DIY CO2 Made Easy
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > DIY


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-22-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

DIY CO2 Made Easy


Figured I would share my setup with everyone. I've seen quite a few posts and questions concerning DIY CO2 setups and having issues. I'm not going to say that mine is bullet proof and your results may be different. I can say that so far, this one has never failed me and it lasts a good (4) weeks plus. This is monitored by use of drop checkers. So I thought I would post my write up out here in hopes that it may help people in the future. So here it is.

Do It Yourself CO2 Made Easy
Many hobbyists like to have natural plants in their aquariums. Depending on factors such as lighting and the types of plants you keep, you may need to add CO2 to your system. However, buying a pressurized setup can be a bit costly. In comes DIY (Do-It-Yourself). Even then, some people think that even this method is cumbersome. Well, here we are going to go from start to finish just to show how simple it really is.

Step I: Making the medium (a.k.a Jell-O)
.......... Ingredients: 1 pk. Regular 6oz Jell-O. Flavor Optional.
........................... 2 ½ cups boiling water
........................... 1 ¾ - 2 cups pure cane sugar
........................... ¼ cup uncooked rice (optional)

............. 1) In a large saucepan, fill with water and bring to a rolling boil.
............. 2) Empty (1) 6oz package of Jell-O in a large mixing bowl.
............. 3) When water is boiling, carefully measure out 2 ½ cups.
.............................. a. CAUTION: Contents will be very hot. Be Careful.
............. 4) Pour water in bowl with Jell-O and mix thoroughly until well dissolved.
............. 5) Pour in sugar and thoroughly mix again until well dissolved.
............. 6) Once everything has been dissolved, pour contents in a flat Tupperware container.

............. 7) Cover and place in refrigerator.
* Optional Step *
After about two hours in the fridge, the Jell-O should be starting to set. Test with a grain of rice.
- If it sinks to the bottom, it's not firm enough. Place back in fridge and retest later.
- If rice sits on the top or sinks slightly, it should be good enough. Make sure however that Jell-O is still in a liquid state.
- Sprikle 1/8 cup of uncooked rice over the Jell-O. Using a spoon handle or similiar, gently stir the rice into the Jell-O. It should be free floating within the Jell-O
- Place back in fridge to finish setting up.

Step II: Making the Reactor
............. While the Jell-O is setting up, let’s make the reactor vessels.
............. Materials: 1 64oz Juice bottle (Ocean Spray seems to be best)
........................... 1 20oz Gatorade bottle
........................... 4’ CO2 tubing
........................... GE Silicone I caulk (optional but recommended)
............. Tools:..... Cordless drill w/ bits
........................... Scissors
........................... Case Knife
........................... Needle Nose Pliers
........................... Toothpick
........................... Giant Peep Assistant (optional)

............. 1) Start by thoroughly cleaning both bottles with hot water.
............. 2) Remove lids. Drill a 3/16 hole directly in the center of the juice bottle lid. Drill two holes in the smaller water bottle lid.

............. * NOTE * For best results, start with a small drill bit to create a pilot hole. Then using other bits, work your way up to 3/16. The 3/16 size is a fraction smaller than the diameter of the tubing and will provide for a tight fit.
............. 3) Using the case knife, carefully trim any shavings left by the drill bit.
............. 4) Measure about 2’ of tubing.
............. 5) Using scissors cut one end of the tube at an angle.

............. 6) Push the angled end through the top of the cap.
............. 7) Using the pliers, grab the end and carefully pull the tubing the rest of the way through the cap.

............. 8 ) Cut off the angled end to make a flat cut.
............. 9) Slowly pull tubing out of cap until about ¼” remains in the cap.
............. 10) Repeat steps 5-8 with the opposite end of the tubing into one hole of the water bottle cap.
............. 11) Test fit tubing in water bottle and adjust length if needed. There should be a bend in the tubing.

............. 12) Using the remaining length of tubing, repeat steps 5-9 using the second hole on the water bottle cap.

............. 13) Caulk around all three pieces of tubing on the inside of the caps using GE Silicone I caulk only. This is an optional step as the seal around the tubing will be sufficient with the 3/16” hole depending on how you diffuse the gas. I didn’t do this at first until I switched to a glass diffuser, which resulted in higher pressure build up. In one setup, I discovered a leak in the separator bottle so I added the silicone. Caulk around the tubes on the top side as well.
............. 14) Use the toothpick to spread the caulk completely around the tubing to ensure the entire area is covered.

............. 15) Set caps aside and let silicone cure at least 24hrs.

Step III: Time to make gas
............. Now that our Jell-O has set and our reactor vessels have been made, it is time to start making gas… CO2.
............. Ingredients: ½ tsp. Bakers or Brewer’s Yeast divided (¼ tsp. for initial setup / ¼ tsp. to add later)
.............................. 1 tsp. Sugar
.............................. 1 cup hot water
.............................. ¼ tsp. Baking soda
.............................. Air stone (diffuser)
.............................. * NOTE * use a limewood airstone or for best results, use a glass bell or nano diffuser
.............................. * NOTE * I only use Brewers yeast at the moment as I have found it lasts longer than either Fleischman's or Red Star baking yeast. Again, results may vary.

............. 1) Activate the yeast. In 1 cup hot water, dissolve 1 tsp sugar. Stir thoroughly.
............. 2) While water is still spinning from step 1 (tornado effect as I like to call it), carefully pour in ¼ tsp. of yeast. This will help in prevent clumping.

............. “snow globe” effect shows the yeast activating:

............. 3) While this is activating (appox. 15 minutes), cut Jell-O in small cubes. The small cubes allow for more surface action for the yeast.
............. 4) Add the cubes to the large bottle.
* Optional Step *
- Using the remaining 1/8 cup of uncooked rice, layer it between the Jell-O. Do this by adding a few cubes of Jell-O to the bottle and then sprinkle a small amount of rice on top. Repeat this process until all rice and Jell-O has been added to the bottle

............. 5) After yeast has activated (again allow approx. 15 minutes), add 2 cups hot water to Jell-O bottle.
............. 6) Pour yeast mixture into bottle.

............. 7) Add ¼ tsp Baking Soda.
............. 8 ) Using hot water, fill bottle until you have approx. 2” free space from the lid.
............. 9) Add remaining ¼ tsp yeast.
............. 10) Fill seperator bottle with water about 3/4 full. Water should be over the end of the curved tubing. This will enable you to see and count the bubbles.
............. 11) Cap both bottles tightly. Remember to allow for a “curve” in the separator bottle.

............. 12) Within hours, you will start to see generation of CO2.

That’s all it takes. Now go grow beautiful and healthy plants!

******************
* EDIT *
This write up is a little old now as in the pictures you see a standard water bottle being used for the seperator bottle and a limewood airstone for the diffuser. Both of these have since been replaced with the Gatorade bottle and glass diffusers respectively. I just haven't taken updated pictures to show those.
james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-22-2012, 07:33 PM   #2
ElBoltonero
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Phillyish, PA
Posts: 219
Default

Brewer's yeast will likely not tolerate higher amounts of alcohol (tops off between ~4% and ~12% depending on the strain...most in the 6%-8% range). You'd be better off going with champagne yeast (~16%) or just sticking with bakers yeast (~12%-~14%).
ElBoltonero is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 12:38 PM   #3
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

Actually...I get far better results using Cooper's brewers yeast than I do with any type of bakers yeast (that i've tried). I have not used champaign yeast as yet though.
james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 03:46 PM   #4
somewhatshocked
Obsessed? Maybe
 
somewhatshocked's Avatar
 
PTrader: (439/100%)
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 11,552
Default

This is a nice setup.

For folks who want to keep it easier, they can just use 2 cups sugar, half a teaspoon of champagne yeast (sometimes I add a quarter tsp of baking soda but it's not necessary with this yeast) and 2/3 bottle of dechlorinated room temperature water.

Pro of champagne yeast: steady at cooler temperatures so CO2 production doesn't suffer in the winter. I get about 8-10 weeks of use before decanting the water and adding more sugar.
somewhatshocked is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
EnigmaticGuppy92
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
EnigmaticGuppy92's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: England
Posts: 532
Default

nice setup howdo u rate the gals difusers i get close to 100% with my filter output i plug the airline with fine sponge and then attatch to the outlet on my filter i get no bubbles coming out and there are no leaks on the system so i have a high dissolving rate how are the glass diffusers
__________________
40 gallon dirt tank
5 Gallon planted bonsai dirt tank
1 Bearded Dragon ''Spyro''
Normal Leopard Gecko ''Shadow''
Super hypo tangerine baldy carrot tail leopard gecko ''Moon''
2 whites tree frogs ''Ying and Yang''
1 Royal Python ''Neptune''
1 Veiled Chameleon '' Yoshi''
EnigmaticGuppy92 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 04:57 PM   #6
salmon
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
salmon's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: "Wet Coast" B.C.
Posts: 562
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Pro of champagne yeast: steady at cooler temperatures so CO2 production doesn't suffer in the winter. I get about 8-10 weeks of use before decanting the water and adding more sugar.
+1. Extremely steady (for yeast) at cooler indoor temps. I have one two litre going on over 10 weeks now, I lost track, and still producing, I was really starting to wonder how it was going for so long, but then the temp thing clicked.

@ OP, good write up One thing I would maybe add is a check valve somewhere (didn;t see one in ur pics), either between the reactor and bc, or between the bc and tank. If using a diffuser that requires any kind of pressure, a check valve can retain this built up pressure when you go to change out the mixture. I run three cv's on a two bottle system, so once you change a bottle, theres no lag time for the Co2 to start again.
__________________
Salmons ADA 75-P Rockscape on DSM / 13g Rimless / 12g Rimless Club / 12g rimless - not yet started / Cannon Pimp Club #009 -T3i
salmon is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-23-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
ElBoltonero
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Phillyish, PA
Posts: 219
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by james0816 View Post
Actually...I get far better results using Cooper's brewers yeast than I do with any type of bakers yeast (that i've tried). I have not used champaign yeast as yet though.
Coopers has a reported tolerance around 12%, and would ferment slower than baker's yeast...so that would definitely be a good choice.
ElBoltonero is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-24-2012, 01:54 AM   #8
JMikeB83
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 48
Default

doesn't hot water kill the yeast though? just asking.. what temp are you activating the yeast at?
JMikeB83 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-24-2012, 02:14 AM   #9
ElBoltonero
Planted Member
 
PTrader: (6/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Phillyish, PA
Posts: 219
Default

Yeast should be ideally be rehydrated between 95 and 105...we're pitching so much in such a small amount that it isn't super-important that it be perfect, as long as it's not hotter.
ElBoltonero is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-24-2012, 01:25 PM   #10
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

I just use hot water from the tap. Not sure as to what temp it comes out at. The Jell-O keeps the mixture lasting longer. As it slowly dissolves, it releases more sugars to the yeast.

I was really surprised that I didn't get good results using Ale yeast.

This could be an interesting mix with Jell-O and champaign yeast. Hmmmm....
james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #11
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

well .... everyone knows how I like to experiment so I'm at it again. Currently working with the Safe-T-Absorbent as a substrate and now I'm going to tinker with my DIY recipe. Why not right?

I've seen a lot of talk about brown sugar so I decided to try it myself and see what we get. I'm still going to use the Jell-O method. This test will involve 1c of white sugar and 3/4c light brown sugar. Same amount of yeast and still using the baking powder as well.

I mixed up the batch yesterday and getting ready to get it in the bottle.

Let's see how it does shall we?

james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-11-2012, 11:14 PM   #12
cralz
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 8
Default

Pretty cool setup, I have a few questions about it - how long will the reaction last? Are you talking days, a week, or weeks? How big of a tank do you use it on and how heavily is it planted? Do you always have it hooked up to a diffuser and are constantly adding CO2, or do you find you have to "unplug" it to allow the CO2 levels even out?

Thanks in advance, I can't wait to try this out!
cralz is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-12-2012, 12:35 PM   #13
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cralz View Post
Pretty cool setup, I have a few questions about it - how long will the reaction last? Are you talking days, a week, or weeks? How big of a tank do you use it on and how heavily is it planted? Do you always have it hooked up to a diffuser and are constantly adding CO2, or do you find you have to "unplug" it to allow the CO2 levels even out?

Thanks in advance, I can't wait to try this out!
The current bottles run for weeks and they are constantly running in the tank. Diffusion is via glass nano diffusers. Tanks are 10-20g and all are heavily planted.
james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-12-2012, 11:44 PM   #14
terran2k
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 73
Default

I used your write up as a guide line, I used a 3 Liter bottle, it's going on it's 2nd week now. after the 1st week though, i noticed the normally red water of the koolaid being dissolved started to turn white and my co2 slowed, I just dumped out 3/4's of the water and refilled and it was back and bubbling in a hour or so. probably too much alcohol in the water. From the rate of jello being dissolved by eye balling it, it'll probably last well over a month, looks like 2 months.
terran2k is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-13-2012, 01:55 AM   #15
james0816
Planted Tank Guru
 
james0816's Avatar
 
PTrader: (61/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: VA
Posts: 2,071
Default

Didn't have the cap on the new test bottle properly so lost the initial injection. Not that big a deal actually since it was just put in the tank recently. Recapped a few hours ago and now it's cranking. The diffuser is really creating a nice fine mist of micro bubbles.
james0816 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012