Recommend options for a 30L Nano (Newbie)

kishan313

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a complete novice!

I am looking at C02 options for a low - medium tech 30L Nano tank. Open to suggestions but the budget is no more than £100 (upfront cost).

Can anyone recommend me some options?

Thank you in advance!
 

si walker

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Dennerle or Aquael have all in kits, that actually look really great quality. I have not personally bought one but I know members on here have.
Although you will have to be creative with the CO2 side of things.
Someone will be along in a mo to lend a hand.
Keep us posted on what you go for?
Hope that helps.
Simon.
 

kishan313

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Thanks a lot, I’ll try and find some info about the Dennerle kit!

I’ve already got the thank - just the c02 kit needed


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dino21

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Being a small tank you naturally think you can get away with all the smaller diy co2 systems, be they yeast based or little cans of co2 via a simple dome diffuser, hower they will still eat well into your £100 budget and from experience not that effective or easy to control /operate.

The forums general advice is to always by a dual stage regulator, with good reason and to use one with a co2 fire extingushers ( both detailed in this section if you look them up.)

However they will come in more towards the £250 -300 bracket, but you can buy a much cheaper single stage regulator and use that with the above metioned 2kg co2 FE.
The FE cost about £25 and a single stage regualtor costs around £50, local source, though cheaper from China, plus some Co2 tubing and a diffuser, well under £100 and nothing more to buy for a year.

To avoid the problem with the single stage ones all you have to do is keep weighing the FE occassionally to ensure you replace it before it gets anywhere near empty, our 50ltr tank will run for over a year on one 2kg so should be fine for your 30l tank. Just make sure you have somewhere big enough for the FE and regulator.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-barn...025753?hash=item5484e7a259:g:lQUAAOSwja5eyfUG
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2KG-CO2-...537924?hash=item3fdef50004:g:WbgAAOSw-olaAroz
 

kishan313

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Being a small tank you naturally think you can get away with all the smaller diy co2 systems, be they yeast based or little cans of co2 via a simple dome diffuser, hower they will still eat well into your £100 budget and from experience not that effective or easy to control /operate.

The forums general advice is to always by a dual stage regulator, with good reason and to use one with a co2 fire extingushers ( both detailed in this section if you look them up.)

However they will come in more towards the £250 -300 bracket, but you can buy a much cheaper single stage regulator and use that with the above metioned 2kg co2 FE.
The FE cost about £25 and a single stage regualtor costs around £50, local source, though cheaper from China, plus some Co2 tubing and a diffuser, well under £100 and nothing more to buy for a year.

To avoid the problem with the single stage ones all you have to do is keep weighing the FE occassionally to ensure you replace it before it gets anywhere near empty, our 50ltr tank will run for over a year on one 2kg so should be fine for your 30l tank. Just make sure you have somewhere big enough for the FE and regulator.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-barn...025753?hash=item5484e7a259:g:lQUAAOSwja5eyfUG
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2KG-CO2-...537924?hash=item3fdef50004:g:WbgAAOSw-olaAroz

Thank you for your response - I was definitely hoping someone could tell me about some basic DIY options too. I’m quite tempted to go down the single stage regulator for now. I think this will be good enough for the basic plants I’m planning to keep!


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dino21

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Does anyone recommend this one ?
Could this be used with a FE?

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-regulator-solenoid-advanced-p181.html


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Thats a Single Stage type with Dual Gauges is like the one I mentoned earlier, probably both made in China.

This page show the difference between the Single Stage and Dual Stage regulators.
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-regulators-gc5.html

Other than the extra feature of the Dual Stage which helps prevent the 'dumping' of Co2 into the tank when the cylinder is near empty, there is little difference between the two types, so either will work on any tank.
Though expect ? - the expensive dual stage ones 'may' have better quality internal workings ?
The bigger tanks may need a higher bubble rate and better ways to diffuse the co2 into the tank, but otherwise its all the same.

If you read more of this Co2 forums posts you will see a couple of other popular makes mentioned like Co2Art.

Last year when we bought ours there were many UK stocked for as little as £22 on Ebay/Amazon now there just seems to be that one in Ireland for twice the price or the Co2supermarket one.
The price of the ones from China mean you will be liable for import costs , so still about the same price.

There is a forum post about fitting a fire extingiusher but cannot find its location at the moment but this video says the same, but its important you follow the first turn on instructions supplied with your regulator, not the way this video shows.
Just make sure the type you order has the thread compatible with the FE, again detail in several forum posts.
 
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kishan313

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That’s very helpful. If they’re both made in China ;), I may just go for the eBay one you selected.

Could you recommend me a bubble counter, diffuser and drop checker? Sorry I am a bit overwhelmed with so many options!

And here’s a real newbie question, can you please share a link for c02 tubing, I can’t find anything decent, but then, I’m not savvy with eBay!


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dino21

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Hi,

What is not made in China these days ! 🙂

As you can see in the pic below thats what I paid for mine from UK stocked sellers, then there were loads of regulators as those low prices, just not sure why they are not there now ??

It can be a bit confusing, so just take your time and do it carefully, its really not that complex once you see it on your own tank

The unit in IE says , on his listing, he has sold over 1100 of them, and it comes with a bubble counter attatched, the C02 supermarket looks like you need to buy it as an extra, but think an attached bubble counter is better than counting the bubbles at the diffuser end, which is not possible on some types.

For the Co2 tubing and a Nano Diffuser we used C02Supermarket, plus you can get the other bits you need from them as well, or all included in their starter package if you want to pay that.

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/nano-co2-diffuser-150l-aquarium-p5.html
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-polyurethane-tubing-clear-4mm-6mm-aquarium-p97.html
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-check-one-way-valve-p9.html
https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-drop-checker-kit-for-nano-planted-tank-aquariums-p303.html

https://www.co2supermarket.co.uk/co2-system-advanced-p312.html

You will need a time switch for the co2 solenoid which is switched on and off just once a day, buy from anywhere if you do not already have one.

The only thing we found that was not mentioned about using it, was that once its running you set the bubble rate, but after a hour or so , the heat from the soleniod warms things up and the bubble rate increases by about x3, so you need to readjust the flow, otherwise easy peasy and watch your plants grow ! :D

000289.jpg

000290.jpg
 

kishan313

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Wow - again thanks for your help this looks great. I'm going to go with the Ebay regulator, the cost saving is pretty hefty, so thanks a lot for your recommendation.

Members like you make it very easy for newbies like me!
 

si walker

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Indeed.
Very helpful.

Ebay + postage! Its really difficult to know which is best and why. They all look pretty cool to me, but comes down to the internals i guess?

Keep us posted on how your getting on!

Thanks all.

Simon
 

kishan313

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Location
London
Indeed.
Very helpful.

Ebay + postage! Its really difficult to know which is best and why. They all look pretty cool to me, but comes down to the internals i guess?

Keep us posted on how your getting on!

Thanks all.

Simon

@dino21


Just an update, I went for the eBay option (but the bullet and purchased the last one on eBay).

The rest of the stuff was sourced from c02 supermarket based on @dino21’s advice.

The cost difference between the two did work out £50ish quid, which will he spent on plants .

I’ll do a full tank journal documenting how I found it but it’s only a nano so didn’t want to fork out too much.


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dino21

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Hi,

Hope it all goes well for you, but apart from the earlier two tips above, a couple of other point may help.

When you come to connect the FE, as shown in that video, its very important that you fully open the regulators bubble valve control and turn the solenoid on.
Thats because when you squeeze the FE trigger it releases a very powerful initial surge of gas that could blow the dials if there is nowhere for the gas to go.

Do test and set it up with the diffuser in a jug of water, you do not want to have an accidental overdosing affecting your fish or plants.

At a low bubble rate, suggest a starting rate of 20 per minute for your tank, it takes a good few minutes for the bubbles to build up pressure and actually start diffusing, so do not think somethings wrong.

The Co2 hang on testers are more a general guide, once you get used to the system, suggest you measure the PH with a test kit etc just before th cO2 is switched off.
 

kishan313

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London
Hi guys,

Wondering if someone can help?

I set up the c02 regulator and have fully opened the needle valve + turned on the solenoid.

When I did this there was an expected surge of pressure, but it seemed really excessive and I’m not sure how long the pressure is meant to last?

I had the bubble counter attached, and the water has shot up the tubing

Can someone advise on if I’m missing anything?

Thank you


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kishan313

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I have not taped the handles down as I didn’t want the entire bottle being dumped out if I was doing something wrong




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On a lot of extinguishers there’s a second hole that comes into alignment when the handles are squeezed together, and it looks like yours is like that. So you don’t need to gaffer tape the handles together - just re-insert the safety pin through the holes and it will hold the handles together.

One of the gauges shows the cylinder pressure, which should be somewhere in the region of 5 MPa, give or take. The other gauge shows the output pressure of the regulator, which will be in the region of 40 psi, depending on how your regulator is adjusted. According to Google, 40 psi is 2.8 kg/cm² (which is the scale on your regulator).

If you see pressures similar to that, then everything is good.
 
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kishan313

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Thank you

I’ve taken a picture of the pressure below, you can sort of see how the bubble counter is going absolutely nuts and shooting water straight up the c02 piping, is the excessive pressure because the needle valve needs to be turned to control to say 20 bubbles per second? I had it fully open thinking that it would let the sudden burst out but assuming it needs to then be dialed back the other way?




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Your bubble counter is going mental simply because the needle valve is fully open.

Once you’ve squeezed the handles, close the needle valve fully, and then you can switch the solenoid off. Then the pressures should stabilise. The system will be fully pressurised, but there should be no CO₂ flowing. If you can still hear hissing, then you’ve got a significant leak. If you can‘t hear any hissing, you can check for very small leaks by filling a spray bottle with soapy water and liberally spray everywhere. Any bubbles indicate a small leak.

But looking at the picture, I’m assuming the left-hand gauge is the cylinder pressure. That’s showing 5-and-a-bit megapascals on its outer scale, which is a healthy cylinder pressure. The other gauge looks to be showing just under 3 kg/cm² on its outer scale, which is a sensible output pressure (around 40 psi).

So now you need to:
  • Switch the solenoid on
  • Open the needle valve
  • With one hand, squeeze the handles. CO₂ will flow quite fast!
  • With your other hand, promptly close the needle valve. CO₂ should stop altogether, even though you’re still squeezing the handles. Closing the needle valve stops the flow of CO₂ gently enough to avoid damage to the regulator.
  • Insert the safety pin through the holes, to hold the handles together. If your extinguisher doesn’t have a hole to allow this, then get an assistant to gaffer tape the handles together while you keep them squeezed.
  • You can now turn the solenoid off if you want to.
  • Check for leaks... hissing? Bubbles from soapy water?
  • Aaaaand... relax! :)

As you’ve discovered, you’ll probably need to refill the bubble counter with water!


Edited to add: Actually I misread your cylinder pressure. It’s actually 6-and-a-bit megapascals. But I still think that’s fine.
 
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For future reference, the cylinder pressure should stay rock steady at the same value it started at. It doesn’t gradually decrease as you use the CO₂ because most of the CO₂ is liquid inside the cylinder and CO₂ gas will constantly evolve from that body of liquid to maintain the pressure of gas inside the cylinder. The cylinder pressure only starts going down when the liquid CO₂ is exhausted and there’s nothing left to replenish the gas pressure - this is your early warning that the cylinder needs refilling. The regulator will still maintain the output pressure for as long as it can.

So when the cylinder pressure starts reducing, its time to refill.

When you come to adjust your needle valve to achieve your desired CO₂ bubble rate, you’ll find that it‘s incredibly sensitive, requiring movements of a tiny fraction of a millimetre to effect a change.
 
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