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Re: Dual stage regulators and CO 2 Setups
A dual stage regulator is just two single stage regulators in the same unit.
They are basically overkill for our purposes - a good single stage regulator
with a quality metering valve (some call it a needle valve) will give you
all the control and protection that you need for an aquarium.
Don't confuse the number of gauges on a regulator with the number of stages
of regulation it is designed to provide. Regulators can come with no gauges
or they can have one or two gauges. They are totally different things. The
gauges monitor and show you 2 things - the pressure of the liquid/gas inside
of the cylinder on one gauge and the pressure of the gas as it leaves the
regulator on the other.
Most people opt for a single stage regulator with 2 gauges.
Don't make the mistake a lot of people make by trying to scrimp and buy a
cheap needle valve - a cheap one won't offer the control you need (and you
only have to buy a good one once).
You also have to make sure that all of the various parts will physically fit
together. So many times I have read - "oh just go to the plumbing supplier
or the welding shop and get the fittings". For the uninitiated, it can be a
The regulator fits onto the cylinder using a standard CGA320 fitting. This
is standard in North America for CO2 cylinders and regulators and is only an
issue when someone tries to adapt a regulator made for a different gas.
The output fitting on the regulator can be any of a number of different
types and/or sizes - you should make sure that the input fitting on your
metering valve will match (metering valves are available with any number of
different sized fittings too).
But it only SOUNDS complicated.......just make sure that "A" will fit into
"B" and don't order anything until/unless you are sure that it will fit
where it is supposed to, or that you can get the correct adapter to fit
between the parts.
I can't comment on the different setups offered by several mail order
companies because I've not used any of them - I put my systems together
A cylinder, a regulator and a metering valve (needle valve) are only part of
the pieces you need. You will also need:
- CO2 resistant tubing to get the gas to your aquarium and
- a bubble counter to show you, in a way you can easily see, how much CO2 is
going into your aquarium (i.e. bubbles per minute)
- some sort of intank reactor or diffusor. Some people feed the CO2 into the
intake stem of their power filter, others use a powerhead to break up the
gas, still others use a reactor + power head, and you also have the option
of using a sintered glass diffusor (one designed for CO2, not an airstone).
They will all work.
For a bsic system, you don't need a solenoid valve - it is only useful if
you have a pH controller hooked up or have the system on a timer so that it
switches off at night.