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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using liquid Co2 on my 36 gal low-med light planted tank for almost a year now. I working on setting up a 10 gal betta tank as well and the costs of the liquid Co2 are getting a little out of hand. So I decided to finally look into pressurized Co2. I've looked into DIY systems but don't feel comfortable or really want to mess with that. So I thought I'ed see what suggestions people on here have.

So my questions is what would be good systems for both the 10 and 36 gal.
The 36 gal uses a Finnex Stingray light and has swrods, crypts, hygro, ferns, onion low-med light plants.

The 10 gal will have the Finnex Clip on Fugray Planted Plus and have a lot of the same plants above but also dwarf hair grass, ludwugia, and other plants with a little higher light needs.
Thanks for any help or suggestions.
 

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That's a pretty constant question and it really doesn't have a firm answer that fits all people. The cost is always a question. You may find you will not use the tank long enough to actually make it pay off as cheaper when you look at the upfront cost of CO2 equipment. But then there are literally hundreds of ways to acquire, build and use the equipment needed.
What makes it super hard to decide is that we don't know what we want until we have used it for a while.
I try to start with what each person may see as the final goal for their tank. A ten gallon tank that they plan to keep for a few years will be more practical to pour some Excel rather than bit the bullet for $100+ for pressure CO2. But that answer changes when we look at how that person feels about $100 and the fun of setting up new equipment.
Some quick shots at the different levels I see and how I feel about each. This is not going to fit all people but just my own personal thoughts. Like I said, this varies all over the map!

DIY CO2 mixes?
Okay for smaller tanks. not very consistent and needs lots of attention. But it is cheaper and some find it interesting and certainly is a place to start.
Ready to go, off the shelf?
Paintball? Several varieties with several levels of quality. Can be a place to start but the paintball canisters can cost more to refill so the total cost can get skewed.
Milwaukee, Azoo and dozens of others are out there at various prices. Many of the "starter" sets come with some faults that often drive the user to wish he had spent more. But they are semi-affordable at around $100 plus a CO2 tank. Refills on larger tanks are cheaper per pound. Needle valves and solenoids are often of somewhat questionable quality. Some find them fine, others do not.
DIY pressure reg and parts?
My chosen level but I have the time, tools and experience to build things. Shopping and choosing carefully is key but it also takes vast time and can be trouble.
Top of the line custom built?
Can be great if that is what is wanted but the price drives many away.

Starter thoughts so maybe some info on what level you feel best fits?
 

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I've been using liquid Co2 on my 36 gal low-med light planted tank for almost a year now. I working on setting up a 10 gal betta tank as well and the costs of the liquid Co2 are getting a little out of hand. So I decided to finally look into pressurized Co2. I've looked into DIY systems but don't feel comfortable or really want to mess with that. So I thought I'ed see what suggestions people on here have.

So my questions is what would be good systems for both the 10 and 36 gal.
The 36 gal uses a Finnex Stingray light and has swrods, crypts, hygro, ferns, onion low-med light plants.

The 10 gal will have the Finnex Clip on Fugray Planted Plus and have a lot of the same plants above but also dwarf hair grass, ludwugia, and other plants with a little higher light needs.
Thanks for any help or suggestions.
i think the cheapest, but yet still reliable good set up would be going with

any paintball co2 canister - $25 for 20z size
aquatek paintball mini regulator+solinoid - $90 amazon.com
some tubing from local hardware store - $5
Bubble counter, co2 diffuser - $5-$20

co2 refill - $4 (last me about a year)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's a pretty constant question and it really doesn't have a firm answer that fits all people. The cost is always a question. You may find you will not use the tank long enough to actually make it pay off as cheaper when you look at the upfront cost of CO2 equipment. But then there are literally hundreds of ways to acquire, build and use the equipment needed.
What makes it super hard to decide is that we don't know what we want until we have used it for a while.
I try to start with what each person may see as the final goal for their tank. A ten gallon tank that they plan to keep for a few years will be more practical to pour some Excel rather than bit the bullet for $100+ for pressure CO2. But that answer changes when we look at how that person feels about $100 and the fun of setting up new equipment.
Some quick shots at the different levels I see and how I feel about each. This is not going to fit all people but just my own personal thoughts. Like I said, this varies all over the map!

DIY CO2 mixes?
Okay for smaller tanks. not very consistent and needs lots of attention. But it is cheaper and some find it interesting and certainly is a place to start.
Ready to go, off the shelf?
Paintball? Several varieties with several levels of quality. Can be a place to start but the paintball canisters can cost more to refill so the total cost can get skewed.
Milwaukee, Azoo and dozens of others are out there at various prices. Many of the "starter" sets come with some faults that often drive the user to wish he had spent more. But they are semi-affordable at around $100 plus a CO2 tank. Refills on larger tanks are cheaper per pound. Needle valves and solenoids are often of somewhat questionable quality. Some find them fine, others do not.
DIY pressure reg and parts?
My chosen level but I have the time, tools and experience to build things. Shopping and choosing carefully is key but it also takes vast time and can be trouble.
Top of the line custom built?
Can be great if that is what is wanted but the price drives many away.

Starter thoughts so maybe some info on what level you feel best fits?
Thanks for all the info it is very helpful.
I've had aquariums for over 10 years and this 36 gal for I think 5 but I have just over about the last year made the change to planted tanks. I had mostly used tanks before to over winter some of my pond koi and comets but after an issue with the pond and a raccoon I've permanently moved the surviving 3 fish indoors and then moved to live plants because it would be healthier and more natural.

I've liked it so much that I wanted to set up a smaller betta tank so that I could have plants that are not necessarily gold fish hardy.

So I guess for me I'm always going to have aquariums so I'm willing to spend a little more for something that I will be able to use for a long time. There are a couple reason I initially shied away for Co2 systems was
1. The amount of info and options and info that was out there. I just beginning to tackle live plants in an aquarium which is a very different beast then my pond plants and didn't feel ready to tackle Co2 systems at the same time so I took the safe route and went liquid.
2. Space- When I did my initial research all the systems I saw seemed quite large and I am very limited on space. I can post of pic of the area I have to work with if that will give people a better idea.

Since the tank has goldfish who most of the time eat what I plant before it has the chance to grow I have had some issues with algae but it has been better over the past 3-4 months as I've finally got a good idea of what they leave alone which is swords, hygro, crypts, ferns anubias, tiger lotus and the onion. So I was wondering if having a more consistent form of Co2 then the liquid would help, or if I need to change the way I dose.

I use the API co2 booster and I've been getting 16oz bottles on amazon for about $7, and I dose about 2 cap fulls in the morning, I use to dose only one cap full but I upped it to 2 about 2 months ago and saw an increase in the plant growth.

The ten gal I plan to keep for a long while because I'm also sort of using it as a nursery for plants that I want to put in the 36 gal. Goldfish seem far more interested in new growth then old growth, so larger more mature plants have a much better chance at surviving.

So I guess I'm seeing if there is a small Co2 system for the 36 gal and if I even need a Co2 system for the 10 gal but I guess that both tanks are going to be around for awhile. I can cross off the customized co2 I can't afford it if it was a real good system I could pay 100 but I had hoped to be a little under that.
Hope this gives you a better idea of what I'm looking for.
Thanks again
 

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Are the tanks close to each other? If so you could get a system that can output two lines at once. Then you can run both tanks off one CO2 setup.
 

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Lots of good info on what and where you are on the CO2 question. So some more thoughts that fit me but not everybody?
A rational way might be to go with a small paintball tank for the limited space. But then I would look at running both tanks off one small reg and tank but with perhaps getting a better quality solenoid. Some always depends on finances and outlook on that. Better quality can mean it lasts nearly forever as it doesn't overheat and stick but that also means it costs more. But one solenoid can turn the gas on/off to two tanks and that is usually okay. Since you are not really needing/wanting spectacular growth but improved, I would guess using the main tank time for on and off for both would work. So for equipment, you get this. Paintball tank, small paintball reg feeding a solenoid to turn it on/off on a timer. From the solenoid, I would go out on tubing, use a tee to split it into two lines and put a needle valve on each line so that you can do the fine tuning with the needle valve. Each tank then needs some way to put the CO2 actually in the water. That can be anything from a cig filter stuffed over the tubing to a reactor of various sorts.
Price for value on each part is a whole big ballgame that can make a guys head hurt! But it's a start on learning to ride the big boy bike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are the tanks close to each other? If so you could get a system that can output two lines at once. Then you can run both tanks off one CO2 setup.
Oh thats a great idea but sadly they are not. One is in the den and the 10 gal in my room. I'll have to post some photos of space where each tank is. Now i wish they were cause that would make things a whole lot easier.
 

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I'd just like to thank Gilly for asking this question, I'm eyeballing this post like a hawk!
Co2 has put me off the last few years but after slow growth of plants (albeit successful,) I'm wanting to opt in.
Keep going guys ;-)

Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lots of good info on what and where you are on the CO2 question. So some more thoughts that fit me but not everybody?
A rational way might be to go with a small paintball tank for the limited space. But then I would look at running both tanks off one small reg and tank but with perhaps getting a better quality solenoid. Some always depends on finances and outlook on that. Better quality can mean it lasts nearly forever as it doesn't overheat and stick but that also means it costs more. But one solenoid can turn the gas on/off to two tanks and that is usually okay. Since you are not really needing/wanting spectacular growth but improved, I would guess using the main tank time for on and off for both would work. So for equipment, you get this. Paintball tank, small paintball reg feeding a solenoid to turn it on/off on a timer. From the solenoid, I would go out on tubing, use a tee to split it into two lines and put a needle valve on each line so that you can do the fine tuning with the needle valve. Each tank then needs some way to put the CO2 actually in the water. That can be anything from a cig filter stuffed over the tubing to a reactor of various sorts.
Price for value on each part is a whole big ballgame that can make a guys head hurt! But it's a start on learning to ride the big boy bike?
Ok so is there a cite or brand that is decent. A friend of mine got some stuff from Co2 Art I think and they said it was good haven't talked to them in a while so I'll have to see what their up to now. And the tanks are sadly in two different rooms so I don't know how that would effect your idea about using the solenoid to control both, which I'm guessing means it won't work and that I'll have to have two whole set ups for each tank.
But I can defiantly see where the paint ball set up would work better for my space requirements or at least I think that it will. I posted pics of both cites where the tanks are.

So would the ten gal be better off with just the liquid?
Thanks for all the help
 

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I'm guessing that I will be wrong but have to ask. The tanks are not close together but separated buy a wall. Probably more like different ends of the house? sometimes we get put off because we think of things as a long way apart when they really back up to the same wall!
Any way, moving on because that doesn't usually work. Sometimes we do just get lemons!
I would think I would certainly go with keeping on the CO2 as used now on the ten and adding any pressure to the larger tank as that is where you will see the most benefit. One of the biggest benefits to waiting before adding pressure or new equipment is that you do learn a lot about what it does for you and how it might work best before buying into two systems and finding they may not be quite what you wanted.
I better back off on advise on paintball as there are many who have more experience with it. There are certainly lots of options and some of them have to work really well as I see so many folks who do use them.
 

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My suggestion on going pressurized is strongly based off the budget you are comfortable with. I would not go with a paintball setup. I have used them on multiple tanks and it ends up being more expensive on you and harder to get filled depending on what local places can do at any given time. Here is what I would suggest for a budget rig. And this can be used with a co2 splitter for multiple tanks.

--Budget co2--
Aqautek Premium co2 reg from ebay or amazon, I only mention Ebay because I saw a great deal earlier today on there for the Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator + CO2 Proof tubing + Bubble counter/check valve all for $75 shipped You would only need a tank and diffuser and you would be good to go -->https://www.amazon.com/Premium-AQUA...957&sr=8-1&keywords=aquatek+premium+regulator

Bubble counter and Check Valve of your choice

5lb co2 tank from --->https://beveragelements.com/product-category/gas-cylinders-regulators/co2-cylinders/

co2 diffuser, or reactor

There are better setups out there, but I run this reg on my two main 40B tanks with great results. I have a GLA Atomic Paintball reg that I got an adapter for and run on a 20lb co2 tank. The reason I suggest a 5lb is because it costs about $10 to have filled and depending on how much co2 you run, it will last you 4-6 months. 20oz Paintball tanks cost $4-8 to be filled depending on your local prices and on two tanks its only going to last 3-4 weeks max. I was having to swap mine every 3 weeks on a 40 gallon tank at 4 bps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's the general consensuses that I got as well when doing research about pricing over the long run. The tanks are in two totally separate rooms separated by another room so there is no way for me to feasibly share the same Co2 system with them.

I'll check that out on ebay cause that is a good price compared to some that I have seen.

As of right now I think I'll keep the 10 gal on liquid Co2 once it's set up, unless there is some form of nano co2, and I'll go with some sort of system for the 36 gal.

What size are the tanks or do they come in different sizes?
Thanks for the input
 

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That's the general consensuses that I got as well when doing research about pricing over the long run. The tanks are in two totally separate rooms separated by another room so there is no way for me to feasibly share the same Co2 system with them.

I'll check that out on ebay cause that is a good price compared to some that I have seen.

As of right now I think I'll keep the 10 gal on liquid Co2 once it's set up, unless there is some form of nano co2, and I'll go with some sort of system for the 36 gal.

What size are the tanks or do they come in different sizes?
Thanks for the input
I would suggest that. Liquid co2 won't be too bad for just the 10 gallon. especially if you use metricide 14 instead of excel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would suggest that. Liquid co2 won't be too bad for just the 10 gallon. especially if you use metricide 14 instead of excel.
I don't use excel I used the API co2 booster I'm not familiar with the metricide 14. I'll look into it.

And how big are the tanks for the Co2 because I would like to be able to keep this all under the tank cabinet, I have pets so I'm not really comfortable with cords or tubing being visible or accessible to them.
Thanks again
 

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I don't use excel I used the API co2 booster I'm not familiar with the metricide 14. I'll look into it.

And how big are the tanks for the Co2 because I would like to be able to keep this all under the tank cabinet, I have pets so I'm not really comfortable with cords or tubing being visible or accessible to them.
Thanks again
I would turn away from the API co2 booster to metracide 14 (You make your own solution with it) or use nilicg enhance. They are both much better than the API. Excel is also much better than API but the most expensive option.

Enhance 500ml | Premium Liquid Supplement | NilocG Aquatics

As far as tank size, the 5lb tank is not very big. It will fit under any of my aquarium stands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I've looked into Nilcog cause that's where I get my ferts from.

So my next question would be now that I'm trying to chart out pricing for both start up for the pressurized and then over long term for both.
I'll be using the liquid for the 10 gal no matter what but if I sue the liquid form Nilcog the 2000 ml it would last me 10.5 months if i dosed 3 ml a day for 36 gal and then 15 ml after weekly water change and 1 ml a day for 10 gal with 5 ml after weekly water change.

Or if I upped the daily dose of the 36 gal form 3ml to 4 ml then it would last me just about 9 months.

I'm still working on getting my total cost together for the pressurized but right now I think I'll be hovering right around $150 or a little under.

So my question is how much or what type of plant growth increases will I see, or on the algae. Will I have to increases my lighting in accordance to the increases of Co2 and how much Co2 will I be dosing from the pressurized so I can get an idea of how long a 5lb tank will last. This will enable to make some calls to some local places to see how much it will cost me to refill the tank.

Thanks again for tall the help and advice form the community.
 

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I wouldn't even bother using CO2 on the larger tank because it frankly doesn't need it / wouldn't be worth it. Out of the plants you listed only the DHG and maybe Ludwigia (depending on what species) would be worth supplying CO2 for...

If you want a successful DHG carpet in the new tank then I would just get a single system for just that tank. Splitting 2 needle valves off of a single regulator would be ideal (and be very little additional cost) but if the tanks are far away that is no longer an option...
 
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