Supplementing DIY CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2014, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Supplementing DIY CO2

I'm looking for some recommendations on supplementing my DIY CO2 on my 20 gallon. I have a Hagen Nutrafin system that's been running for almost a year. The system just hasn't been as effective as I expected, but I've recently made three adjustments that seem to have improved things. First, I used a higher quality wine yeast. Second, I shortened the length of my CO2 tubing. Finally, I removed a few val plants that had crept up on my CO2 ladder and had been causing a logjam for my bubbles. It appears both these adjustments have resulted in better output as well as more tiny bubbles crawling up the ladder. Ultimately, I plan on getting rid of the ladder and will be diffusing the CO2 with a Hagen Elite filter.

With that being said, I still feel like my tank isn't getting enough carbon, so I'm looking at 2 options:

1. Dose Excel.

2. Add another bottle of DIY CO2.

My goal is to get better growth and eliminate algae. The algae I have isn't too bad, but I feel like I wouldn't have any at all if I had enough carbon in my tank. I know that dosing Excel would certainly help with the algae given the fact that it's an algaecide, and I'm wondering if anyone else woh uses DIY CO2 also doses Excel.

As for adding another bottle, I would ideally like to get another Hagen Nutrafin canister, but I don't know that I want to drop another $40 for a whole new system. I was thinking of just adding a soda bottle, but I'm not sure if this would create issues since it would be bigger than the Hagen canister. At any rate, I'd appreciate some advice in terms of choosing the best method of increasing the amount of carbon in my tank. Thanks.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 12:26 AM
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You can supplement with excel, but that is not the same thing as Co2, some plants don't like excel and will "melt" when you use it, and other plants take a while to get adjusted to it. But if you were going to spend money on the excel, if I were you, I would just upgrade to a cheap paintball setup, there are some regulators in the TPT sales section for around $40 I believe and then you will just need a paintball canister, you can get these used online for about $10, then another $4 to fill it. I am running a paintball set up on my ten gallon aquarium at around 2-3 bubbles per second and if my math is correct it should last me a two to three weeks worth of use, and more if I turn it off every night. I used a paintball setup on my 75 gallon display tank for 2 years and it still works well, have recently moved it to my ten gallon when I upgraded to a full size regulator and 20# co2 canister.

There was a thread about this earlier today about increasing the bps, it was suggested that they add more sugar, I have not done DIY co2 in a long time but it would make since that more sugar would mean more bubbles, and for a longer period of time. When I was doing DIY co2 I worked it out to where it would cost me more yearly to continue to use DIY co2 than it would to upgrade to a paintball system.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 01:30 AM
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I found the little bottle of that system was really only good for a small tank. I ran that bottle on tanks of about 1, 2 and 3 gallons.
Larger tanks got 2 liter soda bottles. My 20 gallon tanks would share 2 bottles so I would swap out one bottle at a time. I could probably have run 2 bottles on just one of the 20s, but I was running out of bottles, using more on larger tanks.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 02:13 AM
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I don't think the "ladder" is a very effective method of diffusion, look into other methods that actually break down the CO2 into the water better.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TekWarren View Post
I don't think the "ladder" is a very effective method of diffusion, look into other methods that actually break down the CO2 into the water better.
Yeah, that's why I'm going with the Hagen Elite filter for diffusion. I don't think the diffused CO2 is getting circulated all that well either, and I think the Hagen Elite filter will help in this area as well since I can't point the outflow in the direction of my plants that aren't shaded by floaters.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aquarist View Post
You can supplement with excel, but that is not the same thing as Co2, some plants don't like excel and will "melt" when you use it, and other plants take a while to get adjusted to it. But if you were going to spend money on the excel, if I were you, I would just upgrade to a cheap paintball setup, there are some regulators in the TPT sales section for around $40 I believe and then you will just need a paintball canister, you can get these used online for about $10, then another $4 to fill it. I am running a paintball set up on my ten gallon aquarium at around 2-3 bubbles per second and if my math is correct it should last me a two to three weeks worth of use, and more if I turn it off every night. I used a paintball setup on my 75 gallon display tank for 2 years and it still works well, have recently moved it to my ten gallon when I upgraded to a full size regulator and 20# co2 canister.

There was a thread about this earlier today about increasing the bps, it was suggested that they add more sugar, I have not done DIY co2 in a long time but it would make since that more sugar would mean more bubbles, and for a longer period of time. When I was doing DIY co2 I worked it out to where it would cost me more yearly to continue to use DIY co2 than it would to upgrade to a paintball system.
That's definitely a consideration. I just don't know about utilizing pressurized CO2 without a solenoid. Has anyone else used the budget paintball systems with success?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 03:34 AM
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My current paintball system does not have a solenoid, but I have one on order from china for $15 once it gets here ill let you know how it goes! Here's my set up in my 10 gallon.



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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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My current paintball system does not have a solenoid, but I have one on order from china for $15 once it gets here ill let you know how it goes! Here's my set up in my 10 gallon.



Is it going to be pretty easy to retrofit your paintball CO2 system with a solenoid? If that's an option, then I may seriously look into getting a cheap paintball set-up and then upgrade it with a solenoid in the future.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 05:13 PM
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Why not do what I do - get a pack of Swan cigarette filter tips and just stick one in the end of the hose - instant mist of tiny co2 bubbles!


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Why not do what I do - get a pack of Swan cigarette filter tips and just stick one in the end of the hose - instant mist of tiny co2 bubbles!
That's a good cheap option. However, I'd like to blow those bubbles towards the plants that I think need it most, and the Hagen Elite filter would allow me to do this.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2014, 07:54 PM
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Supplementing DIY CO2

I have done some research online and I think it's pretty easy. Basically you need to get two brass fitting from the hardware store, wrapping both ends of each in Teflon tape and screw one of them into the solenoid and then attach this to your regulator and then screw your needle valve onto the other end of the solenoid with the second brass fitting. My needle valve has a spot on it where a bubble counter can be installed as well, I have one of those coming but unsure when it'll get here.

Oh as a side note, the 110v solenoid I found does not come with a wire so you will have to attach your own but it isn't hard.
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