DIY CO2 Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 Questions

Hi people

I've have been reading so much here since signing up and just want to say a quick thanks and also that I appreciate all the knowledge you guys provide.

I'm going to set up a diy co2 system soon and like the title says have a few questions.

The first being: In my diffuser there is a bubble counter how many bubbles per minute/ppm of co2 should I be aiming for in a 50gal aquarium

Secondly what's the best recipe to achieve the above mix? I was going to go for 2 cups of brown sugar and slightly less than 1 teaspoon of yeast.

Finally I have bought a drop checker and plan to gauge what the co2 level in my planted tank is raised to during the night. What time intervals would you suggest? Every 1/2/4 hours etc etc

I'm acutely aware thats these are novice and quite newbieish questions but the planted aspect of this hobby is something I'm just getting into. Any and all feedback welcome.

Prime
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 05:05 AM
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I have DIY CO2 on my 45 gallon tank, working very well for a month now. I get about 2 bubbles per second, slowing to about 1 bubble per second at 3 weeks, when I change the solution. My bottle is a 3 liter cranberry juice bottle. I load it with 3 cups of white sugar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of bread machine yeast. I start getting the 2 bbs in about 4 hours after setting it up.

I have a little white, fine pore airstone I run the CO2 into the tank water with, with the stone below the canister filter inlet, so some of the bubbles get sucked into the filter. I like that arrangement because it is so easy to monitor the CO2 production, just by observing the stream of fine bubbles in the tank.

This has helped my plants to grow much faster, and all look very healthy, so I'm convinced everyone who can't afford a pressurized CO2 system should use DIY. I'm using low light, by the way.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 05:13 AM
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1. don't worry about the bubbles per second, you need as much co2 as you can get from your DIY setup, and it still won't turn the drop checker green probably. You will never have too much co2 with this setup.

2. That recipe is fine. some will differ in opinions. Some use baking soda to speed up production, but it will also produce alcohol more quickly, and the alcohol produced in sugar/yeast fermentation poisons and kills the yeast eventually. So I think baking soda is pointless, unless you want to change your mixture every day.

3. Refer to answer #1, there's really no need to check the drop checker, because it will never turn yellow (meaning too much CO2). If it is not green at all, I would add a second or a third CO2 bottle to the setup. I have 2 containers with the standard mixture size on my 20g tank for the time being. I will be setting up my pressurized system tomorrow

-Bill



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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I have DIY CO2 on my 45 gallon tank, working very well for a month now. I get about 2 bubbles per second, slowing to about 1 bubble per second at 3 weeks, when I change the solution. My bottle is a 3 liter cranberry juice bottle. I load it with 3 cups of white sugar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of bread machine yeast. I start getting the 2 bbs in about 4 hours after setting it up.
With my setup, I never got that much production. It started out with 2 BPS, but then it quickly decreased to 15 BPM within a week. I used the same ratio of mix you use. 2 cups of sugar in a 2 liter. Oh well, movin' on to pressurized now!

-Bill



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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys

Another question if I may...

Do you run your co2 at night?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 06:34 AM
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Usually with DIY yes. You must shut it off at night if you are using pressurized, because you could gas out your fish. DIY typically doesn't produce enough CO2 to do that. You can shut it off if you want, or leave it open at night.

If you want to shut it off at night you might want to purchase a brass valve that opens and closes. A needle valve would work well, because when you turn it back on, there will be a pressure build-up, and you can slowly open the needle valve so that it doesn't let the gas out all at once, but it releases the gas at steady rate - still faster than normal, but slow enough so that it doesn't get wasted all at once.

I have an extra needle valve I could sell you that attaches directly to tubing. I used it on my DIY for this very reason. Also, what kind of diffuser do you have?

-Bill



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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 04:16 PM
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Don't underestimate the CO2 production you can get from DIY. My drop checker consistently tells me I have 20+ ppm of CO2 in the water - one 3L bottle, 45 gallon tank. And, I do use baking soda, and the bottle does last 3 weeks before I have to replenish it. It could be the bread machine yeast I use is helping, but I don't know why that would be.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 03:41 AM
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my 2 cents

Using DIY co2 I was achieving a nice green on my drop checker in my 29g. One tip I have is to find yourself a local brew supply and look for the yeast used for wine or champagne. It's been bred to survive in much higher alcohol levels than bread yeast so it will continue to produce co2 a lot longer.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 04:23 AM
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I found the baking soda to be important too. It doesn't make it produce more CO2, but it does make it produce CO2 for more days before the production drops.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btimmer92 View Post
1. don't worry about the bubbles per second, you need as much co2 as you can get from your DIY setup, and it still won't turn the drop checker green probably. You will never have too much co2 with this setup.

2. That recipe is fine. some will differ in opinions. Some use baking soda to speed up production, but it will also produce alcohol more quickly, and the alcohol produced in sugar/yeast fermentation poisons and kills the yeast eventually. So I think baking soda is pointless, unless you want to change your mixture every day.

3. Refer to answer #1, there's really no need to check the drop checker, because it will never turn yellow (meaning too much CO2). If it is not green at all, I would add a second or a third CO2 bottle to the setup. I have 2 containers with the standard mixture size on my 20g tank for the time being. I will be setting up my pressurized system tomorrow
if you use a good diffuser you can easily turn your drop checker yellow. i've done this on my 20g with a single 2L bottle.

get a drop checker so you have an idea of how well your system is performing (or not performing in btimmer's case).
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btimmer92 View Post
Usually with DIY yes. You must shut it off at night if you are using pressurized, because you could gas out your fish. DIY typically doesn't produce enough CO2 to do that. You can shut it off if you want, or leave it open at night.

If you want to shut it off at night you might want to purchase a brass valve that opens and closes. A needle valve would work well, because when you turn it back on, there will be a pressure build-up, and you can slowly open the needle valve so that it doesn't let the gas out all at once, but it releases the gas at steady rate - still faster than normal, but slow enough so that it doesn't get wasted all at once.

I have an extra needle valve I could sell you that attaches directly to tubing. I used it on my DIY for this very reason. Also, what kind of diffuser do you have?
you cannot shut off DIY. the bottle will explode.

btimmer pls stop posting incorrect info
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
I found the baking soda to be important too. It doesn't make it produce more CO2, but it does make it produce CO2 for more days before the production drops.
So if you put more baking soda, say more than 1 teaspoon in a 2L bottle, does that mean that the more you out the longer it lasts? What's the limit so that the more you add the effects don't last longer?


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 06:57 AM
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you cannot shut off DIY. the bottle will explode.

btimmer pls stop posting incorrect info
2 liter pop bottles are made to hold carbonated beverages under pressure. aka CO2. You can shut it off, I used to do it. You just have to make sure you release all the build up pressure the next day, so it doesn't continuously build up. like I said you can but usually, you don't.

-Bill



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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2011, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btimmer92 View Post
2 liter pop bottles are made to hold carbonated beverages under pressure. aka CO2. You can shut it off, I used to do it. You just have to make sure you release all the build up pressure the next day, so it doesn't continuously build up. like I said you can but usually, you don't.
soda bottles are not in a state of constant co2 production. what happens when you shake the bottle of pop a whole lot? this much more closely approximates a DIY system blocked off with a shutoff valve.

your DIY also doesn't turn the drop checker green. this implies you have VERY low output and VERY low CO2 production. as such, your system will not build up enough pressure overnight to blow any seals.

for people with normal DIY systems with normal levels of CO2 production, pressure buildup is a major issue. this is the reason a solenoid or other shutoff valve should never be used. i have not blown up any bottles b/c i don't want to clean up the mess. that would be silly. i know my DIY puts out a lot of CO2 and the pressure would need to vent somewhere if i were to use a shut-off valve. i prefer that it not vent yeast, water, sugar, and alcohol all over my room. pls don't encourage people to learn this the hard way. if you search, this has happened to others.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 12:11 AM
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why not just pull the tube out of the cap or unscrew it at night? Or even better have a T junction with a cap on one end and open that at night.
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