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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to try the c02 thing, after years of being too mildly terrified to even consider it. I'm overwhelmed with information and would appreciate it if someone could offer me advice and recommendations. :)

I have a 125g tank with a 30g sump, stocked super lightly at the moment with some tetra and corydoras. I have a ton of plants that have been doing lovely for me under low tech auspices, sand substrate, and use root tabs and Easy Green. My light is a Beamswork DA 6500k 0.50W.

The equipment I need, as I understand it:
1 20lb Co2 canister
1 2-step regulator (with a CGA 320 fitting?)
1 needle valve
Glass/ceramic diffuser (2 placed at opposite ends) or an atomizer
Tubing

Is this list ok? Can anyone point me toward some decent brands or vendors?
馃檹
 

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This is a huge topic, so I'm not going to be able to give a full answer here. What I can say, is you're going to want to use a reactor instead of a diffuser. You're never going to dissolve enough CO2 in a 125g with a sump and a ceramic diffuser. Look into either Rex Griggs reactor or Cerges reactor. Decide which would be easier for you to build, and use one of those instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is a huge topic, so I'm not going to be able to give a full answer here. What I can say, is you're going to want to use a reactor instead of a diffuser. You're never going to dissolve enough CO2 in a 125g with a sump and a ceramic diffuser. Look into either Rex Griggs reactor or Cerges reactor. Decide which would be easier for you to build, and use one of those instead.
Thank you. I'm looking up these reactors on Youtube now.

I've also realized that I will need a Ph controller, thinking about pairing a Milwaukee Regulator with the Milwaukee Ph Controller...
 

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You don't need a ph controller at all, and as a matter of fact, they can be dangerous depending on what you have in your tank.

Judging by the fact that you brought that up, Im assuming you're aware of the relationship between CO2 and pH, being that a change in CO2 will result in a direct change in pH. You normally try to achieve a stable 1 point drop in pH, which translates to 30ppm of CO2.

Here's the rub... If CO2 is the only thing that is changing your pH, then a pH controller will work as expected. Your pH drops by 1 point from baseline, and then shuts off the solenoid (that just reminded me, you need to add a solenoid to your list). However, if there's any other factors in your tank that will effect pH, then your pH controller will not work as planned. Here are your examples...

Tank #1: In an empty glass box, let's assume your degassed water measures pH 7.2. You set your pH controller to 6.2, and it closes the solenoid when the tank reaches that pH. You're correctly at 30ppm CO2.

Tank #2: In an otherwise empty glass box, you have a significant amount of Sieryu Stone. When you measure your degassed water on day 1, you get a reading of 7.2. You set your pH controller to 6.2, and it shuts off the Solenoid at 30ppm (on day one). By day 2, the rock has leeched a not-insignificant amount of carbonates, and your new BASELINE pH is 7.4. As you inject CO2, your controller will still shut it off at 6.2. This is now much higher than 30ppm. This scenario matches my tank, where my degassed pH changes from 7.4 from the tap to 8.0 throughout the week. If I had a controller turning off my solenoid at 6.4, I would be at serious risk of gassing my fish.
 

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You don't need the controller. Just take bubble counts and watch your drop checker. My CO2 has been really stable. If I can do it, anybody can do it. I don't have a pool sized tank. Your tank should be even more stable at 125 gallons.
 

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You don't need the controller. Just take bubble counts and watch your drop checker. My CO2 has been really stable. If I can do it, anybody can do it. I don't have a pool sized tank. Your tank should be even more stable at 125 gallons.
@shromp , The problem with "counting bubbles" it's not very accurate. If you are adding CO2 to a small tank, say 20g, then it does work. For a 125g tank, running a reactor at 20psi, your bubbles per second will likely be 20+ don't think you will be able to count that fast.
A much better solution is using a flow meter. Lot of discussion on which to get, how they work, and how to set one up in this thread in the Equipment Topic.
In this video you can see the reactor on my 75g tank, and then it pans over to my flow meter. Note how steady the ball reading is (important). Much easier to read, and more importantly, re-produce on a daily basis or after a tank change.
 

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I want to try the c02 thing, after years of being too mildly terrified to even consider it. I'm overwhelmed with information and would appreciate it if someone could offer me advice and recommendations. :)

I have a 125g tank with a 30g sump, stocked super lightly at the moment with some tetra and corydoras. I have a ton of plants that have been doing lovely for me under low tech auspices, sand substrate, and use root tabs and Easy Green. My light is a Beamswork DA 6500k 0.50W.

The equipment I need, as I understand it:
1 20lb Co2 canister
1 2-step regulator (with a CGA 320 fitting?)
1 needle valve
Glass/ceramic diffuser (2 placed at opposite ends) or an atomizer
Tubing

Is this list ok? Can anyone point me toward some decent brands or vendors?
馃檹
As for the regulator, you can buy off the shelf units at co2art or gla that will work out of the box. You can buy already put together units from people selling retrofits on the for sale section of these forums, or you can buy used 2 stage regulator and parts/kits and screw it together yourself. There are threads around on how to do that.

As for the tank cylinder. You will want to measure how much height you have under your stand (if placing it under the stand) and make sure you have enough room for a 20 lb tank and regulator. If not you might to go down to a 10 lb tank. You will also want to figure out where you are going to be filling the cylinder before you buy it. Some places only do swaps and not refills. This means that your shiny new cylinder will get replaced for a dinged up dented one the first time you go to fill it up. So you would be much better off just buying the used cylinder on location. No matter what you may be better off buying a cylinder on location so you don't have to pay for shipping.
 

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FWIW, most larger cities have a business that services fire extinguishers. Part of that service is re-filling them with CO2. I bought my 10# tank at one of those places and they also handle re-filling it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As for the regulator, you can buy off the shelf units at co2art or gla that will work out of the box. You can buy already put together units from people selling retrofits on the for sale section of these forums, or you can buy used 2 stage regulator and parts/kits and screw it together yourself. There are threads around on how to do that.

As for the tank cylinder. You will want to measure how much height you have under your stand (if placing it under the stand) and make sure you have enough room for a 20 lb tank and regulator. If not you might to go down to a 10 lb tank. You will also want to figure out where you are going to be filling the cylinder before you buy it. Some places only do swaps and not refills. This means that your shiny new cylinder will get replaced for a dinged up dented one the first time you go to fill it up. So you would be much better off just buying the used cylinder on location. No matter what you may be better off buying a cylinder on location so you don't have to pay for shipping.
Brilliant, I didn't consider that.

I'm still considering keeping this thing low tech, now that I understand more about off-gassing and sumps. But man, wouldn't it be cool to expand the horizons of my plant lushness. I wish I was more technical-minded.
 

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Brilliant, I didn't consider that.

I'm still considering keeping this thing low tech, now that I understand more about off-gassing and sumps. But man, wouldn't it be cool to expand the horizons of my plant lushness. I wish I was more technical-minded.
It's like anything else, when you're new to it there are a lot of terms to learn and figure out, but once you get a little more research / practice, it's actually really straightforward. You can definitely have CO2 and a sump at the same time. CO2 simply doesn't off gas that quickly and even if you choose not to reach 30 ppm level, CO2 is still very helpful.
 

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I only have one thing to add based on my experiences getting co2 refills. I haven't run into any places that only do swaps, they all refill my own tank. The issue I have is that they are very inconsistent on when they have co2 available. Several of the local brew supply places have closed down, so that leaves me somewhat limited unless I want to drive 20+ miles out to get a refill. The last time I just went the 20 miles to get a refill. In order to keep my supply constant I bought a second tank so that I have way longer to find a place for a refill. That way I don't have to be out of co2 for an indeterminate amount of time. 20 Miles may not sound like much, but those are Houston miles, so depending on what day/time it could be an hour each way.
 

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As for the regulator, you can buy off the shelf units at co2art or gla that will work out of the box. You can buy already put together units from people selling retrofits on the for sale section of these forums, or you can buy used 2 stage regulator and parts/kits and screw it together yourself. There are threads around on how to do that.

As for the tank cylinder. You will want to measure how much height you have under your stand (if placing it under the stand) and make sure you have enough room for a 20 lb tank and regulator. If not you might to go down to a 10 lb tank. You will also want to figure out where you are going to be filling the cylinder before you buy it. Some places only do swaps and not refills. This means that your shiny new cylinder will get replaced for a dinged up dented one the first time you go to fill it up. So you would be much better off just buying the used cylinder on location. No matter what you may be better off buying a cylinder on location so you don't have to pay for shipping.
The Airgas Company has been on strike for over a month now. One LFS does not have CO2 because of the strike. I get my CO2 from Airgas directly. It's so true about getting an ugly welding shop swap in exchange for your nice new spun aluminum tank. You can have a cozy made for the gas tank to make it look better.
Brilliant, I didn't consider that.

I'm still considering keeping this thing low tech, now that I understand more about off-gassing and sumps. But man, wouldn't it be cool to expand the horizons of my plant lushness. I wish I was more technical-minded.
You could do CO2 at lower ppm and have a semi-low tech tank with the lights not as bright as high tech. The plants would respond to even a little CO2. You don't have to use a lot of gas if you don't want to. That way you won't have to trim the plants every week. You can take your time setting this up. Give it a few months.
 

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I want to try the c02 thing, after years of being too mildly terrified to even consider it. I'm overwhelmed with information and would appreciate it if someone could offer me advice and recommendations. :)

I have a 125g tank with a 30g sump, stocked super lightly at the moment with some tetra and corydoras. I have a ton of plants that have been doing lovely for me under low tech auspices, sand substrate, and use root tabs and Easy Green. My light is a Beamswork DA 6500k 0.50W.

The equipment I need, as I understand it:
1 20lb Co2 canister
1 2-step regulator (with a CGA 320 fitting?)
1 needle valve
Glass/ceramic diffuser (2 placed at opposite ends) or an atomizer
Tubing

Is this list ok? Can anyone point me toward some decent brands or vendors?
馃檹

What is your budget like? Just wanted to see if you had any interest in considering a simple mini-regulator such as FZone's to start with? I purchased one last year. It can work with CGA standard fitting but also has adaptors for disposable 90g CO2 cartridges and Paintball canisters. I use my FZone mini regulator with a 24oz Paintball canister. The FZone unit comes with a solenoid but honestly, I find that I get the unit to work better by shutting if off before the LED lights go OFF and turn it back ON just after the LED lights come ON in the morning. At around 25psi working pressure and 4 Bubbles per sec rate, each canister lasts me 30 days. I bring the paintball canister to a large Sporting Goods shop and get them refilled for less than $6 / refill. This is SO much cheaper than using liquid Carbon and my live plants thrive. My aquarium is a 30 Gallon rectangular. You can purchase this mini Regulator for about $100. It will not be as great as professional models out there but for less than $100, it is stainless steel and does the job. In my home office setting, I have no interest in having a large industrially looking 20 lb CO2 tank in plain site; for my setup in my home office, it would visually take away from the beauty of the setup. If I had a setup in my garage, then that might be a different story.
 

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I have a 125g tank with a 30g sump, stocked super lightly at the moment with some tetra and corydoras. I have a ton of plants that have been doing lovely for me under low tech auspices, sand substrate, and use root tabs and Easy Green. My light is a Beamswork DA 6500k 0.50W.
馃檹
If your plants selection are doing fantastic, whats the motivation to get into pressurised co2 injection?
 
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