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The reason why you want so much water is to protect the yeast. Eventually they'll produce too much alcohol and will start dying off. Try 2 cup sugars, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, 1 tbls baking soda and fill the water up to the curved section of the bottle.

Before you try that, check your seals for leaks. Get lightly soaped water and spray or rub it on with a sponge. If it starts to bubble, you have a leak. You can seal it with silicone. Personally i don't use any adhesives to seal. I drill the hole smaller than the diameter of the silicone tube and force it through. That usually keeps it nice and sealed. This doens't work with co2 resistant tubing because it's too hard.
 

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Either it's bad yeast or you have a leak. To test your yeast get a cup, fill it with semi-warm water, 4 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (this is how i normally reactivate my yeast before pouring it into my mixture). Leave it sitting for a few hours. Usually theres a foam that forms and traps co2 into the water. If you can't really visualize how that looks, take a spoon and stir the mixture. It should sound like co2 is escaping from the mixture. It sounds like you just poured some soda into a cup. If this doesn't happen..you have bad yeast.
 
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