DIY CO2 Experiment - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-19-2016, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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@burr740 - Thank-you for the link to your thread which I've now read. I quite like what you did with check valves and running separate lines to the bubble check bottle. I think I will copy, except that I'll be using the two 4 liter Lock&Lock containers instead of bottles. That may make mine a bit more inconsistent than 4 bottles, but should still work.

Bump: Update #2: A couple of hours after adding the fluval sponge to the Elite I had fish gulping air at the surface!? Perhaps the CO2 is much better diffused than it was before?
I turned on the bubble bar air pump just to be safe. The fish returned to normal after a few minutes. I guess I'll leave the bubble bar on low. I was gonna just use it at night.

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post #17 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
@burr740 - Thank-you for the link to your thread which I've now read. I quite like what you did with check valves and running separate lines to the bubble check bottle. I think I will copy, except that I'll be using the two 4 liter Lock&Lock containers instead of bottles. That may make mine a bit more inconsistent than 4 bottles, but should still work.

Bump: Update #2: A couple of hours after adding the fluval sponge to the Elite I had fish gulping air at the surface!? Perhaps the CO2 is much better diffused than it was before?
I turned on the bubble bar air pump just to be safe. The fish returned to normal after a few minutes. I guess I'll leave the bubble bar on low. I was gonna just use it at night.
If less CO2 is now reaching the top and gassing off (more efficient), then you'd want to reduce your input a bit to account for less waste. That's why reactors are so great in that there is less wasted CO2 which lets your tank last longer

I do find it interesting that the prefiler sponge is working well as I've tried this before and just had it get trapped and then bubble out the path of least resistance. Probably has to do with size of pores (used a fairly fine sponge).
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post #18 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 09:42 AM
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But now here's a catch 22... By adding CO2, it follows that an increase in ferts is called for. So will any subsequent plant growth be because of the CO2 or the increase in ferts? <rhetorical unless the plants jump out of the tank - lol>
Both are dependant on the other.

It's just like working out HARD at the gym. You don't work out hard, you don't need protein supplementation. You take protein but don't work out hard, you're wasting all that good stuff.

Increase fertilisation without CO2 supplementation and adequate lighting (this is assuming your plants need or can do with more) is just a waste of time, money and algae. Swap around the three factors and you'll end up with the same result.

You'll probably see fast gains when you first introduce CO2 but without adequate lighting and fertilisation, you'll hit a plateau and algae pretty fast too.

I know. I'm at the algae stage now. :-D
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post #19 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Your gym analogy is cute, but I'm in my 60's now so I do power napping! <hehe>

I had a well established tank and then planted heavily. I'm thinking there was a stockpile of nutrients as the plants grew really well with modest ferts. As the plant mass increased and the stockpile diminished, the plants continued to look 'okay', but appeared to almost stop growing. At the same time I got a case of black beard algae from some Vals from ebay (Vals now removed). So I'm dosing with Excel, increased ferts (Flourish Comp/Trace) and added the DIY CO2. I'm running the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 in 24/7 mode, so I could increase the light...but since plants did so well for so long w/o it, I'm holding off. I was shooting for a minimalist low tech 'Nearly Natural Eco-System' and hope to get back to that at some point.

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Both are dependant on the other.

It's just like working out HARD at the gym. You don't work out hard, you don't need protein supplementation. You take protein but don't work out hard, you're wasting all that good stuff.

Increase fertilisation without CO2 supplementation and adequate lighting (this is assuming your plants need or can do with more) is just a waste of time, money and algae. Swap around the three factors and you'll end up with the same result.

You'll probably see fast gains when you first introduce CO2 but without adequate lighting and fertilisation, you'll hit a plateau and algae pretty fast too.

I know. I'm at the algae stage now. :-D
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post #20 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Based on what I've read, I think my 4L mix should last about 3 weeks or a bit longer. With this in mind (unless the BPS slows down before) I'll add my 2nd 4L mix at about the 2-3 week mark. (I'll have to adjust the swap schedule relative to bubble decline but I may be swapping at the 3 week mark [time will tell]).

I also think the recipe might be adjusted (less yeast) to:
4c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp yeast
~4L water

My first batch turned out well so I'll repeat:
I put the 4c sugar and the baking soda in the container. Then filled 3/4 full with hot tap water (120F) and mixed until the sugar dissolved. I added cool water to get the level up and the temperature down to 95F - 110F. Added the yeast and mixed well. Let stand a few minutes and mixed again. I topped off with luke warm water to within an inch or so of the top. Capped off.
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post #21 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Based on what I've read, I think my 4L mix should last about 3 weeks or a bit longer. With this in mind (unless the BPS slows down before) I'll add my 2nd 4L mix at about the 2-3 week mark. (I'll have to adjust the swap schedule relative to bubble decline but I may be swapping at the 3 week mark [time will tell]).

I also think the recipe might be adjusted (less yeast) to:
4c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp yeast
~4L water

My first batch turned out well so I'll repeat:
I put the 4c sugar and the baking soda in the container. Then filled 3/4 full with hot tap water (120F) and mixed until the sugar dissolved. I added cool water to get the level up and the temperature down to 95F - 110F. Added the yeast and mixed well. Let stand a few minutes and mixed again. I topped off with luke warm water to within an inch or so of the top. Capped off.
It also depends on the ambient temperature of your home. The warmer it is, the faster the mixture will react and basically fizzle out. The colder it is, the slower the reaction and essentially can last longer. But as long as your rotate them out before the last week, you shouldn't have a problem with it.
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post #22 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-20-2016, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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It also depends on the ambient temperature of your home. The warmer it is, the faster the mixture will react and basically fizzle out. The colder it is, the slower the reaction and essentially can last longer. But as long as your rotate them out before the last week, you shouldn't have a problem with it.
The canisters will be in the cabinet, under the aquarium in the living room. The temperature is usually room temp 70-72F (give or take) year round.
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post #23 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-22-2016, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Following @burr740's lead, I made another bubble check bottle with two inputs with chk valves. I find that using an under sized drill bit and cutting the air tubing on an angle, I can force the tubing through the cap and it self seals.
Prolly be another week or so until I add this and the second 4L container.

Follow-up: Altough I think the self seal would likely be fine, as an added measure, I put some Max 1 (German super glue) around the airline tubes to ensure they were sealed against to cap.
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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 12-24-2016 at 01:28 PM. Reason: update
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post #24 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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The adventure continues...

This morning there were few, if any, micro bubbles - the bubble count was down to 1 every 2-3 seconds. I elected to go ahead and mix the 2nd 4L canister (see photo of new setup). This time I only used 1 tsp of yeast, so I expect it will be slow to produce and hopefully long lasting...time will tell.
After some playing around (and before the 2nd canister began producing CO2), I got micro bubbles to come back. I think it was an issue with the check valve to the tank.
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post #25 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 09:52 PM
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Be sure to leak check every connection. I like using the bubble solution made for kids to play with, soapy water works too.
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post #26 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 11:53 PM
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Update: After a time I began seeing like a mist of super tiny micro bubbles rise above the fluval sponge so I believe the sponge is working to even further diffuse the co2!

But now here's a catch 22... By adding CO2, it follows that an increase in ferts is called for. So will any subsequent plant growth be because of the CO2 or the increase in ferts? <rhetorical unless the plants jump out of the tank - lol>
Any increase in plant growth will be a result of both the CO2 and the added nutrients, but without the CO2 you wouldn't get anything from the added nutrients.

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post #27 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Any increase in plant growth will be a result of both the CO2 and the added nutrients, but without the CO2 you wouldn't get anything from the added nutrients.
I planted a well established tank and for 6 months the plants grew like weeds with minimal ferts...the plant mass increased and then the growth stalled. I could make the case that if I increased the ferts, the plants could resume the growth they showed for those 6 months, with or without CO2 (that they didn't have before). Of course, adding CO2, more ferts and more light and they should take off again.

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post #28 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Well after 24+ hours, my 2nd batch isn't generating any CO2...but I used just 1 tsp and proofed the yeast separately in a small bowl. Since my first batch is still going strong, I'll wait until later in the week (original plan - 2 week mark) then heat up the mix to 100-110F and add 2 tsp yeast and mix well (like the first batch that has performed well, except that was with a whole pkg of yeast).

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post #29 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 04:32 PM
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Sounds like either a leak, or you killed the yeast with too much heat during the proofing phase.

Look closely at the mixture. If you can see tiny micro bubbles popping at the surface then there's probably a leak in the system. If there's no micro bubbling then the yeast is probably no good


My money is on a leak.
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post #30 of 83 (permalink) Old 12-27-2016, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like either a leak, or you killed the yeast with too much heat during the proofing phase.

Look closely at the mixture. If you can see tiny micro bubbles popping at the surface then there's probably a leak in the system. If there's no micro bubbling then the yeast is probably no good

My money is on a leak.
The proofing water was 100F and as I recall, yeast can handle 95F - 115F for proofing. It was foaming, but maybe I didn't wait long enough. Also, I just dumped into the wort, but didn't mix in?

Have you ever added the yeast to room temperature sugar/water mix? (wondering if I really need to heat it all up or just do a new proof and dump in.

(In the meantime, I'll double check for any bubbles and/or leaking.)

UPDATE: Okay at first I thought I had some slight activity, but after tapping around the container to release bubbles adhering to the sides, there is seemingly nothing going on in there.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 12-27-2016 at 05:15 PM. Reason: update
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