently understand a car and it’s components and you happen to be handy around tools, you can play weekend shade tree mechanic a little when your car breaks down and save money. If you can’t screw on a bolt right, then it’s better to hire the professionals for peace of mind.
I did not and could not say it better. My last C6 Corvette was a 700hp monster. I bought a coupe and went through 2 supercharger kits, headers, intakes.. maybe 20k in upgrades plus I had to learn to how to tune it myself and had an onboard wideband setup. So 20k plus the 50k purchase price. It was fast, but it required alot of attention and work on my part... and it did not hold its value (at least the value of the components). It was probably **about** as fast down the quarter mile as my C7 Z07 and at about 70k total versus the 93k I have in my Z06 purchased with 3k miles on the clock. The difference is I have no worries about components and tuning and upgrades with my Z06. Went in and bought it and brought it home and it is scary fast. If and when something goes wrong I bring it in for service under warranty. I get a full on legit race car with the convenience of the aforementioned Camry.
Put in the time and research and take the chances or pay for expertise and piece of mind. As it get older piece of mind is very valuable.

I've got a $100 Aquatek regulator that I'm going to run on my 150. I will probably try to keep it around 15ppm so I've got some room for error. Like mentioned small tanks require more precision than larger ones.
That Milwaukee regulator has been around for a long time. It's probably decent for a reasonable sized tank once the likely finicky needle valve has been set.
It's just piece of mind. Lots of people cruise around with the minimum on car insurance coverage. I can budget anything... It's that one crazy unexpected circumstance that ruins people. Not that a regulator is some crazy life changer Lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Below is a list of what I got. The "regulator" leaked where it connected to the CO2 tank. I had to put silicone tape around the threads and now it works fine. It is cheap so expect some struggles going budget. But if you are good at solving problems it's doable. I also got a used 15lb fire extinguisher cylinder at my welding supply store in town (confirm they have only used C02 in it) and I believe with the tank and CO2 it was around $60. You can go smaller and cheaper I just didn't want to refill all the time. I have mine on a 45 gallon aquarium at around 3bps.



$60 CO2 "Regulator"
http://amzn.to/2yIUDhe




$23 CO2 Diffuser
http://amzn.to/2zwcjtW




$18 Drop Checker
http://amzn.to/2yHv5zx




$10 CO2 Tubing
http://amzn.to/2xilMVm




$12 Timer
http://amzn.to/2y0BtzV
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Regarding my above post: I am just starting out on a planted aquarium. As in one of my old used aquariums, cheap plant scraps/starts from the pet store and virtually no inhabitants (a few shrimp). After reading the above comments on expensive setups I'd probably go that way if I was attaching this to an existing setup that I highly valued the occupants. But for me this whole thing is a beginner's experiment with the idea any aspect can fail as I learn. So far everything is thriving beyond my anticipation. I'm quite excited about that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
This is what I think I'm going to go with:

20 oz paintball tank $22
adapter $12
regulator $42 (highly rated on amazon with lots of folks with planted tanks)
drop checker $10
diffuser $11
check valve $10

Total = $107 (not including tax but free shipping going through amazon)

I think this is about as budget friendly as it gets as a paintball Co2 tank setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
This is what I think I'm going to go with:

20 oz paintball tank $22
adapter $12
regulator $42 (highly rated on amazon with lots of folks with planted tanks)
drop checker $10
diffuser $11
check valve $10

Total = $107 (not including tax but free shipping going through amazon)

I think this is about as budget friendly as it gets as a paintball Co2 tank setup.
Which regulator is that? Got any information, such as model numbers, etc?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I bought a aqua labs single stage for $60 then upgraded the solenoid valve and needle valve so far total is around 100$ the regulator it self is fine just seemed like the solenoid was leaking also the smc needle valve it came with was not very fine tuneable . the needle valve I have now is a smc as2301FM model.
I personally have seen that one selling online.
They claim that they do not have the end of dump issue and I am thinking how true is that for a single stage like that.
But I have actually read a senior here or some other planted forum saying that actually some commercial
single stage regulator are good enough. Partly because the end of dump issue is very low ( there is a number in the spec sheets that says that ) hence if budget issue. I think one can consider that?

Bump:
Which regulator is that? Got any information, such as model numbers, etc?
Hi Josh, I believed its those ADA look alike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Which regulator is that? Got any information, such as model numbers, etc?
Sure -here are the links. Guess I should have did that in my original post. heheh

Regulator (though the description says "not for aquarium use" there are tons of folks who posted reviews that it worked flawlessly for their planted tanks):


Paintball Co2 Tank:

Co2 Tank Adapter:

Bubble Counter (might want a better quality one):

Brass Check Valve:

I don't know when I'll pull the trigger on these items, but these are the ones I had in mind. I'm sure some of the parts can be bought for cheaper so it's really up to individual preference. Hopefully people with experience with Paintball Co2 Tank setups can shed light. ;)

Oh, and this regulator is specifically made for aquariums but about $19 more than the regulator posted above but it includes a check valve and bubble counter saving you about that much anyway.

Regulator
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
hennyis1, that ain't gonna fly son. If you really want it, I have a brand new one of those regulators (flow meters) I can sell to you for dirt cheap, but that's for high flow CO2, such as a green house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
hennyis1, that ain't gonna fly son. If you really want it, I have a brand new one of those regulators (flow meters) I can sell to you for dirt cheap, but that's for high flow CO2, such as a green house.
Ah, I see. I don't really know much about co2 and what it entails so I was just going off of the reviews for the regulator. My plants are all dying anyway so I don't think spending $ on a co2 kit will help them much anyway. haha

Thanks for the heads up!
 
21 - 37 of 37 Posts
Top