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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #666

> Date: Wed, 23 Apr 1997 09:05:16 -0400
> From: krandall at world_std.com
> Subject: Build your own
> Bill Ruff wrote:
> >I don't know how handy you are, but CO2 reactors are very easy to make.
> >I am in the process of building my own using an old protein skimmer from
> >a saltwater tank. I had access to a valve that I think will work and I
> >plan on purchasing the CO2 tank for $50.00 and $11.00 for the fill. Thus
> >the system will cost me about $70.00 when I'm done with the misc.
> >plastic connections.
> You are absolutely correct that you can put together a very serviceable CO2
> system for far less than the cost of a commercial system.  But you _are_
> underestimating your costs.  Besides what you already have, you will also
> need to purchase at least a regulator (the least expensive I've seen have
> been around $60) and a needle valve. (from about $15 for marginally
> reliable ones, to about $40 for the best ones)  You'll find that $120-$150
> is a more realistic price for a DIY pressurized system.
> Karen Randall
> Aquatic Gardeners Association

For anyone that's interested I do a lot of garage saleing` and  I
purcased a 30# CO2 tank for $5.  The tank was out of hydro so when I
took it to be filled it cost $14 to hydro (really they just exchanged
it), $12 for a fill, and $2 for an enviornmental impact fee.  A freind
(whom I usually go saleing with) sold me a regulator that he had picked
up on a weekend that I could not go for $5 (what he paid for it).  The
needle valve I bought new for $11 at a hobby shop, it was origionaly
intended as a carburator adj. valve used on R/C airplanes (this thing
works GREAT).  The hoses I used to get CO2 into my tank through the
valve from the regulator ran about $5, this includes two hose clamps and
a reducing coupling (origonal use: automotive vacume lines).  I just let
the CO2 inject into to intake of my Fuval "3".
total cost: $41 !! :)
note: all amounts rounded up so it might have been a few bucks less but
not much

If anyone wants to go this route here are some tips:
1) Don't be in a position of "having to have it", it took me about 4-5
months to find what I wanted at the prices I wanted.  I could have
gotten it faster but probably would have paid twice the amount.
2) Be VERY nice to the individual behind the counter at the welding or
filling shop.  Go and visit the shop you wish to patronize when it is
slow and chat with the clerk.  Tell them what you are doing and that you
and you have a bottle you aquired at a sale.  Ussually they do the
"Really? That sounds neat, the bottle is probably out of hydro though." 
If they are nice bring the bottle in, if not, find another shop, that
way they will probably just exchange the bottle for you.  After all
bottles are known to fail hydro and if the bottle has Pepsi-Co stamped
on it (remove any stickers) it is more likely to be "over looked". 
Sometimes you can even get away with " see, what I really need is a CO2
bottle, but what I have is an acetylene bottle...". Well you get the
3)Wherever or whenever you are any where see what there is to see, eg.
"gee, I could use this to make...".
4) The most important thing is RELAX, HAVE FUN, after all thats why we
do this :)

Bjorn Straube

BTW if you don't want to "aquire" things quite as cheaply as I did check
homebrew stores, here in Florida market price is about $120-140 for a
setup and you don't need everything that comes with a "kit" so it might
be a little less, never hurts to ask ;)