DIY CO2 not working....HELP! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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DIY CO2 not working....HELP!

I have a 6 gallon, so i figured that i would use one 16 ounce water bottle for my CO2 generator, to a needle valve, leading into another 16 ounce bottle as a bubble counter, then to my tank. I'm using fresh Champagne yeast from my local brewery.

For some reason my bottle produces a tiny bit of CO2 (maybe 20 bubbles) and then stops. I have about 1 1/2 inches of free air inside the CO2 generator...is that maybe the cause of the problem? do i need a bigger chamber to allow a larger volume of gas to accumulate before i release it into my tank via the needle valve? I wanted to avoid using a 2 litre bottle because it would be taller than my tank (ugly)! Any ideas guys? Do i just need a larger empty volume for more gas to accumulate?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 12:45 PM
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A needle valve is not normally used with a DIY system. Try removing the needle valve.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 01:15 PM
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Be careful using a needle valve on a DIY CO2 setup - cylinders are capable of handling the extra pressure, but generally juice bottles and water bottles aren't so resilient.

Also, what recipe are you using? Sometimes if you have lots of yeast and not enough sugar then the yeast will quickly use up all the food. If you have too much sugar and not enough yeast then the yeast will last longer, but not produce as much gas. When yeast "eats" sugar, alcohol is a byproduct (just like when making champaign), and alcohol is very acidic, which will actually kill the yeast. What some people do and what I've had good success with is to add a pinch of baking soda to buffer against the acid, then the yeast last a bit longer. I also add 1-2 tsp of protein drink mix, which gives the yeast more of a "balanced diet". With this setup, it bubbles very strongly for a good 3-4 weeks. I don't generally add more yeast when I change it either, I just use the sludge from the bottom.

Temperature could also be an issue. 75F produces very good bubbling for me, and warmer temps tend to stimulate yeast into producing faster (to a point, hot water kills yeast).


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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hm...no needle valve huh? i was using about 2/3 cup sugar, warm water up to the part where the bottle starts to bend, and a few pinches of yeast. this is for a 16 oz water bottles. should i still keep the second bottle as a bubble counter if i take off the needle valve, since i wont be able to control it anyways? and could it possibly be holding back my CO2?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:27 PM
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try using it without yeast.
and i would still use the second bottle.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:28 PM
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I doubt the second bottle is restricting the CO2.
Keep it for the following reasons:
1) lets you know when your yeast solution needs to be re-done.
2) acts as a gunk collector if any liquids or slime gets into the airline tubing, and stops it from getting into the tank.


Just make sure that the flow is unrestricted.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:31 PM
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I'd keep the second bottle - it is like insurance. If your DIY mix tips or foams up it will spill into there before it goes into your tank, so keep it around!

Your hoses could be gunked up with sugar crust, just check to make sure everything is clean and clear.

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try using it without yeast.
MiSo - how will it produce CO2 without yeast?


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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i feel kind of scared to just let this CO2 bottle start rippin away without somekind of control valve on it...well i will give it a shot right now and hopefully everything works out ok!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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one more thing...how long should it take before i start seeing bubbles after i mix the solution and hook it up?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:41 PM
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How do you dissolve the CO2? If you use a reactor, you could put it on a timer and have it shut off periodically. If the CO2 is just allowed to bubble in then hardly any gets dissolved, so having the reactor on a timer will essentially shut down the DIY CO2. If you run it into a powerhead, you could also do the same for that. I'm guessing in a 6 gallon tank you don't have a reactor, so another thing you could do is add an airstone on a timer. The airstone will outgas the CO2 if you're worried about it.

Honestly, I highly doubt that a DIY CO2 setup will OD CO2, even on that small of a tank. I wouldn't worry too much about it!


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:42 PM
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It should bubble within 24 hours, if not sooner.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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ahhh so its not going to start bubbling right away....
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 07:31 PM
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Here's a link to a yeast method that involves adding protein powder and a somewhat unique recipe:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...o2-method.html

You can find the original article on the AGA's website (link is in the thread posted above)-- although it opens as a powerpoint presentation so you will need PP to read it.

I've had the best luck with this recipe-- it produces more co2 for longer than anything else I tried.

On your setup, you could have a couple of other problems that no one has mentioned yet. Are you using airline tubing or co2 resistant tubing? If you're using regular tubing, then the gas may be escaping before or after it enters that second bottle. How much tubing are you using? The further the distance between the place that produces the co2 and where it enters you tank, the greater the likelihood that some or all of it will escape.

On yeast-- fresh yeast works differently than dry yeast, but I'm not entirely sure how. I know that my breadbaking books all specifically call for dried yeast, not fresh. I haven't seen anyone using fresh yeast in DIY recipes. I've had the best luck with dry champayne (sp?) yeast, compared to dry bread yeast. YMMV.

Finally, are you sure that your DIY system doesn't have any leaks in it? And it may be that you need to shop for a shorter juice bottle to serve as your co2 generator. Personally, I think that the Hagen units are much less hassle than rigging up a DIY system, and they have worked great for me.

In your shoes, I'd get the hagen unit. It comes with a setup that you can hang on the back of your tank, co2 resistant tubing, and a ladder diffuser. Spend $20 and I suspect you'll be much happier with your DIY system (don't use those packets, use the nyberg recipe, scaled down for the hagen unit. By Hagen unit, I mean this:

http://www.aquariumguys.com/nutrafinco2.html

HTH,
Karla
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiSo
try using it without yeast.
Huh? What will that do? I will answer that for you, nothing.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2006, 07:49 PM
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Maybe they meant not to add more yeast when restarting, just use the gunk from the old batch? That'd work...

Otherwise, I've got no clue.


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