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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been experimenting a bit more with my DIY CO2 set up. My previous tank went south after I forgot to change my yeasties. I was using a standard nano diffuser, but had some trouble getting it to work, and went to an air stone, which really wasn't getting the job done.

But I think now I've stumbled on a set up that works well for me on my 15 gallon. I've upped to two CO2 yeast generators, but I think I'm eventually going to up it to four. I put my diffuser back on. And, here's the key: I seriously changed the recipe.

I have fairly good and soft tap water, so I just use tap water. I don't dechlorate it. I use 2 cups of sugar per 2 liter bottle. I use no baking soda or baking powder, or any of that jazz. I add a little something extra: Could be a bit of juice, some old coffee, or whatever I have laying around. And then (because I also like to make wine as a hobby) I add a specific kind of wine yeast, Lalvin K1V -1116. As a final ingredient, I add a pinch of what wine makers call "yeast nutrient". Both of these can be purchased from a wine supply shop for about 3 bucks total.

So why wine yeast? Because when making wine, the slower it ferments, the better the wine tastes. So wine yeast has been selectively developed for it's slow fermentation characteristics. For this reason, your CO2 will generate a continuous flow of CO2 for a long time before you need to change it. Mine has been going on for 4 weeks now, and the flow has been steady, and hasn't changed. My plants, which were really devestated, have been coming back and are showing plenty of healthy new growth.

The other benefit of wine yeast...HIGH alcohol tolerance. That's right. When making your own DIY CO2 the yeast eventually die from alcohol toxicity. Fast acting yeasts or bread yeasts tend to die out before 9% alcohol is reached. This Lalvin strain will survive in environments as high as 18%.

So you don't want to be spending a buck extra on wine yeast? Well no problem. Because wine yeasts are tough little buggers, and this strain is particularly tough. When you go to make a new batch of liquid for your CO2, stir up your old mixture, save about a cup of it to put in your new batch, and you should get new fermentation without adding any extra yeast. Wine makers have been using a similar technique for centuries.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Also, did you realize at the end you can decant off the liquid, add sugar and water and just go. No need to keep buying wine yeast packets?

The "yeast cake" is alive and well down there.
Yep, you can. Although the bottom "yeast cake" (it's called "lees" in the wine making) can start to rot and cause some funkyness. Might screw up some fermentation. That's why I like to empty about two thirds of the bottle, shake the bejesus out of the two liter to stir up the lees, and set a cup or so of it aside to add to my new batch. You'll only need to buy 1 packet one time if you do this.

By the way...in case anyone is wondering, 1 packet is good for 5 US gallons. I don't know off the top of my head how that divides up into 2 liter bottles, but I'm guessing that should be good for about 6-8 of 'em.
 

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I just put a whole packet in my 1 gallon/3.5 liter jugs with 3 cups of sugar. That phosphorus yeast nutrient is the key. Even fungus needs more than just pure carbs.
 

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+1 on OverStocked.

I bought one packet of champagne yeast (yep, I'm preaching again!) last year and it was enough for four 2L bottles. They're all still going strong on the same yeast. Just decant the putrid juice and add sugar and fresh dechlorinated water and bam, good to go.

Also tend to believe the yeast get stronger as time goes on because I have better CO2 output now than I did even six months ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
+1 on OverStocked.

I bought one packet of champagne yeast (yep, I'm preaching again!) last year and it was enough for four 2L bottles. They're all still going strong on the same yeast. Just decant the putrid juice and add sugar and fresh dechlorinated water and bam, good to go.

Also tend to believe the yeast get stronger as time goes on because I have better CO2 output now than I did even six months ago.
You're probably right. Over time they adjust to thrive in that environment. It's evolution on a micro scale. :)
 
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