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How to build a co2 system

Discussion in 'DIY - Do It Yourself' started by EricV, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Ok so I'm putting together a new DIY co2 system. I was asked to provide instructions and photographs so here we go.

    To start here is a list of the supplies you will need to do this build:

    (3) 800ml Voss water bottles
    1 small nail
    1 medium screw
    1 small paintbrush
    1 pair of nail clippers
    1 screwdriver
    1 hammer
    Elmer's Stix All Gel (can be replaced with aquarium silicone)
    Silicone airline tubing
    1 Top Fin airline connector kit
    1 pair of scissors
    A drill (or a series of screwdrivers etc of increasing sizes. This is for expanding the holes in the lids. If none of these are available the scissors can be used :) )


    Next post will be instructions for the two main co2 production chambers :)
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  2. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Alright let's get started on the main co2 containers. Namely fitting air control valves into the lids. There are two of these in this setup so once you do one repeat with the second :)

    If you have a drill this is a super easy step. Just drill a hole in the center. Lacking a drill...

    Hammer in a starter hole with the nail:


    Expand this hole with the screw :) :


    Continue expanding the hole with the screwdrivers (or scissors, etc). You want the air control valves to be snug:


    Now in the process of expanding the holes you've probably dislodged the foam liner in the lid:


    Save the liner for later. Use the nail clippers to trim any excess plastic from around the hole:


    Reinsert the foam liner (should also have a hole in it).

    Using the small paintbrush, apply the stix all around the lower part of the air control valve:


    Now insert into the lid. Some of the glue should form a clean bead to seal the top of the lid:


    To be continued (due to picture limits) momentarily...

  3. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Again using the paintbrush seal the underside of the lid where the connector comes through:


    These need time to cure (something like 6 hours to set, 24 to fully cure) and dry.

    You can use the scissors to scrape the lettering from the voss containers. Might as well do all three at once.

    After repeating the previous steps you'll be left with two of these:


    Later this evening we'll make the bubble counter/purifier

    Hope this is proving helpful thus far :)

  4. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Ok sorry for the delay...ended up spending last evening putting together a holding container for baby RCS.

    Anyway back to the co2 project!

    So this is how to make a bubble counter/purifier

    Using the same techniques as earlier you need to fit 2 air control valves into the lid of your 3rd voss jug:


    Now attach a length of airline tubing to the underside of one of the air control valves. It should be long enough to reach about 3/4 into the voss bottle (I would prefer to use rigid tubing for this but I don't have any right now. Will be replacing when I do). You should attach a small (1") piece of airline tubing to the topside of this valve as well:


    You will fill this bottle approx. 2/3 full of clean water when we put everything together in the next post.

  5. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Ok so now it's time to put it all together. I'm omitting instructions for co2 production in the canisters. There are a lot of recipes out there but basically it's sugar, water, yeast, and baking soda.

    Using a Y valve from the air control kit, and two small pieces of airline tubing connect the two co2 production canisters together:


    Now attach these to the bubble counter/purifier. These must attach to the same valve that we previously attached an airline to:


    Finally attach an airline to the last remaining valve. This will run to your diffuser/air stone etc:


    Ok so that is the new co2 build. The air control valves are largely there to ensure you can isolate the various parts of the system in case of maintenance or leaks. I suggest leaving them all open while the system is producing co2, with the exception of the final control valve. This can be closed at night to preserve co2. The reason to close this valve (as opposed to all of them) is that any resulting pressure increase is spread evenly throughout the system. This will greatly reduce the chance of a container bursting (in fact you'd probably blow off a connector before any of the glass containers would structurally fail.

    I hope everyone found this useful!

    Final picture of the system in operation:

  6. cichlidmacWell Known MemberMember

    That looks much more attractive than my usual setup. Nice work!
  7. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah this was definitely an aesthetic build as opposed to anything revolutionary lol. I just wanted something a little nicer looking than the usual DIY system
  8. AquaLadyWell Known MemberMember

    Nice nice nice. :;perfectVery neat. Im gonna try thus and post as well. Thanks for the instructions. What size is your tank?
  9. frampyWell Known MemberMember

    The Walmart near me doesn't sell Voss water. I had to go with plastic. When I find some I will grab all they have.
  10. Geef64Valued MemberMember

    Nice setup and thanks for the directions. My question is do you think i could safely use gorilla glue to hold the valves in the caps.
  11. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    It is currently hooked to a 4 gallon tank. Very small obviously but with a more efficient diffuser it would work fine on larger tanks (and probably without). I know I waste a lot of my co2 output.

    Any bottle would do, I just like the look of the voss bottles especially when they are cleaned up.

    I'm sure you could, as long as you can get a tight seal any adhesive will do. I've used stix all, super glue, aquarium silicon, etc etc on various co2 builds.
  12. AquaLadyWell Known MemberMember

    What kind of yeast did you use? Was it the one from the packet? Thats all I see in any supermarkets.
  13. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Mine was in a jar (i use it for lots of things so its more economical) but its the same brand as the packet stuff.
  14. AquaLadyWell Known MemberMember

    I never see the jars :( I seen the price tag for them was 11 bucks. Do you mind discussing a recipe for a 20gal long and a 33gal? I don't want to add too much or too little. The only thing i'm missing is the check valve and the airline connector kit. My voss bottles are made of plastic, so i can easily peel of the label if need be.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  15. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    I don't ever use a recipe per se, I just mix up a batch of sugar water, add some yeast and baking soda, and call it a day.
  16. AquaLadyWell Known MemberMember

    The sugar and yeast water have to be warm? Oh and im missing a diffuser. Can i use a cut bottle and sponge as a temp diffuser? Sorry for all the questions, but you inspired me to be diy savvy.
  17. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    I'm sure that would work fine as a diffuser. As far as the water goes it should be lukewarm to start but its going to equalize to room temp in short order anyway so it's not overly important as long as you avoid extremes
  18. AquaLadyWell Known MemberMember

    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  19. EricVFishlore VIPMember

    Whichever is closest to the tank. :)

    The final out line from the last container that runs to the tank if you haven't put in any additional control valves. I have one right up by the tank for ease of access.
  20. ZerofireNew MemberMember

    I wish to start a CO2 tank, and this guide is great! However. I have some nibbling problems.
    1. I have a 55G long tank that is medium planted (going to eventually be heavy). Will the setup be enough to cover all the plants?

    2. I don't have a diffuser, but I do have a spare 5in airstone. Will it still work?

    3. I have a new Eheim classic canister filter and I have heard of people connecting the CO2 to their canister. (Just wondering if possible with this setup)