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Help me find the right CO2 setup

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by avbarr11, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. avbarr11

    avbarr11 Junior Poster

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    I'm new to planted tanks and I'm trying to set up a middle-of-the-road tank with moderate lighting and moderate CO2 (maybe around 20ppm?). I have a 60 gallon tank. I've been trying to understand all I can about CO2 regulators and have read a lot on this site about DIY regs and set ups (this morning it was http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/10291-The-noob-guide-to-building-your-own-regulator-part-numbers-sources-and-other-tips!/page2 )

    This went mostly over my head. Is there a reliable, well built version for sale out there that won't cost me an arm and a leg but will save me from these terrifying DIY projects?? I know that's kind of like asking for the world, but I'm just not sure I could DIY this myself since I've never even seen a CO2 set up in real life!
     
  2. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    You're in the right place. Collectively we've had a lot of experience with CO2 equipment, and we're here to help. So ask as many questions as you need to along the way. How to cut cost is on everyone's mind. There just aren't any good options out there when it comes to commercially prebuilt regulators for the aquarist. Sellers cut corners and try to maximize profit in any way they can. When it comes to regulators the quality of the components matters most. If a solenoid fails, you can have a tank full of dead fish and shrimp.

    There are several ways you can do it. The first of which is to locate a builder/seller who deals with used or surplus parts. Like anything else, there are good builders and those who are just in it to make profit. Unfortunate, but true. Sometimes you'll see a prebuilt unit for sale in the sales forum. Oldpunk puts together solid builds for a reasonable price. They work, and he provides great customer service. Left C has quality stuff, too, but both of these guys are currently busy and not making as many units. These are the two builders I trust. I can't recommend anyone else.

    The other way to do it is to buy new components. You'll spend roughly $245-320 on a regulator, $50 on a solenoid, $35-80 on a needle valve, and $70 on npt fittings (the way I do it). This is for a one tank build. Plus you'll spend on shipping costs and a builder's fee $50-100 depending on how much of my time is involved. Figure a ballpark (rough) for a one-fish tank build is $500-600. If you want multiple fish tanks, the price goes up from there (cost of parts goes up). The benefit from doing it this way is you get the best quality parts money can buy (which means durability, longevity, and precision control) and that you have brand new components from the factory. You don't have to worry about whether or not the unit will work the way it's suppose to. You are also covered under warranty, so you know what you are getting. Same can't be said for ebay-bought surplus or used stuff. Sometimes you get a real piece of junk from ebay.

    You can buy a hobby grade unit when you're starting off (Milwaukee, Aquatek, Cornelius) and upgrade later when things break, buy a GLA and have one step up from the standard aquarium grade unit, buy a prebuilt unit from Oldpunk for a reasonable price and know that you're getting a solid build, buy a prebuilt unit from someone else and hope you're getting what you pay for, or buy a new unit that is custom built and never have to think about your co2 regulator again. These are the options that are out there.

    Or you can do it yourself with our help.
     
    #2 Matt F., Jun 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2013
  3. avbarr11

    avbarr11 Junior Poster

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    Thanks Matt, that's great info. It gives me a good overview of my options and the compromises of each option. I think for now I'll maybe contact Oldpunk, and also do more research on building my own.... sounds like it will be really valuable to know what's going on in the reg unit, and really the only way to understand it all is probably to put it together. Sounds like it's also the best way to get the most from your money.
     
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