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Thread: CO2 cylinder size

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default CO2 cylinder size

    Hey, need some help!

    I just bought a CO2 regulator as an impulse buy (it was 1/2 price!) when I know very well I should've waited, specially for the management approval.

    But anyway, after a few nights sleeping on the couch, I'm now looking for a CO2 tank. The question is, what size should I get for my 85g tank (medium planted)? I'll be using a solenoid with a timer (~8-10h/day) and I'm planning to reach 20 or so ppm, using a drop checker.

    From what I read, it costs about the same to refill the tanks, so I know the bigger ones make more sense on the financial side. But how long will each tank last on my setup approximately? I'm thinking more in terms of the hassle of getting it refilled too often.

    Right now I'm leaning towards a 5lb cylinder because I think it'll last quite a while and being cheaper, I don't have to spend a lot more nights on the couch ... But if a 10lb cylinder makes it a lot more sense, I'll think about it.

    thanks!!

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    Registered Member DiscusOnly's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Quote Originally Posted by waters10 View Post
    Hey, need some help!

    I just bought a CO2 regulator as an impulse buy (it was 1/2 price!) when I know very well I should've waited, specially for the management approval.

    But anyway, after a few nights sleeping on the couch, I'm now looking for a CO2 tank. The question is, what size should I get for my 85g tank (medium planted)? I'll be using a solenoid with a timer (~8-10h/day) and I'm planning to reach 20 or so ppm, using a drop checker.

    From what I read, it costs about the same to refill the tanks, so I know the bigger ones make more sense on the financial side. But how long will each tank last on my setup approximately? I'm thinking more in terms of the hassle of getting it refilled too often.

    Right now I'm leaning towards a 5lb cylinder because I think it'll last quite a while and being cheaper, I don't have to spend a lot more nights on the couch ... But if a 10lb cylinder makes it a lot more sense, I'll think about it.

    thanks!!
    I have a 5lbs tank for my 90gal and if I was to get a new co2 cylinder, I'll stick with a 10lbs one. Yes, it doesn't cost that much more to fill a 20 or 10 versus a 5lbs. If you have a cabinet under the tank, make sure you have enough space. I know that a 20gal won't fit under mine and that would make the most economical sense.

    I suggest that you find a local welding supply store near by. Check to see if they sell used tanks and what are their prices. Unless you want to have one of those nice looking aluminum tank, you will be swapping tanks each time you go in for refill. Most place won't have too many 5lbs so you may not get swap each time. They will tell you that most aquarium users uses 10lbs tank. Don't forget to ask if they seel permaseal there. If not, you may want to order one when you are ordering stuff for your co2 setup.

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Quote Originally Posted by vlam View Post
    I have a 5lbs tank for my 90gal and if I was to get a new co2 cylinder, I'll stick with a 10lbs one. Yes, it doesn't cost that much more to fill a 20 or 10 versus a 5lbs. If you have a cabinet under the tank, make sure you have enough space. I know that a 20gal won't fit under mine and that would make the most economical sense.

    I suggest that you find a local welding supply store near by. Check to see if they sell used tanks and what are their prices. Unless you want to have one of those nice looking aluminum tank, you will be swapping tanks each time you go in for refill. Most place won't have too many 5lbs so you may not get swap each time. They will tell you that most aquarium users uses 10lbs tank. Don't forget to ask if they seel permaseal there. If not, you may want to order one when you are ordering stuff for your co2 setup.
    Hey there! How long does you tank last on your setup? What's the reason you'd go with a 10lb? Is it because it's more economical or more because you don't want to refill that often?

    Yeah, I got a list of welding supply stores near me that I'll be calling to see if they swap or refill. I'm looking to buy a cheap used tank from them, if possible. I only have an iron stand now, but I'm planning to build a tank stand over the summer. But I agree, I think 20lbs might be too high.

    Do you use permaseal, instead of the disposable washers? I'll check on that. I still have to get a drop checker, co2 tubing and investigate how I'll difuse. Still a lot of unknowns, but I'm not in a hurry.

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    Registered Member DiscusOnly's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Can't answer you on how long a 5lbs tank last since I just started using mine. I know someone who is helping me with my planted tank said his 5lbs last a few months in his 55gal.

    I am thinking of 10lbs when this 5lbs is empty cause I remember my local store telling me that it's only $4 more for a 10lbs versus 5. Not sure if you can get "cheap" used tank from the store cause in order for them to fill, they need to have a valid test stamp on them. You can try to find one on CL but make sure they still have a good stamp. I purchased a rusted looking 5lbs for $25 with 2 years left and my welding shop gave me a painted one when I got it filled.

    When you get your drop checker, make sure you get some 4 dkh solution as well. I went with the permaseal cause that's what was recommended by my friend.

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    Registered Member Wahter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    I have 5, 10, and 20 pound CO2 cylinders. I ended up buying the 5 and the 10 (both are aluminum alloy and purchased from a beverage supply shop), but I "rent" the 20 pound steel cylinder (through a welding supply shop).

    If you buy your CO2 cylinder, sometimes it can be a bit bothersome to get them refilled - the local welding shops don't want to fill it (they want to swap it out). I have to take mine to a fire extinguisher place to get it refilled and every few years, it has to be inspected. However, I do get the assurance that it is mine and clean, etc... The guy at the fire extinguisher place told me sometimes the steel ones (if not maintained) can be really nasty inside.

    I "rent" the 20 pound steel cylinder - when it's all used up, I take it back to the shop and trade the empty one for a filled up one. They do the maintenance and inspection, etc... this is a lot more affordable and costs about the same as getting the 10 pound filled up at the fire extinguisher place.

    I run my CO2 24 x 7 - no solenoid. Only on one tank have I ever seen the fish breathing hard in the morning, so on that tank, I ran an airstone with an airpump at night. On my other tanks, the plants are producing so much O2 during the day, there is plenty to carry over into the next morning.

    I had used the 5 pound on a 20 and 29 gallon tanks - it lasted about a year. The 10 pound lasted about a year and half on a 50 gallon tank. The 20 pound lasts over 2 years on a 55 gallon tank (in fact, I don't even keep track of how long it is between swap outs on that cylinder).

    Hope that helps!


    Walter

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Vlam,

    I've been checking CL for tank, but nothing really good so far. I saw a good deal on a 20lb, but I think it's too big for me. Regarding the 4dkh solution, I found instructions on how to do it yourself with baking soda and distilled water. I'm planning to go that route.

    Walter,

    Wow! Your tanks last for quite a while, specially since you're running them 24/7! Are you getting 30ppm?

    And when you say renting, what do you mean exactly? Did you have to buy a cylinder from them initially and then exchange when it's empty, similar to what Lowes/HD do with propane tanks? Or do you really just rent, without having to purchase one initially? Either way, I think that's the best way, since you don't have to pay for the test and everything.

    I think I'll keep an eye on deal on both 5 and 10lb tanks and get the first good deal I can get. Last question, aluminum or steel? Per Walter, I think aluminum is the way to go, but just want to ask why is that?

    Thanks for the answers so far!

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    Registered Member yikesjason's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    I run a 5 lbs aluminum on my 90 gal. It lasts a few months. I take the empties to AirGas to swap it each time. Some of them look nicer than others, but it is in my stand and doesn't get seen anyways. The aluminum is nice weight wise. But what ever you find cheap used. I like the places that swap because I don't have to worry about inspections, they take care of that.

    If you have room for a 10 lbs and that is what you find, go for it.

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Quote Originally Posted by yikesjason View Post
    I run a 5 lbs aluminum on my 90 gal. It lasts a few months. I take the empties to AirGas to swap it each time. Some of them look nicer than others, but it is in my stand and doesn't get seen anyways. The aluminum is nice weight wise. But what ever you find cheap used. I like the places that swap because I don't have to worry about inspections, they take care of that.

    If you have room for a 10 lbs and that is what you find, go for it.
    Hey, Airgas? That's the place I'm planning to contact. They have one really close to my house. So they exchange, instead of refilling? nice!

    btw, I almost contacted you regarding that reg you were selling.

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    Registered Member Wahter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Quote Originally Posted by waters10 View Post
    Vlam,
    Walter,

    And when you say renting, what do you mean exactly? Did you have to buy a cylinder from them initially and then exchange when it's empty, similar to what Lowes/HD do with propane tanks? Or do you really just rent, without having to purchase one initially? Either way, I think that's the best way, since you don't have to pay for the test and everything.

    I think I'll keep an eye on deal on both 5 and 10lb tanks and get the first good deal I can get. Last question, aluminum or steel? Per Walter, I think aluminum is the way to go, but just want to ask why is that?

    Thanks for the answers so far!
    I'm fairly sure the local welding shop would charge for the initial cylinder of CO2, but you should check with your local welding shop. (A friend gave me their 20 pound cylinder and when it ran empty, I just took it in and the welding shop swapped it for another one).

    The person at the fire extinguisher told me aluminum alloy is better and what he said basically was the same thing that was on this post:

    http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...co2-tanks.html
    (not sure what the inside of a steel cylinder looks like, but apparently the aluminum ones aren't as prone to corrosion, etc... of course, the steel ones are supposed to be inspected, but unlike the aluminum ones, the steel ones aren't required to be tested as often).

    I joke with a friend of mine, because she says her 20lb steel CO2 cylinder "kills her" (because of the weight) when she has to take it in and exchange it for a filled one. She was shocked when I pointed out that there are 50lb CO2 cylinders available:
    http://www.aquariumplants.com/Alumin..._Tanks_p/t.htm

    Just keep in mind, that if you go aluminum, you have to pay the fee for the testing and finding a place to get it filled is a bit more difficult than the steel ones (because they want to just swap it rather than refill your tank). I think it costs about the same to have my 10 pound Aluminum CO2 cylinder refilled at the fire extinguisher place as it does to swap out the 20 pound steel CO2 cylinder at the welding shop.

    Hope that helps!


    Walter
    Last edited by Wahter; 04-08-2010 at 04:32 PM.

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    Registered Member theblondskeleton's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    I too have a 5lb for my 90. It lasts me anywhere from 4-6 months (depending on how well I seal it - It took me a while to figure out which direction the dang o-rings fit in). I have a pH regulator that keeps my pH at 6.3 from a tap pH of 7.8 (a lot of CO2). I picked up 2 5lb cylinders so I could swap them out, that way I'd never be without CO2 as long as I keep the extra filled. I swap them out, as I keep it under my tank and I'm not particular about how pretty my equipment is.

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Walter,

    50lbs?! crazy! If I'm refilling, I'll be definitely getting an aluminum one.

    Quote Originally Posted by theblondskeleton View Post
    I too have a 5lb for my 90. It lasts me anywhere from 4-6 months (depending on how well I seal it - It took me a while to figure out which direction the dang o-rings fit in). I have a pH regulator that keeps my pH at 6.3 from a tap pH of 7.8 (a lot of CO2). I picked up 2 5lb cylinders so I could swap them out, that way I'd never be without CO2 as long as I keep the extra filled. I swap them out, as I keep it under my tank and I'm not particular about how pretty my equipment is.
    That seems like a lot of CO2. Are you planning to keep that level after you add your discus?

    From what I've read, a 20lbs is too tall. My current stand is 30" high and the stand I'll be building will be about the same height or lower by a couple of inches. I'll be on the lookout now for 10 or 5lbs used tanks, just bargain hunting. I'm gonna start contacting some of the weld shops around to see if they swap tanks, as that would be my preferred way to get refills. If I have to refill instead, I'll go with aluminum.

    Thanks!

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    Registered Member Fishandturtlejunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    I run a 10lb CO2 cylinder on a 190 fully planted 24/7 with a Milwakee SMS 122 ph controller. I change about 40 gallons of water daily, so I go through alot of CO2. I have to refill the CO2 cylinder every 2 months.

    What you select depends on where you plan to keep the cylinder too- a 5 lb may fit nicely in your stand, but a 10lb cylinder may not fit. I lucked out and found a short 10lb that just makes it inside of my stand. (Measure the max height before you shop.)

    Check the local home brew, paintball and welding shops for rental / exchange / refill prices. You have to first have a cylinder for them to start you on the rental program to avoid a big down payment.

    If not try: www.beveragefactory.com or a local praxair.
    <”)))><

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    Registered Member DiscusOnly's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Just search for an airgas place in your area.

    http://airgas.com/customer_service/site_locator.aspx

    If you contact a welding place, ask them if they have aquarium customer, if the answer is "yes", you call the right place.

    BTW.. If you think 50lbs is big. There is an ad in my local CL listing a 75lbs for $100.

    http://southjersey.craigslist.org/tls/1643269112.html
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    Last edited by DiscusOnly; 04-09-2010 at 12:02 PM.

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    Registered Member waters10's Avatar
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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishandturtlejunkie View Post
    I run a 10lb CO2 cylinder on a 190 fully planted 24/7 with a Milwakee SMS 122 ph controller. I change about 40 gallons of water daily, so I go through alot of CO2. I have to refill the CO2 cylinder every 2 months.

    What you select depends on where you plan to keep the cylinder too- a 5 lb may fit nicely in your stand, but a 10lb cylinder may not fit. I lucked out and found a short 10lb that just makes it inside of my stand. (Measure the max height before you shop.)

    Check the local home brew, paintball and welding shops for rental / exchange / refill prices. You have to first have a cylinder for them to start you on the rental program to avoid a big down payment.

    If not try: www.beveragefactory.com or a local praxair.
    Yeah, I think the key will be how to fit in my stand, which I don't have it yet, so I have to plan things ahead.

    Quote Originally Posted by vlam View Post
    Just search for an airgas place in your area.

    http://airgas.com/customer_service/site_locator.aspx

    If you contact a welding place, ask them if they have aquarium customer, if the answer is "yes", you call the right place.

    BTW.. If you think 50lbs is big. There is an ad in my local CL listing a 75lbs for $100.
    Yeah, I have an airgas pretty close to me! Well, I think 50lbs is big for aquarium use! There's a 20lbs aluminum for sale on my local CL. It was listed as $60, then relisted for $50 then relisted today for best offer!! I was tempted to call, but I know it won't fit in my stand ...

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    Default Re: CO2 cylinder size

    My 10lb. lasts for 12 months and I fill it at the local fire extinguisher place for $25. I have a lush 75 gal. planted tank with no algae. Hope this helps.

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