[Update May 2018] After converting from diffusers to a CO2 reactor, I managed to get 22 days of CO2 running at 2 big bubbles per second running for 14 hours a day for my 20 gallon, and 23 days for my 11 gallon running at 1.5 big bubbles for 14 hours a day! Check out my commercial CO2 reactor review here. When using a diffuser or atomizer, towards the end of the tank the pressure will drop below operating pressure for ceramic diffuser or atomizer. However, if you use a reactor, the minimum working pressure is low and you can actually get another 4 more days or more!
[Update March 2018] I have since upgraded all my soda bottles DIY CO2 to the high pressure canister tanks!
High Tech Planted Tank Becomes Affordable
When I first saw this thing on Taobao, it just blew my mind away.
As a DIY CO2 planted tank owner, you will know the bane of low or inconsistent pressure produced by existing kits in the market. And most DIY CO2 setup will hardly last a week. Furthermore, DIY CO2 lacks the pressure to deploy atomizer diffuser which can produce really nice micro bubbles.
Well, this thing is a dream comes true (hopefully). Behold! The High Pressure DIY CO2 Canister Tank!
Basically, this canister tank is a high-pressure stainless steel tank capable of withstanding high pressure. But the recommended safety level is 25kg/cm2.
The tank came with the below items:
- a set of 6 sets of baking soda (200g) and citric acid powders (200g).
- a bubble counter with built-in check valve.
- airline tube with suction cup.
- a base stand.
- a small 300ml plastic measuring cup
- a small funnel.
There are options for a electric solenoid, ceramic diffuser, co2 checker, etc. They will usually label them as “set meal A, set meal B, etc.”
Two of my Taobao shipping agents refused to purchase this item on my behalf. Only one shipping agent agreed to ship for me after a lengthy description of what the item was and what it does. And I had to discard the baking soda and citric acid powder because it will highly impede port clearance speed. (As of May 2017 all agents prohibit shipping of powder substance of any type.) Any powder that accompany with other items WILL be detained for inspection. So if I want, I had to ship the powder separately and had them declared separately.
Air freight is not possible due to international shipping regulation.
It took about 2 weeks by sea freight to reach me. And that must be the longest wait in my life. But when I got it, the feeling was tremendous.
To get things going, the setup is very fast and easy. Much faster than the Bottle A + Bottle B citric acid baking soda setup.
Step 1: Unscrew the regulator from the tank.
Step 2: Pour in 200g of baking soda.
Step 3: Pour in 200g of citric acid powder.
Step 4: Pour 300ml of water at a 45 degree angle.
Step 5: Screw back the regulator.
Immediately you could feel the tank turning cold! Cold enough to have condensation around the tank. The pressure gauge shot to 10kg/cm2 instantly. After a few hours I managed to get 20kg/cm2 of CO2 in the tank! Holly cow!
The screwing back of the regulator can sometimes be challenging especially when you can feel the pressure gushing out. One trick is to use ice instead of water. Measure 300 ml of water and pour them into small tray that makes small cubes. So the reaction will only start when the ice melts. This way you can take your own sweet time to screw the regulator back in place. However, do note that if you use ice instead of water the pressure build up will take about 1 hour to reach 10kg/cm2, and no less than 4 hours to reach 20kg/cm2. This is because of the low temperature. When the canister return to normal room temperature is when the pressure will reach 20kg/cm2.
Immediately, I went out to purchase an atomizer and plug it it. IT WORKS! Micro fine bubbles oh yes! The regulating valve knob is also very smooth and precise. I can fine tune it to achieve 1 bubble per 4 seconds! And it held the rate true throughout the day.
Today is the 12th day of setting up the tank and it has about 7kg/cm2 of pressure left running about 1 bubble per second for 12 hours every day! I hope it can last another 12 days. That will be sweet!
When I changed from using an atomizer to a reactor to inject CO2, I managed to get 22 days of CO2 running at 2 big bubbles per second for 14 hours per day! This is because when using an atomizer, towards the end of the tank the pressure will drop below the minimum working pressure to power an atomizer. However, the pressure within the tank is still sufficient to power a reactor for another 4 days at least!
The damage? US$30 for the tank. Shipping was another US$20.
NOTE: There are at least 3 different types of tanks on TaoBao. D601 seems to be of a higher grade, and it has a normal or a strengthened version. Also, I came across one other brands that has a 4L version! If you have no access to TaoBao, there is a company selling on Aliexpress for US$105 with free shipping.