DIY co2 questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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DIY co2 questions

I am getting ready to start with diy co2. I have been reading posts here stating that diy co2 is fine for low tech but nothing more. So does anyone here run two or more diy co2 setups in the same tank? Would it make a dent for someone wanting to do even medium light plants? What percentage of pressurized co2 does diy co2 amount to? Thank you.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 01:11 PM
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No CO2 is better than inconsistent (DIY) CO2.

Inconsistent CO2 is okay for low light / low tech because growth is slower and less light means less change of large issues quickly coming about.

Increase the lighting... increase the changes of issues popping up fast. Plants "set" their inner metabolism to utilize a certain ppm of CO2... mess with the CO2 concentrations regularly (DIY CO2) in a higher growth situation = bad.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I did not know that. I always thought there was a decent amount of variability in co2 in rivers, streams, etc. Clearly I still have a lot to learn. Thank you.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 04:31 PM
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I would say that a little CO2 is better than none, and I think the risks of inconsistent CO2 are overblown in low-medium energy tanks.

DIY CO2 is a good fit for low-medium light tanks. I've only run one bottle (yeast) on a tank at a time, which I replace about twice a month.

With DIY CO2 you lose controllability - can't turn it off at night, can't fine tune the levels of CO2.

So, make sure your lights are controllable to give you something you can tweak to dial in your system. LEDs with a dimmer/controller work well for this - you get fine-grained control of your light levels and you can change the intensity and photoperiod to minimize algae.

Also, make sure that you have movement of your water surface so you don't get an over buildup of CO2 in the first couple days of a new bottle. I know some people turn on an airstone at night to make sure there's movement at the water surface for this reason. I run an aquaclear HOB and when the tank is full, get a nice ripple across the surface that does the job for me.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:41 PM
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DIY co2 questions

My experience with diy co2 is that none was better than inconsistent. It would take a matter of a day or less after the co2 ran out when I would start to see negative effects in my plants, and no matter what I tried I couldnít always predict when it would run out (ambient temperature changes etc. would always affect it a lot). It seemed that once my plants were acclimated to any co2, once that was gone they would start dying in a very short time. If I decided to end the co2 there would be weeks of no growth and die off before they reacclimated themselves. For me it was a constant headache. If you decide to do it, run at least two if not three bottles with staggered startups and use a drop checker so you will notice right away if there is a problem.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 02:06 AM
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You might find this interesting in way they use low dilution rate CO2 bells.


DIY and maintaining high growth rate and saturation donít really go together as stated by others, but in low-med tech it can put in a little extra kick to vibrancy and health of tank.

Hereís a little co2 bell I fashioned out of stainless mesh for a little 2 gal. Mesh allows more co2 to water contact area, it really doesnít take much pressure or much output to do a bell since itís only a few inches under water.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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This is some great stuff! I am still on the fence though I am leaning toward trying it. I am pretty sure my beamswork da 6500k only counts as medium light so it sounds as if this may work. I hope one day to have pressurized co2. As expensive as it is though and being that I am currently unemployed due to health issues I am either going to have to go with diy or none at all. I am hoping to get some plants with reds, oranges, even yellows as long as they are healthy yellows as well as different shades of green. I realize that might be too much to ask with diy co2 assuming I can keep it just regular enough to not have issues. Thank you all for the info and advice.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:39 PM
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My advice is to do a bit more more research. Read more. Use the search function here on the forum more. If you have these basic questions, you need to put in more effort to understand what you're attempting.

That aside, if you go the DIY route? Use a higher quality brewer's yeast instead of the stuff you can buy at your grocery store. I ran DIY setups for years using brewer's yeast and they were always relatively consistent on smaller tanks. As long as I kept the bottle fed with sugar, I'd get 60-90 days of use.

You can't turn it off but you can limit it at night by placing an air stone on a timer directly beneath the CO2 outlet in the tank. Have it come on when your lights turn off and it'll help off-gas the CO2.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:59 PM
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I ran 2 DIY CO2 bottles per planted tank for years.

They were medium+ lighted tanks and I had good enough growth that I sold clippings to a LFS that gave me credit for supplies (5 tanks became 14!).

My recipe seemed to last about 6-7 weeks, so I replaced (restarted) one of the two every 3 weeks. That way I had a 'new' one starting when the 'old' one was in its wind-down period.

It seemed to keep things fairly consistent and never had an algae issue when I ran two on each tank. If I did one, it was hit-miss if I could keep thinks stable.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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I agree with doing more research. I have been using the search function here but I wanted to get a relatively recent opinion on diy co2 if that makes sense. I appreciate the help everyone.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Well I took the advice of Somewhatshocked and did a ton more research. I am going to start out with DIY but I am going to save for a pressurized setup buying one component at a time and not going real cheap. I know that it will take me 6 months to a year to get a pressurized system going. I am going to use champagne yeast for the DIY CO2. That seems to be the best yeast to use as it is much more tolerant of the alcohol so it lasts longer and is more consistent. I am really glad this resource is here (plantedtank.net) and that there are so many knowledgeable people here who paved the way and continue to blaze the trail for those of us that need to be taught. I had started a 55 in 2018 which is when I joined plantedtank.net. I even have a journal for that tank but it leaked within a month or so of it being set up. I gave up on the idea for quite a while but I decided to get back on the horse. I also love the dimensions of the 45. The tank looks much larger than it is. At any rate I want to thank everyone here that has helped me learn. I have plenty more to learn though so if anyone sees that I need constructive criticism please share those thoughts too.
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