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[APD] Re: CO2 kit

David Wanderman asked:

Can anyone recommend a decent Co2 kit that won't break the bank? I live in
NYC if that helps.

Hi, David.

The CO2 regulator/needle valve kit at Monolith Marine Monsters (M3) doesn't cost much comparatively speaking. It runs around $100 without a solenoid, and around $140 with the solenoid. The bottle will cost extra, so keep that in mind. You can see the kit at http://www.marine-monsters.com . I haven't used this system myself, but several folks on the list have it and I don't recall ever hearing anything but positive feedback on the system or the company.

Dave Gomberg also had a decently priced kit, but I think he sold off his CO2 equipment business. I'm not sure who has it now. Perhaps Dave or someone else on the list can give us a heads-up on that.

As is often the case, the most inexpensive route is to gather and assemble the parts yourself. You lose the convenience of a commercial kit, and some folks don't feel secure building their own CO2 setup, but you can gain significant savings. To give you an idea, I've built two complete systems and paid around $80 for each of them including the 20lb bottles. The new 2-gauge regulators came from a local welding and air supply. They were $40 each. I bought the bottles used from a fire extinguisher refill place. I paid $20 for each bottle. They're steel and a bit of a pain to lug around (49lbs empty, ~69lbs full), but they're nearly indestructible and were much cheaper than aluminum, welded seam bottles of the same size. I bought the needle valves from Clippard at $10 each. The remaining expense was for silicone air hose and PVC pipe and fittings for making reactors. I run these systems 24/7, but if you wanted to use a controller or turn the CO2 on and off with the lights, a solenoid valve could be added for $20 or so.

Hope it helps.  Good luck and welcome back to the hobby.
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee

PS: If you decide to buy a used bottle, be sure the hydrotest date is current -- it should be stamped on or near the shoulder of the bottle. An expired bottle is useless because it can't legally be filled.

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