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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to convert my low tech 10 gallon tank to a medium/high tech tank.

For providing CO2, I'm looking to use the Fluval 88g nano system. Is this a good system, and would it be possible to use paintball cartridges instead of the ones that Fluval sells? I don't want to have to buy the fluval cartridges as a 3-pack is as much as the system itself.
 

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Honeycomb Master
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I've found disposable cartridge systems to be pretty impractical, even on nano tanks. One 95g cartridge lasted me just under a month on my mini-M (5.5g).It just doesn't make sense considering how expensive the cartridges are. I would recommend looking into the Green Leaf Aquariums Atomic Paintball CO2 regulator. I have 2 of them myself and they are fantastic pieces of equipment.
 

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I've found disposable cartridge systems to be pretty impractical, even on nano tanks. One 95g cartridge lasted me just under a month on my mini-M (5.5g).It just doesn't make sense considering how expensive the cartridges are. I would recommend looking into the Green Leaf Aquariums Atomic Paintball CO2 regulator. I have 2 of them myself and they are fantastic pieces of equipment.
This.

I swap between 3 20oz tanks for my Mini M. Single stage regulator with adapter, solenoid and needle valve keeps everything in check just fine. I can go a few months off a single tank, so it's pretty nice. The 20L gets a full dual stage reg setup and a 10lb CO2 tank, though. ;)
 

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I'm looking to convert my low tech 10 gallon tank to a medium/high tech tank.

For providing CO2, I'm looking to use the Fluval 88g nano system. Is this a good system, and would it be possible to use paintball cartridges instead of the ones that Fluval sells? I don't want to have to buy the fluval cartridges as a 3-pack is as much as the system itself.
I would recommend against that, get a system that will grow with you and your hobby. I just converted my 75 gallon to a high tech tank.

Get a 2.5/5/10 lb tank. Depends on how close your CO2 refill place is really and the difference in price between the volume. Usually its only a couple bucks more to fill a 10 compared to a 2.5.

Go to http://greenleafaquariums.com and grab a full setup from him. Really top shelf, you get what you pay for indeed. Dual stage is really overkill IMHO. FWIW I got the Primo regulator and purchased the tank locally because they come already filled at my homebrew store. You can also pick up a tank for really cheap at a local restaurant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Since I'll be going off to college in a few years, this will probably remain my only high tech tank for a while.

The thing about the GLA equipment is that the initial startup cost is rather high (not very good for convincing the folks). I also don't have any room for a proper CO2 tank, so a paintball type system is what I'm looking for.

I vaguely remember seeing people modifying the fluval CO2 system to take paintball cartridges that could then be refilled at a sporting goods store. Does anyone know how to do this? Is it possible to refill the included disposable cartridge?
 

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I have never used a cartridge based system but they seem pretty impractical. If I were to do one, I would go with something like this:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=101417



He used the same regulator you will find on ADA systems but work for a generic cartridge. More expensive than the Fluval system but will likely pay itself off in the long term, and more reliable. On that note, I believe many have said that the Fluval 88G is little more than a needle valve and isn't a true regulator. I was looking at using just the "regulator" part of the fluval and adapt it to a paintball tank but people told me it wasn't worth it.
 

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Since I'll be going off to college in a few years, this will probably remain my only high tech tank for a while.

The thing about the GLA equipment is that the initial startup cost is rather high (not very good for convincing the folks). I also don't have any room for a proper CO2 tank, so a paintball type system is what I'm looking for.

I vaguely remember seeing people modifying the fluval CO2 system to take paintball cartridges that could then be refilled at a sporting goods store. Does anyone know how to do this? Is it possible to refill the included disposable cartridge?
A paintball system will cost you 3x in the long run.
This might be something that aligns with your cost requirements...

http://greenleafaquariums.com/co2-regulators/atomic-co2-regulator-v3.html
Use it with a small 2.5 lb CO2 tank and you will be golden.

What kind of filter do you have on the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have an HOB filter but it barely produces any current.

Would something like this be any good?
 

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Again, you *could* use that. It will cost quite a bit more in the long run but if that is what you want it will do the trick. How much light are you putting into the tank? Are you dosing ferts?
 

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I have an HOB filter but it barely produces any current.

Would something like this be any good?
I have heard good things. But, I personally would want something bigger.

Have you consider a paintball setup instead? That will still be physically small but a lot bigger. I suggest buying a standard regulator and getting a paintball tank adapter. Then, if you ever want to upgrade to a bigger setup, you have a regulator that works as well. I bit more costly upfront but more flexibility and likely cheaper in the long run. You can buy paintball co2 tanks for dirt cheap as well, especially used.

I know I am trying to sway you to go bigger but it just makes live easier. I have had a 20lb on a 29 and later a 20 long. We are talking years without refills. I would hate to change out cartridges on a regular basis now that I am used to filling so infrequently. I am getting a 5 lb now that I need my tank under the stand and I am not super pumped about it, other than I can't otherwise hide the tank so it will look better.
 

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As you can see there is a common theme here. Get the biggest tank you can. Ideally a true CO2 tank because then you have flexibility in the future.

By doing that you ensure the system will grow with you. If you spend 150 today instead of 220 you might save some money up front but when you have a 75G tank after college you will have to pay the 220 again and you will be out the 150.

Atomic makes a compact regulator that fits a normal CO2 tank.
There are some really small/cute CO2 tanks that are 1-2 lbs.
For example: 2.5lb CO2 tank

They will last you a very long time in a small nano tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Have you consider a paintball setup instead? That will still be physically small but a lot bigger. I suggest buying a standard regulator and getting a paintball tank adapter. Then, if you ever want to upgrade to a bigger setup, you have a regulator that works as well. I bit more costly upfront but more flexibility and likely cheaper in the long run. You can buy paintball co2 tanks for dirt cheap as well, especially used.
This seems like a good option. I don't have the space for a proper CO2 tank (even the 2.5 lb one is stretching it). How much would the mentioned components cost? Where would one find paintball co2 tanks for sale?

The tank is lit by a 27 watt CFL bulb using a desk lamp. The light is pretty bright, which is why I'm having algae problems in the tank's current low tech form. Even if the light is insufficient I can make a custom cover that would allow for it to be lit by several CFL bulbs. As for ferts, I already have some dry ferts that I intend to use once I get some CO2 going.
 

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20oz paintball tanks you can get off Amazon or at any random sporting goods store that sells them (call in advance and save yourself some time).

Honestly, GLA pricing isn't that bad. Fluval CO2 cartridges are going to cost you more money in the long run anyway if you want to go that route. So will ADA, and so will GLA's cartridge solution. If you don't want to dabble in regulators and the like and want to save space, I'd suggest going with GLA's atomic paintball regulators. Price point may seem kinda steep but it will seriously pay for itself within a few months just in cartridge costs vs filling a 20oz tank for 4-5 bucks.

Without solenoid
http://greenleafaquariums.com/co2-regulators/atomic-paintball-co2-kit-v1.html

With solenoid
http://greenleafaquariums.com/co2-regulators/atomic-paintball-co2-regulator-v2.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Is a solenoid necessary? Could I just get the same effect by putting the CO2 on a timer with the lights?

Also, if I go with the GLA regulator, what other components would I need? So far I can think of the diffuser and the paintball tank.
 

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This seems like a good option. I don't have the space for a proper CO2 tank (even the 2.5 lb one is stretching it). How much would the mentioned components cost? Where would one find paintball co2 tanks for sale?

The tank is lit by a 27 watt CFL bulb using a desk lamp. The light is pretty bright, which is why I'm having algae problems in the tank's current low tech form. Even if the light is insufficient I can make a custom cover that would allow for it to be lit by several CFL bulbs. As for ferts, I already have some dry ferts that I intend to use once I get some CO2 going.
Paintball CO2 tanks can be had online, or at sporting good stores. As someone mentioned, you can always go on Amazon.

The regulator will cost as much as you want. I would probably just recommend one built by someone on the site. They will be pricey but you get a top dollar regulator for the price of an OK regulator from a store. There are a few options around $100 but I am hesistant to recommend them as you still may upgrade. It's kind of up to you.

Now the critical piece is this- http://www.aquariumplants.com/Adapter_Adapts_Co2_Regulators_to_Paintball_cylind_p/ad1.htm

There are different brands if you look around but that atapter will be how you get your normal regulator to fit a paintball CO2 tank. Here is a blue one:

http://www.amazon.com/AQUATEK-CO2-Paintball-Tank-Adapter/dp/B004M49QDC
 

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Is a solenoid necessary? Could I just get the same effect by putting the CO2 on a timer with the lights?

Also, if I go with the GLA regulator, what other components would I need? So far I can think of the diffuser and the paintball tank.
The solenoid is what allows you to put the CO2 on a timer, otherwise it will always be on. It is not necessary but I strongly recommend it. Just saying that is how you get the CO2 to work with a timer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I don't think I'd need an adapter for the GLA atomic regulator. If I were to get this (minus the cartridge) would I have everything I need?

Also thanks for the heads up about the solenoid. I've been keeping fish for a while but CO2 systems are still pretty new to me.
 

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Regulators that use cartridge systems have proprietary threads. Meaning that you'll never be able to use them with anything but the specified cartridge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The GLA atomic regulator in the system I linked to is sold separately elsewhere on their site so I imagine it doesn't have proprietary threads. Does anyone have any personal experience with this regulator?
 

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I don't think I'd need an adapter for the GLA atomic regulator. If I were to get this (minus the cartridge) would I have everything I need?

Also thanks for the heads up about the solenoid. I've been keeping fish for a while but CO2 systems are still pretty new to me.
I don't know if you read my post before I edited but I thought a standard regulator was listed. You only need the adapter for a stand regulator if you are using a paintball tank.

That said, I still recommend a standard regulator, adapter, and a paintball tank if you want a small setup. I don't think it will be better than a paintball regulator from GLA in function, I just think it will be a better financial decision in the long run.
 
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