DIY CO2 Experiment - Page 5 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #61 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-02-2017, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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If we don't add CO2, our tanks are running on about 3 ppm of CO2 from the atmospheric CO2. If we add 3 ppm of CO2 to those tanks we have doubled the CO2 available to the plants. That is a significant change. If we add 5-10 ppm of CO2, it is a major addition. With less than high light you can get very obvious benefits from just 5-10 ppm of added CO2. I have done this with my 65 gallon tank, and was amazed by how much better the plants did.

It is possible that CO2 levels below 30 ppm can encourage BBA. I haven't yet proved that to myself, either positive or negative. So, that is a potential downside to using low levels of added CO2. But, I have no doubt at all that using DIY CO2 on larger tanks, and getting only around 5-10 ppm of CO2 from it, greatly improves plant growth, and is well worth the effort if you don't have high light.
Good to know there is DIY success with larger tanks (like my 60g). As I mentioned previously, the [admittedly shotgun] addition of Excel (fighting BBA), DIY CO2, increased ferts, and slightly increased light is showing excellent results - no question. I'll soon be cutting back some, but so far, I like what I'm seeing!
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post #62 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 12:55 AM
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Something i've discovered as I recently started diy co2 (around thanksgiving so around a month) is that if you use the citric acid and baking soda kit lids https://www.amazon.com/DIY-CO2-Aquar...ywords=diy+co2 only you use it with yeast and sugar, that you can use the "needle valve" to control how much co2 you're adding and in my case it stores a sizeable amount under pressure and it lasts a week to a week and a half before i swap out 1 of 3 bottles.

I also am following the hooch method of diy co2 (my intrest is not in plant growth but what concoctions i can brew up lol) from this thread here so far it's actually fairly decent. Not sure if i'm going to keep it up long term, but in the process I'm getting some beverages and decently accelerated plant growth

If you're into measuring how much co2 you're actually diffusing into the water, besides using the ph drop method you can do a diy drop checker solution of various kh levels (the standard one is 4) and use the chart from this thread for comparison to measure lower levels of co2
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post #63 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 01:24 AM
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I've got Fleischmann's Yeast but I've wanted to try out some Champagne Yeast and actually have something I can drink after the yeast has finished it's job making CO2.

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post #64 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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I think the 'hobo wine' approach is interesting, but I just never acquired a taste for wine. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a beer (or two) with supper, but I guess I just lack the sophisticated/refined pallet for wine....On the other hand, I might be tempted down the road to use a similar approach to make some hard apple cider! I see there's a special yeast available for cider. Not sure for a 4L container how much sugar to use with the cider - I'm thinking 3 cups instead of 4? But for now, I'll just shoot for a stable, long lasting mix to alternate the two canisters and provide a constant CO2 delivery to the tank.

Current Recipe for 4L (1g) canister:

4c (1lb, 12oz) Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp yeast
4L~ water

Update: I just ordered some Red Star Champagne yeast that's supposed to hold up longer to the alcohol.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 01-03-2017 at 09:27 PM. Reason: update
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post #65 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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I replaced all three check valves with new Jardin check valves. When I blow through these new valves to test, they seem less restrictive than the previous chk valves.

The red star champagne yeast arrived. I'm anxious to start a new mix which I just may do a few days ahead of schedule as I see my bubble count is slowing down just a bit to 1 bubble every 2~3 seconds.

Update: I mixed the new batch. I proofed the (1 tsp) champagne yeast separate from the sugar/water mix. It looked good and activated so I poured in and lightly mixed. After testing for over an hour, I'd only get a bubble every 10+ seconds. Hmm. I proofed another 1 tsp of the champagne yeast and added to the mix. Still no joy on the bubble yield test. I heated the mix to 105F, poured back in the canister and added 1/2 tsp bread yeast. The subsequent testing was good at nearly 1 bps. I've got to let this play out but I'm toying with the idea of using 1/2 tsp champagne yeast and 1/2 tsp bread yeast for short/long term CO2 production. My thinking is that as the alcohol kills off the bread yeast, the champagne yeast will keep producing CO2 for a while longer....But I'll need to give the champagne yeast another trial alone just to rule out a batch fluke this time.
Just now I noticed that the new batch was generating about 3 bps and the old batch bubbles had suddenly stopped. I vented the new batch canister so only 1bps was produced and the old batch began producing bubbles again. I guess if one batch is over pressuring the bubble bottle, the other stops.....interesting.
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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 01-09-2017 at 05:34 PM. Reason: update
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post #66 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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By the next day, the new mix (Container #1) was generating 3-4 bps. In addition to the other batch (#2) that was still producing 1 bubble every 2 seconds, I felt this was way to fast, delivering too much to the tank (or vent and lose it) and wouldn't last very long. I took it off line, put in a pot and boiled for 5 min to sterilize and kill the yeast. I let cool to 105F and added 1 tsp of champagne yeast and mixed. I setup for a bubble test and did not see any bubbles after an hour or two! Not sure what the deal is with this champagne yeast! It proofs fine, but just doesn't seem to produce gas in the canister like bread yeast. I proofed a 1/2 tsp of bread yeast and added to the mix. Within an hour I was getting 1-2bps so hooked into the system.
I think moving forward I will be using 1/2 tsp champagne yeast and 1/2 tsp bread yeast in my mix. The bread yeast seems to generate better consistent gas early on, but will likely be killed off when the alcohol increases. The champagne yeast is slow to generate CO2, but should live longer at higher levels of alcohol. An on-going experiment I guess.

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post #67 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 08:09 PM
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By the next day, the new mix (Container #1) was generating 3-4 bps. In addition to the other batch (#2) that was still producing 1 bubble every 2 seconds, I felt this was way to fast, delivering too much to the tank (or vent and lose it) and wouldn't last very long. I took it off line, put in a pot and boiled for 5 min to sterilize and kill the yeast. I let cool to 105F and added 1 tsp of champagne yeast and mixed. I setup for a bubble test and did not see any bubbles after an hour or two! Not sure what the deal is with this champagne yeast! It proofs fine, but just doesn't seem to produce gas in the canister like bread yeast. I proofed a 1/2 tsp of bread yeast and added to the mix. Within an hour I was getting 1-2bps so hooked into the system.
I think moving forward I will be using 1/2 tsp champagne yeast and 1/2 tsp bread yeast in my mix. The bread yeast seems to generate better consistent gas early on, but will likely be killed off when the alcohol increases. The champagne yeast is slow to generate CO2, but should live longer at higher levels of alcohol. An on-going experiment I guess.
Please let us know how a mix of yeast works for you, might be a bit of a solution to the length of time it produces drawback with yeast co2
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post #68 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Please let us know how a mix of yeast works for you, might be a bit of a solution to the length of time it produces drawback with yeast co2
Yes I will. My first batch (whole pkg of bread yeast) lasted just 2 weeks and my 2nd batch only about the same (I expected 3+ weeks from a 4L mix. Given a standard sugar mix (1c per liter) we conclude that more yeast produces a higher bps for a shorter duration and less yeast produces a lower bps for a longer period. But then there's temperature and the alcohol factor. I've also read that there may be value in sterilizing the mix before adding the yeast so I will likely boil the water, mix the sugar and cool to 105F~ and add the yeast.
As for temperature, after I test the 50/50 yeast mix, I just might try using a heat mat (same as used for starting plants) under the canisters to determine the effect. This could take the mix 10F+ above room temperature. Then again, this may just make the yeast slightly more active resulting in a slightly higher bps for a shorter period.
I've read about using raw sugar, molasses along with sugar, corn starch in the mix, as well as using a gelatin mix. I'm not sure how far I want to experiment with these.

The objective of course is to maintain a steady 1bps bubble count for as long as possible. With some overlap of the two containers, this should provide a fairly stable delivery of CO2.

I also need to experiment with my bubble bar at night. I've been running in from midnight to 6am for fear of gassing the fish at night. This may be counter productive in the the little CO2 being added is off gassed every night. Perhaps I'll cut back the time the air pump is on and see what happens?

Then on the tank side, there's the question of light and ferts - I think my head will soon explode! lol

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post #69 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-16-2017, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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Canister #2 quit producing on Friday so I prepped a new mix today...

4c sugar (1lb. 12oz)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp bread yeast
1/2 tsp champagne yeast
4L (1g)~ sterilized water

I boiled the water for 5 minutes to sterilize. I let it cool to about 120F then mixed into the canister with the sugar. I prepped each of the yeasts separately in about 1/2 - 1 cup or so of the boiled water (cooled to @105F) and a tsp of sugar. I let proof until the sugar/water mix had cooled to about 100F. Both proofs looked very active so I lightly mixed into the batch.
I hooked into the system, but after a couple of hours there were no bubbles. When I disconnected from the check valve there was a pressure release. The check valve had stuck so I replaced. After a bit I started getting about 1 bps (about the same as canister #1).
We'll see how long these last.

Note: I do not know if sterilizing the water makes a difference, but in my research, some felt it was important. I have untreated well water and there could be some type(s) of bacteria that might negatively impact the yeast and since sterilizing the water can't hurt, I thought why not do it as a precaution?


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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 01-16-2017 at 03:24 PM. Reason: update
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post #70 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Mix #1 stopped producing CO2, again at the 2 week mark. Mix #2 is just past the 1 week mark and going strong. This (#2 mix) was the reboiled mix. I prepped a new mix, but by morning it [still] wasn't producing any bubbles. I disconnected and got a slight pressure release. I went ahead and heated the mix on the stove to 100F, xfered back to the canister, and added 1/2 tsp bread yeast directly to the mix, waited a bit and then stirred in. I left on the counter until it began producing bubbles in a glass of water, then I hooked into the system. After a couple of hours, it was/is producing very well.
I was thinking that for the mix volume (4L/1g) I should get about 3 weeks...especially with the champagne yeast potentially lasting longer. Then again, in some regards, a longer use life may be a lower bubble output. The experimenting continues. When I proof the yeasts, the bread yeast seems more active/aggressive then the champagne yeast. Moving forward, I may try 1 tsp champagne yeast to 1/2 tsp bread yeast. (Although, in spite of what I've read, I'm not yet convinced that the champagne yeast really lives any longer than bread yeast).

Plant response:
First I should mention that I backed off on the Excel (as the BBA fight is nearly won [knock on wood]) and I'm now leaving the light (Finnex Planted+ 24/7) in 24/7 mode as for a time I was putting on max from 10am - 3/4pm. I'm a bit 'wishy washy' as to run 24/7 or not - time will tell.
I have maintained a slightly increased dose of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive. When I do my 20g WWC, I add two capfuls of flourish, then another cap during the week. I also mix/add a tsp or two of Seachem Equilibrium as my filtered well water could stand the extra minerals.

- The wisteria has sprung to life with thicker stems, broader leaves, and is growing bushier and taller.
- The amazon swords are also growing taller with broader leaves.
- The dwarf sag was quite small and almost dormant, and is now growing much larger.

I attribute the enhanced growth to both the increased ferts as well as the CO2 (and perhaps the period that I boosted the lighting).
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post #71 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 01:34 AM
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I have maintained a slightly increased dose of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive.

I attribute the enhanced growth to both the increased ferts as well as the CO2 (and perhaps the period that I boosted the lighting).
Now, do you need to make a choice, moving to the hi-tech side of things?
Don't forget the N,P,K requirements or deficiencies will start.
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post #72 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 01:51 AM
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I tried wine yeast one time. It didnt produce as much as the regular (using an equal amount)

Not sure if it would've lasted any longer or not. I had like 6 bottles running at the time, and the system was pretty dialed in. I wasnt really in a mood to experiment so I only used it for one cycle in two bottles.

@AbbeysDad , are you sure those containers are leak proof? They look suspect. The smallest seepage anywhere will throw the whole system out of whack.
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post #73 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Now, do you need to make a choice, moving to the hi-tech side of things?
Don't forget the N,P,K requirements or deficiencies will start.
I really like the surrealism of the dawn to dusk/moonlight of 24/7 mode. I run 24/7 mode from 6am to midnight. To go to high tech, I'd need to run the light in max for say 6 hours or so.
So right now, I'll hang in what I'd call medium tech - low tech with DIY CO2 and slightly increased ferts. I think this will give me better plant growth, but still hold on to the plus side of low tech. It's looking good so far.
But I do have the down range option.

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post #74 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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I tried wine yeast one time. It didnt produce as much as the regular (using an equal amount)

Not sure if it would've lasted any longer or not. I had like 6 bottles running at the time, and the system was pretty dialed in. I wasn't really in a mood to experiment so I only used it for one cycle in two bottles.

@AbbeysDad , are you sure those containers are leak proof? They look suspect. The smallest seepage anywhere will throw the whole system out of whack.
Well so far I'm also seeing that the champagne yeast is not as 'potent' as bread yeast. I've seen claims that it lives longer at higher levels of alcohol, but then I've also seen reports that suggest it doesn't last any longer than bread yeast. I'm going to keep using it at least until it's gone, but I'll still also keep using the bread yeast...and may just end up using bread yeast.

I had previously used these Lock & Lock canisters as a filter filled with Matrix/DeNitrate (attempting to culture anaerobic bacteria) and they were consistently water tight. (you will see from the link they are rated to be air tight).

In this setup I have also seen on two occasions where the check valve stuck so back pressure built up (when I removed the tube from the check valve there was a large CO2 gas release, which wouldn't be the case if they leaked). I may eventually need to use an 'O' ring lubricant/sealant around the seal, but so far this seems unnecessary.

Note: I seem to have a challenge with the check valves sticking (or restricting flow) between the mix canisters and the bubble bottle (and perhaps the bubble bottle and the tank). It may not be the chk valve sticking...I'm seeing a pressure buildup in the bubble bottle that causes water to be pushed up the disconnected tube (to outside the bottle but not to the chk valve). When the new mix is hooked up, I think a fair amount of pressure is required to push the water out.
Another curious observation: The time I used too much yeast in one container. the other had been producing 1 bps. This new mix was doing 3-4 bps and the resulting pressure in the bubble bottle caused the other to create back pressure in that line ans stop the bubbles. If I disconnected the new mix, the old mix would produce excessive bubbles for several seconds...as if the one side over pressured and shut down the other. So why is pressure building up in the bubble bottle? Unless there's back pressure in the line to the tank???

Footnote: I believe there is some slight back pressure in the line to the tank. I notice that the Elite meters out the CO2, but if I lower the Elite any lower in the tank, CO2 flow will stop. If one container over produces CO2, the back pressure will increase in the bubble bottle such that the chk valve on the other container will stop the CO2 flow (which then builds back pressure in that canister). Then when the pressure is released, the CO2 flow equalizes.

With the two canisters producing about 1bps, the tank becomes a mass of tiny micro-bubbles. I decided to put the pre-filter sponge back over the Elite output to filter/reduce the bubbles. I think this might also make for even better diffusion as the tiny bubbles are forced with water pressure against the inside of the foam chamber.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 01-27-2017 at 03:06 PM. Reason: footnote
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post #75 of 85 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 12:26 AM
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The deeper in the tank the co2 diffuser is the more water pressure it will experience. I think it's somewhere around 1/2lb per foot of depth. Might not seem like much and with a pressurized cow system is not noticable, but in diy where pressures are lower it is noticable. This would cause an appearance of back pressure when you disconnect the bottles
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