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Old 07-27-2007, 12:07 PM   #1
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Pressurized CO2

Hey Everyone,

Looking at possibly going Pressurized. I have DIY right now and it jsut isn't very consistant. What do you guys suggest as far as prebuilt setups and building your own. Can you link me to places that will give me good deals on what all I will need. Even ebay links will be helpful. I don't know exactly what I need. A tank si the easy part but there are lots of different regulators, etc. Thanks for the help.

Mike
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:14 PM   #2
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I'm dosing Excel and I'm not consistent either. I'll follow in your footsteps.
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Old 07-27-2007, 12:24 PM   #3
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I am currently EI dosing and have DIY CO2 setup. The CO2 is not very steady at all. I'd just like something a little more, predictable, if I can afford it at the moment.
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:49 PM   #4
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Black hills tj, from all that I have read it seems that Milwaukee is a pretty trustworthy brand for the CO2 setup (includes regulator, needle valve, solenoid, and bubble counter in the MA957 set). You can see it here:
http://www.aquariumplants.com/product_p/pr333.htm
Now this is not the cheapest place to buy it probably but this is a reference to it.

The minimum needed for a pressurized system is: a cylinder/tank, regulator, needle valve, check valve, tubing, diffusion method. If you want to control the flow of the CO2 with either a timer or a pH monitor then you also need a solenoid.

I have heard that the Clippard solenoids typically run very hot (someone actually was talking on the forums about this recently) but it is another common brand to go with. If you were to get a setup like the Milwaukee MA957 you would simply need to get a CO2 tank and have it filled. They also sell tanks on that site but it would be best to go to a liquor store in your area or a welding supply shop and get one and have them fill it (liquor store it would be filled and they would give you a new one when the certification runs out in most cases...just requires a deposit). You can simply add a glass diffuser (http://www.aquariumplants.com/Aqua_M..._p/am73015.htm) and place it under the intake of your filter. Or for better results you can purchase a reactor (http://www.aquariumplants.com/Aqua_M..._p/am73008.htm) which come in different sizes and options (they also make them inline to run on the output of your canister filter, for example).

Also to be most accurate and to have a complete CO2 system that requires little monitoring you could add a PH/CO2 controller. The Milwaukee SMS122 is one of the best in the bunch from what I have read. http://www.aquariumplants.com/Automa...22_p/pr209.htm
The pH controller would monitor the pH and flip the electric solenoid on and off to provide constant CO2 levels. This way you don't have a drastic drop in your PH causing high stress to your fish.

Again, I am not saying you should necessarily buy from the site I have referenced it was just a simple place to direct you for further explanation.

CO2 overall can be quite expensive but once you get it all in place keeping it maintained is relatively cheap (considering no faulty equipment of course) as you will probably only need to refill your CO2 tank once or twice a year and it typically runs about 11-15 dollars at a welding supply store, etc. for a 5lb tank. Hope I got all that right. If not, I'm sure one of the pros will step in.

EDIT*** Also someone I know got the fully automatic CO2 injection system from the Drs web site and he said it has run perfectly over the last year. I'm not sure on the quality of all the single parts they use however my friend did say that he would prefer the SMS122 controller by Milwaukee. Here's the fully automatic system from the Drs:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?pcatid=4493
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:01 PM   #5
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How do you continually regulate the CO2? Do CO2 needs increase with more plants or is the size of the tank the only factor that dictates the supply of CO2 needed? I've seen mentions of pH meters, which would feed back to the solenoid. Is that necessary or recommended?
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:10 PM   #6
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Plants need a certain PH in order to flourish as during the day the plant uses up CO2 and releases oxygen. This causes the PH to rise. The PH controller then tells the solenoid to kick on and release CO2 until a certain PH is met then the solenoid kicks off the CO2. This ensures that there is a constant necessary amount of CO2 in the tank for the plants to use throughout the entire day. The PH controller is the most accurate way to ensure there is a constant needed supply of CO2 in the tank. Come on pros, please say I'm right or at least close? I am just starting to get into pressurized CO2 so I am trying to share what I've read and been told. HTH
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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I am no pro...actually new to the pressurized set up but I did buy the complete Milwaukee regulator and controller on ebay. So far so good it has been running for a few days and after the initial day of adjusting the flow it has been very consistent.

Personally I got the controller because I didn't want to have to constantly fiddle with it and I wanted to keep the CO2 as consistent as possible.

I also did a lot of research before deciding on the Milwaukee set up and it may not be the best there is but it seems pretty good quality to me and has worked great so far. Quite a few others here have been using it as well.

I like being able to just let it do it's thing, and the plants are LOVING it. Lots of pearling started happening on the first day.

I hope I have been of some help. Don't forget to get a diffuser of some kind or reactor to help you dissolve the CO2.
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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smn723 has done a good job of covering the basics. I just want to add a few things.

If you want to supply multiple aquariums with a single pressurized setup, you'll need a manifold with enough ports for all the tanks, and an additional needle valve for each additional aquarium.

The Milwaukee is a popular and descent setup for getting into Pressurized CO2 with a standard setup. I'd recommend looking at RexGrigg.com if you're looking at something more specialized or would like high quality parts.
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Old 07-28-2007, 12:34 AM   #9
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I'm running two milwaukee regulators and have been quite happy with both of them. One of them has undergone surgery to allow it to supply more than one tank.



So far I have not found a need for a ph controller, instead the drop checkers tell me that I'm in the right range for co2. My solenoid is controlled by the same timer that runs the lights. I think that most who have looked at my tanks will tell you that my plants and fish actually do quite well. They may not be the most artistic tanks but the green stuff grows.

Simple and effective.
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:39 AM   #10
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How much does a pH controller run dollar-wise? Any links?
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:03 AM   #11
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Here are some options-


http://cgi.ebay.com/Milwaukee-SMS122...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/SMART-SMS122-pH-...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:19 PM   #12
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So that first one is everything you need, less the tank and a way to get the CO2 into your tank, yes?
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Old 07-28-2007, 04:28 PM   #13
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Well almost. You also need either a diffuser or a reactor to dissolve the co2 bubbles. Like these:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Spio-III-Co2-dif...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/Aqua-Medic-React...QQcmdZViewItem

I wouldn't necessarily recommed that first diffuser but you get the idea. A glass diffuser is what you would be looking for. If you decide to get a reactor there are many plans online for DIY reactors. Probably some on this forum. I don't believe you need a check valve if you use the needle valve, correct?
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:16 PM   #14
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A check valve is ALWAYS recommended, regardless of the setup. The last thing you want is a syphon and all your water on the floor if something bad happens. Their cheap, and easy to install. I just wouldn't chance it. Think of it like wearing your seltbelt in the car.

An inexpensive and very effective reactor is a low flow powerhead (PH) that has been plumbed with the CO2 tubing. I have mine setup with an airstone so it breaks the bubbles up before going through the PH and its completely silent.

I have the complete setup from Rex Grigg, and couldn't be happier. The solenoid does run quite hot, but its normal (I was the one who posted because I was afraid something was wrong). I have the solenoid, tank lights, and PH set to turn on and off together. So the CO2 is only on for ~9 hours a day, which saves tremendously compared to tanks that just run CO2 24/7.

My setup was about $160 shipped for the regulator, ~$90 for the 5lb tank filled, and ~$20 for the PH, airstone, and tubing. But it was well worth the consistency and constant second-guessing of whether it was the CO2 causing the algae problems or something else.

HTH
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