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Controlled Regulator
A regulator allows you removal of the gas from the cylinder via a controlled method, rather than just opening up the valve and letting all the gas escape at once. A two stage (having two dials for tank pressure and outlet pressure) is better than a single stage regulator.

Needle Valve
Allows for the fine control of the gas exiting the tank via the regulator. Without a needle valve you would be using way too much gas for your tank. It allows control down to a bubble per several seconds. Most folks run their tanks in the 1-2 bubbles per second range. Your water hardness and tank size will play a part in this.

Low Pressure Regulator
Related to the answer in the first question. The 'second gauge' of the regulator.

This gives you the ability to run multiple tanks from one CO2 source. Think of it as a 'T' or a 'gang valve' type of apparatus.

An electronic device which will turn on and off the gas flow. Lots of folks will only run the CO2 when their lights are on. If you have hard water, you will find this doesn't do anything for you, as you will probably need to run it 24/7.

MK I Perma-seal
Think of this as an 'o-ring' to create a good seal between the regulator and the tank.

HTH.
 

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A solenoid is not required by any means. It's merely a 'nicety' if you choose to only run your CO2 during lights time. If you keep your substrate as I remember you mentioning with all the crushed coral, you will not be using the solenoid. :)
 

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I hate to hijack the thread but can you elaborate a little more on running it 24/7 for people with hard water? What you define as hard water? I run Co2 for 8 hours and the drop checker is always green to yellow, even in the morning, and I'm using certified 4kH water. Should I try running it all day/night?
What I found in my tanks (kh10), was that if I only ran it during my photoperiod, I would just be reaching 30ppm by the time lights went out. I didn't want that, so I just run it 24/7. If you do indeed have very hard water, and you're seeing otherwise via your drop checker, I would say to you to make sure all your readings are correct, and that your 4kh water is really 4 kh. It's hard to believe you can run it only during your 8hr photoperiod and have 30 ppm there always. But, hey, if you do, more power to you. :)
 
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