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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about maybe adding c02 for my 32g tank and add more plants.

Now I see there's a lot of options from DIY (which I'm not too interested) to a complex fully automatic system (not my cup of tea either)

I'm looking at the fluval co2 88 kit or the Nutrafin A7690.

I want something user friendly (at least as user friendly as it can be...) that ideally wont take too much space (apartment living...)

What do you guys use? Should I just keep on adding Flourish? is the maintenance very expensive?
 

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co2 is so worth it. those kits are probably less user friendly than buying a co2 tank and a finished regulator from someone on here. or even buying the regulator on ebay and buying a component kit from someone on here (which is what i did, twice)

i love me some co2
 

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The small kits offered by Fluval will work fine for small pico tanks but a 32g will have you changing cartridges every few days.... so the cost of operation will soon succeed the convenience.
 

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The "worth" only you can answer. It is not a necessity. If you have not already tried using Excel or Metricide it might be easier to take the step up to using that before deciding if you want CO2.
 

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I would steer clear of the DIY or other low end CO2 methods you mentioned. IMO CO2 is something you should do right or don't bother. The alternatives can cause more problems then they're worth. If size is an issue use a regulator designed for a paintball tank. I've used one of the Fluval 88 systems. It's currently located somewhere in a landfill. Nuff said ;)
 

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I had that Nutrafin system and it was barely adequate for my 20gal. I got tired of refilling it after each week to avoid dropping CO2 levels that lead to staghorn algae. Not to mention replacing that horrible ladder system for an actual diffuser I didn't have to clean every few days. After a month I went to the Aquatech Mini paintball CO2 system. I know it's hit or miss with alot of folks, but it's worked well for me the last four months and my plants are looking great!
 

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I had that Nutrafin system and it was barely adequate for my 20gal. I got tired of refilling it after each week to avoid dropping CO2 levels that lead to staghorn algae. Not to mention replacing that horrible ladder system for an actual diffuser I didn't have to clean every few days. After a month I went to the Aquatech Mini paintball CO2 system. I know it's hit or miss with alot of folks, but it's worked well for me the last four months and my plants are looking great!
I'd second this regarding the Nutrafin system. The cannister is great and prevents leaks, but at the same time, it is small in comparison to a 2 liter soda bottle. The ladder is huge, and at first, it looks pretty cool to see bubbles traveling up the ladder and getting smaller. The ladder works fine, but if you have snails, you'll never get a consistent level of CO2 dissolved in your tank because the snails like to eat biofilm or detritus that accumulates on the ladder. When they do, they often block the bubbles form traveling up the ladder. As a result, the bubbles never get to travel up the ladder and decrease in size. Instead, they clump together and get bigger and bigger until they bypass the snail altogether and rise up to the surface.

If you're going to do DIY, go with two 2L bottles so that you can swap out one bottle a week and keep your CO2 levels consistent. I'm still using my Nutrafin cannister for the time being, but I've switch to using a chopstick diffuser and hope to upgrade both the diffuser and the cannister (to two 2L bottles) sometime in the near future.
 

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I would steer clear of the DIY or other low end CO2 methods you mentioned. IMO CO2 is something you should do right or don't bother. The alternatives can cause more problems then they're worth. If size is an issue use a regulator designed for a paintball tank. I've used one of the Fluval 88 systems. It's currently located somewhere in a landfill. Nuff said ;)

Care to elaborate? I've been running 2 diy systems with Zero issues other than refilling the bottles.
 

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The DIY setups typically cause varying CO2 levels. The injection rate is dependent on the CO2 production which makes it difficult to target a specific CO2 concentration. The other inexpensive systems don't have a regulated flow system. Instead, they rely solely on a valve leading to varying levels as well not to mention they are typically far more expensive to support.

I've tried DIY, Fluval's 88 gram and the paintball systems with valves and wasn't satisfied with any of them. Had I purchased a basic system to start with I would have saved enough to purchase an entry level system. Just my opinion of course but that is my experience with them. That's why I say do it right or use excel. It's just less expensive in the long run and saves a lot of aggravation.
 

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Understood, I've had the exact opposite, the only time I have issues with my target level dropping is within the 24 hours or so before I switch the bottles out. Other than that I get a solid 15ppm co2 based off the ph/kh chart for 3 weeks at a time. I also have a sealed built system using brass parts. Thanks for the info.
 

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I got my co2 fire extinguisher for £24 on ebay,regulator,splitter and tubing from co2art and delivering to three tanks atm.it's 2kg cylinder only,refilling monthly for £15.all together about £150.good luck

Sent from my HTC One mini using Tapatalk
 

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It all depends upon what your goals are. If you want to put the time and money into a hightech lush setup then it will be worth it.

I've successfully used DIY CO2 with a chopstick diffuser to build plant mass on a low tech higher light setup. Then when the plant mass got large enough I weaned off the CO2. It helps with the Inevitable algae bloom stage. The point where you have a bunch of little plants that are adjusting and starting to grow.
 

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It all depends upon what your goals are.
This.

I personally like tanks that are as low maintenance as possible. Therefore I stick with low tech non-CO2 setups. The low maintenance for me is key to enjoying the hobby.

Other people love the constant growth and change and trimmings and wider variety of species that come with CO2 and higher light setups.

It's all about figuring out what works best for you. :fish:
 

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Hi LM,

As has been mentioned, it really does depend on your goals for the aquarium. You can have a very nice non-CO2 aquarium (adding carbon in some other way) but you need to take that into account with your plant and equipment choices.

CO2 will definitely give you more flexibility in aquascaping and plant choices. It, in my opinion, makes the battle with algae easier as well. If it's within your budget, I would definitely recommend it for you.

As to what should be your first steps into using CO2, that depends on your budget and how much time you want to devote to it. DIY yeast CO2 has been used for years with success but it requires a lot of work (for me at least) and is very difficult to control. I'm a dad so I have very little time to fiddle with such things so I don't do DIY. Besides, search Google for explosions of those Coke yeast bottles... :) it happened to me many years ago.

If the above makes sense to you, I would suggest you save up until you can buy one of the introductory pressurized CO2 packages that comes with a cylinder that you can refill, a entry regulator, solenoid, bubble counter, check valve, drop checker and diffuser. It can be purchased for about $400 or so.

That sounds like a lot but they come in a package so you don't think about it. You just fill the bottle locally and connect it to a timer. Adjust the bubble rate and check your drop checker to make sure it gets to green. That's it. If it's a decent system, it will be almost set and forget it until you need to refill the cylinder once every couple of months.

After 30 years in the hobby, my best advice to you if you want to have flexibility is to add CO2 but save up for a decent entry system. You will save yourself time and headaches.

What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yea, I want more plant choices and help with the algae mostly.
My goal is to make a fully planted sorority (betta) tank in the next couple of months.

I can't do anything big now as we might move somewhere were the closest LFS is at 1.5h drive and they wont have anything fish related i'm sure (viva online shopping then) so right now i'm just planning and looking at my options

I also want a dwarf baby tears carpet :p so I'll need co2 hihihi

I'll check for the entry system though
 

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I just waited till I found a good deal on a used co2 tank...
Got a 5# tank + regulator for $50.00 nothing wrong with it :)
Just keep checking places, one will pop up.
 

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Compressed CO2 is the single biggest variable I've found in decades of fishkeeping in regards to plant growth. I avoided it as well for a long time, then jumped in last year and am continually amazed at the kind of growth I see in all my tanks. Lots of setups are available, I went with a pre-fab setup from GLA and couldn't be happier. Does take a bit more work, but if there isn't some tinkering around with any hobby I'm in, I quickly lose interest. Good luck!
 
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