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CO2 generator kits - any good?

Mama Bookworm

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8 Sep 2021
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Essex
Hi, I'm new to aquascaping and in the process of setting up my first tank. I would appreciate some guidance on CO2.
I don't really like the idea of using disposable canisters so have been looking at CO2 generator kits, where you mix the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate yourself. Are these kits any good? What should I be looking out for?
thanks in advance for any help.
 

Zeus.

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1 Oct 2016
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Yorkshire,UK
where you mix the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate yourself. Are these kits any good?
Getting a reliable CO2 production is hard so there not really fit for purpose IMO.
I don't really like the idea of using disposable canisters
Plus they dont hold much CO2 either
Lots of folk us old/dated 2.5Kg FE (Fire Extinguisher) cylinders which you can pick up for about £20 or less, or get a 6.5Kg CO2 cylinder (or larger) which you get refilled when it runs out about £20 per refill
You will also need a CO2 regulator which also cost.
But the CO2 cylinder route is in a different league altogether above the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate method
 

plantnoobdude

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17 Mar 2021
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uk
I used it for a while. but at the end of the day it cost a fair amount of time to run and figure out, and wasn't that much cheaper either, refilling the bottles everymonth or so is not fun. you can get 5kg fire extinguisher for 15-20 pounds if you look around. spend more and save yourself the headache.
 

ceg4048

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Hi, I'm new to aquascaping and in the process of setting up my first tank. I would appreciate some guidance on CO2.
I don't really like the idea of using disposable canisters so have been looking at CO2 generator kits, where you mix the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate yourself. Are these kits any good? What should I be looking out for?
thanks in advance for any help.
Hello,
As Zeus and plantnoobdude mention, you will have a lot of difficulty getting things right using chemical DIY CO2. Not recommended at all. You can follow the CO2 fire extinguisher method described in the tutorial Fire extinguisher CO2

It may seem intimidating, but it is not difficult. Of course you will have the added expense of buying a regulator, but in the end this is a superior method. There are also industrial gas suppliers of proper CO2 bottles, the most expensive of which is the BOC, but welding shops and their suppliers also sell and may refill the cylinders.

Cheers,
 

Wolf6

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18 Dec 2014
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Netherlands
I had a brief trial with CO2 like you describe, but the production is unreliable and unstable, and what I've found is that CO2 stability is much more important then the amount of CO2 you bring into the tank. So I recommend just getting a (depending on the size of your tank) small kit with magnetlock you can run with a timer and a refillable bottle (or 2, so you can swap out and refill at your leasure instead of having to rush to a store once it runs out).
 

Mama Bookworm

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Thank you all so much for your comments and advice - it looks like I'll be buying a fire extinguisher. Stand by for further cries for help when I try to set it up.
If I buy a 2kg extinguisher, how long can I expect it to last in a 90l tank - or is that the same as asking, how long is a piece of string?
 
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foxfish

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Guernsey
Thank you all so much for your comments and advice - it looks like I'll be buying a fire extinguisher. Stand by for further cries for help when I try to set it up.
If I buy a 2kg extinguisher, how long can I expect it to last in a 90l tank - or is that the same as asking, how long is a piece of string?
You may not have to actually buy a new fire extinguisher, it depends on how resourceful you can be as they can often be picked up for fee,
The cylinders are date stamped and you might find one near the end of its life for instance.
Anyway it is best to do a bit of revision and find out who supplies and refills fire extinguishers in your area.
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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paisley
Hi, I'm new to aquascaping and in the process of setting up my first tank. I would appreciate some guidance on CO2.
I don't really like the idea of using disposable canisters so have been looking at CO2 generator kits, where you mix the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate yourself. Are these kits any good? What should I be looking out for?
thanks in advance for any help.
I use them, got them from AliExpress cheaply. They don't have a needle valve for precision, but they'll do the job, and costs literally a couple of pounds if that, for a month of co2.

It does work, however as pointed out by others, if budget isn't an issue, the fire extinguisher route is more stable, lasts longer etc.
 

GHNelson

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Used one in this journal....you can always keep it as a backup if you run out of Fire extinguisher/cylinder Co2!
hoggie
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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paisley
Used one in this journal....you can always keep it as a backup if you run out of Fire extinguisher/cylinder Co2!
hoggie
Hey, same one I use! Very user friendly I've found!
 

ScareCrow

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28 Jan 2019
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South west
MJ Aquascaping has done a few good review videos on the CO² generator kit, longevity and consistency.
I've gone back and forth between generator, pressurised and low tech. I couldn't decide so I've stayed low tech for now at least.
 

Mama Bookworm

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8 Sep 2021
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Essex
I think I maybe being a little thick here, but I've set up my fire extinguisher, connected it to the inline diffuser, connected the regulator, with bubble counter an solenoid but when I try to tape the handle of the down gas comes out of extinguisher. Do I need to plug the solenoid in and have it off position before i try to do anything with the handle?
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Lancashire
There should be no gas escaping regardless of whether the solenoid is on or off. You should have a seal that fits inside the regulator nut and squeezes up to the extinguisher outlet, it might look something like this.
20210929_183407.jpg
20210929_183400.jpg


If its inserted correctly and still won't seal, try turning the seal around and try again, that usually works for me.
 

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