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CO2 Regulators

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Panda, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    Hi ! I have been using a paintball style CO2 system for the last few months with good success. It is a 90 g tank and the cost of the monthly refilling of the bottle is a PITA.
    I'm looking to buy a new regulator with solenoid and bubble counter by the end of the month. My choices are JBJ (saw one in aquacave) and SuMo regulators. Which one should I buy?? any other good brand? and the last question is about the size of the CO2 tank.... 5 lbs or 10 lbs?
    thanks for any advice
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is always a good idea to get the biggest CO2 tank you can manage - find room for, lift and carry easily, and afford. CO2 is cheap, but taking trips to get a tank refilled soon becomes something you don't appreciate. And, it doesn't cost much more to fill a 10 pound tank than a 5 pound tank.

    Which regulator to buy depends on how much you can afford to spend, whether you mind making repairs to a regulator, and how annoyed you get when the regulator requires constant attention to keep a steady bubble rate. Obviously the cheaper you go, the more repairs you may need, and the more difficult it is to hold a steady bubble rate or adjust the bubble rate. Generally, with regulators you get what you pay for.
     
  3. charlie

    charlie Guru Class Expert

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    I agree, with that in mind, if you have looked at the Sumo set up & think it`s in your budget, i would highly recommend it, I personally don`t see the need for the Ideal valve but that`s just me, i have the Swagelok valve on mine with a custom fitted Bubble counter & must say i`m quite happy with it, in closing a well built unit & good customer service.
     
  4. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    I agree with both and Sumo does have an excellent customer service. Charlie, does your regulator requires a lot of fine tunning as Hoppy says?
    how about this idea: using a splitter or manifold ( forgot the name) to diffuse the co2 in two areas of the aquarium ( 90 g )?
     
  5. charlie

    charlie Guru Class Expert

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    Panda, my Sumo , came with 2 Swagelok needle valves & 2 Bubble counters ( custom ordered0 , i never had any issues with adjusting it , it was set it & forget it.
    I also have another top brand custom regulator with a Clippard needle valve, after using the Sumo for 2 weeks , i had Sumo send me a Swagelok valve & bubble counter attached to replace the Clippard, i always found the Clippard a bit flaky, changing it to the Swagelok cured that.
    Regards
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I am willing to put up with the problems I have with my Milwaukee regulator. So far I have replaced the solenoid valve after the original one failed, and removed the bubble counter because it wouldn't stop leaking. I struggle with setting the bubble rate every time I refill the CO2 tank, but once I finally get it set right I don't have to touch it very often. It does go wild as the tank runs out of liquid CO2, and I have to be careful to back off on the setting daily to avoid gassing my fish. I guess I am easily pleased, but I have no plans to replace the regulator.
     
  7. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    The Milwaukee regulators was another alternative I was watching on ebay... Charlie, how much did it cost with the 2 Swagelok needle valves & 2 Bubble counters ?? - this is a great option. :) in fact I will contact them tonight !
    Thank you very much for your answers !

    Today I found a local person that offered me a 20 lbs tank for $80 plus $ 20 for the CO2. After the tank is empty he exchanges for another full tank for $20. What do you guys think??
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Grab it and run before he changes his mind!
     
  9. filipem

    filipem Prolific Poster

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    I have a 20LB tank with a aquamedic regulator and clippard needle valve. It took a few days to adjust the bubble count. I'm pretty happy with it.
     
  10. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Regulators are wonderful inventions, able to do very important jobs and do them well, with few problems. Our CO2 regulators have probably the easiest job of any regulator. They see about 700 psi inlet pressure for almost their entire working lifetime, and that is a low pressure when discussing pressurized gases. They produce a constant output pressure that is very rarely changed during their entire lifetime. The flow through the regulator is so small it can almost be assumed to be zero in designing the regulator. So, our CO2 regulators truly don't need "rocket science" to work very well for us.

    Why add complexity and cost to such a simple device with such a simple job to do? I would much rather spend the extra money getting a little better quality in a regulator, but leaving it the very simple device it is now. That "electronic" regulator is, in my opinion, a joke.
     
  12. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    I saw it, but didn't like it since no person has written about them here that I'm aware of.
    I went ahead and ordered this regulator:

    Choice CO2 Regulator - Dual Manifold | Green Leaf Aquariums

    Ordered it last night and they sent it today among other things. I just hope it works OK :rolleyes: I'll write a review later.
    I think it will arrive to the island on Friday or Saturday. By Friday after work I will pick up the 20# CO2 tank.
     
  13. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Panda: that regulator looks terrific to me. Yes, please, post your experiences here.

    VaughnH: I trust you simply because I don't know anything about CO2 systems (I am a newbie there!), so I am trying to understand here: what do you mean with "our CO2 regulators"? Do you product regulators? Or do you have any to recommend?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Fabrizio
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When I said "our CO2 regulators" I was referring to those used by planted tank enthusiasts to help us grow aquatic plants. CO2 regulators can also be used by those who use bottled CO2 as a power source for nail guns, or as a welding gas. And gas pressure regulators are used for many other applications in welding, in manufacturing processes, in laboratories, in the medical field, and many other applications. Considering all of those applications of gas pressure regulators, "our CO2 regulators" have by far the easiest job to do. That is why we can buy such cheap regulators as the Milwaukee model.
     
  15. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    So, I presume you have one of the Milwaukee regulators like the following:

    Milwaukee Instruments

    Is that right?

    Thank you, I am trying to understand what's better for me.
     
  16. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Fablau,

    I have used that Milwaukeer setup for several years and it worked well.

    I have since switched to a Sumo as the other setup was pretty old. I like the new one, the needle valve is better, but the overall effect is the same. It's not like all of a sudden overnight the tank is different with a better reg setup :)

    Think of the different models as like a TV set.

    The better sets will have better interior parts, circuits, picture, sound, etc. But they still present a picture and sound to you the viewer.

    The better regulators will have a better valve and guages, workmanship, etc, that;s all, they still do the same job.

    If you are going to spend the money on c02 equipment, buy the best you can afford. Hopefully you will have/use it for a long time.

    The difference between the good, decent, and excellent don't seem to me very much, so I would not let money make the final decision.

    If you get the Milwaukee set, remove the bubble counter and install one in-line or something. They tend to leak a lot........

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes, I have that Milwaukee regulator, the only one they produce as far as I know. It is probably a bit too cheap, being just barely able to do what I want it to do. The needle valve is hard to use, the bubble counter is prone to leaks, the solenoid has reliability problems, and the output pressure is inversely proportional in some way to the inlet pressure. But, by being attentive, by using the pressure adjustment knob along with the needle valve to adjust bubble rate, by removing the bubble counter entirely, it does work well enough. If I were buying a new regulator I would buy a different one, costing more.
     
  18. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    If any of you are willing/wanting to piece together your own complete CO2 regulator setup, or if you are just wanting to upgrade the regulator itself and already have all the other things like bubble counters, solenoids, needle valves, etc. MicroMatic's own site sells the exact same regulator as Sumo does, and it is only $53 for the regulator (it is regulator 642).

    Primary Beer CO2 Regulators

    or here for $50

    Draft Beer Co2 Regulator - Premium, Double Gauge | BeverageFactory.com

    I have heard of people finding the same needle valves that Sumo offers elsewhere for $20-40 each as well, so piecing it all together yourself could save you some money over a pre-made Sumo set-up. If you need it all, the Sumo setup is a pretty good deal though, since they use good stuff and have already done all the leg work for you.

    Have a good one, Jeremy
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When I got my first regulator I was very frugal. I bought a bare regulator on ebay, that the owner had been using to power his nail gun. Then I found a good needle valve on ebay, and was searching for another bargain for a solenoid. When I started to assemble the needle valve to the regulator I found I had spent about $20 for various fittings, not all of which worked, and still didn't have either a solenoid or even the valve connected to the regulator. Before I could have completed an assembled regulator/needle valve/solenid I would have spent over $150 for everything. That taught me to appreciate those who have done the legwork, found exactly the right fittings, bought them, and assembled the whole thing before I ever saw it. I virtually gave away the parts I had, losing money doing so, but ended up with a workable, new Milwaukee all in one regulator.

    In my opinion a DIY regulator assembly is a way to have fun, but not a way to save much, if any money.
     
  20. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    it is the same !!! :eek:
     
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