The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd asked earlier for some explanations about getting a pressurized CO2 setup and got great answers. I found some good deals on the forums and figured I'd ask a followup since my question is now more about individual regulators etc.

Anyway, found two setups, same price, different equipment. I think the one with the Milwaukee is better for the price (and seems to include more) but I figured I'd confirm:

Setup 1: 5 lb tank, Cornelius regulator, Fabco NV-55 needle valve

Setup 2: 5 lb tank, Milwaukee regulator (which seems to have a solenoid as well as I understand it), bubble counter, Rio powerhead, and a glass diffuser.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Penny for thoughts anyone? I am torn because on one hand the Milwaukee setup seems great b/c it includes everything including a diffuser but reading through threads here and on other forums I see that Milwaukee regulator is thought of as 'cheap' compared to some of the dual-stage regulators and has a propensity for End of the Tank Dump. Thoughts on this?

Conversely, the Cornelius regulator + Fabco valves are well-reviewed but this setup is about $20 more for me + doesn't include the bubble counter, diffuser, etc. so I am at a loss.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
It is hard to say, for setup 1, you are getting a Cornelius and a Fabco, which are quality parts.

For the second setup, you are getting more (bubble counter, powerhead, diffuser, solenoid), but your regulator and needle valve (the stock Milwaukee) aren't so good. Some people have good luck with the Milwaukee regulator, while others have had terrible luck.

Edit: You should be able to get a Cornelius and a Fabco for $60...

A solenoid would be ~$15-20, and the same can be said for the bubble counter (or you could DIY one yourself for free). Diffusers can be had cheaply on eBay for ~$10. The whole setup (for a Cornelius with Fabco NV-55 needle valve) shouldn't cost more than $110...

In the end, for the Milwaukee, you might be getting an extra powerhead at best...I would pass on the Milwaukee.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah that's kind of what I was thinking :-/

If I get the Milwaukee I can still use it as a regulator and add a better metering valve onto it (i.e. without replacing the Milwaukee, just add another metering valve after its extant needle valve; and then eventually replace the regulator with a better one) right?

Like, that Milwaukee system is potentially upgradeable piece-by-piece while the other requires more parts to even function. i.e. Stage 0 - stock, with the milwaukee setup running on my tank; Stage 1 - add a metering valve downstream/beyond the regulator/valve allowing more precision control; Stage 2 - Swap the Milwaukee regulator with a better regulator, allowing me to upgrade slowly to a better setup without missing out on the functionality in between.

Does that staging approach work? I've never worked with CO2 before so idk if you can add another metering valve after a needle valve and have it still work.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
Yes, you can definitely replace the Milwaukee needle valve. While you can just put one after the Milwaukee, it would look (aesthetically) more pleasing if you just removed the stock needle valve, in my opinion.

Why would you want to upgrade slowly, stage by stage? In the long run, this would cost you more money.

For example, the Milwaukee setup costs (say) $100. Then you want to purchase a new needle valve ($20). Then you want to buy a new regulator (let's say you purchase a Cornelius single stage ~$40). This is an additional $60 in spending...

Edit: The other does not require "more" parts to function; you are already getting the regulator and needle valve. The other parts (solenoid, bubble counter, diffuser) are just "optional".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Definitely a good point but my rationale was this:

I want something I can get and get going with. I'm a student on a budget and don't IF I will be upgrading but I could see myself doing so.

With that said, the Milwaukee setup is ready to go; the Fabco one would need the bubble counter, diffuser, and potentially a solenoid if I am lazy (which I am). That's a lot more spendy and the Fabco setup is about $20 more to start with.

So the staging option lets me get started without spending more now. And you're right that the individual pieces would cost more but I was thinking that then after the two upgrades I could then just sell the Milwaukee regulator and recoup some minimal amount of the cost (plus I'd still come out ahead with the bubble counter and glass diffuser).

So the Milwaukee setup costs less now, and theoretically costs not much more to upgrade in the long-term (because I am saving on buying the add'l components that I would have to on the other setup, plus recouping some cost when I finally sell the Milwaukee regulator after upgrading).

What do you think? Is the Milwaukee regulator, valve, solenoid good enough to work for a couple of months as I save enough to upgrade it?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
Well, in your first post, you said they were the same price. Now there is a $20 difference, so...

It seems as if you have already made up your mind on buying the Milwaukee; I have already mentioned the pros and cons of each, so in the end, it's really up to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sry the price difference arises from the Milwaukee seller saying that he would pay shipping while the other adds $20 for shipping. I didn't mean to be misleading.

[STRIKE]I appreciate the discussion though, it was definitely helpful to hear that the Milwaukee is upgradeable in the way I mentioned and I think that what is making me lean more twds the Milwaukee system is not having to buy additional parts, since the glass diffuser and bubble counter will likely be at least 20-40 additional. Since I'm not working (student) it just makes sense to save on the portions I can until I have more to invest in the setup.
[/STRIKE]
EDIT: Oh! I didn't see the edit to your earlier post. Apologies. I didn't realize that a solenoid, diffuser, and bubble counter could be had so cheaply. Hmm....

Especially now that I'm reading the edit and you've said explicitly that you'd pass on the Milwaukee. Plus the Fabco setup comes to $134 and you've said it would be $110 for the regulator and valve, so that puts me ahead if I'm getting a 5 lb tank for the price of shipping :) You've sold me on the Fabco setup I think...I can run it cheaply and expect it to be dependable and then upgrade to a nice diffuser, bubble counter etc. as I get cash to do so.

As an aside, I wish I'd read the edits to your posts before posting.

Thanks again Darkblade. Ever helpful in the equipment forum!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
At most, the glass diffuser and bubble counter (assuming you buy a JBJ one and don't DIY one yourself for free) would be $25 or so...

I am also a (graduate) student, but still managed to invest in a pressurized setup ;) I jumped right in with a Swagelok metering valve and Victor dual stage too :D

Be careful of possible EOTD with the Milwaukee regulators, and keep an eye on the bubble rate!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I will do the Fabco and Cornelius regulator and then get a JBJ diffuser + counter and just suck it up :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
EDIT: Oh! I didn't see the edit to your earlier post. Apologies. I didn't realize that a solenoid, diffuser, and bubble counter could be had so cheaply. Hmm....
Yes, you just need to know where to shop ;)

I think you misread something:

Plus the Fabco setup comes to $134 and you've said it would be $110 for the regulator and valve, so that puts me ahead if I'm getting a 5 lb tank for the price of shipping
The $110 would be for the regulator, needle valve, bubble counter, solenoid and diffuser...

$134 for a Cornelius regulator, Fabco NV55 and a (presumably) empty 5 lb tank is expensive, I think.

Let's break down the prices:

5 lb tank (Full ~$70, empty would be less)
Cornelius regulator: $40
Fabco NV55: $22
JBJ Bubble Counter: $16.95 (includes shipping)
Diffuser: Depends on the size you want; I don't see paying more than $14 (with shipping) for one
Solenoid: $17.50 (includes shipping)

In conclusion: I would pass on the Milwaukee because of other user's poor experience; I would pass on the Cornelius, Fabco NV55 and the 5lb tank because it is a bit expensive, and not the best deal you can get.

In essence, you are paying $68 for an empty 5 lb tank, when for the same price, you can get a full 5 lb tank...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yep the tank was the key item there! I figure getting the tank with it makes the deal since I can even wait on getting the diffuser and just line in the CO2 into my filter intake for a while and see how that works. Thanks again!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
Updated my previous post, give it another read :)

Edit: Let's say you paid $134 for the 5 lb tank (empty), Cornelius regulator and Fabco NV55 needle valve.

You would then have to fill up your tank (about $20), buy a bubble counter ($16.95), buy a solenoid ($17.50) and a diffuser ($14), bringing your total up to $201.50. Definitely on the expensive side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
LOL dangit!

Well thanks for the heads-up. I sent the guy a PM but I'll send him another saying I don't want it. I guess I will just hold off on CO2 or try and part together my own kit since, after doing this little analysis, I understand a lot better now how to put together a kit and which elements are key.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,976 Posts
:)

No need to rush into things; spending a little time doing research and analysis will save money in the long run! Patience is the key to building a budget pressurized CO2 system.

Of course, if you are very patient, you can wait for the "best" deals to come along; for example, the Fabco NV55 price I listed was the "standard" price that most websites sell it for. However, there was recently an eBay auction where you could purchase a Parker metering valve (i.e. a much finer control needle valve) for less than the price of the NV55...

The same can be said for regulators; occasionally, there are dual stage regulators that can be had for either the same, or just a little more than a single stage regulator. Of course, you could be very lucky and get a dual stage regulator for cheaper than a single stage regulator too!
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top