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Hi, I have had fish tanks on and off over many years, just setting up a 75 gallon tank recently, and wanted to try adding CO2. I have a source for CO2 refills, just trying to sort out whether to buy a CO2 regulator on Amazon for about $60.00, (like an Fzone brand) or get something for more money if needed.I am not going to start off attaching a controller to the system, just want to get it started and go from there.
Can I get some feedback on these Amazon type imported CO2 regulators versus the double the price and up alternatives and whether it makes sense to go with either option and if so, please make brand recommendations.
Also, if anyone knows of a resource that explains all the CO2 options and details for tanks, please let me know, either books, websites etc.
Thanks/jeff_3613
 

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A common theme agreed upon in the CO2 community is to buy the highest quality regulator you can afford. Buy a nice one once and you'll be set for a long long time. Buy a cheap one and it's a shot in the dark as to how long it will last without breaking or gassing your tank. Not saying cheap ones will do that, they are just more prone to doing so.

As to more info, look into the 2hr aquarist CO2 article(s) they are very informative.

Basically on a tank your size you would need:

CO2 cylinder (5 or 10 lb I would recommend).
CO2 regulator with needle valve and solenoid.
Flow meter (Dwyer RMA151-SSV is what I recommend) not a bubble counter.
Tubing
Check Vavle
Diffuser or a reactor (reactor can be used with a canister filter and can be built or bought inexpensively)
pH pen / probe / meter from amazon. even a $20 is much better that using liquid kits or strips.
 

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I recently set up a new 75 gallon tank with CO2 (went to a larger tank from a 40 gallon, also with CO2) -- here's what I have and my thoughts:
  • 5lb and 20lb CO2 cylinder -- I think it's good to have more than one so if you run out, you can swap and take your time going to get it filled. Probably could have gone with 2x 5lb or 10lb, but got a good deal on the 20 after having just the 5 for a while. Don't let your tank go too long without CO2 or you'll get BBA in my experience.
  • Milwaukee MA957 regulator w/ solenoid and bubble counter -- This is ok. I want to upgrade it. I bought it as an emergency replacement for my Carbon Doser regulator that died. I am looking for a custom regulator or will buy something more expensive from GLA or CO2art. The Milwaukee isn't terribly stable, but so far I haven't had any major problems.
  • Neo CO2 diffuser -- I think this is my favorite diffuser, but I decided to switch to a reactor instead
  • GLA CO2 reactor -- can also get the same one from Aqua Rocks Colorado. I've been using it for a week so far and it seems to do the trick. Have it on the output of my main canister filter, but may switch to a separate pump eventually.
  • Standard glass drop checker -- really annoyed by these because I can't easily see the color against the typical dark background of a planted tank. Will replace with one that has white plastic inside to see the color against. Meanwhile use my LaMotte CO2 test to verify CO2 levels.
  • CO2 safe tubing and check valve from GLA.
 
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