Playing "chicken" with DIY CO2 mix.....
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:39 AM   #1
Smeagol
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Playing "chicken" with DIY CO2 mix.....


On another website I read that it's important to NEVER let your yeast-sugar mix burn completely out because it can cause extreme fluctuations that can lead to BBA outbreak.

Is this true? If it is, then how do you know exactly when to change the bottle? If you take the bottle off too soon, you'll be wasting a lot of CO2; but if you let it keep going you risk letting it burn out. How can you tell when it's close to the end?
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20g high: 2x24w T5ho, DIY CO2 & Excel, 2xAC50, Flourite, miscellaneous ferts.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:29 AM   #2
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Yep, that's true. May cause other algae too, not just BBA.

For a single bottle, watch the drop checker. Some drop-off in level over time is normal. But when you see it start to drop faster, it's time to change it. Remember how many days it took. In the future, replace it one day before the drop would have started to accelerate.

If you have two or more bottles, replaced on a rotating basis, you can time things so that a single bottle at a time is allowed to burn completely out; because other bottles are taking up the slack. Less waste.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:16 AM   #3
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Okay, so now I need a drop checker. Every time I turn around I find there's something else I need, and local stores don't carry any of this stuff..... Ordering things piece by piece, I've spent more on shipping than on the gear itself.... I love this hobby!
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55g: Finnex Planted+ & MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Assorted Tetras, Otos, & Nerites. Glosso, Didiplis diandra, Hygrophila corymbosa, Creeping Jenny, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Jungle Val, Amazon Sword, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria.

20g high: 2x24w T5ho, DIY CO2 & Excel, 2xAC50, Flourite, miscellaneous ferts.
Otos, Red Wag Platies, Harlequin Rasboras. Marsilea quadrifolia, Jungle Val, Cabomba, Tropica Sword, Water Sprite.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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Don't forget the 4DKH solution for the drop checker either.

In the meantime, the old pH/kH method of testing CO2 levels, inaccurate as it might be, is perfectly good for detecting relative changes in levels - like the drop you'll be watching for.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:03 AM   #5
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Yep, got it. Ordered the 4DKH solution along with the drop checker. What about the pH reagent? Can I just use the same bottle from my API Master test kit or do I have to buy a special kind?
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55g: Finnex Planted+ & MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Assorted Tetras, Otos, & Nerites. Glosso, Didiplis diandra, Hygrophila corymbosa, Creeping Jenny, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Jungle Val, Amazon Sword, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria.

20g high: 2x24w T5ho, DIY CO2 & Excel, 2xAC50, Flourite, miscellaneous ferts.
Otos, Red Wag Platies, Harlequin Rasboras. Marsilea quadrifolia, Jungle Val, Cabomba, Tropica Sword, Water Sprite.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:12 AM   #6
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The 4DKH is designed to work with the reagent from a standard pH test kit. (But not a high-range test or anything unusual.) So that at least is something you can reuse.
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Hang on. I just thought of something.....

People who have professional CO2 systems shut their CO2 off at night, don't they? What's the difference between that and allowing a DIY system to burn out? Why is it harmful to let my DIY run out but it's okay to turn off non-DIY systems?
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55g: Finnex Planted+ & MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Assorted Tetras, Otos, & Nerites. Glosso, Didiplis diandra, Hygrophila corymbosa, Creeping Jenny, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Jungle Val, Amazon Sword, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria.

20g high: 2x24w T5ho, DIY CO2 & Excel, 2xAC50, Flourite, miscellaneous ferts.
Otos, Red Wag Platies, Harlequin Rasboras. Marsilea quadrifolia, Jungle Val, Cabomba, Tropica Sword, Water Sprite.
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Old 03-20-2013, 05:05 PM   #8
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CO2 is used in photosynthesis. No light, no photosynthesis. CO2 levels are ignored in the dark, so no need for it to be there at all.

When the lights turn back on, the CO2 is again needed. And if it isn't already there, or isn't yet close enough to the normal amount, then that's potentially harmful. The plants may not have enough CO2 for the amount of light they're given. And even if there's technically enough CO2, if it's less than the amount they're accustomed to, it will take them a while to stop being "lazy" and collect it more efficiently; during which they also won't get enough CO2. There's a better and longer scientific explanation of course, but this sums it up well enough.

That's why folks who turn it off at night, turn it back on before lights-on; giving it an hour or however long needed to come back up to near normal daytime levels.

When a DIY system starts to burn out, the decline in CO2 levels occurs progressively, regardless of day or night. It's the lack of CO2 during the day that gets you.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
If you have two or more bottles, replaced on a rotating basis, you can time things so that a single bottle at a time is allowed to burn completely out; because other bottles are taking up the slack.
I have 5-6 bottles in rotation and it keeps a pretty constant output. Every 5 days I add one and harvest one. Would be a lot of work and maybe not worth the effort, but mine are making wine.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDrake View Post
I have 5-6 bottles in rotation and it keeps a pretty constant output. Every 5 days I add one and harvest one. Would be a lot of work and maybe not worth the effort, but mine are making wine.
TANK HOOCH!!

I've been very tempted to try it. But then I wonder, what would I do with all that wine? I rarely drink.

A nice dry white for cooking would be a bonus though. Dangit, now I'm tempted again.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:12 PM   #11
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Between 2 tanks and a shared sump, I have ~200 gallons of water. To get adequate CO2, I have 5 or 6 half-gallon bottles in rotation at any given time. We harvest a half-gallon of wine every 5 days, or enough for me and the mrs to have a glass each with dinner every night--couldn't have planned it better if I tried! If you don't drink and find yourself with an abundance of wine, then I'm sure that when random friends hear of your predicament they will start appearing at your place to help you out! Although cooking wine is nice too. Soon enough, I will get around to posting all the details in my setup, as promised in my signature, with recipes for red, white, etc. I'll let you know when that happens Cobra.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDrake View Post
Between 2 tanks and a shared sump, I have ~200 gallons of water. To get adequate CO2, I have 5 or 6 half-gallon bottles in rotation at any given time. We harvest a half-gallon of wine every 5 days, or enough for me and the mrs to have a glass each with dinner every night--couldn't have planned it better if I tried! If you don't drink and find yourself with an abundance of wine, then I'm sure that when random friends hear of your predicament they will start appearing at your place to help you out! Although cooking wine is nice too. Soon enough, I will get around to posting all the details in my setup, as promised in my signature, with recipes for red, white, etc. I'll let you know when that happens Cobra.

Drake, that's freakin' amazing! My mind is blown! I'll be happy if I can just manage to keep a few plants alive!
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55g: Finnex Planted+ & MonsterRay, Pressurized CO2 w/ Atomic inline diffuser, Eheim 2217, Eco-Complete, EI ferts. Assorted Tetras, Otos, & Nerites. Glosso, Didiplis diandra, Hygrophila corymbosa, Creeping Jenny, Ludwigia repens, Ludwigia glandulosa, Jungle Val, Amazon Sword, Red Melon Sword, Wisteria.

20g high: 2x24w T5ho, DIY CO2 & Excel, 2xAC50, Flourite, miscellaneous ferts.
Otos, Red Wag Platies, Harlequin Rasboras. Marsilea quadrifolia, Jungle Val, Cabomba, Tropica Sword, Water Sprite.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:52 AM   #13
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+1 one to that! Quite a setup.

The problem with inviting friends over to help, is that most of MY friends tend not to stop until all the liquor is gone. Probably including the half-fermented stuff still providing CO2. In fact, last time I brewed, I made 2L of mead on a whim. Invited a friend to sample some, had to take a phone call in another room, and came back to a surprise - an empty bottle and a naked friend. Awkward since she was drunk beyond all reason, I'm a gentleman, and she was also a co-worker.

But I will definitely love to see your upcoming thread, if for no other reason than I appreciate the elegance of combining uses and hobbies.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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LOL Cobra! Free alcohol and naked ladies? How do you not have unlimited volunteers coming over to help you with water changes?! OK, my DIY CO2/winery is online now.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Playing "chicken" with DIY CO2 mix.....

Do share your wine recipe please
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