Chat log for freshwater planted aquarium co2 gas

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This customer had many questions on co2 gas, planted aquariums, regulators,  and more.   She went with a milwakee co2 regulator setup and reactor 1000

8:52:58 AM [Visitor] what will the upgrade to the reactor 1000 get me
8:53:11 AM [Jason G] The reactor 1000 is what you need for your size tank
8:53:16 AM [Visitor] Sorry also thought you were Marc
8:53:32 AM [Visitor] So these reactors are for different size tanks?
8:53:39 AM [Jason G] it can hook up to your exisiting canister filter as long as your filter is strong enough
8:53:46 AM [Jason G] yes
8:53:49 AM [Visitor] Does it go inside my tank?
8:54:01 AM [Jason G] 125 gallon and up would be the r 1000
8:54:05 AM [Visitor] That is the most expensive one
8:54:06 AM [Jason G] out site
8:54:09 AM [Jason G]  hangs on back
8:54:12 AM [Visitor] great
8:54:25 AM [Jason G] tthe ractor 1000 sits outside that is
8:54:32 AM [Visitor] Does this system tank any special co2 cartridge?
8:54:37 AM [Jason G] man my typing is terrible today
8:55:44 AM [Jason G] no you would still need a co2 tank - canister    These are the aluminum tanke we sell.  We suggest the largest canister that will fit in your avaiailble space as the cost of refilling a 5 lber vs a 10 lb tank is almost the same but will last you just as long
8:56:29 AM [Jason G]  a 20 lb tank may last you 8 months in your aqurium for freshwater use for saltwater use even longer
8:57:47 AM [Visitor] Tell me about the hoods. I have a glass insert that sits on a lip and closes the top. If I use a CO2 won't that space become void of oxygen and my fish suffer? Will have have to have an open top?
8:58:06 AM [Visitor] Do all CO2 cartridges fit onto this system?
8:58:39 AM [Jason G] Freshwater or saltwater aquarium
8:58:43 AM [Visitor] DO I have to buy your CO2?
8:58:48 AM [Visitor] Freshwater tank
8:59:09 AM [Jason G] ok your plants should be produce the 02  when utilizing co2
8:59:19 AM [Jason G] Photosynthisizing
8:59:31 AM [Visitor] true but is that enough
8:59:40 AM [Jason G] The co2 tank is refillible at fire extinguisher refill shops
8:59:52 AM [Visitor] the systems I have seen local pet stores have an open top
9:01:08 AM [Jason G] you can have an open top if you prefer that is not a requirement though
9:01:40 AM [Visitor] I prefer a closed top so my fish don't jump out. Just wanted to know if it was ok
9:01:43 AM [Jason G] With proper lighting, nutrients and co2 freshwater plants pearl and that provides plenty of 02 in an aquarium
9:01:55 AM [Jason G] yes closed top is the standard
9:03:14 AM [Visitor] So this system is $186 + $79 +? for canister. Correct?
9:03:46 AM [Visitor] Then there is shipping.
9:03:57 AM [Jason G] unless you get the reactor the co2 reactor  for the aquarium  as this is additional
9:04:00 AM [Visitor] Trying to figure by out the door cost
9:04:17 AM [Visitor] The $79 is for the reactor
9:04:20 AM [Jason G] you can add all items to your cart and then choose your state and it will show exact s/h
9:04:37 AM [Visitor] Where are you located?
9:04:41 AM [Jason G] yes the aquamedic reactor 1000 is 79  
9:04:55 AM [Jason G] we are in st. charles mo right next to st. louis
9:05:15 AM [Visitor] Well I can get a system locally for around $300
9:05:26 AM [Visitor] which comes with advice and help
9:05:37 AM [Visitor] Is there a reason that your product is better?
9:05:46 AM [Jason G] what type of system is it
9:05:51 AM [Visitor] Not trying to be funny... just trying to know what to do.
9:06:14 AM [Visitor] I don't know anything about this and just getting into it as you have probably guessed
9:06:32 AM [Jason G] hard to compare without know a brand  so i can tell you advantages and disadvantages of one system over another
9:06:38 AM [Visitor] I don't know the system. I have no knowledge to judge the systems.
9:06:50 AM [Jason G] I will give you a break down on what our system does and has
9:07:32 AM [Jason G]  our units have the ma957  co2 regulator or jbj co2 regulator..   All with solenoid and bubble counters and solenoid valve.  This also includes calibration solutions 2  bottles of 7.0 calibration solution and one of cleaning solution  this is for the sms 122 by milwaukee
9:07:37 AM [Jason G] What is the sms22?
9:07:54 AM [Visitor] I was talking to president of Dallas Ft Worth aquatic club and he said I should be able to get a system for under $200, but don't know if this was a do it yourself type of thing where you get all components and but it together.
9:08:20 AM [Visitor] Good ? I dont know what that is
9:08:22 AM [Jason G] the sms 122 allows you to have precisision control of  your ph and co2 and have on off cycles
9:08:42 AM [Jason G] when ph is introduced into an aquarium what happens is ph drops
9:08:43 AM [Visitor] So it turns the system off and on as the Ph peaks and ebbs
9:08:49 AM [Visitor] I want that
9:09:01 AM [Jason G] Let me give you the whole picture
9:09:06 AM [Visitor] ok
9:09:54 AM [Jason G] Not good if your ph drops from 7.2 to 6.2 though is it?    What the sms 122 ph controller by milwaukee enables you to do is to have a set poing ph setting
9:09:59 AM [Jason G] theis set point lets you
9:10:12 AM [Jason G]  say hey i want my ph to be a stable 6.5 or 6.8
9:10:23 AM [Jason G] the co2 automatically turns the co2 off @ this set point
9:10:37 AM [Jason G] so it creats a stable ph
9:10:51 AM [Jason G] once it goes up .1 degree it turns back on
9:11:23 AM [Jason G] Other items included also would be the regulator and solenoid and bubble counter bubble counter fluid and co2 proof tubing
9:11:51 AM [Jason G] Co2 proof tubing loses less than 1% of its co2 through its pores so you are not wasting co2.
9:12:14 AM [Jason G] It also doe snot get hard and brittle like silcone wich loses apprx 10%
9:12:22 AM [Jason G] airline tubine loses approx 30%
9:12:40 AM [Jason G] Low end on what you could get if you did not want automation
9:12:55 AM [Jason G] 1 ma957 co2 regulator by milwaukee instruments or
9:13:01 AM [Jason G] 1 jbj co2 regulator
9:13:10 AM [Jason G] 1 co2 tank
9:13:23 AM [Jason G] that is the only thing you have to have
9:13:41 AM [Jason G] ok done typing here
9:14:09 AM [Jason G] what you probably saw was a regulator  some tubing and a tank would be my guess
9:14:37 AM [Jason G] the combo kit includes everything you really could want.   We do sell all components by themselves though
9:15:04 AM [Visitor] I want the entire system
9:15:20 AM [Visitor] I didn't know about the loss through the tubing
9:16:00 AM [Visitor] Is calibrating of the sms22 difficult?
9:16:07 AM [Jason G] the combo system by milwaukee or jbj with the upgraded reactor is the top of the lime best co2  set ups we offer that allows automation of planted freshwater aquariums then
9:16:13 AM [Visitor] And how often do you do it?
9:16:23 AM [Jason G] No calibrating the milwakess sms122 takes about 1 minute
9:16:51 AM [Visitor] I have also seen systems that somehow make the co2 with electrodes and don't require a tank.
9:16:55 AM [Visitor] Do you know about those?
9:16:55 AM [Jason G] once every 2 months i do on my freshwater planted tanks
9:18:00 AM [Jason G] yes Expensive in the long run (the electolosis) carbo pads  and depending on your current water parameters ( softness etc may not be effective @ all
9:19:38 AM [Jason G] just a quick search  shows
9:19:44 AM [Jason G]

Carbo Plus - 10-27-2006, 02:13 AM

Very difficult to justify the expense compared to tanked C02.

I was also not crazy about the low voltage electrolytic process in my systems. Low or not I thought the current was significant enough to agitate mucous membranes on fish. If anyone doubts that, they can purchase a 10 pack of 9V batteries and lick them till they're out of juice. If your tongue still fits in your mouth go apologize to the fish ! 

At an average cost of $40.00 per replacement block you can purchase quite a bit of Co2... never mind the fact that the product is a retail oddity that commands a premium price.

The product does in fact work as stated unless of course your system is grounded then you may have a problem !

I believe the Elite electrolytic units commonly sell on ebay for around $50.00 HTH. Prof M

9:20:04 AM [Jason G] 10-27-2006, 05:59 PM

Thank you all for the replies. Most educational!!!

I appreciate everyone's replies here and in other forums. There seems to be a generally mixed review of the product. Out of the replies, it seems to poll at
- 2 positive,
- 2 OK/so-so, and
- 6+ negative.

Primary positives appear to be:
- excellent CO2 source, and
- it is "mist"/dissolved

Major negatives appear to be:
- more maintenance needed and higher cost than 1st expected / it purports
- KH requires management, and
- degraded performance if maintenence and KH not properly attended to.

Other issues/concerns raised were:
- comparative total cost of ownership -vs- that of CO2 gas,
- size and/or fit of the CO3 block in "smaller" (less than 90 gal) tanks,
- the electrical charge / field in the water surrounding the unit, and
- lack of applicability in Marine tanks.

Thanks again to everyone.

9:21:49 AM [Visitor] So this calibration solution that comes with it should last me a while since there are 3 bottles and it is only done every couple of months.
9:22:07 AM [Jason G] Should last you over 3 years
9:22:52 AM [Jason G] the ma911/b/1 milwaukee  sms122 probe uses very little calibration solution
9:23:15 AM [Visitor] IS that the one you recommended to me?
9:23:46 AM [Jason G] no that is the probe that comes with the ph controller that is included in the aquarium combo package either the jbj or the milwaukee unit
9:25:59 AM [Visitor] But the one I need is the one you recommended right?
9:26:14 AM [Visitor] I want to make sure I get the right thing
9:26:22 AM [Jason G] yes this is the one you needed
9:27:35 AM [Visitor] Is it possible for you to put together the package I need complete with the CO2 cartridge and me just purchase it?
9:27:44 AM [Visitor] ALso how big is the 10 lb one.
9:27:56 AM [Visitor] I want it all to fit under the cabinet I have.
9:29:49 AM [Jason G] 7" Diameter
20.5" Height

9:30:05 AM [Jason G] 10 lber so add about 4 more inches for the regulator and tubing
9:30:38 AM [Visitor] So are we talking a height of 2 feet
9:33:25 AM [Visitor] I am surprised at the cost of the CO2
9:33:32 AM [Visitor] I thought it was like $10
9:33:39 AM [Visitor] that must have been to refil
9:33:50 AM [Jason G] yes the refill is cheap
9:33:53 AM [Visitor] or is that the cost at a welding shop?
9:34:12 AM [Visitor] the web says go to a local welding shop
9:34:25 AM [Visitor] Could I do that and it fit with your equipment?

9:35:57 AM [Jason G] yes you would take the tank and get it filled and refilled @ the welding should that would really be your only yearly cost involved with the running of this
9:36:35 AM [Visitor] Your tanks come empty. Could I get a tank locally that is already filled and it still fit with your system?
9:36:42 AM [Jason G] its not a small cartride though is is a tank that weighs about 13 lbs
9:37:57 AM [Jason G] sure you can get one locally it may be cheaper it may be more. all of our tanks are aluminun not steel so they are light weight.  We have the lowest cost on canisters though
9:38:25 AM [Visitor] SO if I have to get these refilled all the time why wouldn't I just want the smaller 5 lb tank so it's not so bulky to deal with? How long would that last in my tank under normal circumstances with about 15-20 /L in my water?
9:39:38 AM [Jason G] a 5lb tank for instance costs a few dollers less thank a 10 lb tank but lasts HALF as long a 10 lb tank may last you 6 month and a 5lb one 3 months before getting a refill.
9:40:03 AM [Jason G] The cst to refill  a 5 may be $10 and a 10# $11
9:40:29 AM [Visitor] OK so I only save a few inches height but save on refil cost and time cost.
9:40:38 AM [Jason G] exactly
9:40:46 AM [Visitor] And spend $20 up front
9:40:57 AM [Jason G] That is correct
9:41:10 AM [Visitor] So I will take me 20 refils to recoup but 20 trips to the place
9:41:17 AM [Visitor] saved
9:42:19 AM [Jason G] no not really becuase remember you may be spending 1 more for a 10# refill but you are getting 2x as much co2 gas for your aquarium
9:42:32 AM [Visitor] Yes OK
9:43:16 AM [Visitor] Ok so in my cart I have to combo system you sent and the canister
9:43:23 AM [Visitor] That is all I need right?
9:43:48 AM [Jason G] thats it and the reactor
9:43:50 AM [Visitor] It includes the 1000 aquamedic
9:43:58 AM [Jason G] you will have everything you need
9:44:07 AM [Jason G] you need to choose the drop down box
9:44:12 AM [Visitor] OK, so I'm trusting you taht I can do this!!!
9:44:17 AM [Jason G] for the reactor 1000 by aquamedic
9:44:25 AM [Visitor] I did
9:44:45 AM [Visitor] I have a beautiful tank with great plants but want to grow some that need more co2
9:44:48 AM [Jason G] ok i will look the order over when it comes in as well as i am the only one here today lucky me
9:45:02 AM [Visitor] Well you have been very helpful
9:45:07 AM [Visitor] thanks so much
9:45:15 AM [Jason G] you will see a HUGE increase in growth , and colr
9:45:17 AM [Jason G] thank you
9:45:35 AM [Jason G] would love to see some pictures of your freshwater aquarium if you have them