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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm working on putting together a Rack of 4 40B tanks for growing plants. I'm in the "planning" phase and so far I have my racks and lighting picked out. Now I'm working on narrowing down my CO2 regulator.

First off, there are so many CO2 regulators to choose from that my head hurts trying to figure out what I should get. I have read through many theads and I still haven't narrowed it down yet. I decided to start a thread to get some advice.

So, the plan is to get one regulator setup for multiple tanks. I'm going to be using a 10lb tank as well.

One regulator that I'm tempted to get and is on the list of prospects is the Aquatek six outlet regulator: http://aquatek-california.com/co2-regulator-solenoid/

This seems like the perfect setup and for the right price. I have read mixed reviews though, since the output I guess is not adjustable.


They also have a Hexo-Manifold with 6 needle valves on aquacave.com: http://www.aquacave.com/Hexo-Manifold-with-6-individual-needle-valves-P1103.aspx

It is $60 dollars and I was thinking I could maybe get this manifold with a better regulator possible. I know that these manifolds don't have the "best" needle valves, but I figure I could upgrade later as I go.

They have a few regulators on aquacave.com, but I'm unsure on their quality.


I also have thought about building my own regulator if I can do it cheaper. I could handle putting one together no problem, I just don't know where would be the best place to get the parts at a cheap price?


I would like to spend no more than $250 for a regulator that can handle multiple tanks.

If anyone has any advice or experience in a setup like this I would like to hear from you. I greatly appreciate any advice I can get!
 

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Aquatek is a good regulator and widely used as well as the Milwaukee. I use the Aquatek and I like it. I haven't had any problems with it yet but the needle valve does have a history of being faulty on not just this one but on the Milwaukee too. I haven't had that problem yet but I may switch it out before I get a problem. Some people never see problems with it and some do so it is rather sporadic. So overall it is a good choice if you keep in mind the needle valve could give you problems.

The Aquatek six outlet regulator you are right. It is factory set from Aquatek. I am not sure though at what. I know with the single outlet basic model it is suppose to be set at 30 psi but I have read some say it has been higher. So you never know what you are going to get. I would think with the 6 outlet it would be higher since it has a higher demand but I could be wrong. With that said you can consider the Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated Solenoid as it has adjustable psi then you can add the Hexo-Manifold to give you the 6 outlets. This would allow you to increase or decrease your psi as needed upon your demands and not be restricted.

Check eBay though for the Aquatek regulator as they sell them much cheaper on their eBay store than they do from their website. $90 + free shipping for the Premium model versus $126 + shipping. If you went this route $90 for the regulator, $60 for the Hexo-Manifold you're looking at $150. So you're already saving $36 and keeping you under your $250 budget with extra to spend on needle valves if you want to upgrade those or other accessories. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Aquatek is a good regulator and widely used as well as the Milwaukee. I use the Aquatek and I like it. I haven't had any problems with it yet but the needle valve does have a history of being faulty on not just this one but on the Milwaukee too. I haven't had that problem yet but I may switch it out before I get a problem. Some people never see problems with it and some do so it is rather sporadic. So overall it is a good choice if you keep in mind the needle valve could give you problems.

The Aquatek six outlet regulator you are right. It is factory set from Aquatek. I am not sure though at what. I know with the single outlet basic model it is suppose to be set at 30 psi but I have read some say it has been higher. So you never know what you are going to get. I would think with the 6 outlet it would be higher since it has a higher demand but I could be wrong. With that said you can consider the Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated Solenoid as it has adjustable psi then you can add the Hexo-Manifold to give you the 6 outlets. This would allow you to increase or decrease your psi as needed upon your demands and not be restricted.

Check eBay though for the Aquatek regulator as they sell them much cheaper on their eBay store than they do from their website. $90 + free shipping for the Premium model versus $126 + shipping. If you went this route $90 for the regulator, $60 for the Hexo-Manifold you're looking at $150. So you're already saving $36 and keeping you under your $250 budget with extra to spend on needle valves if you want to upgrade those or other accessories. Hope that helps.
Thanks for the reply,

I will look into their Ebay store, I am unable to view Ebay here at work. I was actually thinking of doing that actually (getting the premium model that is adjustable and buying the manifold seperate).

I think right now this is going to be my best bet as it will be my first actuall co2 setup. Well actually second, I have a cheap paintball setup I bought from this site that I use on my 55G. It works, but it is not really that great.

Do you have the premium model?
 

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Do you have the premium model
Yes I do, and so far I am liking it. I haven't had any problems with it yet with the needle valve. I am using the Aquatek JBJ style bubble counter with check valve on it which attaches to the regulator itself. I got it on eBay for $19 + free shipping. I saw that Big Al's has the Milwaukee regulator on sale for $85 + free shipping and it comes with the bubble counter already so that is another option if you get in on the sale. Like I said they both have the same complaint with the needle valve but it is really sporadic and some have problems and some don't. Those are the two popular ones.

The only issue I had which really wasn't an issue with the regulator was if you use it on a timer make sure the timer has a low voltage relay as it may not come on or go off when it is suppose to. I ran into this problem and I know that also has been said before from others using timers. I use it on my Apex controller and ran into that problem. I moved it to one of the low voltage outlets with the relay on the EB8 and problem solved. Ever since then it has been working great. Coming on and off when supposed to and shutting off when the pH drops to a set level I have programmed in the Apex. I think you would be happy with it or the Milwaukee even though I can't vouch for the Milwaukee since I don't have that one or have used it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The more I think about it the more I'm thinking I'm going to get it. It is probably the best bet for me price wise and for my setup. Both seem like they would work fine.

I have the JBJ bubble counter on my 55G co2 setup. It works for counting the bubbles but the check valve is worthless on mine.
 

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One thing I want to add is that if you can fit one, get a 20lb tank. Four 40 breeders is a lot to supply and a 20lb tank will save you $ in the long run. Where I get refills, a 10 lb and a 20 lb cost the same to fill up.

Good luck and I'll be keeping an eye out for this journal once you start the build.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One thing I want to add is that if you can fit one, get a 20lb tank. Four 40 breeders is a lot to supply and a 20lb tank will save you $ in the long run. Where I get refills, a 10 lb and a 20 lb cost the same to fill up.

Good luck and I'll be keeping an eye out for this journal once you start the build.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
I'm thinking of getting the 20lb tank. It is roughly $50 dollars more, but will save money on CO2 and trips to get it filled. Also, I will be running 6 tanks because I have a 29G tank and a spare 10G tank.

Thanks though! I'll start the thread once I get everything together, looking forward to having it up and running. Still waiting for that damn $1 per gallon sale though!!! lol I have some extra tanks that I can start with and then move everything to the 40B's, so I'm not too concerned about getting it now. I Just can't wait to see 4 40B tanks full of different plants!

Wwh2694 said:
GLA regulators are good. Also they have a DIY on making a co2 regulator here.
I have read through some of these threads and it seems easy enough. Where do I get the parts though? for the best price?
 

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A quick word about the Aquateks (and Milwaukees, Azoos, and clones): They are *not* good regulators. While it's true that you would probably have no problems running them, common reported problems include issues with every single component, beginning with the regulator itself. They are made with the lowest-quality parts available, which is why they have such a benign price tag. They are bottom-of-the-barrel regulators, and there's no two ways about it.

That said, they're not a bad first step into pressurized CO2 because of the price. The majority of owners eventually upgrade to something better, but because it's important to understand the failings of these things so you know what to look for in the future, it's not a horrible idea to start with one of these.

I wouldn't go so far as to actually recommend one, but I wouldn't condemn you for doing it. If nothing else, it's a learning experience ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A quick word about the Aquateks (and Milwaukees, Azoos, and clones): They are *not* good regulators. While it's true that you would probably have no problems running them, common reported problems include issues with every single component, beginning with the regulator itself. They are made with the lowest-quality parts available, which is why they have such a benign price tag. They are bottom-of-the-barrel regulators, and there's no two ways about it.

That said, they're not a bad first step into pressurized CO2 because of the price. The majority of owners eventually upgrade to something better, but because it's important to understand the failings of these things so you know what to look for in the future, it's not a horrible idea to start with one of these.

I wouldn't go so far as to actually recommend one, but I wouldn't condemn you for doing it. If nothing else, it's a learning experience ;)
Thanks for the advice. I would say my paintball co2 setup is the bottom of the barrel lol; but I get what your saying.

Is it possible to build a quality regulator for < $200?

The duel stage regulators I have been looking at all look nice, but they are pricey! I can't drop 400+ on a regulator right now. I figure if I get the Aquatek or Milwaukee regulator it would work for now and like you said I can always upgrade in the future.

Where would I get parts to build one?

What regulator body should I get and how much is it?

I would gladly build one, but I don't know where to get the parts or which place to get them from.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I would say my paintball co2 setup is the bottom of the barrel lol; but I get what your saying.

Is it possible to build a quality regulator for < $200?

The duel stage regulators I have been looking at all look nice, but they are pricey! I can't drop 400+ on a regulator right now. I figure if I get the Aquatek or Milwaukee regulator it would work for now and like you said I can always upgrade in the future.

Where would I get parts to build one?

What regulator body should I get and how much is it?

I would gladly build one, but I don't know where to get the parts or which place to get them from.
I bought all the parts for my Concoa 212 for less than $200. Look on fleabay for a deal
 

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A quick word about the Aquateks (and Milwaukees, Azoos, and clones): They are *not* good regulators. While it's true that you would probably have no problems running them, common reported problems include issues with every single component, beginning with the regulator itself. They are made with the lowest-quality parts available, which is why they have such a benign price tag. They are bottom-of-the-barrel regulators, and there's no two ways about it.

That said, they're not a bad first step into pressurized CO2 because of the price. The majority of owners eventually upgrade to something better, but because it's important to understand the failings of these things so you know what to look for in the future, it's not a horrible idea to start with one of these.

I wouldn't go so far as to actually recommend one, but I wouldn't condemn you for doing it. If nothing else, it's a learning experience ;)
No...that's rather unsettling considering I just bought an Aquatek premium CO2 regulator. So far no problems, but I'm hoping this "stepping stone" can last atleast a year or two. I've been researching online about what's likely to break, but seems like everyone just has a problem with the needle valve.
 

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No...that's rather unsettling considering I just bought an Aquatek premium CO2 regulator. So far no problems, but I'm hoping this "stepping stone" can last atleast a year or two. I've been researching online about what's likely to break, but seems like everyone just has a problem with the needle valve.
The reg itself is prone to dumping at decreasing pressures, sometimes has difficulty in keeping a steady pressure from day to day, and usually increases in working pressure by a significant amount (more than is normally expected) during the solenoid off periods.

The needle valve itself is very difficult to tweak (which is made worse by the fact that sometimes the regulator makes this necessary, which generally doesn't happen in higher quality units), and sometimes gets clogged. That Milwaukee has a published method of cleaning out the needle valve, using a drill (and it has the same exact needle valve as the other brands), is cause for worry, in my opinion. So, basically, the needle valve is both very inaccurate and prone to malfunction.

The solenoid is probably least likely to fail. However, there are a number of users who have reported this happening, and mine actually cracked (I was using a 3M, which is a Milwaukee clone). This applies to the original Aquatek, not sure about how the newer "premium" works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm probably going to start out with the Aquatek premium and the manifold I picked out from aquacave.com. I will get experience from it, and I can always upgrade the needle valves or regulator at a later date.

Maybe my next one, I could look into building one or finding a good one on _bay, but I have no clue what I'm looking for and which one is better than another right now.

Hopefully I don't run into any of the problems that have been mentioned. As long as it works, I don't mind making adjustments here and there to get things right. For the most part, I will be monitoring it on a daily basis.

Thanks for all the comments and advice! and I look forward to getting my setup up and running.
 

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Very interesting, never seen anything like it.

But it's max is 4bps. Not enough for me, but it would be fine for a lot. I pump in at least 6bps into a heavily planted 29gal. 4 wouldn't cut it.

oh, and my 2c about regs - go for Dupla. Mine is rock solid. Never fails.
i'll be using it in a 14gal tank would it be enough for me? I'ma pull the trigger.
 
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