Some advice on "trying" DIY CO2 request - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Some advice on "trying" DIY CO2 request

Good morning all,

I've spent the last couple of days pouring over various threads on this website and others looking for information on CO2, both injected in DIY, and I think I now have more questions than when I started. It seems to me that if I want to do DIY CO2 "right," then I will need to invest several hundred dollars up front, which I'm not sure I (or my wife) am ready to do. At this point, I believe I would like to "try" DIY CO2 in the short term to see if I want to make the plunge in the long term.

That being said, I was hoping to get some advice on a DIY CO2 setup that includes reactor/diffusion for the following tank setup:

Standard 55 gallon tank
Aquatop CF500-UV canister filter
AquaticLife Dual T5 HO 108W apprx. 4 inches above water surface
MGOPM capped with Black Diamond Blasting Sand
Flourish comprehensive dosing

I am aware at this size tank I probably won't be able to get the full amount of CO2 that I will "need" using DIY methods, but right now I'm in the frame of mind that I need to see what kind of potential CO2 brings to the table, and that a little CO2 is better than no CO2 (please correct this frame of mind if I am wrong).

All advice and recommendations are appreciated. I am also interested in ideas on how to use my canister filter for diffusion if possible.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 02:52 PM
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DIY co2 typically denotes yeast/sugar based, and I'd be surprised if it cost you more than $10 to do.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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I might not have explained my question well enough. I'm fully aware of the yeast/sugar based method and that is in fact what I am referring to when I say DIY CO2.

What I am looking for is ideas for how to set this up for my specific tank. For instance, how many bottles, what type of diffusion/reactor, can I involve the canister filter, etc.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 03:03 PM
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if you're just trying it, but a cheap ceramic diffuser and use that. They have to be cleaned regularly with DIY co2, but they work well.

I run 2 bottles on my 40br.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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How often do you clean it? And is this something I could buy at a LFS or Petsmart/Petco?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 05:25 PM
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I have 2 cheap diffusers and one is being cleaned while the other is being used. Swap them about every other time you fill your bottle. I prefer some type of reactor, Internal or external. I dont have to clean anything really. The other advise I would give you is I have always found that having a 2L bottle of water with Co2 tubing going in from Yeast bottle and out to tank will clean the co2 and help avoid clogging up the diffuser. I would happy to further explain any of this if you would like.

Good luck
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdylanh View Post
How often do you clean it? And is this something I could buy at a LFS or Petsmart/Petco?
Depends for cleaning, you will see it when it needs cleaning.
Check evil bay, it will be a lot cheaper.
You can also defuse it into your canister.

Its actually not worth it to do DIY co2 on a 55.

I would look into paintball co2, you will pay around $60-70 for a regulator and co2 canister. You won't regret this. Well, you will regret that you didn't start with a full co2 setup, if you will ever buy that


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 05:49 PM
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You are right that a little CO2 is better than no CO2. Use at least 2 bottles for a 55g and have both the lines going into the tank via one line. Like this:


(Sorry for the rough drawing; my graphics tablet is broken)

You will get the best results with winemaking yeast instead of baker's yeast. With baker's yeast, I got one bubble every six seconds. That's 10 bubbles per minute; 600 bubbles per hour; 14,400 bubbles per day. Assuming that a bubble takes up about the same space as a drop of water (a somewhat shaky assumption, but it should work for a rough estimate), there would be about 20 bubbles in a milliliter. 14,400 bubbles would be 720mL, or about 3 cups of CO2.

I have no idea what PPM that would give you, but 3 cups in 55 gallons seems pretty low. Get a drop checker so you know if you're getting enough.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-29-2011, 06:40 PM
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i would recommend check valves with arrows pointed to the T, that way you wont lose the pressure when you swap a bottle out. It is true that lower co2 is better than none, but consistency is key to keeping the BBA at bay...

for that reason i recommend a 3 bottle system for a tank your size. The third week of a batch doesn't do much when its by itself, but in a multi bottle system it helps balance out the dips as the 2 week bottle starts to drop off. If you go more than 3, you might aswell use gallon jugs and double your batches.

heres some batches i wrote up for another website i frequent:

Methods of Yeast Based CO2:

The biggest drawback to diy co2 is not having an understanding of yeast. The basic mix that just do baking soda, water and sugar w/ yeast Starve the yeast to death, causing failure much sooner than it should be, so here are various mixes that you can test run and choose the best for yourself, as results vary from person to person.
.
We'll stick to the standard 2L soda bottle, as its readily available. melt a hole in the cap smaller than the airline tubing, you want it to be a pain to get the tubing through the hole, as it gives a better seal. Using sealant puts the bottle at risk of rupture. For yeast i recommend champagne/wine yeast, it will last longer as it has a higher alcohol tolerance than bakers yeast. Use check valves in the air line, it prevents back siphoning from your tank into the co2 mix. The water should be dechlorinated or from your tank.

General rule is playing with 1/4 tsp to 1 tsp of yeast per 2L, 1/2 tsp is a good place to start. More yeast = greater output, less life from batch. More sugar = greater initial burst of output with risk of killing your yeast too early. Some people don't clean their bottles between batches, they let the previous batch yeast gunk on the bottom fortify the new yeast being added, some dont even need new yeast. if you play with the ratios, be sure to document your success failures and create a forum topic about it, or add to one related, ie jello co2 thread

General rule is use multiple containers if you need a higher output, and offset their start dates to create a more stable flow of co2. be sure to check valve every bottle.

Standard yeast/sugar/water: (forget timeframe)
1 cup of sugar
warm water half way, shake it until dissolved
1/3 tsp yeast, let it stand for 5 min, then shake it.
fill bottle to 3" from top
add 1/4 tsp baking soda
the next day it should be producing bubbles.
*multiple bottle system with offset start dates is recommended with this batch.

Nyberg mix: (strong output, stable, less sugar and less yeast needed overall, 3-4 weeks)
1) 1 Cup of sugar, 2L of water, pour into bottle up to the start of the neck.
2) 1-2 tsp of protein mix or soya powder
3) 1 tbsp molasses
4) 1 tsp Baking Soda
first batch only: 5) 1/2 tsp of yeast
batches after this one do not need yeast most of the time, simply do steps 1-4, it should refresh unless you used bread yeast. if it doesn't refresh fully, add a 1/4 tsp of yeast and see how it goes from there.

Jello Mix: (long batch lengths, steady output, 2-4 months)
1) 2 packs of Jello, 2 cups of boiling water, Mix well, stir DONT SHAKE!
2) 1.5 cups of Sugar (more sugar lessons the life) mix well and dont shake it.
3) 1/2 tsp of baking soda (leave out if using champagne yeast)
4) 2 cups of cold water, mix well until everything is dissolved (don't shake....)
5) Refridgerate overnight (i recommend atleast 18 hours), you want jello, not a liquid jelly

6) once congealed, add one cup of room temperature water and 1/2 tsp yeast to the bottle. close up the cap, place on the counter and place the airline in a glass of water to confirm the yeast activated properly (bubbles come out)

if the yeast fails, dump out the water and do step 6 again. If the batch dies early, dump out half the the liquid and add more water and yeast to kick start it again.

Knox gelatine Mix: (higher output, less life than jello, approx 3 weeks)
Follow the directions on the knox packets
4 packets of knox
1 cup of water @ room temp , disolve the gelatine in it.
boil 2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar
combine in an 8x8 pan and chill overnight
Cut into 1" cubes, place half the pan into a 2L bottle, let the cubes rise to room temp
fill bottle to 3" from the top, add 1/2 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp of baking soda

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-30-2011, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks outcast, very informative! I think I'm going to try the Jello method this weekend. I plan to take a lot of pictures throughout the process to try and record what type of effect this method can have on a 55 gallon.
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