CO2 - The Madhatter's DIY - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 - The Madhatter's DIY

When I was introduced to the EI system while browsing the net, it intrigued me and I researched the possibility to go CO2 and tried to decide which of my tanks would be best suited for the experiment. My ‘Incomparable’, a 6’ x 3’ x 2’ with sun light pouring in from the top for 4 hours a day was the best suited for the experiment, for if I was successful I would have the space to get new plants and multiply them.

Next came the decision was I going to go pressurized or DIY. Going pressurized means a goodly investment for a system which you might not like to continue with. DIY was a much economical system which I could build for myself. So some more research and asking around, the general advice was that DIY system was unsuitable for large aquariums and you could not store the CO2 generated at night. I have never been a good recipient for safe advice, something which has led me into a lot of trouble but has also rewarded me with lot of unusual experiences and untrammeled paths. So decided to go DIY.

The first hurdle was very easily overcome – steady CO2 production in large enough quantity. 3 forty L HDP jerry cans made up the CO2 generator house in tank of its own and submerged in water kept at 30 C with a heater, helped by a polystyrene foam jacket around the tank and a top fashioned out of left-over ply-boards. Each of the jerry can has its own flow valve to cut it out from the system when it is being recharged. The recharging takes place without removing the jerry can from the tank. The slurry is siphoned out, water hosed in for the wash, siphoned again, fresh mix siphoned in and recapped.

The night storage too became quite simple – a 20 L HDP jerry can laid sideways and with some bricks on top of it fitted to the delivery pipe before the bubble counter which has a flow valve to control the rate of flow and to stop the gas at night. To stop the generators from ballooning I used three 2” wide nylon belts around their body. The 20 L is allowed to balloon and ends up concave in the evening that’s how it should be when I am stopping the CO2.

The system was commissioned on 15 March 2007 and I am so satisfied with it that I have altogether decided never to go pressurized. All I wish to do now is to add a solenoid to the system to make the flow automatic with the light timer. I also desire to add a pressure meter and also a pressure switch accentuated safety valve.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by essabee View Post
The system was commissioned on 15 March 2007 and I am so satisfied with it that I have altogether decided never to go pressurized. All I wish to do now is to add a solenoid to the system to make the flow automatic with the light timer. I also desire to add a pressure meter and also a pressure switch accentuated safety valve.
Thats a pretty interesting concept and execution. Is the pressure switch accentuated safety valve to compensate for the possible pressure buildup from the previous night?

The other questions are:

What about the varying pressure on the system? Would there be a problem with getting a consistant flow rate? What if the flow rate is less than the pressure build up over time?

The whole thing is pretty cool. I would also be intested if you tracked expenses for this. I would be curious to see what the cost comparison is.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
Thats a pretty interesting concept and execution. Is the pressure switch accentuated safety valve to compensate for the possible pressure buildup from the previous night?

The other questions are:

What about the varying pressure on the system? Would there be a problem with getting a consistant flow rate? What if the flow rate is less than the pressure build up over time?

The whole thing is pretty cool. I would also be intested if you tracked expenses for this. I would be curious to see what the cost comparison is.
Every system would have a limit of pressure it can handle. The pressure builds up at night when the system is unmonitored. A pressure accentuated solenoid to release the CO2 at a certain pressure would make the system explosion proof. This would also take care of unused CO2.
I am working on a system which separates the pressure at storage and a lower pressure at delivery section which would allow easier control of the flow.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 11:14 PM
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Dude, thats is so awesome. You are my hero. I am trying to do pressurized but I am having second thoughts. How many gallons is your tank, how much ppm of co2 do you have, and how do you inject?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-14-2007, 11:32 PM
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That brick solution is pretty ingenious.

At some point you have to consider low startup cost vs maintenance and ongoing cost. How much sugar does the whole system eat?

If you have the time, space, and get yeast and sugar relatively cheap... not a bad solution.

I used to feed my 100gal tank with DIY CO2, but once you go pressurized, there is no turning back. Refilling the CO2 tank once a year is a bit more convenient than the weekly slush sucking routine.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-15-2007, 02:12 AM
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Yea, i'm not trying to rain on the parade or anything, but don't you think this is kind of unpractical?
I mean it takes up as much space as a large co2 tank and more, and the cans had to cost a bit?

cost vs. practicality would be the best thing to look at right now.

A pressurized system runs about 200$ total, and maintenence beyond initial setup is negligable, refillling the tank annually, and measuring co2 levels.

I've always left diy co2 running at night, just pull the tube out of the tank at night.
I got tired of Diy'ing altogether, and started using excel.

-Devin-
Steve irwin- a father, a hero, a memory now. -We'll miss you mate
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-17-2007, 06:26 AM
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This is as brilliant as it is impractical, and I love it! it is so mad-scientist!

This sort of against-the-flow innovation is what makes me love the multifaceted nature of this hobby.

Keep up your tinkering essabee... if you can build it, there's no reason you shouldn't.

-Jared
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