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Old 01-09-2013, 12:02 AM   #1
plantedtankfan
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DIY CO2 for beginner


I was thinking about staring DIY CO2 for my 46g bowfront (check out my profile for pic). Any advice, tips? Also I was wondering if the fluctuation in CO2 over time will cause any algae or harm my plants? I was planning to replace the sugar and yeast mixture every two weeks.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:07 AM   #2
funkman262
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I'm assuming you already know how to set up the reactors so I'll skip that unless you say otherwise. As far as CO2 fluctuation, you can't simply plug the solenoid into a timer to shut it off at night but what you can do is run an airstone at lights-off to strip the CO2 out of the water. I will say though that several years ago when I was running DIY CO2, I don't recall running an airstone at night and I don't remember any major issues caused by the pH swings. The important thing would be to check the fish at lights-on to make sure they're not gasping for air. Plants may consume CO2 during the day while producing oxygen, but at night they consume oxygen and may remove too much oxygen at night making it difficult for the fish to breathe.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:20 AM   #3
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Co2 in general,will help stave off algae and promote healthier
growth for your plants.
http://www.aquatic-eden.com/2006/09/...intensity.htmlClick image for larger version

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Good luck to you and have fun.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:47 AM   #4
puopg
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Fluctuations will cause BBA typically. Depends on low-high light you have. DIY for a 46g you need either 2 yeast setups or a super efficient method to dissolve it. If you have the money, invest in a good Pressurized system. I had the same mentality that i can get away with DIY and I did, but i had EZ plants + low-medium light. When i moved to higher light and more difficult plants, i realized DIY was too unstable. Unless you are as experienced as Tom Barr, growing more demanding plants with DIY CO2 is a bit more tricky.

Like i said earlier, if you have the money and are genuinely interested in this plant hobby, find a good quality regulator, solenoid, needle valve, and seriously invest in it. Good quality regulators will last you a lifetime. Well, i can't say that for sure but the precision cannot be beaten by DIY.

Last edited by puopg; 01-09-2013 at 01:48 AM.. Reason: edit
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:03 AM   #5
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I started DIY CO2 about 6 weeks ago when I re-started up my tank. Algae is common in new tanks due to all sorts of reasons, so I can't say for certain that the algae I'm getting is due to my DIY CO2 since there are so many factors, but the rate does fluctuate quite a bit, and I'm getting algae (BBA and several others, but not bad). Don't let that scare you though.

I'm switching to pressurized now. Whether or not the fluctuation caused it, since I have zero control over CO2, I don't feel I have much of a chance to keep it at bay. I'm really glad I did DIY, because it let me see how great the plants grow, and it got me comfortable with the idea of it and CO2 concepts. It helped me realize that it's worth it to me.

It's super cheap and easy to try. If you give it a shot and get frustrated or don't like it, then just go back to what you were doing. You'll only be out a tiny bit of cash. If you give it a shot and it works great for you, like it has for many many people, then you win. Either way it's super cheap try, so I say go for it.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puopg View Post
Fluctuations will cause BBA typically. Depends on low-high light you have. DIY for a 46g you need either 2 yeast setups or a super efficient method to dissolve it. If you have the money, invest in a good Pressurized system. I had the same mentality that i can get away with DIY and I did, but i had EZ plants + low-medium light. When i moved to higher light and more difficult plants, i realized DIY was too unstable. Unless you are as experienced as Tom Barr, growing more demanding plants with DIY CO2 is a bit more tricky.

Like i said earlier, if you have the money and are genuinely interested in this plant hobby, find a good quality regulator, solenoid, needle valve, and seriously invest in it. Good quality regulators will last you a lifetime. Well, i can't say that for sure but the precision cannot be beaten by DIY.
I have 2 T-5 HO (39 watts each) and 1 T-8 SO (30 watts) on my tank. The substrate is eco complete. I know that DIY won't be as good as pressurized but iam a student and i'm low on cash (saving up for college and stuff ). Will DIY work if I just want a cheaper solution to grow my plants?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:15 AM   #7
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A paintball CO2 tank, adapter and regulator shouldn't run you over $100. You'll get to $100 faster than you think doing DIY. It seriously worth it to just save a little, mow the neighbors lawn a few times and get at least a good paintball CO2 system. I've tried them all and for $100 you'll thank me later


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Old 01-09-2013, 03:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantedtankfan View Post
Will DIY work if I just want a cheaper solution to grow my plants?
Short answer: Yes. DIY CO2 will grow plants well much better than no CO2 or Excel.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherHobby View Post
Short answer: Yes. DIY CO2 will grow plants well much better than no CO2 or Excel.
I think that i will try DIY co2 until i can try something else
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:59 AM   #10
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Over here I can't find cheap co2, so I've been using the DIY method. It's better then nothing and even though they say that pressurized will be cheaper in the long run $1~$2 a month for sugar and yeast isn't going to break the bank. For a good diffuser that works with DIY I found that the inline ista Max Mix Reactor works well.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:42 PM   #11
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My lfs doesn't carry diffusers. The one that do doesnt have it in stock rite now. I was thinking about maling a DIY diffuser. Any ideas, tips?
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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You could make one out of basswood.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantedtankfan View Post
My lfs doesn't carry diffusers. The one that do doesnt have it in stock rite now. I was thinking about maling a DIY diffuser. Any ideas, tips?
I tried a chopstick diffuser and cotton balls. I tried several times and different ways, but I just couldn't get it to work great. Some small/micro bubbles came out, but some bigger ones came out too. My best success was stuffing the chopstick further up the tube, and then stuffing cotton in after it.

I wasn't happy with it, so next I tried a cheap ebay glass/ceramic one just like THIS ONE. It worked better, but still had some bigger bubbles. I ran it for about a month, but I didn't like the bigger bubbles, so I figured I'd try one more diffuser.

Now I'm using a Fluval Ceramic 88g diffuser. It's bubbles are all very small and more consistent, and it's much better than the others.

However, the Fluval isn't perfect for DIY CO2 either as it does require far more pressure. My DIY CO2 bottles are much harder and more pressurized than when I used the other diffusers. I think it's fine, but it's an observation. It also takes several hours longer to build up pressure and get running after you depressurize the system. Now I'm using 2 bottles with check valves between them, so I can swap them out 1 at a time and not loose pressure.

Also, the fluval is by far the smallest, and since it's black it hides the best also. It's the least obvious in my tank, and now I wish I had black CO2 line as well.

Here is the chopstick:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nNmmuXp0mI

Here is the cheap glass one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HPd2HJdN0Y

Here is the Fluval one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=741oGxa9Rlw
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherHobby View Post
I tried a chopstick diffuser and cotton balls. I tried several times and different ways, but I just couldn't get it to work great. Some small/micro bubbles came out, but some bigger ones came out too. My best success was stuffing the chopstick further up the tube, and then stuffing cotton in after it.

I wasn't happy with it, so next I tried a cheap ebay glass/ceramic one just like THIS ONE. It worked better, but still had some bigger bubbles. I ran it for about a month, but I didn't like the bigger bubbles, so I figured I'd try one more diffuser.

Now I'm using a Fluval Ceramic 88g diffuser. It's bubbles are all very small and more consistent, and it's much better than the others.

However, the Fluval isn't perfect for DIY CO2 either as it does require far more pressure. My DIY CO2 bottles are much harder and more pressurized than when I used the other diffusers. I think it's fine, but it's an observation. It also takes several hours longer to build up pressure and get running after you depressurize the system. Now I'm using 2 bottles with check valves between them, so I can swap them out 1 at a time and not loose pressure.

Also, the fluval is by far the smallest, and since it's black it hides the best also. It's the least obvious in my tank, and now I wish I had black CO2 line as well.

Here is the chopstick:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nNmmuXp0mI

Here is the cheap glass one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HPd2HJdN0Y

Here is the Fluval one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=741oGxa9Rlw
I read some where that a diy CO2 Bell will work okay. what is your recommendation?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:15 PM   #15
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I think a CO2 Bell would work okay in a small tank, but I didn't care for it when I tried it out.
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