The Planted Tank Forum banner

Diy co2 = fail

3526 Views 15 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  alvagoldbook
So I just set up my first planted tank inside a 15 gallon, and I planted fairly heavily. Being a noob at all this, I've had no success getting CO2 into my tank.

I've worked with yeast before, since I make wine as a hobby, and I'm using Red Star wine yeast. Followed the basic recipe, so I'm pretty sure it's working. I set it up 9 hours ago from this post, and I would expect something to have happened by now.

I'm using a nano glass diffuser and I have one of those blue plastic check values on the bottle. I gorilla glued the hose and cap to the 2 liter bottle, as well as put on a healthy amount of clear silicone around it. I'm not smelling any yeast from the top, so I'm pretty sure I have no leaks.

I have noticed that while blowing through the check value, I have to puff pretty hard.

So I'm beginning to think of moving to some sort of non-DIY system. However, this being a 15 gallon, I don't have a lot of room for extra equipment in my tank. I also don't want to spend a fortune. Any suggestions? If I can't get this going, are my plants going to die?

I've seen this little set up:

Given this is only 15 gallons, will I still go through a ton of co2 cartridges?
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
You can dose Seachem Flourish Excel in replacement of DIY Co2, although over time, it will be expensive going this route. Best bet for long term is to setup a co2 tank system.

They have Paintball Co2 Setup, that is fairly cheap. Under $50 dollars for equipments to make it work.

Then they have the 2lbs and up Standard co2 systems thats more expensive costing a $100+ for a system.
Jagged, any paint ball systems you would recommend? linkys? :bounce:
In my experience, CO2 starts pushing past the check valve fairly quickly (As in an hour or two, albeit slowly at first). You may have a leak somewhere keeping the pressure too low.
I use a ceramic plate now for my DIY co2 yeast mix, but when I fist moved to it from using a bubble ladder I had to make much stronger seals, especially in the bottle cap before going into the co2 chamber (so no yest made it to the tank in case of over flow).

This just sounds like others have stated that there is not enough pressure or a bad seal.
Jagged, any paint ball systems you would recommend? linkys? :bounce:
The ones I make lol. Per rule I can't mention it here. PM me for more information.
I did both glue the cap and put a ton of clear silicone on it, so I'm thinking if there's a leak, it can't be a big one.

However, I think I should note that I'm using a 2.2 liter bottle, and I'm only using 1 bottle, with no gas separator. I'm using Red Star wine yeast, but it is getting close to it's expiration date.

Update: After 42 hours of the DIY yeast going, it is now producing co2 bubbles into my tank, but just barely. I had to turn the filter off temporarily in order to see it. I also noticed that still, I was smelling no yeast at the top of the bottle indicating a decent seal, and the 2 liter bottle plastic had become firmer.

If this is the max rate that I can expect, I would need a 2nd DIY CO2 bottle to T off and put into the tank. I think I'm going to soon switch to the paintball co2 system.
You could try rubbing dish liquid around your seals to see if it blows any bubbles indicating even tiny leaks.
if it took 2 days for your bottle to pressurize...I think your yeast has gone bad/died or you have a bad seal
like mentioned, you a soap water solution to check
DIY CO2 is pretty quick...
regardless...check the sig

everyone goes pressurized eventually

I used a paintball CO2 tank on a 20gal for a while and it lasted several months before I put it on a 10gal and got a 5lb for the 20
Have you tried shaking your bottle to see if it fizzes and pumps out more pressure? You might also try to squeeze the bottle to see if you can make your diffuser bubble good.
I am no expert, but if neither of those work your yeast is probably dead. Also, if you do have a leak the added pressure that shaking / squeezing will create should be enough to make it obvious.
I also had problems with my check valves. You could take the check valve out of the system (temporarily) and see if that makes bubbles out of the diffuser. Opening the system will release all the pressure of course, but I used to just shake the bottle after putting things back together to get the pressure back up.
One question for you....If I am reading your post right, it says you siliconed and glued the cap onto the bottle? How do you plan on remixing your yeast when it dies? Are you just going to start a new bottle? I put silicone on the cap where the tube came out, but found that the cap would seal fine on the threads alone.
IME, one bottle was enough to get things moving through the diffuser. That being said however, I was running three 2L bottles in sequence before I went pressurized.
See less See more
JKcrew, no, I did what you did. I glued and siliconed the cap where the hose comes out. I don't think the yeast is dead, because the bubble rate has increased nicely this morning, but it's still not as much as I was hoping for. My drop checker hasn't even begun to change color yet.

The thing to remember about wine yeast is that it's formulated to do it's thing at a slow consistent rate. Fast fertilization makes for lousy tasting wine, so I'm thinking that it just needed some time to get up and going against the resistance of the check value and glass diffuser.

The liquid soap trick is a wonderful idea! I'll check it later today and report back.
I never used any glue or silicon on the bottle caps; they don't adhere well to the plastic anyway. I used an 11/64 drill bit and took a pair or pliers to pull the air line through. Makes it air tight, never had leak problems.

I also never used check valves on mine. It's not necessary on a DIY IMO. Just make sure you have a "bubble counter" or "scrubber" (as my dad calls it) bottle to make sure no yeast/sugar mix gets in the tank.

For my 10g, I used 3/4 tsp of yeast, 2 cups sugar, and a small pinch of baking soda. Make sure you treat the water you use with a conditioner. I found out if you don't, it still works but not very well. It takes about a day or so to get going, then goes really slowly. I found the baking soda to be beneficial the kH in the water is low. If the kH is high, it seems to work better. At my parents house (a well with 16 kH+), I never used baking soda and had great results. Once we moved, with a kH of 2 I found it was slow until I added a pinch to every bottle.

Also, DIY co2 seems to have a difficult time with those glass diffusers. I had an issue with them, and found that a chopstick works much better. I've also used a powerhead to diffuse co2 and it works great as well.

I liked the DIY co2. It works better than a lot of people give it credit for IMHO. I switched to pressurized only because I couldn't keep the co2 levels high enough in my 29g with DIY.
See less See more
"I have noticed that while blowing through the check value, I have to puff pretty hard."

If the bottle cap is on tight and the tubing is strongly glued to the bottle cap I don't think you have to worry about water coming down the tubing doing anything other than killing the yeast. So you could just remove the check valve and go commando.

So I've noticed that the bubbles coming from the diffuser has been increasing a bit, and increasing slowly. So I gave the 2 liter bottle a gentle shake. Nothing. So I give it another shake that was more of a stir. Immediately, the diffuser started pumping out a metric ton of CO2! Luckily, I'd planned this so that my filter would pour directly above the diffuser, which is spreading tiny CO2 bubbles now all around my tank!

I will say that it seems that DIY CO2 isn't ideal since it doesn't give you consistent results. I'll soon switch over to a paintball system, but for the time being, this is at least working!
Hey, Right On!
Ya, I used to shake the livin' heck out of mine to watch the bubbles fly! Glad you got some results from it finally. In my 46 bf I had two two liter bottles on one diffuser and one two liter bottle going to a second diffuser on the other end of the tank.

MrMoneybags is right, no one regrets going pressurized. Keep an eye out for a good deal.
Just wanted to give everyone a new update. The CO2 is working well, and the plants certainly seem to be happier. I'm beginning to see some good root growth taking hold.

I've been able to estimate the bubbles per second, and it runs anywhere from 1 bubble every 9 seconds to about 4 bubbles per second if I give the yeast a gentle shake. The nice thing is that a nice little reservoir of CO2 has built up in the diffuser before exiting that little disc, so the flow is continual now.

My drop checker hasn't changed a bit though. The liquid in it is yellow, and it hasn't budged into the green territory yet. I'm thinking I might need to use a different solution.

Next step: introduce fishies.
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.