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The best reference for DIY CO2

38974 Views 28 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  John LeVasseur
O.K. I know that this question is the most asked one on CO2. How do I make my own system. This is the best site I have ever seen on DIY CO2... . This system generally is for tanks under 30 gallons. For larger aquaria I would suggest a compressed system.
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Excellent site! I have never read that treatise. Thanks for posting it.
Let's also remember Chuck Gadd's info on CO2 setups.
Here's my take on DIY CO2

Nothing that hasn't been said before, John LeVasseur's writeup has been a long time favorite of mine. There are these two other pages from John that are worth reading:

DIY Reactor

This one is very good...

Giancarlo Podio
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The link you put up there doesn't seem to work.

The first link in this thread is a great one. I read it about 3 years ago when I first got into planted aquariums. Still haven't tried the DIY Co2, but am getting very close to.
Here is the link that I used for my first DIY C02...

And here is the one I used to make my DIY pressurized system...
Thanks for that post trenac. You may have just convinced me to go with a DIY pressurized system instead of non pressurized yeast method. The several hundered dollar amount I was seeing for other pressurized systems was not appealing to me.

How big is your tank, what size bottle do you use and how often do you have to get it refilled.

Another question, when you remove the bottle to get it refilled, do you need to be concerned about the loss of Co2 injection while your out getting it filled.

Thanks to all that are taking part in this thread. I am getting very close to adding Co2 to my tank. My plants aren't doing that good right now, to much light, ~3 watts/gallon with no Co2.

All this info is a huge help in my decision making process.
I put my DIY pressurized system together for $130 total, not bad.

I have a 5lb bottle on a 55G tank. I have not had the tank hooked up long enough yet to see how often I will have to fill it. From others I have heard a fill up should last anywhere between 6-12 months depending on your aquarium size & bubble count.

I found in my area that welding shops only have used canisters (which you have to swap for another) and industrail grade C02. So I went to a store in my area that supplys resturants with C02, there I got a new canister that I can have refilled & food grade C02 which is cleaner (less oil) than industrail grade. Just something to think about.

Also instead of using a spice jar for a bubble counter I use a Hagan Ladder (diffuser/bubble counter) that you can get from Big Als for $10.
Did you happen to check out home brewing supply stores for Co2 cannisters. I imagine they would be about the same price and grade as the food supply stores.

The reason I ask is because there is one right down the street from my house.
kmurphy said:
Did you happen to check out home brewing supply stores for Co2 cannisters. I imagine they would be about the same price and grade as the food supply stores.

The reason I ask is because there is one right down the street from my house.
I did... The ones in my area did not carry them, however it may differant in your area. I want hurt to check.
hey i looked local too and the prices were like 99 for a 5lb tank and 88 for the regulator alone....
try this instead, last time i looked they had the whole system with a solenoid for around 136.
they have great combo specials too for around 120 or more...
anyone ever used "soda stream" co2 bottles
Here's a page about CO2, pH, and how to set up and even build your own pH meter:

How to make a CO2 reservoir out of a balloon and then pump the CO2 into the tank with an aquarium air pump.
Does anyone know the room temperature that the CO2 can be produced? How could it be produced in the winter? I made my own DIY CO2 with your recipe but it does not work when my room temperature is from 12oC to 18oC (in the room temperature above 22oC, it does work)
Since this is stickied, but not closed, I presume posting to it is not frowned upon.

I've recently started to "upgrade" the DIY system on my 29 gal tank with new caps for the bottles based on those bulkhead fittings mentioned in the reference in the first post of the thread. I had started with just a friction fit (making the holes in the caps slightly smaller than the tubing and forcing it through so it's tight. Then I'd just built up a small mountain of silicone sealant around the tubing to try and get it CO2 tight. Result was, in the end, some bubbling coming out of the diffuser. I still think I may have been losing a lot of CO2 because two 2 liter bottles _should_, IIUC, get the Red Sea drop checker into the "green" range (or past it for that matter). But still blue and still, when I do tests using KH and pH of the aquarium water I get CO2 numbers in the 1-5 ppm range.

So I just made a new set of caps using the bulkhead fittings. "Makes an airtight mechanical seal" the DIY reference said. Put the caps on the bottles. Slid the tubing onto the barbs and--leaks like a sieve.

Now what?
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Further investigation shows that the leak is because the silicone tubing does not fit sufficiently tightly on the bulkhead fitting nipples.

I say again, now what?
David, try to tighten the tubing around the nipple using some fishing line or a twist tie...

Hope that helps
Giancarlo Podio
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