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If that's a needle valve coming out of the solenoid then you should only need the CO2 tank. In the future you may want to swap out the diffuser for some sort of powered reactor (internal or external) but for now you'd be good to go.
 

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Thanks for all the info - very helpful!

Bob, I've bookmarked your site for future reference. :)

I think I've changed my mind about the system from the Doc's since there are much better things out there....
 

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Jan!

There are basic things you need for a system, and then there are more advanced things you may have if you desire.

First you need a regulator. You need a needlevalve on the regulator to ajust the flow going into the line. You need a bubble counter inline to visually see how much gas is going thru the line. You need a device to dispense gas into your aquarium. Think very seriously about a reactor as opposed to a diffusor. A reactor mixes the gas with water. This is the most efficient and well worth the money. A diffusor is a glorified airstone, and just wastes gas, and is a waste of money. This is what you will find in those ultra cheap EBay systems. Your friend Vicki used reactors: the power reactors and the Reactor 1000. She was very fond of them.

The extra things include a solenoid valve, which is an electronicaly controlled shut off valve, and a pH controller. If you plug the solenoid into a timer with your lights, it will shut off the C02 when the lights go out. Or you can plug the sollenoid into a pH controller. The pH controller has a probe in the aquarium that reads the pH. When the pH reaches the level you have set, it signals the solenoid to shut off. When the pH begins to rise, it signals the solenoid to turn the gas on. This is the ultimate automation, but it is not hassle free. You need to re calibrate the probe every so often.

So the most critical things are the regulator, needle valve, check valve, bubble counter, and the reactor. If you need more help, just give me a call.
 

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Thanks Robert! My next question was about reactors.
I'll come and visit your store. :)
 
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JanS said:
Thanks Robert! My next question was about reactors.
I'll come and visit your store. :)
Hi Jan,

I personally use three different types of reactors, the Hagen "ladder" that's part of their fermentation system, it seems to work grreat in the smaller tanks, namely a 29 and a 30 with a bubble rate of 1/sec. In my 55 I have the Aqua Medic Reactor which is just cool to watch :D if nothing else (actually works wondefully but it does require water to be forced through it and sits in the tank so you'll most likely be trying to figure out how to hide it) and the Reactor 1000 which in my opinion is the best one the market and makes for a very clean installation.

eBay has a number of listings for home built versions of the 1000 for a very reasonable price, a couple of my customers swear by them (I don't sell them) or if your a yankee type with a few tools, you can easily make one yourself for a lot less than the actual 1000. Basically it's just a cylinder with bio-balls inside that return water (or intake for that matter in my case) flows through and CO2 gets injected into the water column, the current and the turbulence caused by the bio-balls makes for maximin contact time between CO2 bubbles and water, it's really a very efficient setup.

There are several websites that have detailed construction directions, I'll find a few and post them.
 
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