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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering trying CO2 in my tank, but honestly, I don't understand this at ALL. I completely understand the biology and chemistry of it, but not the mechanical/technical stuff.

So... can someone dumb it down for me? I read Rex Grigg's site, and I still don't get it... I feel like there are so many pieces, and I don't understand what they all do. When I see metal, nuts, and bolts, my eyes glaze over.

Here's what I need to know:

Each "piece" of equipment, what its purpose is, how important it is to have, and why. Of course, I also need to know where to get all of these things.

Thank you!

Lara
 

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A tank is where the gas is compressed and stored. They come in small canisters for paintball guns all the way up to huge 20lb tanks for industrial use. These are a necessity, obviously.

A regulator allows the compressed gas to come out of the tank in a usable form. Also a necessity.

A solenoid is an electrical switch that allows the entire CO2 system to be turned on and off. These are not a necessity, but they allow you to conserve your gas because the plants don't need CO2 during the dark period.

A needle valve is how you adjust the levels of CO2 coming out of the tank. These are a necessity, because how else are you going to fine tune the amount of gas entering your aquarium?

A bubble counter provides a visual way to see how fast the gas is entering the aquarium. We refer to this as "bubbles per second." Not required, but highly recommended, to eliminate some guesswork.

CO2-resistant tubing is how the gas actually enters into the aquarium. Obviously this is required.

A check valve is a one-way valve installed inline in the CO2 tubing. This allows gas to travel the one way into the aquarium, while preventing water from travelling the reverse direction down the same line. Let's just say this is required!

A CO2 diffuser or reactor is the device that takes the gas bubbles and either chops them up into millions of tiny bubbles that dissolve into the water more readily, OR, just traps the bubbles giving them time to dissolve on their own accord. Also required.

I think that's all. Did I miss anything?

Oh yeah, you can order these parts from several of the sponsors here at TPT, among other places. I recommend buying a whole system, as they are not expensive, and you don't take the chance of forgetting something. Green Leaf Aquariums is where I got mine.

[edit: I did miss something: the drop checker, which is a visual way of seeing how much CO2 is dissolved in the aquarium water. If the drop checker is colored blue there is not enough CO2. If it is yellow there is too much CO2. If it is lime-green, it is just right. Not required, but highly recommended to eliminate guesswork.]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmm. I'd have to say...i'm quite surprised at how expensive all the equipment is. From threads I've been reading on here, it seemed like people were saying that you could buy a set up for $200 or maybe a bit less. The cheapest full set up on the green leaf aquariums website is $295!!! Is it possible to get a good set up for less than that?
 

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I think the people who talk about being able to find CO2 setups for under $200 are probably talking about buying everything except for the tank. Then they find a craigslist deal (of which there are many!) for the standalone tank.
 

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Hmm. I'd have to say...i'm quite surprised at how expensive all the equipment is. From threads I've been reading on here, it seemed like people were saying that you could buy a set up for $200 or maybe a bit less. The cheapest full set up on the green leaf aquariums website is $295!!! Is it possible to get a good set up for less than that?
Define "good" you get what you pay for ask any of the first timers that buy the cheap Milwaukee kits and then wonder why they can't get consistent bpm's out of it or why it doesn't change pressure as soon as they turn the dials. I could go get more specific but I hope you get the point.

- Brad
 

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^ +1

I am still using a Red Sea paintball regulator that I bought before I knew any better, and I am "paying" for it now with constant adjustments to the needle valve every few days, as the tank nears emptiness. Next time I have extra money laying around, I'm getting me one of the GLA paintball regs.

You TOTALLY get what you pay for.
 

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The best you can do is camp out on ebay for a good regulator for around $50 then buy a $165 Sumo post body kit and find a cylinder locally for cheap. That puts you at about $220 bucks without the can and you have to put everything together yourself.

Or for the extra convenience of someone else putting together a good rig you could buy it from greenleaf for around $350.00'ish including the can which would be faster and easier but you pay for it.

- Brad
 

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Thanks! I do understand now. I'll do more research before I ask specific questions about what's best. I definitely want to do this right, because I don't want to have to buy everything twice!
There is a lot of info in this thread.
 

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The best you can do is camp out on ebay for a good regulator for around $50 then buy a $165 Sumo post body kit and find a cylinder locally for cheap. That puts you at about $220 bucks without the can and you have to put everything together yourself.
You can camp on eBay or the Swap and Shop forums for a cheaper post body kit (really, you are looking at an Ideal needle valve, a solenoid and a bubble counter. Ideally, these things should cost < $100 total....)
 

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You can camp on eBay or the Swap and Shop forums for a cheaper post body kit (really, you are looking at an Ideal needle valve, a solenoid and a bubble counter. Ideally, these things should cost < $100 total....)
Sure you can get a $9 solenoid and a crappy bubble counter if you want, but you get what you pay for it's really that simple.
I'll stick to Ideal or Swaglock needle valves, Burkert solenoid's and JBJ brass bubble counters so I don't have to futz with the kit every other week.

- Brad
 

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Sure you can get a $9 solenoid and a crappy bubble counter if you want, but you get what you pay for it's really that simple.
I'll stick to Ideal or Swaglock needle valves, Burkert solenoid's and JBJ brass bubble counters so I don't have to futz with the kit every other week.
I picked up a Parker solenoid for $15, and a JBJ bubble counter for the same price :confused:

I'm not sure why the Parker solenoid would be that much different than the Burkert. One could argue that it is even better than the $22 Clippard solenoid.

The point, however, is that shopping around will net many savings. I managed to pick up two Swagelok metering valves, one for $20 and another for $28. Combine that with the $15 Parker solenoid and the $15 JBJ bubble counter, and it's really only $50, compared to the $165 that Sumo is asking for.
 
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