DIY CO2 Questions (hardness and reusing yeast) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 Questions (hardness and reusing yeast)

Hi, I am planning on setting up a couple of DIY CO2 coke bottles for my 170 litre tank and have a couple of questions first. Just checked my water hardness and the kH is only 2. What exactly do I add and how do I find out how much to add?
I am in New Zealand by the way, and am not sure if I can get a drop checker here lol. Not to mention I am doing this on a student budget, but that aside...

Second question relates to reusing yeast. Been talking with my beer brewing mate (haha) and he believes it should be possible that instead of changing over an entire bottle each week (adding new yeast, water, sugar etc) It should be possible to empty most of it out, leaving a few cm of the previous concoction, and then top up with more sugar and water. And the yeast that had become inactivated will reactivate etc so the cycle can continue. Would just save buying yeast and I have never seen anyone mention reusing yeast in our NZ fish forums, so thought I'd ask here.

Cheers,
Rozski
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:26 AM
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I know that you can reuse some of the yeast mixture but i dont know the details. I do know that to raise the kh i use 1 1/2 tablespoon of epsom slat, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt for every 15 gallons and that will raise your ph, kh, and gh. this is originally used to buffer a cichlid tank to a ph of 8.2 to or so and you are supposed to use this much for every 5 gallons so i dilute it a little so it doesn't raise the ph too much. Oor you could just use some crushed coral in your canister filter. I think i have seen threads on the reusing of yeast on the forum before so you might try and do a search of the forum. hope that helps
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. And yeah, its a community tank, so not wanting to hit a pH of 8.2 lol
How often do you need to add the buffer mix? Does it stay stable and only need doing after each water change, or more often? Thanks again

Just trawling through old posts, and found someone who reused the sludge in the bottom of their DIY bottles, so sounds reasonable.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 04:52 AM
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Normally a KH of 2 would be just fine depending on the type of fish you have.

But here is a good link for adjusting with Baking Soda.
http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/Ca...&pHChange=0.00

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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I thought you wanted to aim for a KH of 4-6? If the KH is too low, does that not make the tank prone to pH swings?

I have a pair of blue rams, a trio of golden bristlenose, a royal farlowella and plan on getting a decent school or cardinals and perhaps some hatchetts.

Thanks for the link too
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 05:17 AM
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Yes. I don't know much about the fish that you mention, but it is better to find fish that will do well with your water than always trying to change it. Check out the parameters needed for the fish you have/want. If they fit then don't change it. My water is at about 2KH sometimes a little lower. Other times a little higher. Read under water parameters on here and see what most people say. This is a great forum with a lot of good advise.
Welcome by the way.
Also read RexGrigg.com site. He has a world of good advice. Also Tom Barr is probably one of the most knowledgeable. Check out his threads and his site.
But 2KH isn't that bad. Just at the lower end for most fish. Some fish require a special KH/GH. You can do a google search for each fish and go from there.
Sorry I couldn't be more specific to your fish.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 05:32 AM Thread Starter
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Mmmm, mind getting boggled lol (Am doing a lot of reading)

My fish are fine. pH is between 6.5 and 7, so all good in that respect.
The problem is, I want to do DIY CO2, and when I will add CO2 it will drop the pH somewhat. And as far as my understanding goes, its preferable to have a KH of 4 to buffer the water, so you do not get hit with pH swings that will endanger any fish. Its not that I am changing the tank to suit the fish, or that my changes will make it unsuitable for the fish. Its that to do what I would like to do, I need a specific KH to avoid any problems.
Not sure if I am making sense anymore...

I am sure that not everyone who has CO2 had a perfect KH before they set it up. Hence a lot of people have to add bicarbonate to their water. I wanted to know the logistics of that.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 05:46 AM Thread Starter
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That rexgrigg site is fantastic.

Still wondering how often you need to add the baking soda though...
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 06:15 AM
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The only thing that will evaporate out of a tank is pure water, so the only time you'd need to replace any baking soda is when you do PWC (partial water changes) and you'd just have to do the math depending on what % of the water you're changing...





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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Exellent, thank you

Just read a massive thread discussing kh-ph-co2 relation. So many opinions, and leaves me with more questions haha.
Some come to the conclusion that kh doesnt matter anyway, that the pH swing is not the type that bothers fish.
So, if KH doesn't matter, why in the summary of rexs site does it say to not use CO2 if your KH is less than 3?

Also, how then do you read from the kh-ph chart to figure out how much CO2 you have, because if you have such low kh, the chart appears to show that you can't even hit a CO2 level of 15...


These are the things I am trying to get my head around
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 12:38 PM
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Rozski,

Sorry for leaving you hanging last night with so many questions. I was about to fall asleep typing.

Anyway, It has been said that the KH/PH table is not correct relating to C02. You could use it for a reference to see that everything is pretty much stable.
Everyone is either using a Drop Checker which I think you could order from someone on here, Make a DIY one yourself, or do what many people are doing including myself. I do have a drop checker but now I am not using it because I had trouble keeping it on the glass and my regent supply bottle I think went bad because it started staying yellow in the drop checker even after I degassed it.
With DIY C02 on a 45 gallon tank your not going to really keep it stable anyhow and you are probably not going to get it to 30ppm either. Your going to have PH swings do to the fact that it is DIY (yeast).

My KH ranges from 1.12 to 2.8 and I have never had trouble with my fish concerning KH. Unless you have special fish that need a certain KH, I wouldn't worry about it. You need to worry about ammonia, nitrite, & nitrates.

Concerning Co2, what I do and probably most do, is watch the fish, if you see them at the surface gasping for air, your C02 is to high. If your plants are growing well and you don't start having an algae bloom, your C02 is good. You can grow good plants at 10 or 15ppm, but you have less algae problems at 30ppm is the norm for today. I've had my C02 up to 40ppm I know without to much trouble. With DIY C02 you are probably going to end up with maybe 20ppm. If your C02 is stable, your algae will be held at bay. But if your having C02 swings, your algae is going to prosper. Stability is the key.

Its best not to try and catch the dog concerning GH/KH. Try to build your tank around the water type you have and you will not have trouble.

Are you going to dose the E.I. method? Good! Less water tests, saves you money on expensive water test kits. Just change 50% of your water weekly to reset the tank and everything should be just fine.

When I used DIY C02, what I did was have three 2 liter bottles all connected together. I would change one out every week at water change time. This would give me 3 weeks on each bottle. I mixed 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp yeast, and filled the bottle to the shoulder with warm (not hot) water. Shake it up real good. For more stability, stand your bottles up in a water bath with a small aquarium heater. This will help keep it steady. Use a bubble counter. You probably would want maybe 2 bps in your size tank. If you get 1 bps, and it is pretty stable, good. Again, stability is the key. If you get purling, great. You might be able to adjust the bubble rate by adjusting the heater slightly. But don't keep adjusting it. Find what works best for you and your tanks. When you can, you might think about pressurized C02. Rex Grigg designs and builds C02 equipment. They are good ones. I bought mine from him about 2 years ago without any trouble at all.

I tried the baking soda for a while and found that it didn't make any difference at all. So now I just leave my KH alone. Everyone seems happy so I am happy.

Check out my tank spec's below in my Blog if you like.

I hope this helps. Read and Read some more on this forum. You will learn a lot. Check out what many has to say. You will see that everyone has different opinions. Its not a very complicated science unless you have complicated fish. Just have fun and enjoy the rewards that come back to you from your efforts in keeping a nice conversation piece in your home.

Joe

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29 & 50 gallon - High Tech C02 enriched.
50 gallon Pond - Natural.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-27-2008, 05:15 PM
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you just need to replace the mixture when you do water changes which has already been said
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 08:42 AM
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i wouldnt worry about ph swings or the kh buffering your water.

diy co2 simply does not need to be that scientific.



with (2) bottles you probably will never have to worry about making too much co2.



if you do, you will know. fish get lethargic, laying down on the bottom. too much co2 makes them move dizzy and slow. some fish are effected more than others. some might gasp at the top but mine lay on the bottom. ive seen my discus swim on their sides and upside down. i shut off co2, did a water change and ran the air pump and all was well after about an hour.





youve got a buddy thats a homebrewer huh?

the only reason we ferment plain ol sugar and yeast for diy co2 is because it is cheap and easy. anything that you ferment is going to give off co2 while it turns into a very consumable alcohol. i once drank 2 liters of diy mixture after it sat for 4 weeks. its very sugary and probably something you wouldnt want to drink.. (this is why im supposed to go those meetings)



why not knock out 2 birds with one stone? grab some hops and barley and have your buddy give you some lessons in homebrewing and go DIY on some co2 and beer...simultaniously

instead of dumping the stuff just cap the bottle and enjoy later haha just a thought.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-29-2008, 10:49 AM
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for adding sodium bicarbonate, use about 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) for 10 litres of water to raise the KH by 4 degrees. Depending on your source water, this number will vary so I would really recommend a drop counter to check. aquaticeco.com has some good ones. I haven't found any good cheapo ones as of yet. Eventually, buffer breaks down, although it's a pretty slow process. I would think that checking the tank water KH once a month should be sufficient to make sure the KH hasn't dropped too much.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-30-2008, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the help everyone. Sorry I haven't been back to reply before now, been very busy (at uni by 7:30am, and home after 8:30pm, urgh)

I have the bottles, lines etc all ready, just need to actually set it all up, then will give it a go I guess!! Will keep an eye on tank parameters, pH etc to see what happens. And just keep educating myself too. I know what you mean about DIY not providing masses of CO2. And I hope to keep it reasonably stable by using multiple bottles (2-3). Just want to give the plants a boost is all.

Also just looking up what you mean by the "EI method" ... which is apparently more common in America as the dry ferts are easily available to you guys. I'm way down here in lil ole NZ, which btw is not 3rd world , but we don't always have as good access to specialised bits and pieces (need to order from overseas is all, and I'm a poor student lol)

I have some fertilizer that a fellow fishkeeper makes up in bulk for his tank and sells off smaller amounts cheaply to whoever wants some. Too tired to go check exactly whats in it right now tho...

Plants grow nicely as it is, just faster would be cool. If this doesn't pan out, I might cough up for Flourish Excell instead every now and then *shrugs* Just having fun with my first big tank really.

Thanks again for your help (need to come back in the weekend and read all your posts again as I'm too tired for technicalities at the moment!)

Rozski
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