Recomended CO2 systems for a noob! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-27-2008, 03:16 AM Thread Starter
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Recomended CO2 systems for a noob!

Hello all, I am new to this and just started down the path of freshwater after 1 1/2 successful years of reefs (that project is on cruise control so now I need another I guess). I wondered into my LFS and he suckered me into an Aquapod 24gal that had already been setup and cycled with a few plants.

My goal is to have a very well planted tank with lots and lots of plants and a few happy fish. The focus though will be on strong health plants.

Now after doing a bit of reading it seems necessary to have a CO2 system and frankly it is all jibberish at this point. So I am hoping for some recommendations.

What I would like is this:
-Reliable and automated. I need this thing to function without help for as long as possible. I like the yeast bomb ideas but I just don't want to deal with that, it wont work for me. I would like one that has the Ph controllers as well so I wont have to monitor that actively.
-I would like to buy a full 'kit' so I just have to hook up a tank and go.
-I don't mind paying a bit extra for something if it is worth it. I am not a bank CEO or the manager of a pyramid scheme so I am not weeping extra cash but I don't want to upgrade in a year either.

Thanks for your help and I am looking forward to learning more from this site!

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post #2 of 5 Old 12-27-2008, 11:02 AM
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I'll be watching this post for replies as I'm also interested in doing/setting up the exact same thing as you are looking to do...

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-27-2008, 02:20 PM
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Where are you Cody? In the US you can get a nice regulator with a built in solenoid, micro-valve and a bubble counter off of eBay for less than $100. The next step for me was to go to the local refill place for CO2 and get a full bottle from them. The bottle was not new, what they do is you buy the rights to a bottle and they swap full bottles for empties. In my case I got a 10 pound bottle, filled with CO2 for about $100. Note that refills on the 5 pound and the 10 pound are about a dollar apart in price, it seems most of the charge is for filling, not the gas itself. The only other things you will need is a way to deliver the CO2 to the tank. That can be a diffuser, a reactor, an air stone or even a container turned upside down so a bubble forms at the top and slowly dissolves. I plugged my solenoid into my light timer so I feed CO2 while the lights are on. After that use he bubble counter to adjust CO2 flow and watch the pH daily until it comes out to the concentration that you want. The maximum amount of CO2 you should ever add is enough to drop the pH about 1 full point from maybe 7.6 to 6.6 for instance. There are charts that let you measure exactly now much change is how many ppm but the 1 point is very near the maximum recommended for almost any pH. In my case I measure right befor the lights and CO2 come on and compare to right before it goes off to get my difference.
A drop checker is an easy way to measure the CO2 content with no reference pH because you set it up with an indicator liquid and a standard pH filling but it is no more accurate and not much more convenient. You could also buy a pH controller that does no more than turn your solenoid on and off based on a pH setting. I consider them dangerous because if there is something different about my water after a tank water change, they will add too much or too little to drive the pH back to wherever I set it to control the first time. The too little would not hurt anything but too much can mean stressing the fish.

Last edited by Oldman47; 12-27-2008 at 02:25 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-27-2008, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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I am in California. I will have a look around Ebay and see what I can find. I think I would like to stick with the Ph monitored scheme, I think I can manage to stabilize the CO2 during water changes in trade for something that will monitor and control things automatically.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-06-2009, 01:36 AM
well you could use a carbon alternative like flourish excel. Otherwise ive seen DYI systems that work great. Those are inexpensive, just a bit more trouble to maintain
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