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Schala 05-04-2003 04:07 AM

I am planning on starting a new tank soon. I am going to have at least 3 wpg of light, maybe 4, so CO2 is a must. I just learned about DIY CO2 system via pop bottle. For some reason, I had previously had it stuck in my head that DIY CO2 was difficult, so I bought a Hagen CO2 system for my 20 gallon.

I was excited about the easy and cheap way of CO2 since I am a poor student and the cost of tank and equipment is killing me. But then I learn that this method isn't enough for big tanks? I plan on getting a 75 gallon.

I don't really know anything about pressurized CO2. Is there really no way for me to DIY CO2 in a big tank? :cry: If not, could you explain the other method of CO2, such as where to get equipment and how to set it up. Even a link to another site/post detailing it would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for any help. Also, I'm sorry if this should be in the equipment forum.
I was divided over where to put it, and since I want DIY more... :wink:

corey 05-04-2003 05:17 AM

check out the posts in the DIY forum there is alot of great stuff on DIY CO2. Also equipment like you said will have many pressurized co2 posts........Happy Reading

Rex Grigg 05-04-2003 12:29 PM

It's possible to do DIY on a 75 gallon tank. But it would be a total pain in the butt. Since you neglected to include a location in your profile I'm going to give you some very general ideas.

Cylinder, check with fire extinguisher shops and welding shops. Find a place that will fill the bottle while you wait. This is more common with extinguisher places.

Regulator, home-brew shops, welding stores, on-line home brew stores and places like Harbor Freight. Try and get one that you can remove whatever output fitting it has on it so you can attach your needle valve easily.

Needle Valve, go to and see if there is a distributor close to you. If not you can get a Clippard valve for $18 at Aqua Botanic that comers with the adapter to fit it to most regulators.

Reactor, build your own out of PVC pipe and plumb it in-line with your cannister filter (you were going to have a cannister filter I hope).

Bubble counter, build your own. Takes about two minutes.

If you shop around you can assemble a system for around $100 USD, You don't need a solenoid or a pH monitor.

Schala 05-04-2003 04:37 PM

Thanks for the info. That will get me started.

The only thing is that I wasn't planning on having a canister filter. Can I build a reactor which uses the end of a syphon and a pump?

Also, are there any sites that explain the process of setting this up step-by-step? I still feel a little overwhelmed.

Schala 05-05-2003 06:22 PM

I got most of my setup questions answered from Chuck's Planted Aquarium page.

I still don't understand the bubble counter. Could someone explain in detail what it is and how to build one?

I'll be really grateful if someone could help me understand.
Thanks in advance.

Rex Grigg 05-05-2003 08:45 PM

Picture a 8 ounce water bottle with two holes drilled in the lid. I use silicone airline tubing to go though the holes and a hole 11/64" works great for a tight seal. One piece of tubing is long enough to almost reach the bottom of the bottle. This is where the CO2 enters the bubble counter. The other piece is only long enough to work with. This piece of tubing go to the reactor/diffuser. Fill the bottle 3/4 full of water and you have bubble counter. Here is a picture of a slightly modified version of what I have described.

If you are not going to use a cannister filter on a 75 gallon what are you going to use? I can't imagine using anything but cannister filter on a tank this size, unless you are going to use a wet/dry.

GDominy 05-05-2003 09:21 PM

You could easily filter a tank this size with an aquaclear 500, although 2 would be better. Unfortunately with that many Hang on filters I think the surface disruption would outgas a lot of the CO2.

If you are going to use CO2 in your tank you need to make sure that it is going to stay "in" the tank and not simply vent out.

Schala 05-05-2003 11:34 PM

On the bubble counter, the second tube isn't actually in the water is it? Should I silicon/glue around the tubes to prevent leakage? Also, What bubble rate should I go for when I actually get it set up?

As for filtering, I was told that two Emperor 400s would be the best for this tank. Of course, this was not from a planted tank perpective. I was considering using a canister but I was told that it was a hassle to clean. I was also told that it can be bad for fish because the crud it pulls out is still in the water but just out of sight.

My filter preferences are not set in stone and I will consider a canister. I just don't like the idea of no surface movement for some reason. :?
Which canister filter would you suggest for this tank?

GDominy 05-05-2003 11:41 PM

Well... Buck will tell you to get a Rena XP series canister, the fluvals arent bad either, especially for the "budget aware". If you have money to burn, then Eheim is the way to go.

Schala 05-06-2003 12:00 AM


Originally Posted by GDominy
If you have money to burn, then Eheim is the way to go.

:cry: :cry: I dooooon't... All this is so expensive. I really can't afford to pay more than $100 for a filter.

I'd proably be getting 55 gallon except that the 75 is cheaper at the LFS. :?
Plus I hate how skinny 55 gallons are.

Are HOBs really that bad for CO2? I have an HOB on the 20 gallon and the plants are pearling. Either way, which fluval/other filter should I get. They stick the numbers after the name but don't say what tank sizes they are for.

... I'm such a newbie.

Rex Grigg 05-06-2003 12:26 AM

For a 75 gallon I would get a Rena XP-3. I have one on my 55 gallon and it works great. I'm not sure who filled your head with nonsense about cannister filters but they should be taken out and shot. I love my cannister filters. Takes about 10 minutes to clean one every 3-4 months. Media is cheap, no cartridges to buy! If you want surface movement then you can run the output of the cannister just under the surface and get it that way. Or you can add a small power-head. In my 55 gallon I have the XP-3, a Bio-Wheel Pro 30 an a 170 gph power-head. The cannister sits in the middle, the Bio-Wheel on one end and the power head on the other. Give me lots of water movement.

The second tube is not in the water. And if you drill small holes and cut the tubing at and angle and pull it though the holes it will not leak and will not require sealing.

Work In Progress 05-06-2003 07:00 PM

Well let me tell you from experience..........HOBs are not the way to go on the bigger tanks.
Now I only have a 55g, but I do run 2 HOBs on it, since it carries such a large bioload.
In the long run, the costs of cartridges every few weeks to a month, is gonna break you.
If you run 2 AQUACLEAR 500's on a 75g, then you are talking about needing about $66.00 - $68.00 for the filters themselves and then approx $8.00 - $10.00 every time you go to change the carbon inserts.
Pretty quickly, you will surpass the initial costs of a canister filter.

You can go to Big Al's Online and get a Rena XP3 or a Fluval 404 and it should only run you about $95.00 and then you are only talking about needing to replace/ clean media every few months.

If I could do it all again, I would definitely go with a canister!!!!

Rex Grigg 05-06-2003 07:17 PM

Carbon? You're running carbon filters on a planted tank? Most of us gave up on carbon a long time ago. That's one reason I don't like HOB filters, most of the cartridges have carbon in them.

Work In Progress 05-06-2003 08:12 PM


Originally Posted by Rex
Carbon? You're running carbon filters on a planted tank?

Well actually any kind of inserts and etc, are gonna cost.......The other alternative for the aquaclears, is to use the media bags and customize. Also the rumored CO2 loss is another downside of HOBs.
I use carbon, but then again, I don't have any real plants in my 55g. It is mainly a fish only tank, 4 now.

On my 5g, I use a HOB w/sponge only material, for bio filtration. That's the tank w/plants.

Until I get better lighting and etc on the 55g, I am not going to even bother putting in plants.
I mainly haunt the board, so that I can learn as much as possible, before taking the plunge :)

ginnie5 05-06-2003 08:40 PM

I modifeied the lip so that there is not as much surface turbulence. This tank has been up and running for a couple of months now with no problems. Except for the pressurized co2 and that is mostly my fault for not going with the corresct needle valves. That being said right now I am running diy yeast co2 on both my planted tanks. I have a 2 liter bottle running on the 38 and a 3liter on the 75. I was doubtful that the 3 liter would be enough so I hooked up a 2 liter to it also. Within hours my ph was at 5. I think it has a lot to do with your water. I have soft water to begin with and according to the chart everyone uses even after sitting over night I have like 12ppm of co2 in my water. Kh is 4 and ph overnight is 7. Course the bottle only lasts about a week and a half. Hopefully I will have my valves this week or next and can give the pressurized one more try.

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