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Old 03-12-2006, 10:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY CO2 Guide with Pictures & Recipes

Overview
DIY CO2 is a matter of taking Yeast and Sugar, and mixing them with water to create a reaction by product of CO2 gas. This works extremely well for 1-30 gallon tanks. For larger aquariums you must use more DIY bottles to increase CO2 output. It requires more effort, and most tend to go over to pressurized because the time and effort, and added cost over time required. But it can be done.



Equipment:
1. Gatorade, Apple Juice, or Oceanspray Bottle
2. 2 Cups of Sugar
3. 1/4-1 teaspoon of yeast
4. 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)
5. Diffusor: Hagen Ladder, sweetwater AS10, or through filter intake

Recipe:
1. 2 Cups of Sugar
2. 1/4-1 teaspoon of yeast (more yeast = faster reaction = more CO2 for shorter time (2+ weeks))
3. 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)

Making the Canister (Reaction Bottle):
1. Take drill bit or hammer and a small nail (smaller than the diameter of tubing).
2. Unscrew your cap, hammer/drill the nail into the cap to make a small hole
3. Get some Airline tubing and pull it through the small hole with pliers.
4. The small hole will create a seal around the tubing so no need for glue, hence the extra small hole.

Adding the Recipe:
1. Add 2 cups Sugar
2. Fill the container with water up to 3/4 way.
3. Add 1/4-1 teaspoon yeast
4. Add 1/4 teaspoon (baking soda)
5. Put the cap on and twist it on tight.

Diffusion Methods
1. Line directly into the intake of your filter,
2. Limewood Diffuser
3. Sweetwater stone AS10
4. Hagen ladder
5. Glass difusser



Wait a few hours and you got CO2


Special Notes:

Check Valve Prevention System + Yeast Strainer
In order to keep the Yeast Muck from being released into your tank, A bubble counter or separator is used to catch the muck. This DIY bubble counter also provides a check valve system to prevent water from back siphoning out of the aquarium.

A Syringe from Rite Aid, Long Drugs, Walgreens, etc, can be paired with a standard plastic check valve to make this DIY bubble counter.

1.Take the plunger off
2. Add some glue to the check valve
3. Insert check valve and dry for 24 hours.
4. Once dry, the tubing will fit on the end of the check valve, and at the end of the syringe nozzle.
5. Insert this between the diffuser and your reaction bottle.



NOTE: Some plastic check valves occasionally don't work, always check your valve when replacing the DIY CO2 mixture. CO2 will degrade plastic valves over time, so always check.

For Larger Tanks
For larger tanks, and those that need to lower the ph more with more CO2 output. Using multiple diffusers placed at each side of the tank (left, right, middle, etc) will increase CO2 dissolution. In addition, you can add a T-valve to connect multiple bottles and to own diffuser to produce more out of your diffuser. Here is an example. Placing the diffusers under a current will blow the CO2 around and further increase CO2 dissolution and contact time with the water.


Is it working?
You should see bubbles coming out within 4-24 hours. To see if your CO2 is being properly dissolved based on whichever diffusing method you chose, test your Ph before adding CO2, and after adding. You will see a drop. Refer to a PH and KH chart to see what your levels are at in ppm.

This reaction will last at least 2 weeks to 4 weeks. The more yeast added the faster the reaction but shorter duration.


Be careful, and enjoy your CO2.

-John N.

Last edited by John N.; 01-09-2007 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's really not difficult at all! It really only takes about a half hour at the most, and that's mostly for setting up "the hardware". When you get used to it, it takes maybe 5 minutes to dump the old yeast, wash the container, fill it up with the new yeast & sugar. However, you may want to add a gas seperator, which helps to reduce "gunk" that you may get from DIY Co2. It's simply an empty bottle between the yeast bottle and the aquarium. see here:
http://www.qsl.net/w2wdx/aquaria/diyco2.html

Don't be intimidated

And great job John. Nicely done how-to. I think I'll have fun making the bubble counter...

Last edited by Dewmazz; 03-12-2006 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I really appreciate seeing photos. My experience with yeast is in making bread and I always had an image of the yeast mixture that I use in baking. I had a hard time imagining the ratio of yeast to water and thought you were dealing with a much thicker mixture. This helps a lot.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is the one section that I don't get/understand completely.
- Is there an illustrated/cartoon guide available for idiots like me?
- In which direction does the check-valve go? Does it matter?
- Is silicone sealant/glue needed to hold the air-tubing in place?
- Does it matter whether I use silicone air-tubing or "the normal stuff" (clear type)?

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John N.
Check Valve Prevention System + Yeast Strainer
In order to keep the Yeast Muck from being released into your tank, A bubble counter is used to catch the muck. This DIY bubble counter also provides a check valve system to prevent water from back siphoning out of the aquarium.

Go to Rite Aid or Longs Drugs and pick yourself up a syringe and find a check valve at your fish store.

Take the plunger off, add some glue to the check valve, insert it where the plunger used to be. Fill the syringe halfway with water. The tubing will fit on the end of the check valve, and at the end of the syringe nozzle. Insert this between the diffuser method and your reaction bottle. Congratulations, you've made yourself a bubble counter and a check valve system for your DIY CO2.

Some plastic check valves occasionally don't work, always check your valve when replacing the DIY CO2 mixture. CO2 will degrade plastic valves over time, so always check.

-John N.
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for this guide. I've been running a DIY CO2 on my 23g for a month or so and have gone through 3 different mixtures (1 cup sugar + 1/2 tsp yeast, 2 cups sugar + 1/4 tsp yeast, 2 cups sugar + 1/2 tsp yeast) to try to find an ideal one. So far I've only been able to get a maximum of 15-20ppm CO2 out of it (in the first week), and the level starts to go downhill by the end of the second week (as indicated by the slower bubble rate in the bubble counter).

Questions:
- Do you find it helpful to dissolve the sugar first? I've been dissolving the sugar in hot water, let it cool to lukewarm, then add the yeast. Not sure if this really matters. I only use 1L of water BTW, since the container I use (from Red Sea Bio kit) only holds 1L.
- I've heard that some people shake the bottle every few days to help reinvigorate the mixture. Truth or myth?
- Does adding baking soda help the CO2 output level or only duration (i.e. lasts longer)? I'm thinking it might, especially in a highly concentrated mixture like I have (due to less water used).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Syringe Bubble Counter

Check valve goes like this: 2L juice bottle - tubing -check valve-syringe - tubing to diffuser inside tank.

The check valve should go in the direction that allows CO2 gas from bottle to enter the aquarium. You can blow through it to make sure it's facing the correct way.

The tubing will fit directly on the syringe output and also on the check valve, so no glue is needed there. Only glue is needed where the check valve and syringe connect.


(picture from a member on another forum).

Either tubing will work, silcone will get brittle over time, normal vinyl tubing will get harder over time. Both will need replacing once you see that it does or they system starts to leak CO2. This time can be a period of 3+ months before needing service.

-John N.

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Old 03-13-2006, 10:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Upikabu,

No problem, the guide was something I looked for when I started, and I was having a hard time grasping the concept, so pictures definately help. And so hence the creation of this guide to help others.

As for your questions, I do stir my sugar and try to dissolve some of it when I start. I never did it with hot water, just luke warm. I noticed a slight increase when it first starts, but it the bubble count balances out over time.

You'll get a better output of CO2 if you use a larger bottle.

Shaking: It helps, since it's dissolving and mixing up the sugars and yeast. But again, it doesn't make a noticable difference in the long run in my experience. I don't recommend it since the liquid can hit the inside tubing, and get some yeast muck in your tubings.

As for the baking soda. It's to raise the KH and stabilize the reaction if you have low readings of KH in the water you are using. I stick a little in there, every time, since I have a KH of about 3.

My advice try it without baking soda, and once with it, and see if you notice a difference. It doesn't hurt the reaction.

-John N.

Last edited by John N.; 04-16-2006 at 11:27 PM..
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi John,

Thanks for the explanations. My KH is 5 out of the tap, so baking soda probably won't have much effect in my case. Mixing may not help either, as the sugar and yeast were already dissolved from the get-go.

What's the highest level of CO2 that you (or anyone else) were able to achieve with one 2L bottle of DIY CO2 in a 20g?

Cheers,
-Paulus
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Depends on your reactor diffuser method. I've gotten 20 ppm using a hagen ladder with 1 bottle, when I used two I got about 35 ppm.

-John N.

Last edited by John N.; 03-13-2006 at 11:55 PM..
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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cool....somethig useful. DO i dose the same for Nutrafin?
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