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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’ve been doing DIY CO2 in my 46g bow of about 7 years now. It’s gone well. I use 4 bottles and rotate in one fresh a week. My drop checker is usually green, sometimes blue green. I use a Griggs reactor. I want to go pressurized for a few reasons:


  • More consistent and higher CO2 levels
  • Less work
  • Want to try CO2 in a 10g and 20g I have.
  • Eventually (probably in a year or two) I want to get a larger tank, probably a 90g or 120g, and certainly can’t DIY CO2 with that large a tank. I also want to have some experience with pressurized CO2 before I get this tank.

I want something reasonably high quality. Since I don’t have experience with pressurize CO2, I don’t want to spend a lot of time researching and custom building something, unless someone can point me to some simple instructions. They would need to be specific on parts, and no “look on craigslist or eBay for good deal on a used blah blah blah”.

I’m inclined to just go with GLA. From what I’ve read they have a good reputation and sell a quality product, but I don’t want to throw money away if I can save a reasonable amount with a bit of extra work on my own, and possibly end up with something better in the end.

To that end, I’m currently considering the GLA PRO-4 regulator for $405 and a 10lb tank (also from GLA). Is there any reason I should consider something different. Some questions I have:


  • Is the PRO-SS worth paying another $70 for? I’m not sure of the benefit of stainless steel.
  • Is the two stage worth paying another $200 for (in addition to the $70 for SS)? I understand the benefits of two-stage with respect to "end of tank dump". I just don’t know how important it is to have that extra security, and from what I read GLA single stage regulators claim to have no "end of tank dump".
  • Is there anything I should be aware of regarding running multiple aquariums off one regulator (one aquariums per manifold block).
  • How long should I expect on 10lb tank to last? Do most people get two tanks so they can do a quick swap?

Thanks!
 

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You have a LOT of questions but lets start w/ a few options.. discarding freak bay for a bit and going "commercial".
First if you have a wee bit of mechanical skills you can save a 100 plus dollars. It will take a bit of work but not crazy complicated..

First start w/ a "retail" 2 stage. Cheapest not on eek bay one:
Smith Oxygen Regulator - 2 Stage 30 Series
This is set up for oxygen but a $10-ish part swap will set it up for CO2 . (just replace the CGA side to a CGA 320..)
Since shipping is free on this est. total cost would be around $210 for the reg complete.
10# recertified steel tank w/ shipping:
$64
SMC speed control regulator valve.
$14
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-equipment/1025601-needle-valve-inexpensive-option.html
in-line Chinese atomizer from 'the bay"
$18
Clippard mouse or so
$25

$331 w/ new industrial 2 stage and 10# tank..Still need check valves, bubble counter and asst. "little bits"..
Adding a new aluminum 10# would only add $31 w/ a fancy handle.. ;)
Stainless steel is more of a vanity purpose.
How long a 10# tank lasts is dependent on delivery rate.....

Closest GLA to the above is $665................
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, sounds like you are saying this is comparable to the GLA PRO-SS CO2. What about support for multiple manifold blocks like the GLA has? I assume this means attaching multiple needle valves, although I'm still unclear about that part of the assembly, and also how you attach a bubble counter. It just attaches to the needle valve?

The 'asst. "little bits"..' part leaves me with an uneasy feeling. This why I'm inclined to just go with something like the GLA. Unless I have a detailed parts list and some info on how it all goes together, I'm not really tempted to build one myself to save some money.
 

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The manifold is for running multiple tanks off the same co2 regulator and, yes, you will need one needle valve per tank. The JBL-type bubble counters attach to needle valves. There are several different ways to connect them and you also have multiple types of bubble counters. I personally do not favor bubble counters for multiple reasons, primarily because a) they give a wrong sense of security, they leak, and, especially on larger tanks, the bubbles will be too fast and too many to count.

Decisions always come to the time vs quality vs cost triangle. I personally try to increase the time to achieve better quality at lower price, but each situation is different.

The missing sides of the triangle is knowledge and experience. If you do build your own, you might gain some skills, but more importantly , the knowledge of how it all works and what the tread offs are. And that will help enormously once you start using the darn thing. TPT and the Web is full of tutorials, guides, and helpful folks.
 

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Ok, sounds like you are saying this is comparable to the GLA PRO-SS CO2. What about support for multiple manifold blocks like the GLA has? I assume this means attaching multiple needle valves, although I'm still unclear about that part of the assembly, and also how you attach a bubble counter. It just attaches to the needle valve?

The 'asst. "little bits"..' part leaves me with an uneasy feeling. This why I'm inclined to just go with something like the GLA. Unless I have a detailed parts list and some info on how it all goes together, I'm not really tempted to build one myself to save some money.

Well "build it yourself" is a bit of an effort..

The above parts list and the change from the GLA reg to an industrial 2 stage.. well that doesn't really equal equal.. ;)
Meets or, really, exceeds this;
GLA PRO-1-SS CO2 Regulator [Two Stage]

Got to admit the modular distribution block is kind of cool.. ;)

CO2 Regulator Parts | CO2 For Planted Tanks And Home Brewing. CO2 Regulator Solenoid and Needle Valves Parts
Any good regulator can handle multiple outputs esp. at the "dribble" rate we generally use..

CO2 Regulator Parts | CO2 For Planted Tanks And Home Brewing. 3 Output Manifold

The 'asst. "little bits"..' part leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
check valves. hoses, fittings.. nothing that generally totally equals more than a couple of $20's..

Oh and there are people here that will "set you up" w/ quality albeit used, parts so you can get your finished product..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
...
Decisions always come to the time vs quality vs cost triangle. I personally try to increase the time to achieve better quality at lower price, but each situation is different.

The missing sides of the triangle is knowledge and experience. If you do build your own, you might gain some skills, but more importantly , the knowledge of how it all works and what the tread offs are. And that will help enormously once you start using the darn thing. TPT and the Web is full of tutorials, guides, and helpful folks.
I totally get and agree with your triangle point, but honestly I'm just not willing to make the time investment right to substantially improve my "knowledge and experience". I'd rather just pay extra to get something that is known to be decent quality and will do the job I'm looking for it to do. That's why I outlined my requirements and inquired about the GLA. I was hoping someone who already has the knowledge and experience could comment on it w.r.t. my situation.

cjp999 said:
The 'asst. "little bits"..' part leaves me with an uneasy feeling.
check valves. hoses, fittings.. nothing that generally totally equals more than a couple of $20's..

Oh and there are people here that will "set you up" w/ quality albeit used, parts so you can get your finished product..
Actually it was more that these little bits are a mystery to me. What are they all? Where do I get them? Where are they involved in the assembly? No need to answer. I'm just pointing out that this is the type of thing I'm looking to avoid. I also worry about how many $9.95 shipping fees I'll pay before I finally have everything I need, and how long it will take to work it all out.

I look at other "I'm building my own CO2 regulator" threads. Most go on for an extended period, with lots of missteps and problems being worked out along the way. For the most part the authors seem to accept this as just part of the hobby learning curve, but it's something I'd just assume avoid.
 

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Then just get the 2 stage from gla.
Gassing my fish is also something to avoid. ;)
CO2 art has a well liked 2 stage kit . 1/2 the price of gla.
Just avoid the blue faced one.

I also mentioned there are "sellers" here that would gladly sell you a turnkey CO2 system w quality albein not new parts in general.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Then just get the 2 stage from gla.
Gassing my fish is also something to avoid. ;)
So you think it's worth the $275 price premium even though the GLA single stage claim "no end of tank dump"?

I also mentioned there are "sellers" here that would gladly sell you a turnkey CO2 system w quality albein not new parts in general.
I'd be interested in having someone build something for me. They need to have a documented good reputation. Any pointers on who I should ask? You can PM me if you don't want to post here.

thanks
 

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... but I don’t want to throw money away if I can save a reasonable amount with a bit of extra work on my own, and possibly end up with something better in the end.
And the above was the reason for my reply.

To meet your stated needs, the $625+ GLA PRO-SS CO2 System Two Stage | Green Leaf Aquariums will work. Another option is to post on TPT WTB and see what people will offer. That should save you ~$150.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cjp999 said:
... but I don’t want to throw money away if I can save a reasonable amount with a bit of extra work on my own, and possibly end up with something better in the end.
And the above was the reason for my reply.
Yes. "Bit of extra work" was somewhat vague. I'm wasn't intending to do, I guess you could say, a lot of figuring out. I was thinking more along the lines of "order these parts and follow these build instructions".

Bump:
If you are willing to buy off the forums consider talking to AlanLe
He makes some pretty kick-"butt" regs
Hmm. He's local too. I'll contact him. Thanks.
 
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