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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

So, I've decided to take the scary plunge into the world of pressurized co2, despite being pretty intimidated by it. I have a 46g bowfront. Now, I've been doing a dizzying amount of research this past week on where to even begin, and one thing I think I've deduced is that the only guaranteed way to avoid EOTD is with a dual-stage regulator. I'm pretty attached to my fish, so I'm very worried about something happening to them.

Unfortunately, I need to keep my costs really low- like $150 for everything, so I'm starting to think I can't afford the luxury of a dual-stage regulator. Are single-stages really that dangerous in terms of EOTD? I know I definitely want something with a solenoid (I have a new baby and don't want to accidentally forget to shut my co2 off at night).

Basically, I just really need help narrowing down my search... are there any brands I should completely avoid? Are there any bells and whistles I should make sure to get?

Does this look good? - Freshwater Planted Aquarium Plant Care: Drs. Foster & Smith Semi-Automatic CO2 System

I would REALLY appreciate any input at all. Thank you!

-Jess
 

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edit

Aquatek (on amazon.com) and Co2art both sell affordable single and dual stage regulators.

I've owned the aquatek paintball regulator. While it did work, at one point the high pressure gauge got iffy and was pointing at way below the zero mark. It still worked though =)

One thing I will say is that spending the extra money on a 2nd hand or used custom dual stage with a quality solenoid and needle valve will be better choice.

I see it every time where people just get stuck in the "troubleshooting" mode because their regulator is giving them all kinds of issues. CO2 regulators is a piece of equipment that IMHO one should not skimp out if they can avoid it. It is just not worth the time and effort to be spending too much time worrying, tinkering and troubleshooting your regulator. We wanted planted tanks so we can grow plants not waste too much time being an equipment troubleshooter. Our focus should be growing plants and trimming weekly =).

CO2 is already a bitch and having a faulty regulator will increase your stress levels 100 fold. LOL

I've seen awesome deals here for dual stage regulators going for $250 range. You might want to try the ROAK section and do a WTB for a 2nd hand dual stage regulator. I don't know if you can get something below $200.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Aquatek (on amazon.com) and Co2art both sell affordable single and dual stage regulators.

I've owned the aquatek paintball regulator. While it did work, at one point the high pressure gauge got iffy and was pointing at way below the zero mark. It still worked though =)

One thing I will say is that spending the extra money on a 2nd hand or used custom dual stage with a quality solenoid and needle valve will be better choice.

I see it every time where people just get stuck in the "troubleshooting" mode because their regulator is giving them all kinds of issues. CO2 regulators is a piece of equipment that IMHO one should not skimp out if they can avoid it. It is just not worth the time and effort to be spending too much time worrying, tinkering and troubleshooting your regulator. We wanted planted tanks so we can grow plants not waste too much time being an equipment troubleshooter. Our focus should be growing plants and trimming weekly =).

CO2 is already a bitch and having a faulty regulator will increase your stress levels 100 fold. LOL

I've seen awesome deals here for dual stage regulators going for $250 range. You might want to try the ROAK section and do a WTB for a 2nd hand dual stage regulator. I don't know if you can get something below $200.
Thank you for the advice. That confirms what I was thinking- I just cant afford a dual-stage regulator right now. You mentioned Aquatek and co2art- if I get one of their single stage regulators, how can I prevent EOTD? Just by watching and getting the tank refilled before it gets too low?
 

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i do have have 2 aquatek paintball regulator on my cube nano tank with 1 to 2 bps.... that last me for 4 to 5 month on a daily 6 hours run.....
im very happy with single stage regulators as i can see the plant are growing so healthy and green.....
 

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I just recently ordered a single stage kit from co2art, I've read good things about them and they are fairly affordable. This will be my first time with co2 also and from what I've read is if you keep an eye on your tank pressure you won't have to worry about EOTD.
 

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Aquatek does not make a dual stage regulator, and there's a recent thread documenting really poor craftsmanship in the CO2Art dual stage regulators, coming from many users. For now, until people have chimed in about quality over the next few months, I strongly recommend avoiding CO2Art. For the record, the economy dual stage regulator that CO2Art sells is more of a stage-and-a-half regulator.

A paintball cylinder and something like an Aquatek Mini, the link you posted from F&S, or a CO2Art paintball regulator, are about the only way you'll come in at or under $150 total. Unfortunately, for that price, you're going to have to sacrifice quality. While it's theoretically possible to keep the total cost of a dual stage regulator, including cylinder, under $150 if you're very careful and know exactly what you need, and how to search for it, on Evilbay, the chance of that happening is very slim. Likely you'll find yourself in the $200-250 range, assuming that everything works as it's supposed to, and there aren't any unfortunate surprises.

Edit - here's the CO2Art thread:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...e-regulator-working-pressure-fluctuation.html
 

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In all fairness and AFAICT.. it is just the "budget" 2 stage that is having problems..
Also when it was introduced no such problems were reported..
There is a lengthy pre-release of that new model thread here somewhere and the current issues were not seen.

BUT YMMV....
thread:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...o2art-2-stage-prototype-regulator-review.html
 

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Plant Clown
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The brass ones are all Victor VTS-450's. They're dual stages and will work fine. Just know that they're surprisingly big. The gauges on them are, I believe, 2 1/2" diameter. If you're interested, check Evilbay for prices and then throw out a lowball and see what happens.

*edit* that first Harris might be a dual stage, too. Possibly it's a Matheson model 8. Might have a CGA320 nipple and nut already on it, but not sure. Same with the lone Victor-450 that has a few pics of it. But it's missing a gauge cover. The other 3 Victors, pictured a couple times together, will definitely need CGA320 nipples and nuts, and one of them is missing a gauge cover as well. Gauge covers are fairly cheap, but might as well avoid the cost if you can.
 

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Awesome. So I would still also need a solenoid valve, manifold, needle valve, bubble counter, tubing, diffuser, and of course a tank. Am I missing anything?
Yep.. but it is best to understand what one can buy new when it comes to regulators..

So as a baseline I like to post this one:
One would need to swap out the CGA (about $10)
and add shipping .. but for $200 you got a new 2 stage regulator..
Rest of the parts are relatively cheap .

now the point is that used is used...may last forever, may last a week, may not even work or need some cheap parts (busted gauges as an example ar , on average $10 each).

https://weldingsupply.com/cgi-bin/einstein.pl?Next::1:UNDEF:AND:35-125-540

I have no doubt you can get a used working for less..Those that you posted from craigslist don't actually look the best..

New decent single stage regulators are about $50-$100..

eek #331781894568
 

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Hello Long...,where are you in Michigan?Here is an idea for a good starter regulator that the purists will rag on but i have two running for over two years with the only complaint being a cheap needle valve that takes some tweaking.Only other thing you need is the tank for about 50.00-60.00 dollars.
Amazon.com: Milwaukee Instruments MA957 Dual-Valve CO2 Adjustable Flow Pressure Regulator, Dual Reading psi and kg/cm: Industrial & Scientific
Also EOTD is a term used to get you to buy better regulators which is not a bad thing if you can afford it but until me or one of the many friends and their friends have it happen I believe it is a myth..
 

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Amazon.com: Milwaukee Instruments MA957 Dual-Valve CO2 Adjustable Flow Pressure Regulator, Dual Reading psi and kg/cm: Industrial & Scientific
Also EOTD is a term used to get you to buy better regulators which is not a bad thing if you can afford it but until me or one of the many friends and their friends have it happen I believe it is a myth..
This is the same Milwaukee the link goes to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M08hPs-J3SM

I can't say whether this is standard, but I'd guess it's pretty close. It's about a 14 psi increase in working pressure as the cylinder drops in pressure from 800 to 0.
 

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http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-Ins...18621&sr=8-1&keywords=co2+regulator+milwaukee
Also EOTD is a term used to get you to buy better regulators which is not a bad thing if you can afford it but until me or one of the many friends and their friends have it happen I believe it is a myth..
no, no myth.. just an engineering fact..
Single-stage and two-stage gas regulators have different droop characteristics and respond differently to changing supply pressure. The single-stage regulator shows little droop with varying flow rates, but a relatively large supply pressure effect. Conversely, the two-stage regulator shows a steeper slope in droop but only small supply pressure effects. On the other hand, if gas is being used for a short duration instrument calibration, a single-stage gas regulator with a wide accuracy envelope (supply pressure effect) but a comparatively flat droop should be chosen
http://rmehs.fullerton.edu/_documents/policiesandguidelines/how to select a gas regulator.pdf

It's severity and how often it occurs is questionable..but not the fact that 2 stage will "insure" it is the lowest possible times.. ;)



Fact you can take a chance on a used 2 stage for the same price as a new 1 stage regulator shift the equation a bit..at least for many..
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello Long...,where are you in Michigan?Here is an idea for a good starter regulator that the purists will rag on but i have two running for over two years with the only complaint being a cheap needle valve that takes some tweaking.Only other thing you need is the tank for about 50.00-60.00 dollars.
Amazon.com: Milwaukee Instruments MA957 Dual-Valve CO2 Adjustable Flow Pressure Regulator, Dual Reading psi and kg/cm: Industrial & Scientific
Also EOTD is a term used to get you to buy better regulators which is not a bad thing if you can afford it but until me or one of the many friends and their friends have it happen I believe it is a myth..
I'm in SE Mich. Its comforting to hear that you have had success with this regulator, but then I'm scared off again by some of those reviews. Would it be possible to swap out the cheap needle valve? Or would that be really expensive?
 

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This is the same Milwaukee the link goes to:
Hi Kev,won't argue that it is possible but that took place over a course of days not minutes as described in the comments.There are over a hundred videos about the milwaukee and only this one describes this happening also that is either a different regulator or has been changed because the right side dial is different,again this is not to start an argument because I don't have the experience for that.My only real point is that when you have someone who{like me} states that they are on a budget and can only afford so much the replies are to get a build your own or coart dual stage for twice what they can afford.What is wrong with a single stage to start so they can find out if it will work and to educate themselves about co2 than when they can to upgrade.Would you say that EOTD happens but is very rare and something that a person who pays attention to what is going on with there system can avoid or at least stop.I find it funny that while we are discussing this my 10 lb. tank is nearly empty and now you have me checking it every 10 minutes.So again not arguing I have received tons of info from your replies and appreciate what you do here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Ok, I'm losing my marbles over here. I'll be honest, I'm getting very tempted to buy a cheap POS pre-built, just for the sake of having everything I need, and knowing it was put together correctly. And of course because I can AFFORD one.
But I know I will regret it. So then that leads me to want to get a nice used regulator, and go buy a solenoid, needle valve, whatever fittings are missing, bubble counter, diffuser, tubing, blah blah blah.
My issue with that is not knowing what regulator will work and what wont- what kind of needle valve do I need, what the hell is "working pressure" and how should that affect my decision, and what kind of solenoid I need. I googled "cool touch solenoid" just to try to get some prices and none of the search results looked anything like what's on the pre-builts. I'm trying to add everything up and its looking like, to build my own with new or even used parts is going above my price range. This would be so damn easy if I was rich. :)
 
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