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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm starting a high tech planted tank and I never done pressurized CO2 before.

I want something without any tinkering (needle valves). Don't mind spending more $ to get something that's hassle free.

After much reading I have come to three choices (I plan on getting a SMS122 no matter which option I go with)

1. AQUARIUMPLANTS.com's own - Electronic + SMS122 PH controller - avoids needle valve problems, better bubble counter, 3 year warranty is reasonable. price is very high for this solution.
2. Sumo premier + SMS122 PH controller - good solution from many posts
3. Milwaukee MA957 + SMS122 PH Controller - Really cheap - I have seen many posts that say a PH controller overcomes a crappy needle valve since accuracy of bbs doesn't really matter since controller turns off after PH target is reached. This makes sense to me.

Does anyone agree with option 3 being perfectly good way to overcome lower quality needle valve? I want to buy a complete solution and avoid integrating the pieces myself.
 

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Well I own a pinpoint ph controller and you are right they work well. I think because of the higher flow more bubbles per second, of co2 you can allow the more stable co2 concentrations you can achieve throughout the day. They do have some drawbacks that i didn't realize at first. First the ph probe should be replaced every couple years so long term costs will add up and it will eventually cost more than a high quality dual stage regulator. Second any changes to the KH or carbinated hardness of the water in the aquarium will effect the ph of the water so in turn will effect the ph controller. An example would be if the kh is lowered the ph will also be lowered and the ph controller will think the desired co2 rate has been achieved so it turns off the co2. In actuality the co2 concentration it not enough. Its not really to big of a deal you just either have to keep the kh stable or adjust the ph monitor to compensate for the kh change. Third some people have experienced a solenoid failure where it sticks open all day and kills the fish. I pesonaly have not had this happen. I have been using a ph controller for about 4 years so i may be due.

After reading many post on good dual stage regulators I am now convinced that they would be a better way to go. Not effected by kh changes, if solenoid sticks open you have longer period of time to catch it before it kills your fish because of the lower buble per second rates. Nothing to replace after the intial purchase.
 

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Well there is another alternative. The german made Aqua Medic c02 regulator automatically ajusts to the correct working pressure, 22 psi, so you do not have to worry about blowing out the needle valve. It has a very fine control needle valve that is easy to ajust and the body is solid construction nickle plated brass. It has a two year warranty. Optional bubble counter and solenoid connect inline via the tubing for easy replacement or repair if needed. It can connect to a pH controller if you want one. If you don't want a controller then you don't really need a solenoid either. This is top of the line for not much more than the milwaukee. Aqua medic
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I think I'm going to go with Sumo solution with SMS122. I have not found many reviews of the Aqua medic online but many with the Sumo.

I realize CO2 injection via PH controller is only accurate if KH is changing the CO2 levels but I figure a drop checker helps calibrate the PH controller to compensate for any inaccuracies with setting the PH to a particular value.
 

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What ever you use consider putting the solenoid on a timer. My co2 comes on 1 hour before the lights come on and goes off 1 hour before the lights. I'm aiming for a 1 degree drop from night to day. The controller is kind of a fail safe-shuts off when the one degree drop is reached. Having the solenoid on a timer lets me read the ph at any time when lights are off-so controller is on 24/7 but solenoid is not. I also use a drop checker with 4dKH water to spot check various locations in the tank. I believe a one degree drop corresponds to a 30 ppm concentration and my drop checker confirms that.FWIW
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks I like that idea of putting solnoid on a timer even with a ph controller. I like the controller as a fail-safe and reading PH accurately. Starting to buy the CO2 equipment now. will likely have more questions.
 

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1. AQUARIUMPLANTS.com's own - Electronic + SMS122 PH controller - avoids needle valve problems, better bubble counter, 3 year warranty is reasonable. price is very high for this solution.
2. Sumo premier + SMS122 PH controller - good solution from many posts
3. Milwaukee MA957 + SMS122 PH Controller - Really cheap - I have seen many posts that say a PH controller overcomes a crappy needle valve since accuracy of bbs doesn't really matter since controller turns off after PH target is reached. This makes sense to me.

Does anyone agree with option 3 being perfectly good way to overcome lower quality needle valve? I want to buy a complete solution and avoid integrating the pieces myself.
1. I just started using this on my reef tank, and it is by far the best regulator I have used(JBJ, Reef Fanatic, Milwaukee are the others). It is very consistent and holds its setting fine
2. no exp
3. do not even bother. I battled 2 of these things, and they are garbage. One of them dumped a crap load of CO2 into my reef tank and killed a very expensive fish from the ph drop. I had it connected to a non-relay outlet on my controller, which did not shut it off. The most recent time I tried one of these, I could not even get it to give a consistent BPM coiunt for more than an hour.

I dont think a controller is a good way to make up for a POS regulator. I would go with the AquariumPlants and a cheap ph controller. My AP regulator keeps my calcium reactor chamber within 1 or 2 hundreths of pH reading 24/7. I still use a controller, but it is strictly for failsafe.
 

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I will add that I picked up a 2nd AP regulator to use on my planted tank which i am still setting up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, it's always good to get feedback from those that have used the AP regulator. I really like the electronic control. I think I will still go Sumo day 1 and retro to the electronics later. still need to spend many more $$$ on substrate and CO2 equipment.

I haven't seen too many, if any, negative posts on the AP solution other than the higher cost.

Agree on the conspensating for a POS reguluator. I thought I would see if anyone did this or liked this setup. it seems it's not a long term solution.
 
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