DIY CO2 help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 help

I just tried setting my co2 up, and so far not so good.

I have two two liter bottles. Each have tubing coming out of the cap connected to check valves. After the check valves I have their tubing running to a T fitting. The T fitting then has tubing that goes to a water bottle into the water. Another tube runs from the water bottle to a Hydor Ario 2 pump.

I had not yet turned on the pump and I only filled one 2 liter with the yeast/sugar/water mix.

I then noticed that there was water leaking from the empty 2 liter bottle's check valve. It was siphoning it out of the water bottle.

Then while fiddling with things trying to fix that problem, tank water started siphoning into the water bottle. I jumped up and yanked the hydor pump out of the tank and disconnected everything.

Why is everything trying to siphon everywhere??? What do I do?


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 01:29 AM
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I don't see a reason to use an air pump in a co2 system. Take the pump out and use some sort of air stone to diffuse it. I haven't used diy co2 before, but your air pump will be causing so much disturbance that you will lose any co2 that is in your water.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 01:46 AM
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That appears to be a submersed air pump, which can be hooked up to draw gas only from the DIY CO2 system; rather than plain air. Which sounds good in theory, but there's two problems:

1) The suction from the air pump may collapse the 2 liter bottles, causing yeast water to be pumped into the tank. Very bad.
2) CO2 will probably break down the rubber components in the air pump over time, causing it to fail.

So yes, get rid of the air pump. However, it sounds like you have another problem as well, since air and tank water was flowing *backwards* into your DIY system.

Make sure both check valves are installed in the proper direction. There's usually an arrow on the case, and it should be pointing in the intended direction of gas flow (away from the yeast bottles). If they're both correct, you probably have a leak.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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It's not a regular air pump. The pump is in the tank and usually there is a tube that connects to it that just sticks out into the air. I connected that tube to the co2 setup instead so there is actually no air involved at all. I'm using it because it makes much smaller bubbles than a typical airstone.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 01:54 AM
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Venturi port????
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 02:07 AM
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On second look, Jone might be right.

That Hydor may actually be a powerhead with a venturi port, rather than a typical air pump. In which case it would be OK to use. If so, it will create water movement and blow bubbles around.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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Ok...I just went and bought some more check valves. There are now valves between the two liters and the T connector, between the T connector and the water bottle/bubble counter, and between the bubble counter and the pump. No water is siphoning anywhere lol. I don't know yet if there will co2 leaks since my bottle isn't generating anything yet, but it's a start. I have no idea what a Venturi port is but I'll google it lol.


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 03:02 AM
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One way to check for leaks is:

1) Empty all the bottles.
2) Plug or clamp off the final output line, that would normally run to the aquarium.
3) Throw the whole thing in the bathtub with water, then submerse each of the junctions in turn while squeezing on the attached bottles. If there's a leak, you'll see bubbles.

Easier to check this way in my opinion, than once you've a three-bottle system with so many connections all up and running. My first couple of attempts at DIY had leaks.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
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Googled the venturi thing, and I guess the hydor pumps do use venturi.

The 2 liter is starting to make co2! I only have one on the 2 liters filled right now and I'm getting 1 bubble every 5 seconds. Do you think it's safe to say I don't have any leaks if I'm getting that much off of 1 2l that just started?


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 10:41 AM
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Can't say for sure unless you test it somehow. I never tested for any co2 leaks, but I zip tied all my airline connections so I wasn't worried.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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I'm now getting 1 bubble every 2 seconds from 1 2l and lots of little bubbles coming out of the hydor. I have the hydor below the filter output so the bubbles get caught in the current and pushed back down. I think this might actually work out pretty well, but there is no change in my drop checker or ph yet, so we'll see.


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 05:20 PM
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I found that if your DIY co2 leaks at all it will not work at the tank end... I used silicone first and that only lasted a week or so then leaked... Then I used hot glue and 5 min. epoxy over that and it holds great now.. I ran mine thru the (sump pump)type filter and it worked great but made a lot of noise and it drove me crazy so I went to a diffuser.. Not as efficient but it works fine.
Sounds like your good to go..............>
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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I hope I don't have any leaks. There is definitely a lot of bubbles going in the tank. I'll give it some time, and if I'm still not seeing a difference in pH, then I'll do DarkCobra's leak test. And if I have a leak, I'll try your sealing method. Thanks!


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 06:25 PM
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5 minute epoxy will fix anything in my book.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-14-2012, 07:10 PM
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You should never connect a DIY CO2 line to anything that produces suction on the line. That will tend to collapse the CO2 bottles, enough to allow the yeast/water mix or the bubble counter liquid to be sucked into the tank. If you stick the CO2 line to a hole in the inlet area of the powerhead it will usually not create suction, but the bubbles will go through the powerhead rotor and be chopped up into fine bubbles. However each CO2 bubble will make a loud noise as the powerhead chops it up. Eventually that noise will bother you.

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