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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've read so much to try to understand the concept, but I'm still lost. I have a 55gal planted tank i'm barely starting up, with 2.4 ish watts per gallon. I want to get a co2 system and I'm looking for my best options. BTW, I'M AAWWFUL at dyi things so I won't even try peeking at that route. :(

My first choice was the dr fosters & smith semi-automatic system which is 15% off right now (some people in here like it, some don't it seems) and it comes with everything but the bottle right? So i was looking for bottles and it seems like there's no one in san diego who sells them used but this ad:

"5lb CO2 bottle with reef fanatic regulator, $125"

Is that a good deal? Should I go for that? I think i'd only need the tubing, diffuser, and bubble counter which shouldn't be over $50 right?

I also saw the complete systems at green leaf aquariums, and even though I'm sure they're the best they seem sooo expensive but maybe that's what everything will end up costing in the long route if i went the cheaper way.

HALP.

EDIT:
I also read about milwaukee regulators, cheap and does the job right? What do you guys think about this and what else would I need to purchase? (other than the bottle) http://cgi.ebay.com/Milwaukee-MA957...in_0?hash=item35a2cd99e0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
 

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CO2 cylinders can be found here: http://www.aquariumplants.com/Aluminum_CO2_Cylinders_Tanks_p/t.htm

or here: http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/co2-cylinders.html

I use the Milwaukee regulator and my only complaint is the needle valve is terrible. It requires constant fiddling to get the right BPS. I have a pH controller(entirely optional equipment) so I have resorted to just bumping up the BPS really high to make sure it always flow. This is impossible without a pH controller so I would consider the Milwaukee kit only if you purchase another needle valve. Everything else works great.

Tubing can be had for about $5 at any pet store. Diffuser and bubble counter can be found for cheap online as well.

I have no experience with the Dr. FS kit so I cant comment on it but it looks to be a good deal.
 

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You just need to decide how much you want to spend. Since you want a pre-made package you're heading in the right direction with your choices/options so far. Like most things, there is a difference in quality and the price will usually follow that.

As far as a diffuser I'm not sure a single ceramic diffuser will deliver enough CO2.

CO2 tanks can last for years and years but must be tested every five years. Also find a source for your refills. Some places only exchange full tanks for your empty one. I use a fire extinguisher service that will refill mine. All the local welding suppliers here only do exchanges. No need to get a shiny new tank if you'll end up with a beat up one on your first refill.

SteveU
 

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I just purchased this regulator from Green Leaf Aquariums, after spending a year struggling to keep a Milwaukee MA957 regulator constant. I am away from my tanks for a couple days at a time, and it was normal to come home to find the shoddy milwaukee needle valve backed all the way down, so that no co2 was flowing at all. This obviously led to lots of problems. It looks like the reef fanatic system uses the same type of needle valve.

From what I've read, my experience wasn't unusual. You definitely get what you pay for. The green leaf regulator is awesome, hasn't varied at all in the 2 weeks its been up. It's also much easier to fine-tune your bubble rate, and comes with co2 tubing, a bubble counter and a check valve. You can pick up a new 5 lb. co2 tank for $50.

Hope that helped...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So bottom line I should not go the milwaukee way unless I'm willing to replace some parts and will likely want to replace the whole thing together later on... steered clear from that one. o.o If I got the choice CO2 regulator, what else do I need to buy? Sounds to me like it also has everything but the cyclinder, diffuser but i'm still clueless... sorry :(

As far as a diffuser I'm not sure a single ceramic diffuser will deliver enough CO2.
So that's not enough for the 55gal? o_O If I get a second diffuser will I still be able to use it with what I get or should I get something extra for it like to hook it up?

And as far as the cylinders, if there's no difference between the stuff we use on aquariums to what people use in welding/beer companies/ect can we just pick up a cylinder from there? I remember reading something about industrial or food grade, which makes me think the industrial type of CO2 cylinders might be toxic or something but i probably twisted it up since i read it a while ago. ;x dunno
 

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CO2 is CO2 IMO. CO2 used by beer and soda companies is for human consumption so I'd have to say that's ok for my tank.

As far as diffusion goes, I know on my 90g CO2 was impossible to deliver tank wide from a single diffuser. Most of the bubbles just end up at the top of the tank. I tried a powerhead over it and that helped some but I don't like powerheads in the tank. I know some people say you can just split the CO2 after the valve but I find diffusers even if the same brand don't deliver equally. It takes some pressure to force the air through.

If you have a canister filter you can build a DIY CO2 reactor from PVC. DIY is not my thing at all and even I made one. lol

Call your welding supply place and ask for a tank price and a refill price. I have a 5g and a 10g tank, both aluminum. IIRC the new 10g was like $90 shipped. They cost $15 and $16 to refill.

SteveU
 

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After spending a lot of time reading the threads and reviews here I went with the Ultimate regulator from GLA. I found it easy to setup, and it has been pretty solid for me so far.
 

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If I got the choice CO2 regulator, what else do I need to buy? Sounds to me like it also has everything but the cyclinder, diffuser but i'm still clueless... sorry :(
I believe you would need the CO2 cylinder, a check valve, and some way to diffuse the CO2. You might also want to pick up a drop checker, which will allow at-a-glance visual check of the amount of CO2 that is in the tank.

So that's not enough for the 55gal? o_O If I get a second diffuser will I still be able to use it with what I get or should I get something extra for it like to hook it up?
With larger tanks, diffusion of CO2 is always a problem. If you want to get a second diffuser, then you will need a manifold to split your CO2. Of course, there may be the problem of uneven distribution of CO2.

And as far as the cylinders, if there's no difference between the stuff we use on aquariums to what people use in welding/beer companies/ect can we just pick up a cylinder from there? I remember reading something about industrial or food grade, which makes me think the industrial type of CO2 cylinders might be toxic or something but i probably twisted it up since i read it a while ago. ;x dunno
The CO2 that I get is from a fire extinguisher company, but it is considered food grade. I inject it into my tank with no issues.
 

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I just got done building my Co2 system and was at where you are now, very confused.

I ended up getting my regulator from Rexgrigg.com which from what people here told me was one of the best quality regulators you can buy. I got a reasonable price too! I got the regulator with electronic selonoid, dual gauges, a bubble counter, C02 resistant tubing, a perma seal (goes right on the nozzle of your co2 tank to be totally leak free) a quality fabco needle valve (which is very precise!!), and quality check valves for 164 shipped. I then got a Red Sea reactor from Dr fosters for 30 bucks. I bought my 10 lb Co2 tank from aquariumplants.com...100 bucks filled and a great deal IMO. System works great, it's high quality and will last for a long time and it didn't break my bank compared to other options out there!

One thing thats missing which I would kind of like is a PH controller maybe. I'd like to keep the Co2 levels at the same level through out the day. I do have a drop checker that arrived today that'll help me view how much Co2 is in the tank. But right now having the Co2 on all day when I"m not home makes me nervous in thinking I'll find dead fish when I get home. It'd just be nice to have a controller that turns the Co2 on and off during the day when it reaches a certain level. :)
 

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i just bought my equipment as well. I went with:

1. 5lb aluminum CO2 tank from BevFactory - $56
2. JBJ dual guage regulator with electronic solenoid,bubble counter, and built in check valve from AquaCave - $109 including shipping
3. Airline hose from pet store - 8ft for 2.99
4. My AC power head where i will feed the CO2 tubing to my Venturi inlet attached to CO2 to act as reactor.

This whole set up cost me under $200 and i think its a great way to start...

well hopefully...good luck in picking your set up.
 
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