Consistent Problem with DIY CO2
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Old 05-07-2013, 02:17 PM   #1
RobberyinCSharp
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Consistent Problem with DIY CO2


Hi everyone,

I have been having some problems with a DIY CO2 setup for my planted tank. Sadly, this has lead to the death of ALL my aquarium plants I have a gatorade bottle attached to airline tubing and a check valve, and a Fluval CO2 diffuser inside the tank to distribute the CO2. The mixture is 2 cups of sugar to 1/4 teaspoon of activated yeast.

Originally, I thought that my airline tubing connection was too short; when I shook the bottle, I could see a very small drops moving down the tubing, and it may have gotten into the tank. So I decided to extend the airline to about 2 feet. I also washed the diffuser to get rid of all the "gunk" built up inside of it.

When I check my tank, the CO2 reading is still low, even with the addition of Seachem Excel CO2. There is still some sort of substance built up on the diffuser but I don't know if it's yeast or not (and it shouldn't be, because I don't see fluid entering the tank through the airline tubing).... I don't know what is going on. Please, can someone help me? What the heck is that creepy substance on my diffuser? And why does it keep building up each time I wipe it off? I am so frustrated and I got this to work with my old tank by doing this exactly the same!

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Old 05-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
Darkblade48
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DIY CO2 tends to generate the white fungus like growth that you observed on your diffuser. It cannot really be avoided, though if you add a gas trap in between the bottle containing the CO2 mixture and the diffuser, it may help a bit.

Do note that some diffusers will not work with DIY CO2, as it cannot generate sufficient pressure.

If you remove the diffuser, do you see CO2 bubbles coming out of the end of the airline tubing? If not, you also likely have a leak somewhere along the line; I would thoroughly test your entire setup to ensure that no leaks are present.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
DIY CO2 tends to generate the white fungus like growth that you observed on your diffuser. It cannot really be avoided, though if you add a gas trap in between the bottle containing the CO2 mixture and the diffuser, it may help a bit.

Do note that some diffusers will not work with DIY CO2, as it cannot generate sufficient pressure.

If you remove the diffuser, do you see CO2 bubbles coming out of the end of the airline tubing? If not, you also likely have a leak somewhere along the line; I would thoroughly test your entire setup to ensure that no leaks are present.
I had no idea - that's really good to know! I'm super frustrated because this worked on my old tank with DIY CO2 and I never got this fungus before. I'm not at my house right now so I don't know if there are bubbles coming out of the general tubing end, but there ARE some CO2 bubbles that escape between the fungus.

I never saw this buildup before when I did the exact same procedure on an old tank I had. Perhaps the diffuser is shot? Is there a way to delay the fungus growth (as it's suffocating the CO2 movement through the tank and causing my plants to die)? It only takes a day or two for this bad boy to really cultivate and it's insanely frustrating to clean almost daily....
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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I believe darkblade's "gas trap" could be what I called a diy "bubble counter" when I was using one. That would just be another plastic bottle (smaller than a 2L) with the tubing going down into water at the bottom of the bottle and exiting through more tubing coming out of the cap (requires two holes in the bottle cap). When I was doing it that way, I never had any of the "white fungus" build up on the diffuser. Hope this helps-
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comatoast View Post
I believe darkblade's "gas trap" could be what I called a diy "bubble counter" when I was using one. That would just be another plastic bottle (smaller than a 2L) with the tubing going down into water at the bottom of the bottle and exiting through more tubing coming out of the cap (requires two holes in the bottle cap). When I was doing it that way, I never had any of the "white fungus" build up on the diffuser. Hope this helps-
Yeah, this seems to be the consensus all around. I'm definitely going to give it a try because I've wasted a ton of money on plants and it's miserable watching them die despite your efforts! (Not to mention the AWFUL water quality while the plants degrade...)
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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Something like this ...
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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I use 2 bottles 2L + DIY buble counter... and everything that could go out of the generator stays on the buble counter.. nothing gets to the tank.... I've done it that way for 3 tanks for the last 3 months.. no problems so far....
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paxx View Post
Something like this ...
This is a great diagram! Although I've noticed most of the attachments are CO2 reactors. Is having a diffuser bad/less than ideal?

Also - is there liquid in the bubble counter? Eg. Water? Or is that just fluid that built up through draining? I thought gas reactors were supposed to be empty bottles
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fraviz View Post
I use 2 bottles 2L + DIY buble counter... and everything that could go out of the generator stays on the buble counter.. nothing gets to the tank.... I've done it that way for 3 tanks for the last 3 months.. no problems so far....
How'd you make your own DIY bubble counter? Any particular procedure in specific?

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Originally Posted by RobberyinCSharp View Post
How'd you make your own DIY bubble counter? Any particular procedure in specific?
Nevermind. I just looked up and realized I was mixing up terminology. :facepalm:

Last edited by Darkblade48; 05-08-2013 at 12:18 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:00 PM   #10
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What size Gatorade bottle?

2L is the standard for DIY CO2. Even then, results may vary.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
RobberyinCSharp
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What size Gatorade bottle?

2L is the standard for DIY CO2. Even then, results may vary.
Wow, mine is significantly smaller. I have a 32oz bottle, which is apparently 0.9L. How much yeast/sugar/water do you add to a 2L bottle? Should this make a significant difference?
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobberyinCSharp View Post
This is a great diagram! Although I've noticed most of the attachments are CO2 reactors. Is having a diffuser bad/less than ideal?
No. Reactors allow the CO2 to dissolve in the reactor prior to entering the tank. Diffusers increase the surface area of CO2 bubbles by making thousands of smaller ones and then dissolving IN the tank.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puopg View Post
No. Reactors allow the CO2 to dissolve in the reactor prior to entering the tank. Diffusers increase the surface area of CO2 bubbles by making thousands of smaller ones and then dissolving IN the tank.
In your case as in the case of a lot of DIY co2, using a diffuser can be a bad idea. Most diffusers need something in the 30 psi range to function properly. You are very unlikely to see anything near that range. Unless you can find a diffuser that is designed to function in the 5psi range you could give yourself issues by using one designed for a pressurized system.

Also, why would you shake the bottle?
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:04 AM   #14
RobberyinCSharp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puopg View Post
No. Reactors allow the CO2 to dissolve in the reactor prior to entering the tank. Diffusers increase the surface area of CO2 bubbles by making thousands of smaller ones and then dissolving IN the tank.
Hmmm. I wish I knew that before! I would definitely rather have a reactor!!! I'll see if there's a DIY method. Otherwise, is there any product you recommend? Or any DIY you'd recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandit1200 View Post
In your case as in the case of a lot of DIY co2, using a diffuser can be a bad idea. Most diffusers need something in the 30 psi range to function properly. You are very unlikely to see anything near that range. Unless you can find a diffuser that is designed to function in the 5psi range you could give yourself issues by using one designed for a pressurized system.

Also, why would you shake the bottle?
I can't seem to find any info on the PSI information from the Fluval CO2 Diffuser but I bet you're right in saying it's not adequate. This is the amazon link, but it doesn't give a PSI spec:

Amazon.com: Fluval Ceramic 88g-CO2 Diffuser - 3.1 Ounces: Pet Supplies Amazon.com: Fluval Ceramic 88g-CO2 Diffuser - 3.1 Ounces: Pet Supplies

I shake the bottle to mix up the yeast and sugar. I read that you should shake the bottle, especially when you first mix yeast and sugar-water, to really make sure it mixes evenly and gets the best CO2 yield. Once the CO2 pressure has built up to reach the diffuser, I always shake it occasionally to both increase the pressure a bit and make sure the sugar doesn't sit at the bottom instead of mixing properly with the yeast.
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