The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This might seem like a simple concept for those more experienced with CO2, but I think I am misunderstanding the concept of "CO2 Tank Exchange Programs." I am looking into getting a 5# tank to set up on my 40 Breeder and want to know whether I should buy a tank and try and find a place to get it filled or if I should "buy into" some of these programs that exist out there where you pay a deposit on a tank that comes filled and just exchange when it runs out.

There is an airgas near me that I haven't contacted yet, but I did walk into a Homebrew store today and they quoted me $99 to join the program where you get a filled tank and when it runs out you have to bring it back and exchange for another tank for an additional $20. Based on the going rate for new tanks being between $60-80 and the cost of filling up here being $20, this seems reasonable. I will check with airgas tomorrow to see what their rates are but the homebrew is open 7 days a week and it seems like they are a solid small local business. The only concern I have is if I decide to move in a year or two, does that mean I can get my deposit back? I know some people seem to just hold on to their tanks when they get them from airgas and just bring them to another airgas location when they move somewhere else.

Would I be better off purchasing a tank so I personally own one and then try to find a place that fills them? I just don't want to have to trade in my new tank and have to deal with waiting for it to get filled and then go back to pick it up. What does everyone else seem to do and what would be the most economical for keeping high tech tanks running in the long run?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
I would go with the exchange program that air gas has they are nation wide and there is a strong possibility the brew store takes there empty tanks there for exchange and is basically charging you a conveyance fee.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
It will logically vary from area to area but I find Airgas to be a bit too high for my uses. They seemed to have a very high opinion of their services as if I had to use them. That prompted me to look at some of the dozens of other places to have my tanks filled.
It sounds as if you are willing to do some research so I would continue to look. Have you tried the welding gas suppliers? I found home brew was high, being a speciallty item, Airgas too high but a welding supply was very willing to do the job.
You may find it works much better to move to a ten pound tank rather than the more hobby size five pound. Far more places will have the ten available and ready to swap out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Yeah based on the research I've done prices seem to vary by location. First thought was similar in believing that it would be more expensive to go to the store that doesn't deal with CO2 as a primary business. There is a welding supply company locally that is actually closer than airgas so I will give them a call as well and compare prices.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Also check for paintball places in your area, I bought my tank for #10 tank filled for $100 and refills cost me $16 at local paintball store. I bought a used 20oz tank that was used on the guns for my nano tank at work. I sanded tank and spray painted it. good as new and good for a year and cost me $15 filled, that should last me 6 months on nano tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
I alway encourage getting the full scoop before buying a tank. I find locally I can go So much longer between fills if I go 20. Not only does that reduce the labor and time of taking the tank but it cuts risk in a number of other ways. We are far more prone to leaving a leak or breaking something when we are changing the tank than when it is just setting there. I can get 5 pounds for 11.02, 10 for 11.55, or 20 for 12.07, so it definitely pays for me to have the largest tank that works for my setup. I buy my first tank used and swap each fill. That way I never have to worry about the test date running out. If it were so ugly that it offended me, I would throw a sheet over it to continue with the convenience of swapping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
With the local Airgas here, you dont put down a deposit on a tank. You buy the tank. Then you keep exchanging it for however long you need it. At the end, you own the tank. So you end up buying a tank no matter what.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,428 Posts
With the local Airgas here, you dont put down a deposit on a tank. You buy the tank. Then you keep exchanging it for however long you need it. At the end, you own the tank. So you end up buying a tank no matter what.
That's what I find here. And it also follows that you can find cheaper places to buy tanks. $99 seems to be a bit high for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Local Welding company sells tanks for $85 and does an exchange program with fill up costing $17. I am thinking my best bet would be to stick with the welding company given that I know that I own the tank. I'm going to confirm with the homebrew whether the cost includes a deposit or if you own the tank.
 

·
Collectoritis Patient
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
If you get one from Airgas you are buying the tank. You are not obligated to continue exchanging with them. You can exchange somewhere else or find somewhere to fill it or even sell it to another hobbyist if you decide CO2 is not for you. Once you buy it you can't return it though.

The best way to get into the exchange habit is to buy a used one off of Craigslist. Airgas will exchange a tank even if it is out of date on its hydro test. I picked up two 20lb. tanks for $75 on Craigslist and swapped them both for another $67 so for $140 or so and change I got two filled 20 lb. tanks. Airgas charges about $200 for one filled 20lb. tank so I saved about $250.

If you have the room get a 20lb. tank. They are about 28" tall. Most places only charge a few more bucks for a 20 lb. tank and it lasts 4x as long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,697 Posts
Personally, what I do/did is find the cheapest tank possible (usually craiglist for $50 or less, actually got a 20 lb for $20 once). Then fill/exchange at the cheapest place possible. We have a place local that'll fill anything from a 5 lb to a 20 lb for a flat $10.

Then, when it comes time for a hydro test, tank to Airgas and just do a swap. My local airgas charges $23 for a swap, way more than what I can pay for a refill...but a hydro test is at least $20. So, every 5 years I just take my tanks to airgas and do a swap. Then I'm good to go. The tanks I get from airgas are usually within a year of their recert.
 

·
Algae Grower
Joined
·
6,444 Posts
It's more cost effective in the long run to just buy a new tank. Then find somewhere that will refill it instead of exchanging it. I bought mine for roughly 60 bucks and I get my 5 lb tank filled for $12 at a fire protection company. Even when it's time to hydro test it, you'll still be saving vs exchanging. I guess some folks have trouble finding places that will fill and hydro test. I guess that's first to figure out
 

·
Collectoritis Patient
Joined
·
2,322 Posts
It's more cost effective in the long run to just buy a new tank. Then find somewhere that will refill it instead of exchanging it. I bought mine for roughly 60 bucks and I get my 5 lb tank filled for $12 at a fire protection company. Even when it's time to hydro test it, you'll still be saving vs exchanging. I guess some folks have trouble finding places that will fill and hydro test. I guess that's first to figure out
Yeah, everywhere is different. The places that fill around here are just as expensive as exchanges and farther away.

jmhart - I use the exact same system. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
349 Posts
The exchange system is the best way to go unless you are in the business of using CO2 at your store.

You don't have to worry about the liability of certifying the tanks.

You don't have to worry about maintenance of the seals, etc.

You don't have to refill them in your garage on balcony or the apartment.

$80-90 to start and $20 for a 5lb refill or $30 for a 20lb is par.

Check with your local hydroponic shop, too.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top