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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been working at researching what I need to have to start using CO2 and I know when I'm in over my head :iamwithst.

I've read more then a few posts, including the CO2 primer(AMAZING write-up) on this site and a few on the Barr report. I have a general idea what to look for, but I'm not concrete on most of it. I guess this is where I need to tell you what I have in mind and list some questions.

I currently have a 55 gallon with a sat+pro light(high light from what I understand? when I looked it up a while back).

In the future(like 5 years away possibly) I've got the O.K. for a 100-150g tank. What would need to change/be added/replaced with a bigger aquarium? Can I get away with the same regulator?

What sort of space requirements am I looking at? Under my stand, I have about 10"w, 12"d and ~30"H. Probably use a 10lb cylinder? That should leave plenty of room around it and the regulator.

I understand how duel stage vs single stage regulators work(or so I say I do..). It sounds like the way to go is a duel stage, how is it that GLA with their GRO and PRO lines are single stage and they advertise "No end-of-tank dumps"?

So right now, I'm wanting a pretty much complete set-up. In the future I may build one if I get the bug, but I want this done right. Knowing what you know now with your personal experience, what would you steer me to?

Thanks!
Mike
 

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Hey Mike, recent Co2 noob graduate here :wink2:. I just set up my first pressurized Co2 system on my 55g and it took me about a few months of research to get the courage and all the right parts to finish it so I'm happy to share some experience.

1) Yup the same regulator build should work just fine. The only thing that you might want to change is the size of the Co2 tank so you don't have to keep refilling but it's all personal choice. I have a 20lb Co2 tank on my 55g and from what I've read, it should last me at the very least 7+ months. A 10lb tank on a 55g will last a lot longer than a 10lb tank on a 100+ gallon tank so keep that in mind when choosing what size Co2 tank you get.

2) That should be enough room for the co2 system. My 20lb tank is about 27 inches tall and with my giant victor regulator+solenoid+needle valve attached, about 13 inches wide.

3) I've read conflicting things on "end of tank dump" and many have said that it's not just the regulator, but also the needle valve. I'm not really sure here on the specifics of EOTD but from what I've heard, GLA makes very high quality equipment (and also has a pretty good warranty)

Final thoughts: If you are going to go pressurized and know you will get a 100-150g tank in the future, I would try to get the biggest possible Co2 tank. It'll save you money in the long run. First time pressurized Co2 was a pretty fun project I had and I think it's totally worth it. I can pretty much grow any plant now and it's cool to see how much faster they grow with pressurized. Hoped this helped a little, good luck!
 

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I agree with the above poster and get a 20 lb tank. I have one on my 66 gallon and it is a great size. Total measurements 29 inches tall and 13 inches wide. I have an aluminum tank and have it beside the stand. I don't mind the look. If you are planning on going bigger tankwise in the future, you will want the larger co2 tank.
 

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Plant Clown
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EOTD is a phrase that describes a worst-case-scenario as the result of pressure rise, which is a characteristic of *all* regulators, single or dual stage. Outlet pressure rises as inlet pressure drops. All regulators will increase outlet pressure by a certain amount per 100 psi of inlet pressure drop, and that number is well less than 1psi rise per 100psi drop in most commercial or industrial regulators, single or dual stage. Single stage regulators, such as the type GLA uses (Taprite and Cornelius brands, specifically), have been used in the beverage industry for decades and are very dependable, and apparently have low enough pressure rises that they're not noticeable (I have never found data sheets on those regulators, so it's a guess). I *think* this is why GLA makes the claim about no EOTD, but I don't know that they've ever actually explained why this is so.

Cheapo prebuilt regs (Milwaukee, Azoo, Aquatek, Dici, AquaticLife, etc.) have, apparently, unacceptable pressure rise. But since the rate of pressure rise does not change, regardless of working pressure, running these rigs at a lower working pressure tends to result in a much more drastic increase in rise. For example, a 5 psi increase from 10 psi is a far greater proportional increase than that same 5 psi increase from 30 to 35 psi.

Industrial regulators have lower rise rates, and dual stage regulators have even lower rise rates than single stage industrial regulators.

Needle valves likely have no impact on pressure rise.

If you buy a decent regulator rig, you won't have to upgrade anything except, possibly, your method of diffusion, with a bigger tank.
 

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Get a nice Dual Stage regulator with a good solenoid and a low flow or fine metering valve. Get the largest C02 tank you can fit in your stand too. I think having to swap or refill only 2-4 times a year is nice.

Do not go cheap with the c02 equipment because the amount of issues it can create is just not worth it. Inconsistent C02, faulty regulator, broken solenoid, impossible to fine tune needle valves, etc. This is a key component and your primary focus should be the actual efficiency and amount of the C02 injection and not troubleshooting the hardware that is providing the gas.

If you ask yourself the question below then you should understand why some people invest a good amount of money with the C02 setup.

Did I get into planted tanks to focus on growing plants or did I get into it because I want to spend most of my time troubleshoot/calibrating my C02 system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Mike, recent Co2 noob graduate here :wink2:. I just set up my first pressurized Co2 system on my 55g and it took me about a few months of research to get the courage and all the right parts to finish it so I'm happy to share some experience.

1) Yup the same regulator build should work just fine. The only thing that you might want to change is the size of the Co2 tank so you don't have to keep refilling but it's all personal choice. I have a 20lb Co2 tank on my 55g and from what I've read, it should last me at the very least 7+ months. A 10lb tank on a 55g will last a lot longer than a 10lb tank on a 100+ gallon tank so keep that in mind when choosing what size Co2 tank you get.

2) That should be enough room for the co2 system. My 20lb tank is about 27 inches tall and with my giant victor regulator+solenoid+needle valve attached, about 13 inches wide.

3) I've read conflicting things on "end of tank dump" and many have said that it's not just the regulator, but also the needle valve. I'm not really sure here on the specifics of EOTD but from what I've heard, GLA makes very high quality equipment (and also has a pretty good warranty)

Final thoughts: If you are going to go pressurized and know you will get a 100-150g tank in the future, I would try to get the biggest possible Co2 tank. It'll save you money in the long run. First time pressurized Co2 was a pretty fun project I had and I think it's totally worth it. I can pretty much grow any plant now and it's cool to see how much faster they grow with pressurized. Hoped this helped a little, good luck!
I agree with the above poster and get a 20 lb tank. I have one on my 66 gallon and it is a great size. Total measurements 29 inches tall and 13 inches wide. I have an aluminum tank and have it beside the stand. I don't mind the look. If you are planning on going bigger tankwise in the future, you will want the larger co2 tank.
I'm just worried that a 27.5" tall tank with the regulator installed will contact the frame. I guess I could plumb some elbows and fittings if it does?

EOTD is a phrase that describes a worst-case-scenario as the result of pressure rise, which is a characteristic of *all* regulators, single or dual stage. Outlet pressure rises as inlet pressure drops. All regulators will increase outlet pressure by a certain amount per 100 psi of inlet pressure drop, and that number is well less than 1psi rise per 100psi drop in most commercial or industrial regulators, single or dual stage. Single stage regulators, such as the type GLA uses (Taprite and Cornelius brands, specifically), have been used in the beverage industry for decades and are very dependable, and apparently have low enough pressure rises that they're not noticeable (I have never found data sheets on those regulators, so it's a guess). I *think* this is why GLA makes the claim about no EOTD, but I don't know that they've ever actually explained why this is so.

Cheapo prebuilt regs (Milwaukee, Azoo, Aquatek, Dici, AquaticLife, etc.) have, apparently, unacceptable pressure rise. But since the rate of pressure rise does not change, regardless of working pressure, running these rigs at a lower working pressure tends to result in a much more drastic increase in rise. For example, a 5 psi increase from 10 psi is a far greater proportional increase than that same 5 psi increase from 30 to 35 psi.

Industrial regulators have lower rise rates, and dual stage regulators have even lower rise rates than single stage industrial regulators.

Needle valves likely have no impact on pressure rise.

If you buy a decent regulator rig, you won't have to upgrade anything except, possibly, your method of diffusion, with a bigger tank.
This is what I want, a system that I can depend on. I've learned not to get cheap stuff for a "deal", it often costs more in the long run. What's your definition of a "decent rig"? By the way, with me being in Kvegas, is there anything/any place locally in the triad you'd recommend?

Get a nice Dual Stage regulator with a good solenoid and a low flow or fine metering valve. Get the largest C02 tank you can fit in your stand too. I think having to swap or refill only 2-4 times a year is nice.

Do not go cheap with the c02 equipment because the amount of issues it can create is just not worth it. Inconsistent C02, faulty regulator, broken solenoid, impossible to fine tune needle valves, etc. This is a key component and your primary focus should be the actual efficiency and amount of the C02 injection and not troubleshooting the hardware that is providing the gas.

If you ask yourself the question below then you should understand why some people invest a good amount of money with the C02 setup.

Did I get into planted tanks to focus on growing plants or did I get into it because I want to spend most of my time troubleshoot/calibrating my C02 system?
Right, what do you recommend? I have no idea what good solenoids and needle valves are compaired to others. What makes one better then the other?



Understand that I know almost nothing on brands and am not loyal to one at this point. I used GLA as an example because I've been looking at their page due to them being a sponsor of this site. Baised off your personal experience, what did you choose? Why did you choose it? What would you have done differently knowing what you know now?
 

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Plant Clown
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Nothing local for CO2 supplies. The AirGas place I've gone to is on the western end of Greensboro, which isn't too far from W-S. You can buy and swap for CO2 refills, but the tanks aren't pretty (they don't do refills on your cylinder, so you wouldn't want to go there if you buy a nice, shiny aluminum cylinder).

The intro GLA units are pretty decent. You can buy pretty much the same equipment on your own and save a little money, but not a whole lot due to shipping costs from multiple sellers. And you won't get any warranty. You can put something together yourself that will cost a similar or slightly higher amount and much higher quality, but there's a very ugly learning curve when building these things. Buying your first unit usually saves a lot of time and hassle.
 

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I have a Parker low flow valve on one of my regulators. I'm not sure the exact model but you pay a premium for the low flow valves and the amount of control is nice.

For the solenoid, the Burkert valves seems to be the go to option.

You should try looking for one here on the forums. I know AlanLe makes nice custom 2 stage regulators. Both my dual stage res are from flowerfsh and I don't know if he is selling some more.
 

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My advice would be not to buy any regulator unless you know its "supply pressure effect" data. Every regulator is designed differently. On the single stage side, even the most expensive regulator may be designed to have a high SPE, but low droop (or some other characteristic). There are very expensive dual stage regulators with higher SPE when their Cv value is higher.

So, just make sure you now the SPE, make sure it is low (< 0.5 psi/100 psi)*, and don't buy from any manufacturer that won't tell you what that value is.

One regulator I'd like to see data for is the small CO2Arts dual stage.

*Running such a regulator will only see around a 4 psi increase. If you are running the regulator at 40 psi, that is only 10%, which shouldn't have much effect on your CO2 concentration. You can see values like 0.02 psi/100 psi for many dual stage regulators.

Bump: This all may sound complicated. However, we are actually lucky -- we have a very low flow application (bubbles per second). So, the absolute only thing we ever have to worry about when purchasing a regulator is supply pressure effect. It makes selection easy (if we can get the data).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dang it all....I can't decide what to do. My decision making skills closely resemble that of a squirrel crossing the road!

Talk to me about a matheson 3122 regulator. From what I can find online it sounds like a duel stage, right?
 

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Plant Clown
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Dang it all....I can't decide what to do. My decision making skills closely resemble that of a squirrel crossing the road!

Talk to me about a matheson 3122 regulator. From what I can find online it sounds like a duel stage, right?
Yep, dual stage, and it'll work fine. 125psi delivery pressure, either 150 or 200 psi max gauge (can't remember). I think, depending on how old it is, it'll be either a solid brass or chromed brass body.
 

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Plant Clown
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item number for [Ebay Link Removed] Would you go for it? I'd need a metering valve, solenoid and bubble counter to complete it from what I understand.
I wouldn't. Even if the nipple, outlet, and gauges hadn't been removed and/or replaced, which would probably be a non-starter for me, it's in Canada, which means you have no idea how long it'd take for you to get it, and returning it in case it doesn't work properly would be a pain. And expensive.

How about any of these? Really quick search, but they seem to look good. Have somebody else doublecheck in case I missed something. First two are Concoas, last two are Victors.
 

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I wouldn't. Even if the nipple, outlet, and gauges hadn't been removed and/or replaced, which would probably be a non-starter for me, it's in Canada, which means you have no idea how long it'd take for you to get it, and returning it in case it doesn't work properly would be a pain. And expensive.

How about any of these? Really quick search, but they seem to look good. Have somebody else doublecheck in case I missed something. First two are Concoas, last two are Victors.
So, this is the problem I run in to. How do you choose one? Prices being fairly equal (with shipping and all $70-85) I guess the catches my eye because of the low pressure guage. It is a finer scale. All need the CGA 320 fitting right?
 

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So, this is the problem I run in to. How do you choose one? Prices being fairly equal (with shipping and all $70-85) I guess the catches my eye because of the low pressure guage. It is a finer scale. All need the CGA 320 fitting right?
Yes these should all be 320 fitting. The only ones that I've seen that aren't the CGA 320 are the paintball tank style.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Alright so, I've got a Victor 250C regulator coming. Now I'm looking into solenoids. I don't really see why I'd need an LED to tell me the solenoid is powered. Because of this I'm thinking a Burkert 6011 SS and I guess because that's what I can find online. Basically, I need a 2way 120v solenoid right? The lower the wattage, the cooler it will run. What brands/models are recommended? I can't seem to find a Fabco 3853-04-A287 and don't know what to look for in a Parker.

While we're on it, metering valves! I'd love to go with an Ideal, but from what I understand, they go for $90-150. I've read they're extremely precise, more precise then necessary for this function. It's kinda hard for me to justify this. Thoughts? I've seen a few posts about Fabco NV55 and how a few people couldn't wait to get rid of it in favor of the Ideal. I've seen the Swagelok name posted everywhere, where does it stand in the line up?

One more, with me getting this far, you'd think I might already know this..but I'm looking for fittings that are 1/8" right? Which refers to the inside diameter? NPT is the style of fitting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Have you looked at the Hoke metering valves?
I'm looking into them right now. I can't believe the variety of different parts that do the same thing.
I'm looking at a Hoke 1345G1Y but don't see it in their catalog to break it down and explain it. Any idea about it?


I was about to edit my last post and add in that I was reading through the other regulator build thread and also found http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...ves-selection-our-co2-pressurized-system.html thread with many valves explained.
 

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Plant Clown
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I'm looking into them right now. I can't believe the variety of different parts that do the same thing.
I'm looking at a Hoke 1345G1Y but don't see it in their catalog to break it down and explain it. Any idea about it?
Don't do that. It's a good valve, but has nuts for 1/16" tubing. You don't want to mess with anything that small. (The "1" refers to the connection size. 1=1/16, 2=1/8, 4=1/4, whether it's male or female NPT or compression fittings, or even something else.

Also, keep in mind that NPT is a standard North American tapered thread. However, the size associated with it is "trade size", and has little resemblance to actual, measurable size. 1/8" NPT, or .125", is actually around .4" in diameter.
 
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