Not sure if DIY C02 is working...

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Paigee

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Hi all! I took it upon myself to make a DIY C02 system, with a 2L pop bottle with 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp yeast, 1/4 tsp baking soda. That bottle has air tubing that goes to a smaller bottle just filled with water as my bubble counter. From the bubble counter, there is a tube that goes up into the intake of my Hagen Elite Hush 10.

I see bubbles in the bubble counter, and I can hear the impeller breaking them up in the filter. However, how will I know that it's working? I haven't seen any drastic improvement in plant growth, and there is a fair amount of algae growing both on the tank glass and on the plants.

Any suggestions? I'm thinking I might just look into a store bought C02 injector... But I believe those can get rather pricey. ???

Also - what should I do with the algae? For the stuff that grows on the leaves of my plants, I wipe it off with my fingers. For the stuff that grows on the glass, I use a new nylon stocking to wipe it off. Should I be doing something differently?
 

Nutter

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Check your PH. That will soon tell you if the co2 is working. The more co2 is being dissolved in the water the lower the PH will be. As far as the algae goes I just leave it on all but the front glass. When the light, co2 & nutrients are all in good balance the algae will start to die back. Give the plants a little time to get used to the extra co2 & adjust to the new water chemistry. It could take a couple of weeks before you see a noticealble difference. You will need to make sure there is enough light & nutrients before the plants can make use of the co2 your adding.
 
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Paigee

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My pH went from 7.6 or 7.8 to 7.2.

Also, I have a Coralife Aqualight Dual bulb hood, with 1 6700K 31W bulb, and 1 10000K 31W bulb (for 29 gallon). Another member told me that with this much light, I need C02 and ferts. I have yet to start using ferts, however, but have been told that Flourish Excel is a good one.
 

catsma_97504

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Flourish Excel is a replacement for CO2, however, it can cause many plants to melt and/or die back. I believe you are thinking about Flourish Complete, which is a balance aquatic plant fertilizer product.
 

Nutter

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Flourish Excel will only cause a few plants to melt, namely Vallisneria, Elodea/Anacharis & sometimes Cryptocoryne. I'm sure there's a few I'm forgetting but it isn't a long list. It's worth persevering with the diy co2 though as the benefits from it are generally greater than from Excel.

Flourish Comprehensive is the fertilizer that I think Dena is refering to, not Complete. It's good stuff. Excel is only a liquid carbon, not a mineral fertilizer. Comprehensive is a mineral fertilizer not a carbon substitute like Excel.

I would be expecting to see a bigger drop in PH from co2 being diffused through a power filter. If you have an airstone running in the tank, set the air pump on a timer so that the airstone is off during lights on times & on during lights off times. Surface disturbance will quickly dissipate co2 back into the atmosphere so the idea is to minimise surface disturbance during the lights on periods to maximise co2 content. The airstone should be on when the lights are off because the plants produce co2 at night and without the extra surface disturbance at night you can experience large PH crashes.

Doint the airstone on a timer bit & starting a suitable regular fertilizer regime should soon see your plants take off.
 

catsma_97504

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Nutter said:
Flourish Comprehensive is the fertilizer that I think Dena is refering to, not Complete. It's good stuff. Excel is only a liquid carbon, not a mineral fertilizer. Comprehensive is a mineral fertilizer not a carbon substitute like Excel.
Busted....that's what I was trying to say.

Thanks for correcting me Nutter!
 
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Paigee

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Ugh that sounds complicated... I read that the airstone was not a good way to diffuse C02, that's why I got a less powerful filter and hooked it up to the intake on that. I thought if I did it that way, I would not have to worry about turning it on and off and what not...

Or are you talking about just a regular air stone with no C02 hooked up to it? Sorry, I'm a little confused. And I will look into getting some Flourish Comprehensive. Should I expect my algae to start dying off in the next few weeks? It builds up pretty quickly on plants and in very long hairlike things growing off the glass. It's rather annoying to keep cleaning it off.

EDIT:
If I don't have an airstone, do I need one?
 

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Running an air line will help to avoid the pH crashing overnight, especially with a DIY CO2 system. While the lights are on, you should be running the CO2 as you've recently started to do. Then, then the lights are off, start up your air pump, or put it on a timer to start while the lights are off, with an air stone attached. Although your DIY CO2 will still be generating CO2 overnight, the air stone will help to oxygenate the water and help to stabilize the tank's pH. This is necessary to counter act the fact that plants will release CO2 while the lights are off.
 
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Oh ok so I should be adding an airstone. Gotcha. I will definitely look into it
 

Nate McFin

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I run 2 - 2lt bottles of DIY Co2 (on my 20 Gln.) and dont use an airstone (all fauna are fine). I also diffuse through a Hagen filter as well. The hagen will do a very nice job for you.
For a 29 Gln, I would add at least 1 more bottle of DIY Co2 and swap one out each week with a fresh batch. The next week swap the other one out. This way the bubble rate stays very constant which is something that will help the plants happy as well as keep algae at bay. 1 bottle just isn't enough for your tank size (especially with the pH drop being so small)
I would also try to minimize surface agitation if you use a HOB filter as this can encourage the off gassing of Co2.
If you do use an airstone (which IMO isn't needed) try to set your stone on a timer so that it turns off at least one hour prior to lights on so that your Co2 has a chance to build up sufficient levels before the lights come on. Again, this is to keep a stable Co2 level.
With that light and Co2 you will definately want ferts. The Seachem line is a good starting point and they have very good products. Flourish Comprehensive is good as Nutter and Dena have said but does tend to be a little light on some nutrients IMO. It is a good starter method however, and I dont want to confuse you more than you may already be.
Dry ferts down the road are a MUCH cheaper, more efficient, and easier to use method (once you get used to doing it!)
Best Wishes,
Nate
 
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Paigee

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Thanks Nate, I'll try and get another system of C02 up and running.. So just swap them out weekly? I read on the DIY article that they should last a month?

Also, since you run a DIY system yourself, do you mind me asking what your recipe is for C02? Not sure if you read above, but I used 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp yeast, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and then filled with tepid water. Is this good? Do you have more success with another?

Thanks for answering my questions! It is greatly appreciated!!
 

Nutter

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I use the airstone because it is necessary for my tanks. Especially seeing my diy co2 systems are amped up a bit from the usual 2lt bottles. If I don't tun the airstone at night my PH crashes from 7.4 down below 6.0. It's not nice waking up in the morning to find all the fish dead. (before you mention KH Nate the KH in that tank is 14 ) Youwill just need to find what is going to kee things stable in your system. Some like myself have to have the airstone on at night, others like Nate don't. Just monitor the PH several times each day & night over a few days & work out what will work best for your individual tank.

My co2 recipe is 2 cups white sugar & 1/2teaspoon bakers yeast. No bi-carb.
The more yeast you add the more co2 is produced but the shorter the life of the mixture. The more sugar there is the longer the mixture will last (but this has it's limits).
 

Nate McFin

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LOL Nutter...I wasn't going to mention KH again. Been there done that...hehe.

I use the same recipe Nutter does...
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon yeast
no bicarb

I have tried with and without bicarb and noticed no difference in production.

I swap one bottle a week. (alternating which one I swap- so basically I get 2 weeks from each bottle) Temp where they are kept,type of yeast, recipe used, etc. all play a role in how long it will last.
You may be able to let them go longer, I just found that when I tried to do that the plants became stunted and the algae would jump in. When the Co2 is stable things just seem happier. Feel free to play with the swapping a little. Play with the recipe as well. When I set up the bottles I will occasionally count bubbles for one minute the day after set up. Try again in 7 days and compare the two. If they are close wait 7 more days and count again. If the bubble rates are varying you may want to swap more often.
Make sense??
Some people say they get a 2 bubble per second rate of production from DIY but I dont see anywhere near that. My counts tend to be about 1 bubble per second during its peak. (day 2-4 for me)
I considered adding a 3rd bottle and so they would last 3 weeks and still maintain the level, but I just upgraded to a 40 gallon and a pressurized co2 set up so the 20 G may not be planted much longer. YAAAY NO MORE SUGAR BILLS! hehe
 
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Haha wow this is complicated... So Nate, you run 2 bottles going into the tank all the time? And then switch them out one at a time? :-\ I'm beginning to think I've bitten off more than I can chew...
 

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I believe Nate indicated he is running 2 bottles on his tank. And, as he changes one bottle every week, it helps to stabilize his CO2 levels. One freshly brewing and the other will be near max output. You do not have to run multiple bottles. But, you would need to keep in mind that running a single bottle would create a high CO2 week and a decreasing CO2 output week. When CO2 levels are not maintained at a stable level, algae or other issues can develop.

I basically do the same thing as Nate in my 90 gallon tank since I cannot afford the CO2 start up costs. I have 6 bottles and change 2 out each week. So, a single bottle is running for 3 weeks before the next change. By only refreshing a portion of the overall system, you are actually stabilizing the CO2 output to your tank. And, I'm averaging 2-3 bubbles per second. If it goes down to 1 bubble per second, then I know its time to change out the next set of bottles.

I know this sounds more complicated than it really is. I was like you where I bought the T5HO light without knowing about the need for CO2 and ferts. And, I ended up with an algae cesspool! Once you get the hang of it, it will become just another task in your weekly maintenance schedule. Your plants will thank you for taking the time to learn about the trinity of growing plants (lighting, CO2 and fertilization).
 
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Ok I think I got it! I'm still trying to find the flourish comprehensive, I didn't see it at petsmart or the LFS but I didn't ask either so I might have missed it!
 
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Hello again, I know this thread has gotten a bit old but I am still having the same problem.

I added the new bottle of C02 and now I think I have even fewer bubbles than before! I get one bubble every minute or two going through the bubble counter bottle.

I used 2 cups sugar and about 1/4 or 1/2 tsp of yeast.

I'm out of ideas! I don't know what to do! Help!
 

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I've found that you have to proof the yeast before adding it to the bottle. The water needs to be between 110-115F for the yeast to get kickin'. Since my tap water doesn't get that hot, I put the amount of water needed for the bottle on the stove and warm it up to that temp. Then I take about 1/4c or less of the water, add the yeast and sugar (I just dump some in, but try 2 tablespoons if you're the measuring type ). Then mix well and let sit for about 10 minutes. If the yeast starts to foam up and smell like bread, you're good to go. While the yeast is proofing, I mix up my sugar and baking soda in the rest of the water. Then I pour the yeast mixture into the bottle and hook it up.

My guess is that either your water is too cool or there's a massive die off of the yeast once it's dumped into the bottle without being proofed. You could also have a leak somewhere. Another thing you might want to add, if you don't have them already, are check valves, especially if you keep the bottle under the tank. That way you'll prevent backflow into the bottle or bubble counter. I'm a bit paranoid so I have one in the line from the bottle to the bubble counter and then another one in the line from the bubble counter to the tank. I also have a control valve, I think some people call it a gang valve. It has a knob I can turn to adjust the flow from the bubble counter to tank so it all doesn't flood in at once.

Oh, and now that I think about it, I've been unhappy with the CO2 production of 1tsp yeast so I've upped it to heaping 2tsp. I'm not sure how long the bottles will last since I just started both bottles last week, but the first time I made the bottles with a lot of yeast, they lasted for at least two weeks and probably could've gone longer.

-Lisa
 

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Proofing your yeast would tell you if it is good or not. You do not need to proof it every time you refill your container. I would also check for leaks in your CO2 lines. It is very easy to leak where the tubing is inserted into the bottle caps.

When filling a bottle with water, it should feel like very warm bath water. If it is too hot to hold your finger/hand in it, then it is too hot for your yeast.

The standard formula for the yeast mixture is:

2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp yeast - although I've seen up to 1 tsp per 2 liter solution
1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)

When I fill my containers, I empty them and rinse out completely. Then I add enough water to fill about half way. Add sugar. Then I place a solid cap on the bottle and shake it until the sugar is no longer visible and no longer settles to the bottom of the bottle. At this point, I add the yeast. (If you use extra yeast, remember that the more you add the quicker the solution will become exhausted. I've found no benefit in using more than 1 tsp yeast). This is also when I'd add the baking soda if I were using it. Recap and mix again. Finally, I add enough warm water to fill the container 3/4 full. There should be a couple inches of air at the top of the container as well as the tube going out to your bubble counter remaining out of the water solution.

Once everything is set up, I wait half a day to "rattle" the bottles to check for increased bubbles in my counter. And, I place my hand on top of each generator bottle (I have 6) to check for leaks.

Hope this helps.
 
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Wow guys thanks for such in depth replies!! I think maybe the water I was using was too cool! I read to use tepid water, which I understood to be just luke warm at best. I'll try again using hotter water! And mixing things up more. The way I did things before was to add 2 cups sugar and the tsp of yeast, and then added all of the water.

Thank you for all the suggestions!! I will try them out and let you know how they go!

PS - I am 99% sure that there is no leaks in any of the lines, they are glued on really well
 
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