baking soda and vinegar CO2 generator?
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Old 11-28-2007, 01:00 PM   #1
wizzin
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baking soda and vinegar CO2 generator?


Has anyone experimented with a baking soda/vinegar drip CO2 generator? I read somewhere about someone making one where they used an IV drip emitter to control the vinegar drip to 1 per second or something.

The other DIY CO2 generator idea was a decomposition generator. Using organic matter in a closed container. The decomposing materials also generate CO2.

I would imagine, while both would produce CO2, the quantity and speed of the production would be unstable and uncontrollable.

I'm just curious if anyone has tried either.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:10 PM   #2
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You'll probably get more methane gas than CO2 for composting. As well as other mystery gasses like traces of hydrogen sulfide (prob good for your tank, but would acidify beyond what CO2 would do)...etc.. I would veto that idea right off the bat.

Or maybe I just to quantitative. I want to know what is going into my tank, so I can adjust it if things aren't working out right.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayakbabe View Post
You'll probably get more methane gas than CO2 for composting. As well as other mystery gasses like traces of hydrogen sulfide (prob good for your tank, but would acidify beyond what CO2 would do)...etc.. I would veto that idea right off the bat.

Or maybe I just to quantitative. I want to know what is going into my tank, so I can adjust it if things aren't working out right.
Yeah, the methane part is a little bit of a problem.

Anywho, about the vinegar contraption. I read that they (folks who grow plants for "recreation") disolve baking soda in water in a container, then drip vinegar in to the soda to produce co2. any thoughts?
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:42 PM   #4
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because of the high surface area of the baking powder will react too quickly with the acid for our purposes. meaning you will get one big puff of co2, then nothing till you add more baking soda.

for "recreational" plant growing this will work OK cause terrestrial plants don't fight off water born algae, but we are trying to maintain a steady level of dissolved co2 which lasts the entire photoperiod to prevent algae from getting a foot hold.

Last edited by aquanut415; 11-28-2007 at 08:25 PM..
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by aquanut415 View Post
the surface area of the baking powder will react to quickly with the acid for our purposes. meaning you will get one big puff of co2, then nothing till you add more baking soda.

for "recreational" plant growing this will work OK cause terrestrial plants don't fight off water born algae, but we are trying to maintain a steady level of dissolved co2 which lasts the entire photoperiod to prevent algae from getting a foot hold.
so dissolving the baking soda in water and dripping one drip per second of vinegar wouldn't stabilize the co2 production?

BTW, I'm an aquarium guy, not a "recreational plant grower" who is looking for another DIY method of CO2 production. Currently I use the old yeast/sugar mix for CO2. I'm just searching for alternatives. I like the idea of generating something vs buying it bottled, which has lead me to explore other means of producing the gas.

As a side note, my looking around lead me to this site:

http://www.co2boost.com/home.aspx

It's worth mentioning that this stuff is essentially a mushroom spore "spawn" in mushroom compost. 100% organic CO2 production. Now, this stuff is used for open air plant growing environments, where the "other" gases are simply either consumed or dispersed. I don't know how something like this would work in the aquarium, but I intend to build similar contraptions on some spare tanks I have setup to see what happens.

Note also that the boost buckets are good for 60 days of constant CO2 production.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:22 PM   #6
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The CO2 Boost kit is over a hundred dollars and the refill bucket is almost $100 before taxes, that's over $400 a year if you run a timer/solenoid to make it last for the maximum 90 days. A complete pressurized CO2 system costs about the same up front ($150-250), give or take, costs around $11 to refill every few months or more, and produces a steady supply of CO2 where CO2 Boost states "there is no definitive answer" to how much CO2 is being produced, and being that it's a living organism, the consistency is probably variable.

I'm waiting for a better option than pressurized canisters and yeast mixes, but I don't think that's the answer.

If you plan on making your own and it works, I'd be very interested in seeing how it's done, so keep us posted.

Have you found any info as to what actually goes into the contents of the bucket, is it simply compost?
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzin View Post
so dissolving the baking soda in water and dripping one drip per second of vinegar wouldn't stabilize the co2 production?
This sounds possible to me. I'd like to see someone try it, maybe I will someday if ever have a tank with no livestock that it can be tested on.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzin View Post
so dissolving the baking soda in water and dripping one drip per second of vinegar wouldn't stabilize the co2 production?
i cant say for certain, but im pretty sure it won't.

i think the problem is that you are assuming that the acid is the limiting reagent in this reaction, and its not the case. the acid only degenerates the bicarbonate into co2. you need to find a larger source of bicarbonate that will not be immediately and entirely exposed to the acid and find a way to put a controlled amount of acid onto that bicarbonate over a long period of time.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidexl View Post
The CO2 Boost kit is over a hundred dollars and the refill bucket is almost $100 before taxes, that's over $400 a year if you run a timer/solenoid to make it last for the maximum 90 days. A complete pressurized CO2 system costs about the same up front ($150-250), give or take, costs around $11 to refill every few months or more, and produces a steady supply of CO2 where CO2 Boost states "there is no definitive answer" to how much CO2 is being produced, and being that it's a living organism, the consistency is probably variable.

I'm waiting for a better option than pressurized canisters and yeast mixes, but I don't think that's the answer.

If you plan on making your own and it works, I'd be very interested in seeing how it's done, so keep us posted.

Have you found any info as to what actually goes into the contents of the bucket, is it simply compost?
The best guess is that it's S. rugoso annulata spawn and standard mushroom compost. S. rugoso annulata spawn sells for $20 a bag which would probably last a year or two, and the compost is essentially wood chips and sawdust or wheat straw. You're essentially growing mushrooms. The co2boost guys figured out how to spawn the shroomies without them producing "fruit" to give away the secrets. Or so I read. The bucket is a bucket with an air pump on it.

I'm going to try both of these concepts on 2 spare 20 gallons I have. I plan on posting the results.

Oh, and I never meant that the co2boost product was a solution, just that I intended to try to replicate what they did in DIY fashion to get the same results for WAY less MOOLA
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:58 PM   #10
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Good deal.

I still can't entirely rap my head around what aquanut is saying, but I'd still like to give the vinegar thing a try just for the sake of having something else to fool around with. I'm having an awful time finding an IV flow control that can be ordered by an individual. I wonder if an irrigation drip emitter would work, I found one that has a pressure range of 7 to 50psi, that should give some room to play with a gravity feed I'd guess. Maybe add some control to the drip with one of those cheap tubing pinches they market for CO2 control in the aquarium. That's only a few dollars on the shopping list, some tubing, a few 2liters, vinegar and BS, and a check valve or two and the experiment should be in motion.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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Default baking soda, vinegar....

Suggest if you are on a tight budget, maybe spend about 7 dollars for the "REFILL" packs for this system;
http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...earch&keepsr=1

All you then need is sugar, water, bottle, hose, reactor.

refills from petsolutions
http://www.petsolutions.com/default....17690&SID=NXTG
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:02 PM   #12
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But that's just a glorified DIY contraption. The refills are overpriced yeast and baking soda. Although, dropping in preformed tablets would be a heck of lot easier than activating yeast every few weeks.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidexl View Post
I still can't entirely rap my head around what aquanut is saying, but I'd still like to give the vinegar thing a try just for the sake of having something else to fool around with.
i was trying to explain (obviously very poorly ) why you can't use a solution of water and bicarbonate to react with a drip of acid to create co2 in any appreciable amount.

systems similar to the ones you guys are investigating are already or were already in use a few years back. one was a glass vessel with a chunk of bicarbonate stone in the bottom. acid dripped very slowly onto the stone and released co2. the gas escaped the vessel via a airline tube and went into the aquarium.

the reason this is different than the ones you are describing is cause the source of the bicarbonate has a different amount of surface area exposed to the acid at any one time (much less in this case than the ones you guys are experimenting with).

ill try and find pics of the older german/dutch systems i remember seeing years ago in a Baensch (sp?) atlas VOL 1.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:03 PM   #14
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If you're adding vinegar to a baking soda solution, I think the amount of liquid in the container will continually increase. You'll need some sort of automatic draining and top-off system to remove the excess "spent" solution and add new baking soda. The thing would probably work best if it were being stirred as well.
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:38 AM   #15
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As far as the baking soda and vinegar idea, my only issue is if there is enough pressure in the vial, will it not push the liquid up into the aquarium? I ask this because I worked at a petstore where we used baking soda to euthanize fish. However, one time we had an african cichlid that wouldn't die despite the amount of baking soda in the water.

We couldn't flush him (against policies I guess for invasive species protection) and we could loose our jobs if we used bleach. So we added some vinegar to see what would happen and the resulting shock killed him in less than a minute. Cruel I know but he beaten savagely (almost completely missin his tail, flesh and all).

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that the resulting foam is causing a major shift in PH and that could be deadly if it reaches the tank for any reason...

Just a though, abiet long and storylike thought...
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