Off the shelf CO2 system that's good?

DKRST

Junior Poster
Mar 22, 2011
9
0
1
South Carolina, USA
Is there any "off-the-shelf" CO2 system that's even worth purchasing? I'm interested in starting with CO2, but the thought of assembling my own system from scratch is daunting! I'd love to have the time, expertise, and $$ to assemble a top of the line system, but I'm anxious to get started!

Thanks!
 

JJ..Bequiet

Prolific Poster
Jul 19, 2010
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6
In my humble no nothing opinion those off the shelve units will cost you more in time aggravation/replacements.
you dont have to assemble from scratch there are many regulators for sale on forums like this that are well worth the money and will last your life.
i got mine for around 200 shipped and all i had to do was connect the co2 tank to the regulator.
together with a 10lbs aluminum co2 tank filled, a victor dual stage regulator, burkert,ideal valve, swaglock fittings i didnt pay more than 310 with shipping.
and i'm pretty much set for life with exception of refilling the tank. and i think if i ever got out of the hobby i would easily get my money back.
 

Aces75 Planted

Junior Poster
Lifetime Member
Apr 5, 2011
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Hoffman Estates, IL
I couldn't agree more with JJ, and his setup sounds very similar to mine, any MANY others that post on this site!

I started with the DIY version and quickly found the amount I was spending on yeast and sugar, not to mention the time (and a little mess here and there!), was costing me much more than a pressurized system would over time. Being the very impatient person that I am, I was a click away from buying a cheap system off ebay. Thankfully I found this site in time and was rescued from making a big mistake. As difficult as it was for me to be patient, the patience is rewarded everyday I get to virtually just enjoy the aquarium and not worry about flowrate fluctuation or end of tank dump. The cost differential between a high quality and low quality system is truly not that much, I calculated I spent maybe an extra $120, which I would absolutely get back if I sold it. You will find some people commenting that their single stage regulators and Big Box store needle valves work just fine, but you won't find any negative comments from people regarding their their Victor (Concoa, etc)two stage reg's with Ideal's(Swagelok's) and Burkert systems. Take your time, connect with people on this site and you will be rewarded by having a better tank setup which will allow you to enjoy your hobby much more.
 

DKRST

Junior Poster
Mar 22, 2011
9
0
1
South Carolina, USA
Thanks for the feedback! That's pretty much what I figured after lurking on this forum and reading the many useful and sometimes very techno-speak posts for a couple of months. I was hoping for a quick, but quality, shortcut. However, there is no cheap substitute for quality and putting in the research (to learn the ropes). At least now I have something for my Christmas wish list! I haven't spent much time in this particular area of the forum. Looks like that's going to change!
 

Matt F.

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
May 30, 2009
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California
There is plenty of help on this forum for the first timer. You can always PM us directly with questions.
Many of us have been exactly where you are (overwhelmed and a bit intimidated). No need for that.

;)
 

150EH

Junior Poster
Apr 29, 2011
10
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1
61
Churchton, MD
I'm sorry to disagree but I am really injoying AP.coms CarbonDoser Electronic Regulator paired up with their CarbonDoser EXT5000 external reactor, the electric regulator is very accurate and the reactor is very very efficient so your gas may last 2 to 3 times longer and this is no joke. You can also add a pH probe and have afully automated system without a solenoids heat, I incourage you to take a look I am very happy with mine and I have heard almost no mention of these products any where else.
 

DKRST

Junior Poster
Mar 22, 2011
9
0
1
South Carolina, USA
Matt F.;68058 said:
There is plenty of help on this forum for the first timer. You can always PM us directly with questions.
Many of us have been exactly where you are (overwhelmed and a bit intimidated). No need for that.

;)

Thanks again to all! I'll certainly be back with questions. Unfortunately, I teach and don't get paid during the summer...so it's a "fish toy 'fast' " during the summer!
 

ShadowMac

Lifetime Members
Lifetime Member
Mar 25, 2010
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Grand Forks, ND
I used the above mentioned AP carbon doser and ext 5000 reactor. I was not impressed.

Misting CO2 is best, this completely dissolves CO2. The reactor is dependent upon filter flow and if your filter slows, so does your CO2. Using a pH controller to regulate CO2 is not a good approach. The regulator has very little working pressure and is unable to work with an inline atomizer. It was also succeptible to dumps at the end of the tank.

My recommendation is to avoid it. Both items are over priced and under perform.
 

maknwar

Lifetime Members
Lifetime Member
Dec 11, 2008
147
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Cincinnati
DKRST;68064 said:
Thanks again to all! I'll certainly be back with questions. Unfortunately, I teach and don't get paid during the summer...so it's a "fish toy 'fast' " during the summer!

Dont get paid during summer? I thought they spread it out all year?
 

DKRST

Junior Poster
Mar 22, 2011
9
0
1
South Carolina, USA
maknwar;68668 said:
Dont get paid during summer? I thought they spread it out all year?

Yea, that's one payroll option, but I do the 9 month pay option. I pick up several summer classes, but have a kid taking a college class in Germany this summer so any "extra" $$ for the hobby is gone for this year!