Well, I've been dissapointed with Flourish Excel for some time now. It works, but not enough to make me happy (guess I'm just picky). So, having discussed this with a couple of folks online, I have set out to make my own CO2 manifold to operate three different tanks. I didn't want to go the the "brass-tee-and-tubing" route because I listened to Nikolay's story about his troubles with that configuration. So I am attempting something a little more sturdy. Here's the low-down: www.clippard.com
Clippard Minimatics makes some great equipment, all brass or nickelplated brass. You can use the "Distributors" link at the left of Clippard's navigation to find a local company for your own personal use.
These are the parts I ordered from my local distributor: MAN-12
Brass Hex Manifold-Machined from solid brass hex stock, $4.65 each. This serves as the body of the manifold, and allows you to (realistically) place up to 7 needle valves. MNV-4K2
Precision needle valves, nickleplated, $9.90 each. Pricey, and they come with only a 1/8" single barb, but excellent quality.
Gotta plug up those extra holes. 11755-PKG
10/32 screw plugs w/ Buna N gaskets, package of 10.
What about the input? Well... ]]Edit 5/8/05[[
Due to slippage on my original pick of 1/8" barbs, I decided to go with a compression connector from Home Depot. To provide a better fit, I upgraded the width of the outside diameter of the tubing from normal airline hose. These are the parts I used:
Watts A-22 PB968-P 1.4"x1/8" Tube W/Insert MIP Connector. White and pink bag.
Watts Clear Vinyl Tubing 10' 42143210 1/4"ODx0.170"ID ]]endEdit[[
So, now I've got this lil' puppy sitting on my desk at work, just waiting to get plugged into the system. I'll report back in about a week to let you know how well it's performing. So far, it seems to be able to handle the pressure, but my lungs don't compare to a 10# CO2 canister. Wish me luck! ]]Edit 5/8/05[[
What I have learned so far about this design:
1) This system would be better utilized on tanks over 30 gallons. These particular needle valves can accurately deliver a bubble every three seconds, but not too reliably with CO2 is being channeled to two other outlets as well. At least a bubble a second is about all these can handle, with the added issues of extra outputs. A different choice in needle valves should be considered.
2) Use new airline check valves.
3) Don't skimp on the input durability. A normal airline will pop right off in just a few hours with my previous setup. ]]endEdit[[