My first 7 months and why my DIY yeast isn't working anymore - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 6
My first 7 months and why my DIY yeast isn't working anymore

My first post

Well, my tank has been up and running since April and everything was going great.

Let me give you my rundown:

Eco-Complete substrate (40lbs)
Fluval C-Series C3 (love it)
Heater (generic) set at 80 (not sure why so warmer but has been like that for 7 months)
Nova Extreme Lighting T5HO 10,000k and Freshwater (pink)
DIY Yeast CO2 with chopstick diffuser
local pet shop plants (micro swords, java ferns, dwarf baby tears, corkscrew vallisneria, large leaf duckweed, lemon bacopa)
tag along snails (tiny...never let them get big)
ramshorn snails
Mostly livebaring paties, neons, tetra, oto cat

When I first started, I didn't have any kind of CO2 dosing except for the Seachem Excel (no replacement for CO2, but I only have a 20gal). I bought the full line of Seachem and was dosing according to their regime (a bit modified as needed). I realized maybe 3 weeks in that I needed CO2 so I have been making my own CO2 via the yeast method. I tried using a pH KH cart, but found it very unreliable so I got a drop checker and made my own standard 4dKH in a chemistry lab I have access to. Over the 6 months, I tried the gelatin yeast method, the baking soda and yeast method, the proofing the yeast first method and all combinations of the a fore mentioned methods, and the very quick "just dump it all in the bottle, shake, and walk away" method. I never really saw one being better than the other. It worked so well that I out-gased my fish because the Aquaclear 50 I had didn't create the surface ripple to keep the O2 up. So I got the Fluval C-Series C3 which corrected the problem. I actually like this filter better than the Aquaclear (and I have been an Aquaclear fan for 20 years)

So now 6 months in, no matter what I do with the yeast, my drop checker remains blue (even with refreshing the 4dKH standard and waiting a few days). So I decided to head back to the forums to see if others had the issue. I found one post (can't remember if it was here or somewhere else) that mentioned the room temperature being an issue. Now I should have put two and two together because yeast is proofed around 107F and rises best in a warm environment, but hey I'm not baking break so I didn't think of it. Sure enough, about a month ago, it started getting cool here at night and the windows have been open to enjoy the nice cool temps. The house temp has been steady (at least in the basement) 68F. Over the summer, my A/C is not that efficient and the house stays round 78F during the day and 73F at night, a nice temp for DIY yeast systems. To combat the cooler temps I tried increasing the yeast (proofed first and alive) to 2 tsp and still just a trickle of bubbles and a blue drop checker. My cat decided to help out with an experiment and kindly donated his electric basket warmer (a constant a heating pad that never turns off); low and behold I had a pale green drop checker the next day. I took away the warmer and what a pretty blue the drop checker the obviously solution is to let my plants CO2 starve until next summer when the house heats back up...ok not really. Now I have to look at a pressurized CO2 that is less than $100 if I intend on having plants through the winter. Oh and did I mention that in that month that the CO2 has been very low, the pH has been 7.4 or so and now I am seeing BBA and some course green hair algae? Wonder why...I know why...low CO2.

Checking the sponsor forums I found the Aquatek mini CO2 regulator w/ solenoid for paintball tanks. So I ordered that from the Aquatek store on ebay ($79) and a 20oz tank. Total cost was right around $100. I can't afford a $160 system and the Aquatek had good reviews on Amazon. I got a 20oz tank for $17 on amazon and found out for $3 I can get it filled locally. Not sure how this will work, but it has to be better than my DIY system which seems like it won't work all winter considering I keep my house at 68F (saves on gas and I can always throw on a blanket).

The moral of my story is: Grandma was right, bread rises better over the oven vent as it is preheating for the bread loaf or aka...DIY yeast systems don't work except when the house is warm.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 01:13 AM
Algae Grower
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 16
I use diy co2 (2-2lt bottles) on my 29 gallon. Throw some ingredients in the bottle, give em' a shake and they're rollin' in less than 30 minutes. Bottles are rotated weekly and average 2-3 bps. My house stays 66-68 year round and my drop checker stays lime green to yellow 24/7. However, I had the same issue as you not too long ago. It ended up being poor diffusion. I replaced my Aquaclear 70 with a canister filter and started running co2 into it and could barely get into the green. Rigged up a maxi-jet diffuser with a racquetball container and some sponge and problem solved. Even with pressurized if its not diffused efficiently it can be wasted. I"m going pressurized soon myself but for all the other reasons...and because having a co2 tank a regulator under my tank would kickass! Its like NOS for aquariums. Haha!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 6
Well the chopstick method had worked for 7 months, changing out the wood once a month or so. But here the last month, even the bubble scum at the top of the bottle is gone. Like I said, as soon as I warmed up that bottle and left that heating pad on it for a while, got me back into the green. Now, I just get to play the "which diffuser do I like" game.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 04:35 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: california
Posts: 708
the yeast might have eaten all of the sugars in the diy solution thing. they're active so if they run out of a food source they dont produce c02 anymore. that might be it. you just have to keep feeding them
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by inthepacific View Post
the yeast might have eaten all of the sugars in the diy solution thing. they're active so if they run out of a food source they dont produce c02 anymore. that might be it. you just have to keep feeding them
No, that was not it. It was definitely the temp in the room that was the issue. Under a certain temp, yeast slows down CO2 production, enough that pressure built up and I had bubbles but not at the quantity to increase the dissolved CO2. When the heating pad was used, one a bottle that had been connected for a few days, production increased. But only slightly.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 05:40 PM
No more Bow ties
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 15,503
You can make a baking soda/vinegar system. It's in the DIY forum. Or invest in a CO2 tank system.

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