CO2 for the non-mechanically-minded - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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CO2 for the non-mechanically-minded

I'm kinda freaking out here over the need for CO2 in my tank. My Blyxa japonica is melting like crazy and everything I'm finding says it will do better with CO2 so I really want to get something set up pronto but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I just don't have much time for "projects" (my toddler is underfoot all but a few hours a day), and as far as I can tell setting up a DIY yeast system is going to require visiting a half dozen stores and doing lots of trial-and-error. I don't know whether to use a check valve or not, where to find a check valve, whether to set up a second container as an inline bubble counter. Should I find the bulkhead fitting suggested on this site or get aquarium sealant? Soda bottle or juice bottle?

Sorry for sounding like such a noob, but I'm about to just fork out for one of the $40 systems like the Hagen one, except that it just feels like a waste of $40.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 10:13 PM
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1) What sized tank do you have?
2) What type (PC, MH, T5HO, etc...) and how much lighting do you have (watts)?
3) What plants do you have or want to keep?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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5.5 gallon aquarium. 27 watt compact flourescent full-spectrum lamp. So far there's Rotala indica, Blyxa japonica, flame moss, Anubias barteri 'nana petite', Hygrophila difformis. I'd like to add Pogostemon helferi and maybe some Glosso carpet in the future. I've got Seachem NPK and Flourish and am still ironing out a dosing schedule.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 10:44 PM
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Seachem NPK? Meaning Excel?

You can setup a DIY CO2 setup fairly easily with many things you have around the home.

1) 2L bottle
2) Yeast (champagne yeast ordered online would be best)
3) Airline tubing from any of your existing aquarium setups
4) Drill/drill bit. A hot nail may or may not work.
5) Check valve. I can mail you one for a few bucks if you want, Rex Grigg also sells them, you can use the plastic ones too, but brass/metal is always better.
6) An additional bottle if you want a gas separator/bubble counter

The bottles you may probably have at home, same with the airline tubing. You'll only need to find the yeast and the metal check valve online.

Instead of the bulkhead fitting, use a drill bit if you can and drill a hole in the cap of the 2L bottle. Make sure the hole is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of your airline tubing. Once you do that, you can cut one of the airline tubing so that it has a point/angle to it. Thread it through the top of the cap and pull with a pair of pliers or something. That should give you a good seal by itself.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfish View Post
Seachem NPK? Meaning Excel?
No, their Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium products.

Quote:
1) 2L bottle
2) Yeast (champagne yeast ordered online would be best)
3) Airline tubing from any of your existing aquarium setups
4) Drill/drill bit. A hot nail may or may not work.
5) Check valve. I can mail you one for a few bucks if you want, Rex Grigg also sells them, you can use the plastic ones too, but brass/metal is always better.
6) An additional bottle if you want a gas separator/bubble counter
See, I don't have any of that stuff except bread yeast. I do know where to find it all (including a brew shop for champagne yeast) except for the check valve. Thanks for the offer to mail one, but what kind of vendor might have it locally? I'm in a pretty big metro area.

Quote:
Instead of the bulkhead fitting, use a drill bit if you can and drill a hole in the cap of the 2L bottle. Make sure the hole is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of your airline tubing. Once you do that, you can cut one of the airline tubing so that it has a point/angle to it. Thread it through the top of the cap and pull with a pair of pliers or something. That should give you a good seal by itself.
Seriously? Not even silicone? I guess a little CO2 escape isn't a big deal, and that would certainly be the easy way to go.

OK, *deep breath* maybe tomorrow!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 11:36 PM
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Maybe this link will help you out some.
http://fish.cecolts.com/pics/co2.html
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-22-2008, 11:41 PM
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I use bread yeast all the time. Keep it in the frig. It will be viable longer once it's opened. I drilled a hole in my bottle cap. I drilled it smaller than my check valve end. I got it at Petsmart - plastic. The check valve has a graduated end. I stick that in the hole (no glue) tightly and hook the air tubing up to the other end. Works great. I have DYI on a 29g and my 10g shrimp tank. In my shrimp tank I just use a wooded skewer broken off. Px of it is in thread below Post #89 It works great and is CHEAP. If it plugs I just break off another skewer and stick it into the hole.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...reactor-9.html

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by msc View Post
Maybe this link will help you out some.
http://fish.cecolts.com/pics/co2.html
Oh, yay, visuals are very helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
I use bread yeast all the time. Keep it in the frig. It will be viable longer once it's opened. I drilled a hole in my bottle cap. I drilled it smaller than my check valve end. I got it at Petsmart - plastic. The check valve has a graduated end. I stick that in the hole (no glue) tightly and hook the air tubing up to the other end. Works great. I have DYI on a 29g and my 10g shrimp tank. In my shrimp tank I just use a wooded skewer broken off. Px of it is in thread below Post #89 It works great and is CHEAP. If it plugs I just break off another skewer and stick it into the hole.
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...reactor-9.html
Mm, sounds simple. I bet I can start this way and then upgrade to bubble counters and brass valves down the road! Thanks!

Oh, hey, I've read about feeding the CO2 into the intake of the power filter. Does the skewer method produce bubbles that are going into the intake, or should they be aimed toward the outflow (to be kicked across the tank?)
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msc View Post
Maybe this link will help you out some.
http://fish.cecolts.com/pics/co2.html
Perfect! That's the link I couldn't find.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sunnyday View Post
Oh, yay, visuals are very helpful.



Mm, sounds simple. I bet I can start this way and then upgrade to bubble counters and brass valves down the road! Thanks!

Oh, hey, I've read about feeding the CO2 into the intake of the power filter. Does the skewer method produce bubbles that are going into the intake, or should they be aimed toward the outflow (to be kicked across the tank?)
Intake works better IMO. Unless they're already tiny bubbles.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-23-2008, 08:08 AM
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tex gal suggested just poking the line through the hole in the cap and sticking a check valve up the other side to create a seal by pressing outside of the tubing against the hole, by dialating the inside. in the past i have done the same, only i used no check valve, i just cut off and pressed in the plastic fitting from an airstone, works great, no need for silicone/wating for anything to dry.
i used no check valve at all. it is an optional safety mechanism so that the tank doesnt drain out on your floor if a syphon starts somehow in the line and you happen to fall asleep while switching out the bottles.
not necessary in my opinion as long as you are careful.

so it can be easily made from things you already have around your house, all that is needed is
yeast
sugar,
2L bottle
drill and ariline.

some have used a small section of a chopstick as a diffuser and this seems to work much better than any others, and is better than feeding it into the filter intake because you wont be hearing it everytime a bubble hits the impeller.

the chopstick produces tiny bubbles.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Gah! I accidentally drilled the hole to exactly the diameter of the tubing. I guess now I do need to get some sealant or a fitting. Unless someone tells me that epoxy would work? That's about the only appropriate thing I have on had...Poobum.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by DiscusIt'sWhats4DinneR View Post
i used no check valve at all. it is an optional safety mechanism so that the tank doesnt drain out on your floor if a syphon starts somehow in the line and you happen to fall asleep while switching out the bottles.
not necessary in my opinion as long as you are careful.
I disagree. Even if you're careful, people do make mistakes. And a check valve is a $2 piece of equipment to give you piece of mind that you won't come back from a long, stressful day at work to find 30 gallons of water all over the new hardwood floor you spent three painstaking months putting in by yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyday View Post
Gah! I accidentally drilled the hole to exactly the diameter of the tubing. I guess now I do need to get some sealant or a fitting. Unless someone tells me that epoxy would work? That's about the only appropriate thing I have on had...Poobum.
Drill a new cap. You'll get a better seal with that a smaller hole than silicone/epoxy.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 01:05 AM
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sunny, you can easily set up a DIY Co2 tank that will be plenty sufficient for your 5.5 gallon without any trouble.

You don't even need a drill, I actually just used scissors and bore a small hole through the cap. It's worked for 12 months without any problem. Ideally you should use a drill of course, which it sounds like you have. Cut the tubing at an angle to give it a "sharp" edge, and PULL it through the cap with pliers once you get the smaller hole drilled.

The remaining items are all household items: sugar and yeast

I agree with Epicfish though...just stop by Petsmart, Petco, or even Walmart and buy a cheap plastic check valve. I have an "Uncle Lee's" or some stupidly named plastic check valve and for nearly a year it's been in use with no leakage, cracking, or discoloration.

It's a good buy since the water you use is initially warm, which will cool. The air will compress and begin to suck water from the aquarium into the sugar-yeast solution. It will grow bacteria which you don't want or need.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reassurance. I did grab the check valve at Petco when I got the airline tubing. I guess I'll just have to buy a new bottle of juice, then search through hubby's tools more thoroughly to find a drill bit between the two sizes I used today. ("Hm, this hole is way too small to squeeze the tubing into...ah, here's a bigger bit. D'oh!")
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