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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this has been hashed out long before my very recent arrival on this site...but I'm about to embark on a first time aquascape project and want to do the best I can for the money I have available. I'm planning to utilize an AQUATEK CO2 Regulator Mini on 20 oz. paint ball bottles ... what's the community view on the quality and effectiveness of the Aquatek mini system? I've got a 29 gallon tank and it'll be heavily planted with appropriate lighting. The main reason I'm looking at this particular system is the ease of getting paint ball bottles filled and any major sporting goods store...and cheaply.
 

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I don't have any experience with this regulator but it's popular enough that I'm sure someone will chime in with better answers for you.

This regulator seems to be an ok solution for paintball setups but with a 29g tank, a paintball setup might not be the best choice financially in the long run depending on your plant selection especially since the paintball world may be switching to HPA (high pressure air) in the future instead of continuing to use Co2.

This early in the game, I would research plants and their requirements more before deciding on a Co2 system. You may find that you could skip the Co2 all together, using that money on more plants where Co2 just isn't necessary.

Many plants will do well with only seachem excel as a carbon source and you probably don't need an intense amount of light, like most of us believe when we first start out and we are being provided with excellent examples of tanks running ~50par and under that prove this, look at most if not all Takashi Amano tanks.

Also, don't forget about fertlizers. If you run Co2 with adequate lighting, your plants will need nutrients regardless of light intensity.

A low light, high tech tank (co2 injected) still needs fertilizer but your light intensity dictates nutrient intake/growth rates and Co2 helps determine the nutrient demand. More light= more co2= more nutrients to keep it all balanced. Same goes for the other way around: less light= less co2= less nutrients. But we still need all 3 for what we want our plants to do, it's just up to us to determine how much of each is needed in our individual aquariums.

Light intensity = growth rate
Co2 level = appetite
Fertlizer = meal portion size

My apologies if my post was long winded and irrelevant towards your question but I believe you should first put together a plant list and their lighting requirements and go from their.

Good luck!! It's a really fun hobby and super addicting, stick with it and you will be rewarding :)
 

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I have an aquatek regulator with a 20oz paintball tank for my 20 gallon long.

It gets the job done. Depending on how high you run your co2 will determine how often you need to refill. I have to go every month or so and if it's an inconvenient trip you might want to pick up an extra tank. You also need O-rings that will fit your paintball tank. It's recommended to replace them every time you refill. I haven't really tried any other regulators so I can't give a comparison but it works. Since I've started using it my plants have been pearling. You may also want to pick up an outlet with a timer if you don't have one so you don't have inconsistencies in the level of co2 you inject because there's no on and off switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
RyRob...thanks for the thoughtful response...sounds like you have a lot of detailed knowledge and I appreciate your sharing it. Never occurred to me to run an heavily planted tank with no CO2 injection; it would be something I'd be willing to try on a nano tank but not for what I have in mind. I don't have your reservoir of knowledge and would likely kill my fish and plants within months! Thanks again.
 

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Co2 makes every plant grow better and you are less likely to have algae issues because of it. It also allow you to grow more plants at lower light levels.

…like most of us believe when we first start out and we are being provided with excellent examples of tanks running ~50par and under that prove this, look at most if not all Takashi Amano tanks.
Keeping it real, pretty much all ADA (Takashi Amano Tanks) run co2. That is a major reason the tanks do well with less par.
 

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I have two of them and use them each on my 5 gallon tanks. They're pretty good but using them on anything bigger wouldn't be efficient IMO.

I have to replace the CO2 once every 2 months. One thing I'll mention that's a pain that nobody ever seems to talk about is how despite the fact that refills are $4, you have to go to the gun section to get it done. This is one of the most busy departments, so expect to wait at least 30 minutes for your refill.
 

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I have two of them and use them each on my 5 gallon tanks. They're pretty good but using them on anything bigger wouldn't be efficient IMO.

I have to replace the CO2 once every 2 months. One thing I'll mention that's a pain that nobody ever seems to talk about is how despite the fact that refills are $4, you have to go to the gun section to get it done. This is one of the most busy departments, so expect to wait at least 30 minutes for your refill.
This makes a really good point and I do feel it is not mentioned enough. Not only is the price way out of line for what you get but the time is a definite factor for many. How busy do you feel? Think of taking time to watch the gas, time to take it apart and get it filled and then replace it. Somewhere in that time, you also run into one of the big problems with doing things that we feel take too much time. We get careless when we get rushed and that can be really bad for the fish and pocketbook. Changing out tanks is when most of us do get sloppy and leave a leak. We don't have time to do a soap check so we bleed off a full tank of gas, run into the end of tank dump and kill all the fish, maybe?
If not that we may get careless and break something. If we can reduce the odds of those things, we are better off.
If there is a way to squeeze out the higher price to do even a five pound tank, there are many things to recommend doing that.
Walking into a welding gas shop and swapping tanks in under 10-20 minutes is just one of the bennies I like.
 

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I've been using one for about a year on a lightly played 10 gallon. Works well and I've gotten a long time out of a 20oz tank. 6 months or more. It's getting moved to a 38 gallon soon and I'm going to pick up another tank. I'm in a small apartment size matters. Whenever it craps out on me I'll reevaluate my options. Look into the GLA paintball regulator too. More expensive, but better quality.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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I ran a GLA paintball reg for a while and then got a aquatek premium reg and moved the paintball reg to another tank. I ended up getting an adapter to run a full size co2 tank on the paintball reg because like others have said I was tired of having a paintball tank filled every 3-4 weeks at a cost of $4 and a minimum 30 minute wait. If you have the space switch to a 5lb tank like I did. They can be had for about $50-60 online with shipping and refills cost me $10. I only have to refill once every 3-4 months and I run 6+bps on my 40 gallon and 20 gallon.
 
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