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CO2 questions, Canadian etc...

CO2 cylinders, which many people recognise is the most practical way to
delivery the gas to the aquarium (unless you're big into yeast) are
available from any welding supply distributor.  You may also get it from a
wine/beer making store, beverage wholesaler, or fire extinguisher dealer.

In the London, Ontario area, just go to a welding supply store in the yellow
pages and get a 20 lb tank.  You'll lease it for about $30 - $50 per year
and pay about $30 to have it filled.  With limited turbulence aquariums (ie
no trickle filter) it will last you at least a year.  Industrial grade is
fine.  If they have medical grade and they don't want too much for it, then
get that.  I've used both with no difference.

Either way, CO2 is straight forward, cheap and practical.  It works
wonders - go for it.  I particularly like watching oxygen bubbles gassing
off from bolbitis and echinodorus leaves.  You can almost hear the plants
growing. :)

IMHO regarding control devices; this is my experience:  I have a fully
automated system with pH controller, probes (in tank), bubble counter,
diffuser, CO2 cylinder regulator, solenoid and needle valve.  It works just
fine and its been running almost 2 years.  The most important part is the
needle valve, especially if you don't use a controller.  If you have a
controller, then throttling down the flow rate becomes far less important
and you could probably get by with a pretty crude flow control device.

However, while sending my controller down for re-programming for 2 weeks to
the States, I did not have the automated control part running, so I just
turned down the needle valve to about 2 bubbles per second and plugged in
the solenoid to the light timer.  Lights went on - solenoid turned on, and
out came the bubbles all day long.  It too worked fine too.

So take your pick.  Both work great.  I would caution against running CO2
when the lights are off, mind you, since I know in my tank anyway the CO2
would accumulate over night and could cause a problem.  Aquarium water has
an amazing ability to absorb CO2.

Regarding the "strange CO2" tank without an outlet: this is likely a medical
cylinder, which is long and narrow and has a different valve than
traditional industrial or large medical cylinders.  You will need a special
regulator for that.  Its nothing fancy - just different.  See your tank
supplier or one that works with medical grade gases.

Happy bubblin'...

Grant Cockshott
Vice President and Sales Manager
Welders Supplies Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
grantwc at mb_sympatico.ca