grape jelly DIY co2 experiment - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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grape jelly DIY co2 experiment

3 1/2 months ago I setup a 75gal planted tank. Being strapped on cash for the project, I decided to do the DIY co2 thing for a while to save up for a pressurized system. I finally got the funds together last week and ordered my pressurized co2 rig, but I wanted to share my success with my DIY setup.

I work with a home brewer who has been brewing beer and wine for a lot of years. I was talking with him about this setup and I explained what I was doing. When I mentioned that the DIY rig would only last about a month and need to be redone, he asked why I would dump out the "juice" and restart from scratch. He said that just adding more food (sugar) should start the whole yeast reaction up again.

So I setup a typical DIY 2 liter rig with (2) 2 liter bottles for generators and (1) 2 liter as the check valve of sorts. Instead of using straight up sugar though, I bought a ginormous jar of grape jelly from the supermarket for $1.97. I started the concoction off with around 8 teaspoons of grape jelly. This initial mix lasted about 30 days at 2-3 bbs of co2 production. When it started to taper off after 30 days, instead of dumping it off, I just started adding 4-8 teaspoons of jelly every Sunday with a water change.

It's going on 4 months now of constant co2 production and it actually seems to be producing more co2 now than it did in the first 30 days. Whats also interesting is that the mix looks and smells like wine. I did taste a swig (much to my wife's dismay) and it actually tasted pretty good.

This was just regular red star bakers yeast to start the mix off. I used one packet for both 2 liters and disolved it in luke warm water.

Just thought I'd share. I haven't seen much on using grape jelly on the forums. It certainly was economical and I'm almost tempted to keep it running to see how long it will last. It definetly has a high alchohol content at this point and that obviously hasn't killed the yeast off, which is what I had read. But then if you think about naturally carbonated beverages, they don't stop producing co2 even when the alchohol content is high.

The pic below was about 2 weeks after setup. I have 16 neon tetras, 7 pristella tetras, 4 cories and 2 siamese algae eaters. I have to admit that I had a fish die about a week ago from unknown causes and the growth is so thick in this tank that I didn't see him. It fouled the water and I got a bad green water outbreak that I've almost got licked now.


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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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I'm almost embarrassed to post this. LOL. I added the UV sterilizer and have been doing 2 wc a week to fix the green water issue. I also added the hornwort and duckweed to help soak up the nitrates/excess nutrients. Once the water issue is fixed I plan to trim everything back and add some new plants.

It's a simple mass of plants right now. Java moss, java fern, corkscrew vals, amazon sword in the back, wisteria and algae.

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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 11:09 PM
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Amazing CO2 DIY!

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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 12:49 AM
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wow i've looked into diy Co2 and have never come up with anything that lasts 4 months! wow


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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 07:44 PM
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Jeeesus, you actually tasted that stuff??!!

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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 09:01 PM
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I dunno...
If it's tasty and has "the desired effect" that's just another reason to go the grape jelly route

I've switched to a wine yeast, but am still using dissolved sugar. I've been topping off the sugar level once a week with pretty stable results.

Thanks for the idea!

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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 09:42 PM
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pretty cool, i'll give it a shot, thanks for sharing the idea!
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 10:51 PM
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how much water did you dissolve the yeast in, and did you use the 8tsp of jelly per bottle?

Also If you keep adding more jelly to the bottle every week, won't the bottle fill up eventually or does it compact somehow?

This is really intresting stuff, do you think it would work with other types of jellies as well?

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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-29-2008, 11:45 PM
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Have you tried adding any protein powder for the yeast to eat like Tara Nyberg suggests?

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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by die2win View Post
Jeeesus, you actually tasted that stuff??!!
Nothin wrong with it. Just water, yeast and jelly. Tastes like cheap wine.

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how much water did you dissolve the yeast in, and did you use the 8tsp of jelly per bottle?


Also If you keep adding more jelly to the bottle every week, won't the bottle fill up eventually or does it compact somehow?

This is really intresting stuff, do you think it would work with other types of jellies as well?
I dissolved the yeast in about 1/4 cup warm water per 2 liter. Yes, 8 tsp per 2 liter.

I haven't noticed too much of an increase in volume. I have the 2 liters about 3/4 full. Last week I did dump off about 1/2 a cup out of each bottle and added back about 1/2 cup fresh water. Biggest point here is that the yeast are still kickin it after 3-4 months of active duty even with a pretty potent alcohol content.

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Have you tried adding any protein powder for the yeast to eat like Tara Nyberg suggests?
Nope. My brewer friend did suggest adding salt if I get really wicked explosions of production to slow things down, but it's really been very stable, so I haven't added anything to it. I thought about adding some sort of complex sugar, but the jelly seems to really do the trick. It must take them a while to work through it. I'm also using natural jelly. It's from 100% juice. Welches. I don't know if the natural fruit sugars are any more difficult for the yeast to process or what.

I finally got the water crystal clear. I'll take pics in a little bit.
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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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"a little bit" turned into a few days. Figured I'd share a few more pics of this rig. I also tried to get some shots of the stand which is a DIY masterpiece in itself . I picked up the stand at the local goodwill store for $15. It's actually a dresser and I knew I should've taken pictures of it before I reworked it. It was white washed, and lived in a smokers house, so it was really kind of brownish white. It had some really nasty 70's style pulls on it too. So I stripped it down and turned the 3 drawers on the left into 1 door to house the filter equip. My co2 stuff should be here tomorrow! YEAH. Anyway, I repainted it black and used wax to seal. Added new modern hardware and BAM. You got yourself an $80 custom stand that I like better than anything I could've bought. It's slightly wider than the 75, but that actually turned out to be a good thing. It gives little "shelves" on the sides that I can put little buckets or scissors etc on.

I yanked the hornwort out and I really need to trim this. This gives an idea of 3-4 months of runtime on the DIY grape jelly co2.







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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 02:45 PM
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so the yeast, 8 spoons of jelly.
How much water did you add?

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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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so the yeast, 8 spoons of jelly.
How much water did you add?
filled each 2 liter about 3/4 full with water.
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-04-2008, 07:06 PM
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so the co2 output on my 5g was slowing down yesterday, thought i would try a little raspberry jam. looks like it's working like a charm so far, strong and steady stream of bubbles today! we'll see how long it extends the cycle or how long i can extend it with jam . thanks for the idea!
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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 05:50 AM
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This is an awesome idea!
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