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help me make a decision (co2 related)

827 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  PlantedRich
I have two tanks that need a pressurized co2 system. Right now my budget only allows for one of them to be upgraded. I'm at a crossroads and not sure which one I should start with.

Here are my options
Milwaukee 957 regulator

AQUATEK CO2 Regulator Mini

both are same price, the only difference is the price of the c02 tank, 5 or 10lb bottle vs 20 oz

I know there are good and bad reviews for both, I feel if I follow the instructions for both, I should be ok with them. I wish I could just do both and get it done, but sadly that's not an option.

If it were you and you had to choose between the 2, and the 2 different tanks. Which would you go with? I want to make the purchase this weekend as I will have next weekend to set it up.

if you want to check out the tanks, to help me make a decision, click my tank journal in my sig.
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Personal opinion only? I would not want to go with the small bottle and reg. Too expensive over time. Refills are about the same price for large tanks as small and they are a whole lot less time consuming to watch and change out so often. I break much more equipment during moving than when it is just being used. Wear and tear on fittings?
With a larger tank, one might also look at the option of running both tanks using the same reg and CO2 tank by adding a Tee and tubing with a second needle valve at each tank where you want to use the gas. I feel the larger gives more options for future. Depends on where tanks are located, of course.
I looked at building my own, and splitting it off, but the tanks are not close enough to do that. I would have to run lines across the room, while I would have no issues with that, the wife will lol.

I was looking at paintball sets up for the 29g due to space in the stand. I know a c02 tank will fit in the stand, but with the regulator on top it won't.

You make good points, but I think I'm stuck with a PB set up on the 29g.
I recently upgraded from a paintball co2 setup to a 20 pound canister and full size regulator, and my only regret is I didn't do it sooner. I used my paintball setup on a 75 gallon high-tech setup for about 3 years, and would have to refill the canister once a week, and if the store didn't have any co2 I would have to drive 20 miles one-way to the next store that could fill canisters. There are two main factors, for me at least, when it comes to deciding which route to go:

How long it lasts.

As for price, a full size regulator and bigger canister will cost you a little more up front. A 20 pounds co2 canister around me is $80, used off craigslist there is no need to buy one of these new, and then $20 to exchange it for a filled one. Why? Well there are several reasons why. Mainly because 9 out of 10 places are simply going to exchange your canister for one of their's that is already full. Yes, yes, some people will say "Well Jim-Bob at my local shop will fill it up for me while I wait", you can look for your own Jim-Bob but most places don't refill, hence most. So don't waste your money on a shiny new co2 canister, buy a rusted POS on craigslist and exchange it at the store, if you don't like the way the one you get looks, paint it, or make a sleeve for it out of cloth.

A full size canister also saves you money, on refills and testing. On average a store is charging around $4.50 to refill a 20oz paintball canister, if you do the math you will end up spending $72 on 20 pounds of co2 and making and having to make 16 different trips to the store to refill them, or you could spend $30 for each 20oz canister and get a couple, but to get 20 pounds worth of 20oz canisters would easily cost $480 plus tax, then you have to worry about the hydrostatic dating which you will have to pay to have done for each paintball canister or replace it, this is already taken care of for you when you get a canister at an exchange, you will always get a canister that is full, within the hydrostatic date, and functions properly. AND to me the best part of the exchange is the quickness of it, most places when they see you walking in with a co2 canister over your shoulder they know what you are there for instantly and you will be in and out way faster than having to talk with Jim-Bob while he refills your canister and listen to him tell you about how his wife can't cook and theres no grass growing in his yard this year.

How long will it last? Many people ask this and it varies, it all depends on several things that are hard to judge. Simple things like the amount of flow in your water, where your diffuser is placed, or if its inline, where you drop checker is placed, what kind of test fluid you have in it, if you are using a solenoid or not, and so one and so on. Will all effect how long your co2 lasts. The main thing to take in to account is how are you going to monitor how much co2 you have? The most common way is to use a drop checker, although it is not the most accurate way to check you co2 levels it is affordable. The other key factor to determining how long your co2 canister will last is if you are using a solenoid or not, a solenoid will help you maintain the same amount of co2 flow daily, or you can simply leave your co2 on 24/7. Usually a 20oz canister would last me 5-7 days on my 75 gallon when I was using the paintball setup for it, but on my 10 gallon, the same paintball setup has lasting almost two month so far. I simply got tired of going to the store and having to fill up my canister every week and then I figured out how much I would save by going full size so thats when I swapped over.

I would suggest you start out with the full size regulator and a 10 or 20 pound canister, the main reason I suggest this is because if your aquariums are close enough, or if you don't mind having some tubing running to the other aquarium, which can be done several ways, the easiest way of course is simply letting it sit on top of your floor, the best looking usually is run underneath your flooring like the cable is for your TV this is pretty easy if you have a crawl space, another way you can do it in an apartment if you have a baseboard is take a screwdriver and stuff it under the baseboard the carpet will help hold in in place I do this throughout my entire apartment with cat5 cables, you can easily run both of your setups off of one co2 canister and one regulator. You would just need to get a regulator that either already comes setup for multi-tank use or you can buy a manifold and add it yourself, I have seen some that will run 6 separate aquariums all with independent bubble counters and needle valves.

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If I could go 2 months of use with the PB set up on the 29g I would be fine with that, much better than dealing with sugar water every other week. Unless I move the tanks, 2 off 1 won't work.

My original post wasn't very clear. I'm more trying to decide out of the 2 tanks, which one I want to put pressurized co2 on. They both need it as they are both set up similar and at the same stages in tankhood.

For someone that has never used pressurized co2, would it be best to start on a larger tank, reducing the risk of over loading the tank if that were to happen. Or does it really matter at this point? Both tanks are running on diy, and I had a failure with the 29g this weekend, which is what has brought this on. The 55g is still running fine on the diy, but the growth of a few plants is being limited by due to lack of co2. 29g is growing fine, I'm using a chop stick at the moment.

Both tanks have great flow, on the 55g the diffuser (glass or fluval) would be placed on the opposite end of the output, unless I need to chance this. The circulation in the tank is perfect and I don't really want to mess with that unless it's a must. I would use a drop checker or the kh/ph chart to track my co2 levels.

ugh much decisions to make.
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Okay. With that in mnd, I would say go with the pressure on the larger tank. The DIY CO2 will come closer to working well for the smaller of the tanks than for the 55. Just have to thrwo in a warning though. Once you start using the pressure CO2 it maymake the DIY seem much worse. This wholde process can get to be just too addictive! Like buying a new car for one in the family. It makes the other one look so BAD!
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