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Re: [APD] Adjusting.. not giving up....

Aluminum tanks are lighter so get one of those if you can.
Refills cost much more, pound for pound, the smaller the
tank, so get as large a tank as you can afford, can lift,
and can fit in the space where you are going to keep it.
For example. I pay $9.80 for a 5-pound refill and $10 for a
10-pound refill -- need I say more? Customaquatic.com sells
excellent aluminum tanks (Catalina brand) for reasonable
prices, but shop around for prices.

You can get cheap regulators for about $30 and they will
perform as well as expensive ones except the knob will have
more stiction and be harder to fine tune -- but then, one
shouldn't have to adjust the regulator very often once it's
keyed in to a good working level -- what the level is
depends on the rest of the set up. An example is this one:


but you'll probably have to make a trip to Home Depot for 
adapter fittings.

You can get a real nice 2-stage regulator for several
hundred dollars and be able to fine tune like a ham radio
expert andrun your CO2 tanks down to virtually empty
without any problems. Here's a really good one for about
$350-$400 new:


But, as I said, the $30 one will work, as will the $40 an
450 and $60 ones.

A bubble counter is a luxury and in any event not a
substitute for using the CO2/pH/KH table.

If you want easy rather than finding fittings to assemble
everything, the Milwaukee regulator-solenoid-metering
valve-bubble counter is probably the best bargain around. 

Ship around, but here's what it looks like:


But if you only want a regulator and metering valve,then go
to the Harborfreight.com address above for the "argon/CO2
regulator and look around for a clippard metering valve.
Customaquatic.com is still selling a decent solenoid for
$28 -- a bargain you will probably only beat by going to
Ebay and knowing what to look for. Of course, you can skip
a solenoid and save even more money on your equipment

If you have little carbonates in your water you might want
to add some. Check out George and Karla Booth's excellent
website for good info on doing that -- go to 

and click on "Tech Brief: Cabron Dioxide"

If you don't use a solenoid and run your CO2 24/7, your pH
will probably "swing" only a total 0.2 units over the
course of a day -- If it's about 6.6 in the a.am. when the
lights come on, it will be about 6.8 deep into the lighting

If you use a Milwaukee controller (and it's hard to find a
reliable pH controller for a more reasonable price), the
set points will allow for a "swing" of 0.2 units.

If you have the solenoid connected to your aquarium lights
timer (so the CO2 only runs when the lights are on and the
plants are really hungry for it), I think you will still
see a "swing" of about 0.2 units. I think using the
solenoid and lights timer is a way to save CO2. With
solenoids available for only $28 (or less on Ebay), you can
save some money over a year or two. If you pay much more
than that, the savings on CO2 might not be as great as the
cost of the solenoid over the life of the solenoid. Of
course, this depends on local CO2 prices.

A pH controller's main benefit is that it helps satisfy the
desire to have things that do stuff (more often referred to
in the technical nomenclature by the term, "gadgets").

If money is not very dear, get a controller and have fun.
Btw, if money is not dear, then skip the clippard valve and
get a Swagelok model 

If money is dear but you can afford the up front
expenditure, get a bargain on a good solenoid and connect
it to yor lights timer ans save on CO2 -- eventually the
savings on CO2 will exceed what you paid for the solenoid. 

If money is very dear, skip the solenoid and just run the
CO2 24/7. 

Solenoid or not, your plants won't give a good gosh darn
one way or the other so just suit your personal

Btw, if you have did money to burn, you could use the
Clippard as an on/off valve and then in line after it
install a Swagelok model B-SS4 Brass Very Fine Metering
valve with the optional Swagelok model NY-5K-S S Series
Metering Valve Nylon Vernier Handle Kit, all for only about
$100 including shipping. A totally unecessary step up in
quality, but with that particular Swagelok valve you'll be
able to adjust the CO2 output with the precison of a
diamond cutter and with the vernier scale, you can very
reliably repeat settings just by using the dial markings.

Good luck, good fun,
Scott H.

--- John Van Rees <revjohn at spiritone_com> wrote:

> Any recommendations on pressurized CO2 tank set up?
> Maybe going that way will help prevent the PH and CO2
> swings.. and help me
> stay more stable.... probably cheaper than losing all the
> fish!

Want to get dirty but stay clean? 

Diana Walstad, author of _Ecology of the Planted Aquarium_ will discuss soil supplemented aquarium substrates at the 2004 AGA Convention.

Convention Details/Registration at aquatic-gardeners.org & gwapa.org
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