New Fluval CO2 88 and CO2 20 pressurised units

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These new CO2 kits from Rolf C. Hagen have made Nathan Hill all excited...

These items really excite me. They are affordable, CO2 injectors for nano systems and small tanks — and, what’s more, they have regulators!

The CO2 88 kit is everything a budding plant grower could want. It’s small and discreet, incredibly easy to use and looks modern.

The disposable 88g CO2 cartridge simply attaches to the regulator by screwing into place and punching a hole in the top to release the gas. A pressure gauge tells you how much force there is, enabling you to see when the canister is running low. The needle valve is a dream, giving a smooth action that allows for precise regulation.

A bubble counter is part of the package and, given the diffuser is a slow streamer, this is a must-have device in using the kit properly.

A plastic bracket allows the canister and valve to be hung from the tank, or it can free stand. The bubble counter comes with either sucker or bracket attachment, although it took me half a day to discover this.

I look forward to trialling to death this superb little product.

I wasn’t as excited with the smaller CO2 20, although it’s still very good. Rather than having a regulator with a pressure indicator, the smaller unit only has a screw-on regulator with needle valve, but doesn’t indicate anything about the pressure behind it.

The gas canister is tiny by comparison, holding 20g that I suspect I’ll get through most of by the time I’ve balanced the flow rate.

Strangely, by comparison to the larger unit, this set-up has a far more obtrusive delivery method, involving a large plastic diffusion chamber. In effect, the smaller kit takes up more than ten times as much space in the tank as the larger model.

There’s no bubble counter in this model, which is a shame, but it is tremendously priced for an entry level, small CO2 injector system that’s far safer to use and easier to control than many alternatives.

For me the 88 is the real winner, and I cannot wait to see how these two units fare against each other long-term.

Refills for both kits should be easily available from retailers, which will be a lot simpler than sending off larger canisters to be refilled.

Prices: CO2 20g £25.53, CO2 88 £81.70 (SRP).