Paintball Co2

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Aquarium Advice Addict
May 2, 2010
Houston, Texas
I know all of you say that paintball co2 won't last long enough for the initial cost reductions but how about this:

Paintball ASA 8 dollars new
1200 psi gauge 3 dollars
Needlevalve It's a clippard I got for ~18 but you can find MUCH cheaper needle valves.
Vinyl hose - 2.50

Paintball tank 24oz ~20-30 filled used or 30-40 new filled.

You could have a 1.5lb tank for ~60 dollars ready to go.

And here is a setup on an old 12oz that I'm using for testing all the fittings. The 12oz isn't what I'm going to use...its hydrotest expired several months ago.

There are CO2 systems that use paintball tanks. The refilling is where they get you. Usually it costs the same to refill a paintball tank as it does to refill a 5lb cylinder. If you've got the paintball stuff lying around, I say use it. You could always buy a big tank with a siphon tube and just refill the paintball tanks yourself.
Reports have been that 1.5lbs running at ~1-2bps will last a 20 gal ~ 4-6months. The 30ppm rule for co2 has been abandoned it seems in most planted tank circles. 15ppm-20ppm seems to have been adopted as the safe for all tank inmates and sufficient for plants zone.
I still aim for 30ppm. I have tried running lower but see more algae when I do. I think that is a pretty optimistic estimate on time between refills. I had to refill my 5lb tank about every 4 months on my 29g tank running at around 25-30ppm with pretty efficient diffusion and a pH meter running the selenoid.

I know when I used to play paintball, it was ridiculous what you had to pay for a tank refill. Cost the same back then to fill a 20oz tank as it costs me now to fill my 5lb. I have heard though that as paintball has become more prevalent, those costs have come down.

Kudos on finding and putting together such a reasonably priced pressurized CO2 system though. It is amazing what a little DIY work can save you.
Using DiY yeast I was running about 20ppm co2 on about 1bps/2 seconds. So I'm thinking I'm fine.

The way I diffused the co2 almost gassed my fish. Yes I gassed fish with diy...

edit: oh, and this is going on that iwagumi. So very light plant load....a bit too much PAR though on the tank.
I had that problem with DIY too... had to end up setting up an airstone run on a timer opposite the lights to keep the CO2 from jumping up to 50+ppm at night. I love the pH meter... it is admittedly overkill and by no means a requirement (a timer works fine), but it is comforting to know my pH will be constant day and night... which also means my CO2 is constant day and night.

Are you planning to turn it off and on manually, or have you considered trying to add an electric selenoid of some sort?
I contemplated fitting in a solenoid in line with compression fittings but I realized I could just as easily shut it off with a flip of the switch before I hit the sack and turn it on when I get home. The lever you see on my ASA doesn't regulate air in any way. It is simply on or off. And it flips with just small flick of the wrist.
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