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Old 01-13-2006, 02:27 PM   #1
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p.h. controller

Hi all,

I'm planing on purchasing a compressed CO2 system in the coming week. I've pretty much settled on a Milwaukee regulator/solenoid, a 5lbs aluminum tank and a Aqua Medic diffuser. My question is whether or not I should also get the Milwaukee p.h. controller? Will it make my life easier enough to justify the price (not that high I know, but I'm going to be throwing quite a bit of money at the rest of the setup, and want to save if at all prudent)? Also if anyone sees anything wrong with that setup, or thinks I should include anything (or needs more info from me), please let me know.

Thanks,
Tom

My tank is 30 gal, substrate is eco-complete, and I have a 130 watt PC (which I haven't thrown on yet for fear of algea).
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:13 PM   #2
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Well Tom, I think it makes life a lot easier to have the controler. First, you have an instant reading which allows you to know how much CO2 is being dissolved. Second, it's a fail safe mechanism against end of the tank dump. The controler shuts off the CO2 output at a pH that you can designate. Not a waste of money at all IMO
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:39 PM   #3
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Tom, Welcome to AA!

I agree that a pH controller is a nice gadget, and if your budget allows for it, by all means get one.

But if money is an object, be aware its not exactly a necessary gadget. It depends a lot on how much buffering capacity your water has.

For example, I have 10dKh of carbonate hardness....plenty of buffering. I run my CO2 24/7 without problems. I do use more CO2 this way, and if I had an inclination, I could hook up my solenoid to a lamp timer and run it half as much.

But, if I had 3dKh, I'd barely have enough buffering for safe CO2 injection, in which case a pH controller would be a very wise investment.

I'll also state that any good CO2 regulator, like a Milwaukee or JBJ, is not going to give you and end of tank dump. Both units are built well, and the needle valve is the primary reason you won't get a tank dump.
Tank dumps usually happen on a regulator only setup...the cylinder gets too low to apply enough pressure ont he regulator valve, and it starts rapidly burping, which release way more CO2 than normal.
The needle valve actually will slow CO2 rate as the cylinder goes empty, because it has less gas pushing against the valve.

I've tried to induce a tank dump with my milwaukee once, and I couldn't get it to happen.
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:32 PM   #4
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Maybe this is just me rationalizing my cheapness, but I have (for now) decided that the controller is unnecessary. I just don't want another peice of equipment in my setup that can go wrong and mess up my co2 levels. Maybe I just don't trust them.

I pump the co2 24/7, but have an air pump at night that creates more surface agitation. I'm not losing much co2, and I don't have to spend the extra $80. And I have the peace of mind that my pH meter isn't giving false readings, the probe isn't calibrated correctly, etc. . .
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:48 PM   #5
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Great info malkore. I never knew that the needle valve prevented end of tank dump. I always assumed this was handled by the controler.
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Old 01-13-2006, 06:33 PM   #6
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I just ordered the milwaukee Controller/regulator combo, cost 168 shipped which is not bad at all IMO, and the extra 70-80$ means you don't get a PH bomb (my Kh is between 4 and 5). Also it uses less Co2 and keeps the level nice and consistant.

It's worth it IMO.
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Old 01-15-2006, 12:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies, I guess I'll just suck it up and get one. Thanks again,

Tom
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Old 01-17-2006, 02:32 AM   #8
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Re: p.h. controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shmeeb
Hi all,

I'm planing on purchasing a compressed CO2 system in the coming week. I've pretty much settled on a Milwaukee regulator/solenoid, a 5lbs aluminum tank and a Aqua Medic diffuser.
I just ordered the same thing tonight, with one exception, no tank. I still need the tank. It's the Milwaukee regulator/solinoid, needle valve, bubble counter, and diffuser for $90.00. Now I just need to find a tank. Going to check the local welding supply shops here to see what's available.
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:43 PM   #9
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I like my controller and would hate to give it up now that I have it, but it is not required. I'd go ahead - this is a long-term investment and it will serve you well.

I too have not had any problems with end of tank dump with the Milwaukee (hubby steals some of my gas from time to time to fill his air gun tanks so I run out sooner than expected sometimes), but you need to babysit that thing for a couple of weeks after you get it to get it dialed in correctly. It does not hold adjustment very well initially, or at least they did not used to - this may no longer be a problem for them.
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