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Intimidated by pressurized CO2

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I have been searching the internet for a week, and seem to be searching in circles in regards to buying a CO2 system.

I currently have a DIY system and have had some issues with output being irregular.

I want to switch to pressurized but don't know what system to purchase.


I have looked into aquatek, milwaukee, and other pre-built regulators. Some reviews are awesome and some are awful. I want to avoid building my own for now. I am on a tight budget, but still am willing to take the leap into the pressurized world.

I have a 30 gal planted tank (high light and ferts, but irregular CO2 has screwed me over in the past)


Any advice is welcome!

Just a PS--- I have read probably 30 threads on this topic and feel just as confused as when I started. I am looking for someone to just tell me what to buy at this point haha
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What is your budget?

If you are looking for cheap, get a Milwaukee and replace the needle valve, I am currently using two Milwaukee regulators and have not had a big problem with them yet. Yeah dual stage regulators are nice, but if you keep an eye out of you co2 levels you never have to worry about your co2 canister dumping into you aquarium.

If you are running a canister filter, I would suggest running an in-line atomizer, there are good ones on e-bay that are the same as the GLA one, they just don't say GLA, from what I have read and have been able to find out they are actually made by the same factory.
 

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Might I suggest Paintball C02? I'm new to the C02 world all together and I set up my 65 gallon tank with a C02 paintball tank and an Aquatek Paintball regulator. So far I'm loving it. I'm still trying to get the C02 levels dialed in but thats mostly because of the timers that I'm using. I'm running a DIY cerges reactor that's T'd off of my return pump in my sump. I think the whole setup was around $150 including reactor. So if your budget is tight that could be a great contender.
 

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I wouldn't suggest going with a Paintball(PB) system. They are notorious for inconsistent co2 flow rates. The "regulator" really isn't a regulator as much as an on and off valve. Plus you have the higher cost of Co2, in my area it's $4.99 to refill a 20 oz PB canister and only $20 to refill a 20 pound canister, so to get the same amount of co2 in paintball canisters it would be about $80. Plus if you ever want to move your system to a bigger aquarium, or run multiple aquariums off one regulator like a lot of people do, you will want to go full size.
 

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I was in the same boat....part of it is my personality...I research stuff and read and read until I'm confused and intimidated...BUT I recognize that in myself and thats when I say just DO IT!

I literally just set up a 20lb cylinder in my 20L. Really not a lot of safety issues as long as you don't beat on the tank, bust the valve off etc. It's a fairly harmless gas, nonexplosive gas.

I have a fully assembled JBJ regulator and it was VERY straightforward in terms of setup. It has been running for about an hour and the majority of my plants are pearling. I can't wait to see new growth!

Go for it, you have lots of help here. It is so worth it!
 

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I'm on the same boat, I have figured everything for my Co2 system but the regulator, quite confused to build one instructions on Barr report are too overwhelming. Is there just enough instructions" and part list to build a quality dual stage regulator without going into the rabbit hole. I have figured other parts required for a Co2 setup (below)

Clear Part set (CO2 tubing)
Cal Aqua Inline CO2 diffuser
Cal Aqua Inline Bubble Counter
Cal Aqua Double Drop Checker
 

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I have been searching the internet for a week, and seem to be searching in circles in regards to buying a CO2 system.

I currently have a DIY system and have had some issues with output being irregular.

I want to switch to pressurized but don't know what system to purchase.


I have looked into aquatek, milwaukee, and other pre-built regulators. Some reviews are awesome and some are awful. I want to avoid building my own for now. I am on a tight budget, but still am willing to take the leap into the pressurized world.

I have a 30 gal planted tank (high light and ferts, but irregular CO2 has screwed me over in the past)


Any advice is welcome!

Just a PS--- I have read probably 30 threads on this topic and feel just as confused as when I started. I am looking for someone to just tell me what to buy at this point haha
I purchased a Victor co2 regulator from a welding supply store. A 20lb co2 tank from a different welding store. And I think a Fabco needle valve from a member here. Buy high quality. Avoid regulators using rubber diaphragms. I was just as confuse as you when I had to buy a new regulator after the original one failed after many many years, but once I saw how easy it was I thought what was all the confusion about.
Personally I don't see a need for timers or a solenoid on/off valve. It runs constantly.

P.S. Make sure to have washers. Also found at the welding store. They are used to create a seal between the male and female connections, tank and regulator.
 

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I'm on the same boat, I have figured everything for my Co2 system but the regulator, quite confused to build one instructions on Barr report are too overwhelming. Is there just enough instructions" and part list to build a quality dual stage regulator without going into the rabbit hole. I have figured other parts required for a Co2 setup (below)

Clear Part set (CO2 tubing)
Cal Aqua Inline CO2 diffuser
Cal Aqua Inline Bubble Counter
Cal Aqua Double Drop Checker
My 2 cents:
1. Get a Dual Stage regulator in flea bay - Here's one 181705598515
2. This site can save you some headaces with the fittings, solenoid etc.. http://www.cga320.com/
3. If you're still not comfortable building your own, checkout the classifieds here or just buy one of GLA's co2 systems.
Godd luck and have fun!
 

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I'm on the same boat, I have figured everything for my Co2 system but the regulator, quite confused to build one instructions on Barr report are too overwhelming. Is there just enough instructions" and part list to build a quality dual stage regulator without going into the rabbit hole. I have figured other parts required for a Co2 setup (below)
This help might, it's more of a visual aid than text instructions.

Full screen
 

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co2

I have always said GLA , but for some reason , they can't seem to get there stock in . Don't go with a paintball setup what ever you do. Get at least a 5lb bottle and a regulator with an electronic solenoid . do not get a drop checker , get a pH controller. Trust me on this , I have been thru this recently.
 

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I use a setup from GLA, and use a dropchecker.
I like to keep things a little on the simple side.
I watch my fish and make sure they are not stressed and as long as my drop checker is telling me 30ppm I am happy. I might increase the CO2 a little.
Doesn't using a ph controller mean keeping CO2 running 24 hours a day?
Plants do not need CO2 at night, and where I live my 10lb tank is $35 to fill every 5-6 months.
 

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I started the hobby in 02'. I did diy the first year on a 55g moderately plant tank. A complete pain. I too was on a budget, so I started with a Milwaukee kit. Not the greatest but it took away the chore that diy co2 was and it got me started with pressurized. You can go cheap and upgrade later or save up now and buy a good system and be done with it. Once you go pressurized, you won't go back, I hope, lol. I am more intimidated in thinking of going back to diy for pressurized it pretty much set and forget one setup the way you want it.

The problem with the milwaukee is that you must keep an eye on the high pressure gauge as your tank looses pressure. Yank it at 400-500psi. There will be some remaining co2 but you have to pull it or suffer the consequences later. You can't let the pressure go beyond this because it will dump. Been there, done that just as many others. I lost half my fish due to co2 overdosing. A dual stage regulator will maintain its pressure regardless of a tank loosing pressure. The milwaukee is a cheap single stage with a sub par needle valve and solenoid. Between being single staged and sub par valve, it needs to have an eye kept on it. I still have mine actually and I'd use it in a heart beat on a plant only tank. In fact, it just by be put back in service on my 125g grow tank I am current setting up.
 

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my $0.02

In Canada we lost the penny, so I guess this would be my $.05 on the matter:

I did a ton of reading on CO2 and got a whole lot of help from people on this forum. Got a pressurized system and ....then I forgot one important detail. Secure the gas cylinder. Strap it down, lock it up, keep it safe!
 

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I've been researching in anticipation of moving to CO2, and was thrilled when someone in this thread said to just buy a system from GLA... Went to their website and am overwhelmed. They have a GRO, a PRO, and a SS series, with each option offering 4-8 options. Any recommendations from here? It also looks like one of their systems will provide gas to more than 1 tank? Does anyone have experience in running multiple tanks off 1 system? ACK!!
 

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I've been researching in anticipation of moving to CO2, and was thrilled when someone in this thread said to just buy a system from GLA... Went to their website and am overwhelmed. They have a GRO, a PRO, and a SS series, with each option offering 4-8 options. Any recommendations from here? It also looks like one of their systems will provide gas to more than 1 tank? Does anyone have experience in running multiple tanks off 1 system? ACK!!
There are many people that run multiple tanks from one setup. Check out post 33 http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=860394&page=3. I am setting up a couple of these bad boys. Check out the link in my signature to see what the rigs are for. My co2 rig is not gla quality but if I can pull it off, it was 1/8 of the price of what they are asking for. I am not a pro so I don't need pro setups, lol. I am all about diy.
 
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