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Anyone ever explore options for bulk CO2?

So, running larger CO2 injected tanks has its plusses and minuses. My 180g tank chews through a 20 lb cylinder of CO2 every 2 or 3 months. Exchanging the cylinders at my local welding shop has been my MO for several years, but like everything else, it's gotten downright expensive. It's also a bit of a pain to lug the stupid things up and down the stairs a few times per year.

With the new 150g tank coming on-line soon, I'm looking at needing even more.

I know restaurants and pubs have on-site large CO2 tanks that are filled from time to time from mobile trucks. I'm seriously considering this. I imagine a big fish store with multiple "high-tech" tanks might have similar issues.

Has anyone found a better option than what I'm doing?
 
Enquire at the place that fills up yoyr 20 pound, i bet they do that very thing with local business. They can likely give you pricing. I was quoted $67 to refill my 20 pound. What is your cost?
 
For my 350 gallon I use about 20lbs per month. I change my tank at a local welding shop for $30. I personally find it a fair price for the enjoyment the tank gives me. At my workplace we have restaurants and they have about 15 - 20 20lb CO2 tanks that I believe get exchanged when they're all out. I think this is how they get a bulk discount. I grab from these CO2 tanks for our 1000 gallon planted tank.
 
I am adding my two pennies to this thread, it's obvious but it took me some time to get it:
Make sure you weigh your cylinder before and after, because 'full' from one CO2 supplier may be different from 'full' from another supplier.

When filling an empty CO2 cylinder from a 'mother cylinder', one can pull the CO2 from the gas reservoir in the 'mother cylinder', or alternatively from the liquid CO2 at the bottom. A real professional uses a dedicated set up in the 'mother cylinder' that pulls only liquid CO2, and will give you more CO2 weight when filling your empty cylinder.

It is obvious, but I paid too much for a couple of years not realising that the 'full' from my LFS was actually much less value than the 'full' from the supplier I use now.

I hope this helps.
 
Without question I’ve gotten cylinders that were near-empty when I paid for a full 20 lbs. They’ve replaced them for free so far, but the time it takes to schlep it over there is way more valuable to me than the cost of the product.

My local supplier doesn’t fill anything. They exchange your random cylinder for their random cylinder. Sometimes it’s a rusty old steel thing and sometimes it’s a nice lightweight aluminum one. They fill them all off-site. I’ll ask the guys about delivery options. That’d be nice.

I am thinking about getting an old analog scale to put it on. That‘d give me some idea about actual use.
 
Same here. I initially thought my supplier was filling up my CO2 tanks to their nominal designed capacity, only to discover one day that those f**kers were basically ripping me off by only filling the tanks ~ 30% of their actually capacity while charging me extravagant amounts of money. Now, being in Thailand, and knowing how little interests the government has in enforcing certain safety regulations, I understand why these companies also do this. In fact if you ask any of these shops here what hydro-testing is, they will look at you with big round eyes. They have no clue what that is. I had to hydro-test my tank in an aviation specialized company, which cost me a fair amount of money. Now I go straight to the CO2 supplier who fills my tanks to their designed capacity.
Has anyone found a better option than what I'm doing?
Maybe getting additional CO2 tanks so you don't have to go all that often? I have 2 spare CO2 cylinders exactly for this purpose.
 
So, running larger CO2 injected tanks has its plusses and minuses. My 180g tank chews through a 20 lb cylinder of CO2 every 2 or 3 months. Exchanging the cylinders at my local welding shop has been my MO for several years, but like everything else, it's gotten downright expensive.
Curious what are they charging? I always think of CO2 as cheap....at least in the scheme of everything else I have invested in my tank.
 
I can't remember, something like $45 or so per tank. It's mostly the hassle of lugging the things back and forth. That, and they're out of CO2 about 1/3 of the time I show up. That's part of the price of admission with big aquariums, I suppose. Just looking for an easier, less frequent option.

I just ordered two more #20 canisters, so that should help some. As a medium-low growth on the new 150g tank, it should chew through it a little less quickly.
 
An update......

In my area, nobody refills CO2 canisters.... exchange service only, sort of like what they do around the world with propane cylinders. Drop one off, take a new one. Sometimes they're full..... and sometimes, not so much.

My local welding shop charged me about $140 to exchange three 20lb cylinders this week. It was a little painful to hand them my brand-new, never used cylinders and receive old ones in exchange, but c'est la vie. Fortunately, this time they had reasonably clean aluminum tanks. Sometimes it's nasty, rusted, dirty steel ones that have a tare weight of 40 pounds empty. I found another supplier 30 minutes away that charges $25 each and they usually have aluminum tanks in stock, so a much better deal overall. Looks like it's time for a change on that front.

I also found out they do deliver, but the delivery charge is excessive. There are other options with restaurant suppliers. They will come on-site and exchange tanks, but they want to rent their equipment, including regulators, and it's expensive enough that it doesn't make sense either.

Having two 150g plus CO2 aquariums is awesome, but there are a few downsides. :)
 
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