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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We have 3 choices when it comes to Co2 supplementation into the planted aquaria::supz:
1) DIY Co2
2) Pressurized co2
3) Seachem Fluorish Excel

*All these calculations are based on a 29 gallon.

It never occured to me about the costs of DIY co2.
-A rough estimate for sugar brings up the total of ~$9 for sugar yearly, totaling to ~$18 for sugar every two years.
-Add the additional ~$10 or so for the costs of hunting and finding some supplies. (rough estimate!)
-Add in the $3 yeast, which lasts a long time. Each yeast packet has 26 servings @ 1/4 teaspoon.


Excel:

-When buying in bulk, a 2 liter excel will cost ~$25 and will last 1.8 years if dosed every day, or 3.6 years if

done every OTHER day.
-If dosed every day, it would cost you 3 cents each time.
-If you buy a 4 liter, it would cost you 2 cents each time you dose.
-Drawback is that the organic carbon source is not as effective for plant growth as co2.

Pressurized:
I'm not too familiar with it, but a decent one cost $170 or so for a system.


Now, the most important factor: time:p

With pressurized, you don't lose much time out of your life.
With excel, a few seconds to squirt in a few milliliter in your tank.
With DIY co2, that time climbs exponentially.

You decide what's best for you for the future.:eek:
My choice for right now is excel. I don't regret DIY co2 because it was a really fun learning experience. Soon I'm

going pressurized :)
 

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I, like many, have done all three. I currently have 2 tanks with pressurized and 1 with excel. My time is more important than a few dollars. I hated the DIY and the time spent maintaining it. The excel is a little frustrating and does not get nearly the same results but, for a shrimp tank with low maintenance plants, it gets the job done...not to mention the tank will be down in 9 months so no need to invest now.

I like the estimating you did, nice touch.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How effective would you rate excel over traditional co2? I would rate excel to be 8/10 for plants, while traditioanl co2 10/10 obviously. :)
 

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How effective would you rate excel over traditional co2? I would rate excel to be 8/10 for plants, while traditioanl co2 10/10 obviously. :)
I would agree 8/10 in most cases. Some plants do not respond as well as others to excel. My corkscrew vals are a perfect example of this. They melted like so many others have said.
My fissidens is on the other end of the spectrum though. It does better in my excel tank than my pressurized tank. Go figure!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think your estimate is low on the excel. A 1 liter on my 55 dosed at water change and in the middle of the week lasts about 3-4 months.

While excel is nice and is great as a supplement, nothing beats injecting pressurized CO2.
You're right. :eek: The cost of excel is proportional to the size of the tank. I calculated it for a 29 gal.
I can't imagine how much excel would cost for a 55 gal or above!
Oh, thanks for bring that up bigstick. I forgot to consider the amount of excel after a large water change too.

tfmcder- I haven't had problem with excel with my plants. The trick is to dose gradually. I've started as low as a few drops and went up to milliliters, and then to capfuls. But no matter how much we want it, some plants just don't want to stay alive!
 

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If I may, It also depends on how much you tank means to you. I spend so much time and get so much enjoyment out of my aquariums that I give them the best. Diy co2 is fine for those on a budget but if you can afford it do the real stuff. Excel is a great algaecide and I often think it holds the algae at bay more then provides carbon ( I know I will get It for that). I use excel for many things but never for carbon. I have never read actual numbers on just how much carbon it is supposed to supply IMO it is 5/10 to real co2. Now Diy and pressurized can be measured and the effectiveness have been proven time and time again. With pressurized once set you can go on to other things in you tank like aquascaping. DIY is a never ending hassle and is just not quite as efficient as the real stuff. There are some, on a mission, that make it happen to prove a point but how often do you want to mess with this stuff? Pressurized can also be "t"ed off to another tank. Control is a factor too and pressurized is a lot easier to regulate than DIY. Never seen an ada winner with diy or excel, Don't know of any plant that has a adverse reaction to real co2 either. Thank you for your time, I will get off my soap box now.;)
 

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Regarding Excel as an algicide, absolutely true. Anybody who doubts this, try squirting it right on black brush algae to see for yourself.
 

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Yes I am aware that at 55 is bigger then a 29, but by your estimate it would last 6-9 months on my 55 verses a year and a half on your 29

You're right. :eek: The cost of excel is proportional to the size of the tank. I calculated it for a 29 gal.
I can't imagine how much excel would cost for a 55 gal or above!
Oh, thanks for bring that up bigstick. I forgot to consider the amount of excel after a large water change too.

tfmcder- I haven't had problem with excel with my plants. The trick is to dose gradually. I've started as low as a few drops and went up to milliliters, and then to capfuls. But no matter how much we want it, some plants just don't want to stay alive!
 

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atm i dont see diy as a real pain. yes, it takes more time than pressurized but the cost differential is huge. if you dont have the money or dont want to spend the money on pressure then diy is fine. mine runs great and i have the recipe that works for me. takes just a few minutes to set up and then within a few hours or less its going good. its not really as messy as many make it seem. id say my biggest concern with it is the consistency, not the time spent on it or the clean up. i just want consistent co2 and thats why i will eventually go pressurized. if you are on a budget, i really recommend the diy co2 and dont be scared away from what some people say.
 

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You are right the down side of DIY on a small tank is consistency, inconsistent CO2 can also lead to issues and algae.

The cost over time DIY will cost you more then pressurized. It has a large up front cost but is cheap to maintain.

atm i dont see diy as a real pain. yes, it takes more time than pressurized but the cost differential is huge. if you dont have the money or dont want to spend the money on pressure then diy is fine. mine runs great and i have the recipe that works for me. takes just a few minutes to set up and then within a few hours or less its going good. its not really as messy as many make it seem. id say my biggest concern with it is the consistency, not the time spent on it or the clean up. i just want consistent co2 and thats why i will eventually go pressurized. if you are on a budget, i really recommend the diy co2 and dont be scared away from what some people say.
 

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I've done all three.

I'm terribly cheap by nature.

My basement walls were plumbed with CO2 lines for pressurized setups when it got finished. Currently 3 aquariums running off one tank in a closet. Another aquarium with its own tank and regulator. one nano doing diy, and dumping excel in it now to clear the algae diy caused (rather, my lack of keeping up with diy). ;)

Pressurized is the way to go for me. Excel has a home as an algae killer, and DIY... only cheap if you are a kid robbing your paren'ts sugar and yeast, expensive over time, 2+ years.
 

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I am new to all of this but so far I really like my DIY CO2. The fittings I had lying around, the tubing cost 4 bux at HD and the two liter bottles, well those are easy to come by.

Value time sugar 5# $1.79
Bakers Yeast $4.99
Water

My tank has only been set up for about 2 months but my plants have taken off and I have little to no algea. I had two plecos and they both died my brother in law bought me a red tail shark and he has cleaned my whole tank. Weekly water changes and I mark on my calender to change the bottles every two weeks.


Matt
 

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I use 2 2L bottles of DIY CO2 and Excel in my 40G. It works quite well but I will convert to the pressurized CO2 for my 135G. I am using the DIY CO2 as I save money for the pressurized system. One of the downsides to the DIY CO2 is that it doesn't stop when the lights go off so I run a air pump and stone when the lights are off to agitate the CO2 out of the water, this also adds O2 for the plants and fishes.
 

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I've used DIY when I was a broke kid a decade ago and in the last year I've used Excel before I took the plunge into pressurized. And I will never touch DIY again, ever. Like for others Excel has a home, as an algaecide and as a CO2 replacement in my low light 20gals. But, the ease and results that pressurized delivers, I would gladly have paid double for my setup, it is amazing when you see it for yourself.

And if I want to start a nano or 10gal planted tank, I'll buy a $40reg, ebay needle valve and a paintball tank adapter and still have change from a $100. Pressurized is like planted tank enthusiast crack, hehe.
 

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what about the end of bottle dump that some people have experienced?
one runs the risk of losing lots of expensive fish. like for me, some of the rarest rainbowfish and 17 wild caught punitius denisonni. i dont know if that would be worth going pressurized.
 

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I can say that I have never had a fish death from and end of bottle dump. There is also a gauge on the bottle when it gets the last 1 hundred pounds there is only a week or less left, so change it before it go's out.
 

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For the last nearly 2 years, 3 of my tanks totaling 450G have been running on my DIY CO2 system. I call my system the 'Madhatter's System' but it functions very well and has never made me care for turning pressurised just for the heck of it. I have posted about the system in the DIY board.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/diy-aquarium-projects/45030-co2-madhatter-s-diy.html
Now that you have had this running for a while did you really save money? It is a very innovative set up with a unique dezine, but is it practical? I enjoyed reading how it was built but I wonder what the yearly sugar/ yeast cost is.
 
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