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Pressurized CO2

1007 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  HD Blazingwolf
Soon I will be purchasing, and later assembling, a pressurized co2 setup to go on my 75g community. I have been researching and looking around for an easy to assemble and easy to operate regulator. I have since came across the small company called "Aquatek-California" and their nearly all in one regulator, needle valve, solenoid setup.

And I plan on attaching a JBJ bubble counter to the NV for hopefully a quite compact "all in one" setup that's only missing a tank,which I'm gonna get locally for about $65 for a 10lb tank.

My question is wether or not these are a good going to make a combo and is it going to be enough and not too much for my tank?.. And also on the remaining pieces namely a diffusion/reaction method. I've read a lot of things about the Rex style reactors and I do actually have a new canister filter setup that would be perfect for that. But I'm not the most equipped person for DIY setups since I live in a one bedroom apartment with nearly no workspace :p so a retail solution would be ideal for me. Any ideas and criticisms would be greatly appreciated.

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This is my stock response on threads that ask about the Milwaukee, Azoo, or Aquatek. And, by the way, I'm not sure how small Aquatek-California actually is, but Aquatek is - among us hobbyists - a relatively huge manufacturer of aquarium equipment, specifically CO2 rigs. Anyway:

The Aquatek, Milwaukee, and Azoo, and their clones, will all be functional. But they're single stage, and low quality, and are far more likely to bust than any of the used industrial regulators many of us use and repurpose for our needs. In addition, there will be an increase working pressure as the cylinder nears the end of its fill, potentially causing problems unless you keep a careful eye on the pressure.

Furthermore, the needle valves on those units are identical, and extremely imprecise. They're functional, but barely so.

As for the solenoids, I've read little to suggest they're any more likely to fail than many of the other solenoids we've tried over the years (reasonably likely), but mine did, in any case (I had a 3M, nearly identical to a Milwaukee).

Generally, responses will vary from "love it" to "will never entertain the possibility of using one again in this lifetime", with nothing in the middle. Basically, you get what you pay for. In this case, the all-in-one rigs are cheaply purchased because they're cheaply manufactured.

I'd recommend getting somebody here to build one. Or reading the build-your-own-regulator sticky in the equipment section and piece it together yourself. Or getting one prebuilt from ...anybody familiar with any other companies building rigs?

To be fair, you'll definitely spend more, possibly a lot more, if you go any of these routes (building your own can cost even less, but there's a nasty learning curve, and shipping costs for multiple sources can get ugly). However, the quality upgrade is ridiculous.

However, because of the low cost, there's definitely a place for the bottom-rung regulators. If you want a cheap intro rig, that you'll certainly upgrade from at some point, and you're willing to chance a malfunction and put up with their drawbacks (though, to be honest, you won't notice some of them until you upgrade), then a Milwaukee isn't a bad deal.
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Nice tank setup! I like all the wood you have. Fish should love it.

Your question? Maybe not the greatest but certainly workable and far from the worst. Should do well. Later, you may/ may not want to change. But then that is always true. I think you will find the CO2 to be much easier than it reads! I would stall a bit on doing the reactor until I got more experience with the whole deal. They DO get more of the CO2 into the water but that is a savings item on what is not really a very expensive part of the whole setup. It saves gas but gas is cheap. Way cheap compared to buying the equipment!
Biggest way to save? Read up on the correct way to test for gas leaks with soap so it doesn't just leak out and how to turn on the Gas so that the high pressure doesn't go straight through the reg and blow the gauge on the low side. Turning the valve on the gas bottle is one place where it pays to be right to avoid this. I will let others give you better advise on the order of opening the valves, etc.
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Redseareefer you have some major Driftwood in your tank your PH like 4.0 LOL ...... nice tank .....I'M also confused on the C/O thing . going the low end ant looking good.
First of all thanks for the replys!! Ok so assuming money is no object and I wanted to get a near top quality setup that's not over the top for my 75.. Where should I look? I guess my biggest concern with building the rig piece by piece is ordering each piece from different suppliers. It's just easier to get it all at once. I really want to get this put together though.. It's the last thing keeping me from doing the total overhaul of the tank including all new substrate and loads of plants!! So obviously I'm anxious.. Lol but I've decided to wait a bit until I get more feedback and ideas about the build so I can do it right the first time(that's the whole point of the build)
You have stepped into one of the hard parts! The decisions are much harder than the setup will ever be. Money no object, I would look to one of the dealers who advert here. If money is somewhat in play but work space is limited, there are other options to get a really nice setup. There are several who sell parts to screw together to make a really nice set. Kitchen table work for the most part.

I was fortunate to find a tank and all equipment for cheap. It turns out to most likely be a low end reg and accessories but with a PH monitor to control it all. It may be cheap and simple but really all we want to do is blow bubbles into the tank and do it dependably and in a consistent way. Really it is not the equipment that will make or break a tank setup. It is DECIDING what to do. The equipment just makes it easier to control after you make those decisions. Even my el-cheapo is easy to set but the decisions of whether to add more CO2 or try other things is what I find more difficult. Of the required lighting, ferts and CO2, the CO2 is the easiest to figure.
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it is a waste of time to let redseareefer know other options, from his very first post he had decided an Aquatek is the only way to go.

just kidding :)

Glad that you are going presurized co2, and Aquatek is a good choice from one of the commercially available systems. When you get the system, make sure you know how to properly adjust it from the very first step, it will serve you well.
And don't worry about EOTD(Output Pressure Rise) too much on the single stage system , just set the output pressure higher to minimize the percentage of excess co2 injection when the co2 tank pressure dropping.
Just guessing as I've never gone around the world to check but I think far more of us will have single stage regs than dual stage. That leaves me thinking that the EOTD is one of those scary things which get talked about so much they are thought to be really, really important. It does sound scary when one thinks of gassing all his fish. But then being a skeptic, I ask how many actually do this?

Maybe there are other factors that are not mentioned as often as should be. Things like monitors shutting off solenoids to stop the gas flow during dumps? Maybe having good water circulation keeps the excess CO2 from reaching a crisis? Maybe EOTD is just a big scary for guys to justify their use of dual stage (expensive!) regs?

EOTD may kill all my fish tonight but the last one was just a pain I should have avoided by doing a thorough leak check! The biggest pain was dragging the tank out to refill but then a better reg would not have stopped my leak, either.
? Maybe having good water circulation keeps the excess CO2 from reaching a crisis? .
And good surface agitation

i've come home with my fish stressed because of EOTD. output pressure rise was about psi over what i had. needle valve is pretty open as i run low 10 psi
bubble rate went frm like 5-7 bps to 9-10 bps and fish were fine. just kinda unhappy
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