Trying out Citric acid and Baking soda CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Trying out Citric acid and Baking soda CO2

Based on a post I made in response to a question about Citric acid and Baking Soda CO2 it was suggested that I start a new thread to show my project. Here goes.
Out of boredom I setup a small 10 gallon tank a few months ago and purchased a Fugeray Planted Plus to go med to high light with DIY yeast CO2. After using the yeast method for several months I got tired of the lack of pressure and ability to adjust the output the way I used to do a few years ago with a pressurized system. Sure I could have spent the money on a new pressure system, but what fun would that be.
I started reading up on improving the yeast method when I came across the information on the Citric acid and Baking soda method. I did the research and found several threads here and on other sites with varying results. I looked on ebay and found the plastic bar type setup for $30.00 from a place in New York that also included two starter bags of powder. For $30.00 I figured what the heck, lets give it a go. Bought it and set it up a little over a week and a half ago.
I had read reports of the output from the Citric Acid/Baking Soda mix to be close to a month, 8 hours a day at 1bps. Currently I am running 2.3 bps 24/7 and only getting six days. Not what I was hoping for so now I am looking to improve on that . I will need to remix powders on Saturday and am going to try shutting off the flow when the lights are out using a valve I put together. I suppose I could purchase an electric solenoid but then you start adding cost and when do you stop and just go pressure. I will stop when it stops being fun I guess.
Hopefully I will be able to add a few pictures after I post this. I am also playing around with different reactors to increase dissolve rates. I started with a Tom Barr internal reactor but that did not work any better than putting the CO2 into the intake on the eheim 2211 I have on this tank so I went back to that. Besides that the reactor takes up alot of room in a small 10 gal.
What I like about the citric acid is the output is much stronger than yeast and there is no waiting for the pressure to build up. I have much more bubble count control with the needle valve. I only need to see a huge increase in the time between refills for me to say I like it.
I will try to update now and then as I make changes and am very open to suggestions or questions.
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Last edited by jrill; 02-11-2015 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Pictures
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post #2 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 05:56 AM
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can you give us details on your mixture measurements, and such? I'm kind of interested in trying this as I liked diy yeast co2 minus the mess, smell, and unreliablility.

does the co2 going right into the intake of the eheim cause any issues with the pump? I've heard this has happened with others and really kills the pump.
Thanks!

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post #3 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Sure.
Bottle A which is 200 grams of citric acid in 600ml of water.
Bottle B is 200 grams of baking soda in 200ml of water. In the coming weeks I may try increasing those amounts 50% across the board to see what happens.
With the eheim and co2 up the intake I have not had any issues unless I have tried to push a lot more co2. A few years ago when I ran a pressure system through an eheim I had to switch to a reactor if I needed 3 to 4 bps, if I remember right. You will know right away if its too much because the impeller will make that rattle noise. When I hear that I figure that's more gas than I want to push through. 2 to 2.5 bps is working just fine in my 2211. I don't see any bubbles coming out the output hose so the dissolve rate must be pretty high. For media in the filter I have it full of all blue course pads with one fine white pad.
I heat bent a piece of rigid tubing 90 degrees and drilled a hole into the side of the intake screen tube to get the co2 in.


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post #4 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 02:10 PM
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Nice thread, will be following this..
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post #5 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 02:14 PM
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What is the form and the cost of the citric acid?
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post #6 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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The citric acid I bought on Amazon. Milliard 100% pure food grade citric acid 5lbs. $18.00. Free shipping with prime. Might be a better price out there. I have to admit I did not shop around a lot. The backing soda I just picked up at Walmart. I think it was under $10 for the large arm and hammer box.
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post #7 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 04:07 PM
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Would it be cheaper to run this with acetic acid (vinegar)? Or, what about swimming pool hydrochloric acid? (Except that hydrochloric acid is much more dangerous to handle.)

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post #8 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
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Would it be cheaper to run this with acetic acid (vinegar)? Or, what about swimming pool hydrochloric acid? (Except that hydrochloric acid is much more dangerous to handle.)
Good point, I've always wondered why this is only done with citric acid myself. But would vinegar be cheaper in the long run vs 5lb of powder that you can put in solution? God knows how long 5lb will last lol.
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post #9 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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I have read a few references to using vinegar. Arguments against seem to range from more expensive to more volatile. I decided to stay with the citric acid because its cheap and the unit I purchased came with starter powders. Also all the units sold seem geared towards the citric acid.
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post #10 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 05:03 PM
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Seems like the cost would be minimal. I suppose one would compare it to sugar. But you have more ability to regulate the co2 with this set up, right?
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post #11 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Seems like the cost would be minimal. I suppose one would compare it to sugar. But you have more ability to regulate the co2 with this set up, right?
I believe that to be correct. I feel I can regulate it as well as I did with a pressure system. Starting Saturday I am going to try turning it off during lights out.
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post #12 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 06:55 PM
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Can you post a close up of the needle valve or whatever it is? Im curious how that works exactly. Also the brass ball valve, you installed that, right? So I assume the unit has some kind of pressure release? Close up of that too if you dont mind.
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post #13 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Needle valve



And here is the release valve


Last edited by jrill; 02-12-2015 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Text
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post #14 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Can you post a close up of the needle valve or whatever it is? Im curious how that works exactly. Also the brass ball valve, you installed that, right? So I assume the unit has some kind of pressure release? Close up of that too if you dont mind.
And yes I put in the ball valve. Stuff I had and the valve from ace hardware. I thought about using the two little fishes ball valve, $10 on Amazon but I was at ace so,
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post #15 of 815 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 07:45 PM
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Thanks. Can you adjust the pressure release to open at a certain level, or is it fixed?
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