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Jafooli 05-02-2013 12:36 PM

DIY CO2 and Algae, Is My Setup Wrong?

I have some hair algae and diatoms in my tank, in the algae thread, we come to the conclusion its most likely poor co2, or fluctuating co2, I started and learned about DIY CO2 in the DIY topic, so I thought it was best to come back here and see if other people face algae issues as-well and how you solved it?

So my tank is 90 liters, 20 Gallons, my set up is a 2ltr coke bottle, then a small coke bottle as a bubble counter, then my diffuser is a co2 nano diffuser.

I make a new mix every sunday morning before my 50% w/c and do it a few hours before lights on , and in 10 mins my mix is working, and lasts strong nearly all week, if not all week, depends how good I shake the bottle when making the mixture.

I do 1tsp yeast, 2 1/2 cups of sugar, warm water and shake it excessively for 10 mins, which I find mixes it all in good, and makes the mix last longer + activates it nearly instantly.

I also have a drop checker that always indicate's green, so what can I do to improve my co2? or how do I know if this is the problem to my algae, the algae has been there even before I started co2 etc...

When I started my diy setup people on here kindly helped me and told me what to do etc, and there tanks were lovely and were diy co2, so how do I avoid the algae or how can I cross of CO2 being the problem.

Also to add I get 1bps at the start and last few days it goes to around 2bps and I think rarely 3bps, but I tend to make a new mix if I see it slow down a lot, I can only presume my mix don't last for 2-4 weeks etc, is the nano diffuser requires strong pressure, but it works a treat.

Thanks in advance if anyone can offer me any advice, or how I can see if my CO2 is not stable? and how I can fix it.

AirstoND 05-03-2013 04:22 AM

Get a Hagen mini Elite or other small powerhead with venture port or make an additional reactor.

Jafooli 05-03-2013 09:42 AM

Hey AirstoND

I have a Fluval U3 with a Venture port, so I presume what your saying is attach the co2 line into there? and then the outflow from the filter will push the co2 around the tank?

Do you think the problem is my diffusion rather then fluctuating levels?, I get so many tiny bubbles and the majority don't make it to the surface, + the nano diffuser is under my filter outflow, so when they rise half way up the tank, back down they go and swirl around the whole tank. I am thinking my main concern is the co2 is not stable, how can I make my co2 more stable through diy yeast? I will have to do some research on mixtures I think, even though most people recommend 1tsp yeast and 2 cups sugar, I'm only adding half cup more sugar. Maybe my nano diffuser is a bit to much for DIY, would a limewood air stone be better?

herns 05-03-2013 02:34 PM

Fluctutation on DIY cause algae. Try changing your mixture every 2 weeks or much better weekly.

I have 2 gal tank that I change DIY mix 2x a week. Probably, too much but I had very high light of 36 watts for 2gal and CO2 must be high and constant.

JustAGuy716 05-03-2013 02:34 PM

You might want to cut down the amount of yeast you are adding. 1 tsp of yeast is going to chew through the available sugar & quickly create alcohol out of your water (which kills off the yeast itself). If you are fanatical about changing out the mixture every Sunday, 3/4 tsp should even out the production.

If that doesn't produce enough CO2 for you, you can always look into getting a different type of yeast that doesn't die as quickly in alcoholic conditions - I use champagne yeast in my DIY setup, and it doesn't die until 12-14% alcohol. Normal bread yeast I believe dies around 3%.

A good way to check to see if the alcohol is killing your yeast before they use up all the food (sugar) is to check out your old bottle before you dump it. Is there still a lot of sugar left? If so, the alcohol concentration is killing your yeast before they can run out of food.

Jafooli 05-03-2013 08:49 PM

Thanks for info herns and justAGuy716

I already change my mix every week, I know my mix is not as strong on the 4-5th day but I think this is more to do with the pressure the nano diffuser requires, the bubble counter indicates maybe 2-3bps rather than 1bps which it is at the start, if I can get the diy setup stable for 1 week at 1-2bps that will then hopefully fix my fluctuating issue.

I guess the pressure required of the nano diffuser has made me want a strong mix rather than one that stays stable for 1-2 weeks, maybe I should opt for a limewood air stone, as I feel like the nano diffuser does require strong pressue even though it works brilliant, I am not sure if I can make a mix at 1-2bps to last a week?

I will also look into purchasing some champagne yeast, also justaguy when I empty the mix, I don't see any sugar or yeast in the bottom, I used to see yeast in the bottom but I now shake my bottle excessively after I make the mix, as I find this dissolves the yeast and sugar better and also makes the mix start working within 10-15 mins.

I will try 3/4 tsp instead then, do you recommend I stick to 2 1/2 cups of sugar or go back to 2 cups? Hopefully your suggestion will solve my issue.

herns 05-03-2013 11:54 PM

Re: DIY CO2 and Algae, Is My Setup Wrong?
I had a good experience with Lalvine EC 118 wine yeast. This yeast ferments in less than 5mins under ideal condition. Also, on another thread one recommends brewers yeast. I just bought one on e bay to try today.

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salmon 05-04-2013 12:13 AM

add a second bottle and swap them in stages. this will help keep it a tad more stable.

+1 to herns suggestion on the Lalvin EC 118, great stuff used it for a couple years now, lasts for weeks

Jafooli 05-04-2013 08:33 AM

Cheers I will take a look into ordering some "EC 118 wine yeast"

I did a quick Google, and it seems the EC yeast comes in little packets, how will I go about keeping it fresh once opened?

I always thought about adding another bottle, but I don't want to kill my fish or anything from to much CO2, my drop checker already indicates a nice green, and sometimes I've seen it yellow/green at the start of my mix.. so would it best for my 20gallon to have 2x 2ltr bottle at 1/2 tsp yeast and 2 cups sugar, and change one bottle each week? so basically one bottle is going to operate for 2 weeks in this setup, or both bottle's at 3/4 tsp of yeast and 2 1/2 cups of sugar, or is this going to be to strong?

What yeast to sugar ratio would you recommend me?

Also what's the best way to see if I have co2 fluctuation, how much of a fluctuation is allowed? If I start at 1bps and later I get 3bps at the end of the week? is this to much? or is the best way to tell by looking at the diffuser and comparing it to how it was at the start of the mix? Obviously the algae is a good indicator but once I fix this issue, my guess is the algae will still take a month or so to die/clear off so how will I know if its stable.

I'm starting to think I might go pressurized if I can't overcome the stability issue, but I know you guys are accomplishing it, so I don't want to be defeatist and I'd prefer not to take the expensive route lol.

herns 05-04-2013 08:28 PM

Re: DIY CO2 and Algae, Is My Setup Wrong?
For the size of your tank, I would go pressurized. No more pain mixing your stock every week or worry about fluctuations. It's set it and forget it. You just refill once a year on a 20lb tank.

For small tank like my 2g I go DIY. On my larger tanks I have presurrized.

Btw, I keep the yeast in the fridge.

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Jafooli 05-05-2013 11:35 AM

Thanks for the reply Herns.

I would prefer to stick to DIY if its possible to get a stable mixture for my tank, but I guess if I cant then maybe in a couple of months I will splash the cash and go pressurized, but what kind of pressurized system is best? I don't know anything about pressurized, are the Fluval kits any good? whats the best pressurized system out there, and one that will suit a 20 gallon.

Also when you say a 20lb tank that would be much smaller my than 20 gallon if your on about weight, I think mine would be like 160lb? So could I get a system that would run a year with out change?

I guess my course of action now is to do some more research on plantedtank and see what other members are using for there DIY mix, sugar to yeast ratio, and see if I can see any improvement with my algae problem, if no change few months then I maybe will opt for pressurized if its not too expensive.

Also hopefully the wine yeast will make my CO2 last longer, I changed my mix today and have gone back to 1/2 tsp yeast and 2 cups sugar.

Also another question but a bit off topic, how does fluctuating CO2 cause algae? what happens in a tank with no CO2? do plants still grow and does algae become a major problem? and for people who use Flourish Excel do they need co2 along side it? or can that be sufficient enough?

Hoppy 05-07-2013 07:01 PM

What lighting do you have, what specific light fixture? The more light you have the more CO2 the plants need to grow fast enough to discourage algae from starting up. Reducing the light intensity makes it much easier to use DIY CO2.

Jahn 05-07-2013 07:09 PM


Originally Posted by Jafooli (Post 3294042)
I don't know anything about pressurized, are the Fluval kits any good? whats the best pressurized system out there, and one that will suit a 20 gallon.

I had the same questions when considering a pressurized CO2 system, and this thread really helped:

I'm going with a dual regulator, 5lb CO2 canister. That 5# should keep for half a year on a 20 gallon tank, which is what I have, at a bubble per second if I read right. On the sale forums you'll find Bettatail selling a bunch of different rigs he put together.

I figured why go for the tiny high maintenance stuff like the fluval or paintball (or yes, the DIY) when you can set and forget with the full pressurized? Start up costs are as much as all the rest of my aquarium setup combined, haha, but maintenance after that is only 30 bucks a year for two refills, and every 5 years swapping the co2 canister for a new one (i can get new canisters in town for under 25 bucks).

That all said, mine isn't here yet, so the proof will be in the long term pudding, but others here seem to like it for those reasons.

AirstoND 05-08-2013 03:40 AM

what your saying is attach the co2 line into there?

and then the outflow from the filter will push the co2 around the tank?

Do you think the problem is my diffusion rather then fluctuating levels?
-Possibly, or alkanity, depends on what plants you're expecting to benefit from this as some demand specific nutrient requirements

main concern is the co2 is not stable, how can I make my co2 more stable through diy yeast?
- let yeast first produce CO2 aerobically (w/o cap), once it froths cap solution,

Maybe my nano diffuser is a bit to much for DIY, would a limewood air stone be better?
-depending on plants and your 20g tank size you will probably require multiple DIY yeast 2L bottles.

Jafooli 05-08-2013 09:36 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Cheers for all the replies,

Hoppy my lighting fixture is a T8 Ballast x2 T8 Bulbs which are:

1x Life Glo T8 15w combined with 1x Power Glo T8 15w.

I just purchased these to replace my old one's as I had them for a year and plants were not growing as they use 2, there's not much upgrading options for my Fluval Roma 90 as it has a nice chunky black rim around the top on all sides which is annoying and a hanging fixture would of lit the room up to much and tank is next to tv so I didn't want to ruin my whole room, and my diy skills are not good enough to build a canopy, but I don't mind low/med light plants, I have LOW light I have always presumed, but I have some MED light plants growing the best imo but I read they can survive low light 2, I try to do my research first before buying a plant, I struggle to get carpet plants growing but have just purchased some Blyxa Japonica to give a try.

I also have reduced my light period from 10 hours to 9 hours, trimmed up my tank, rubbed as much algae of the good leaves to try save them, and also have adjusted my diy co2 to 1/2 tsp yeast, 2 cups sugar, its been going 2bps for 4 days straight now so seems more constant than my old mix and have added 3 oto's to the tank and will be adding another 2 and soon to be adding shrimp, them combined will hopefully be my algae crew and keep it under control or at least help this situation while I address my CO2 problem "if my new mix has not already fixed it" is 2bps good for a 20g? My drop checker indicates green again, it is not as green as it use to be, more of a darker green but still green, just not yellow/green , but its not blue. I think I am going to buy a KH kit and then try to work out my CO2, I know my tap water is 8ph and since the introduction of CO2, its around 7ph now, so once I get my KH I can look at the chart for my co2 ppm levels.

Thanks Jahn I will look through that thread, I did take a look at the DIY pressurized co2 thread then a lot of people said it was unsafe so I kind of thought I don't want to waste cash when I only have a 20gallon and maybe a manufactured kit would do the job for me at a little bit more cost for the replacements, but ideally I would prefer to stick to DIY yeast, if so many people are accomplishing beautiful tanks with it, then I want to try to perfect my recipe, no doubt I want to go pressurized in the future though if I cant fix this problem with DIY yeast, so once again I will look through that thread and try get my self knowledged up on pressurized systems, if I was more confident in my self with DIY I would spend 100 or more now and get what I need, but I'm a bit hesitant, hence why I don't want to give up right yet.

Cheers AirstoND for the answers, I dose EI so I just presume I need the CO2 for the EI method to work, other wise the plants won't take it up, there are no specific plants I want to benefit, I just want all my plants to flourish and grow and I learnt CO2 and nutrients are what they need so I hope I'm doing the right thing.

Tanks Plants:

Hyrophila Guanensis
Hygrophila Corymbosa "Angustifolia"
Cryptocoryne beckettii "Petchii"
Anubias barteri var. nana
Lilaeopsis brasilinsis < finding it so hard to get this plant to do anything, it grows but does not spread, so will replace with Blyxa Japonica
Java Fern
Java Moss
Vallisneria of some kind
Elodea densa
Sagittaria of some type
Wisteria Hygrophila Difformis
Baby Tears
7 Marimo Balls

I think that's it might be another one or two, I also want to get another Cryptocoryne, some kind of large Echinodorus and another Anubias or two.

Here is a pic of my tank before I even learnt about this hobby, and It was more of a ornament tank back then, and I had no idea about CO2, ferts etc, the plants did well and I don't remember algae being a problem, but the algae did arrive sometime when the tank was just ornaments, I then purchased more plants and more to out compete with the algae, It didn't do much, I then stumbled upon this hobby a few months ago and have since learnt about co2 , ferts, etc and I learnt co2 can remove the algae but no luck yet, this is why I cant understand if my co2 is fluctuating as I had the algae before co2, I don't QT my plants I don't know how, I have no spare tank, I presume this arrived on one of my plants :(

Attachment 139498

Here is a pic of my tank recently, the plants in the pic are not to long after purchase from stem cuttings, they have grown much larger, my java fern has also recovered from Ebay lol, and my java moss, still has not made its mind up, my Wisteria Hygrophila Difformis now routed has took off and is slowly taking over the tank, its prob my fav plant right now, but as you can see in the pic below there are a lot of leaves looking poorly for them selfs, algae killing the lower leafs and potassium deficiency, its also quite embarrassing as you can see I am not a aqua scaper lol, I purchased a massive plant pack from Ebay and just popped plants here there and everywhere, but slowly adjusting it.

Attachment 139514

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