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View Full Version : How to implement and control DIY Co2



Plant Man
04-13-2010, 08:02 PM
You see a lot of DIY Co2 plans and installation instructions. You see the charts and how to tell how much DIY Co2 is in your aquarium. But you donít see very much on how to adjust it and keep it regulated.

My installation advice is,

Firstly, NO HOB filters will work. If you use a HOB filter you will not be able to get Co2 into the water faster then it is leaving because HOB filters disturb the surface of the tank to much and youíll be wasting your time. How to get the CO2 efficiently into your tank is the tricky part. You can buy a proper diffuser that requires a powerhead to work. Or you can have the bubbles sucked into the intake of a canister filter. A canister filter like the Eheim classic series (donít use its splash bar). The exhaust must be below the waters surface, pointed just about straight and about 1 inch below the surface. Also you need to make at least a twin bottle system. Start with the one bottle and two weeks later hookup the second one. Change one every two weeks. Bakers yeast produces Co2 for about 3 weeks in a 2L jar.

Once you have your Co2 going wait for 2 days and then measure the tanks PH with a ďlowĒ range PH test kit (6.0-7.6) and KH with a KH test kit. Once you have the numbers look at a Co2 chart like this one. Donít EVER put any chemicals in your tank; many can affect the test kits accuracy.

http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p296/TheMailman6666/ph_kh_co2.gif


If you get a PH reading of 7.6 and a KH of 5 youíll have a result of about 3.8ppm and therefore something is wrong with the set-up. You have to much surface disturbance, the C02 is not effectively been defused into the water or youíre not generating enough Co2 to begin with. If you go the canister route you should not be getting any bubbles coming out of the exhaust after the end of the first day. If you went with the powerhead solution the bubbles should virtually vanish seconds after exiting the powerhead soon after the first day. If these two things are right then lower the tanks surface disturbances, and after 2-3 hours, test again. Once you start getting a real reading say in the 10-15ppm you can leave it alone. 10-15ppm will make a visible difference to your plants in about a week. If you up it to 25-30ppm and have enough nutrients in the tank, your plants will go nuts! Youíll be able to see growth almost daily.

Do your water changes religiously 15-25% (depending on fish load) every week, same day, keep the fish load low early on until the tank starts to really green up. The serious planted tank needs the plants to take priority over the fish. Fish are a means of Nitrate production and you only want enough fish to produce just enough Nitrates to feed the plants, any more and algae will be more then happy to use them up for you! I believe that if youíre willing to take good care of your plants in this manner you can have a lot more fish in the tank then would otherwise be possible. A well planted Co2 injected Aquarium is a Nitrate and Phosphate devouring machine!

KK1
04-14-2010, 09:54 PM
Could you plz tell me exactly what system you recommend for the best plant health? I don't have as much experience as you do,but I know I think you are just the person to ask:) I have a 55g,which I am trying to make drop dead gorgeous.I use LeafZone and root tabs in a heavily planted tank. Is this something I will have to just experiment with and try to see how it works for me? Plz tell me the exact brand you like best. Thanks alot for your help!

Plant Man
04-14-2010, 10:55 PM
Could you plz tell me exactly what system you recommend for the best plant health? I don't have as much experience as you do,but I know I think you are just the person to ask:) I have a 55g,which I am trying to make drop dead gorgeous.I use LeafZone and root tabs in a heavily planted tank. Is this something I will have to just experiment with and try to see how it works for me? Plz tell me the exact brand you like best. Thanks alot for your help!

You no what, I use a DIY Co2 system in my tank, and for a 46 gallon bowfront, the absolute most Co2 I can get into my tank is 35ppm and that is with just a light ripple on the waters surface. I don't have any experience with a tank of your size. I think for that size you may really need a proper commercial Co2 system with a PH controller. You might need to spend a little cash. Big tank equals a lot of surface area and that means that Co2 leaves the water faster then a DIY Co2 system can put it in. I think.

Lady Hobbs
05-14-2010, 01:07 AM
Could you plz tell me exactly what system you recommend for the best plant health? I don't have as much experience as you do,but I know I think you are just the person to ask:) I have a 55g,which I am trying to make drop dead gorgeous.I use LeafZone and root tabs in a heavily planted tank. Is this something I will have to just experiment with and try to see how it works for me? Plz tell me the exact brand you like best. Thanks alot for your help!

The more yeast you use, the more CO2 you get from it but it will also burn up the sugar faster. Instead of 1/4-1/2 t. of yeast, you could increase the yeast to 1 t. You can also use Excel in conjunction with your DIY solution. Works almost as well without the bottles and airline all over the place. But a pressured system is the way to go on a tank of your size.

WhiteDevil
05-14-2010, 02:41 AM
Use brewers yeast instead of bakers yeast, it consumes the sugar alot slower and ferments alot more efficiently. I have a 52g FBH and use 4 2 liters with the mix in and a 5th 2 liter for a muck gas/moisture seperator. I dont know my exact PPM but I have lush growth and my Co2 indicator shows a good level of Co2 in there.

To control just use a venturi valve on the air line to slow down how much is going into the water.

Lady Hobbs
05-14-2010, 02:42 AM
Good post and ideas.

gm72
05-14-2010, 10:43 AM
Firstly, NO HOB filters will work. If you use a HOB filter you will not be able to get Co2 into the water faster then it is leaving because HOB filters disturb the surface of the tank to much and youíll be wasting your time.

Really good post except this part. We have many members who use HOB filters and I have several friends who use HOBs with CO2 and they most assuredly are not wasting their time.

WhiteDevil
05-14-2010, 12:04 PM
Really good post except this part. We have many members who use HOB filters and I have several friends who use HOBs with CO2 and they most assuredly are not wasting their time.
depends on how the HOB's outlet is, if its breaking the surface then the Co2 in the tank is gassing off faster then it can be absorbed.

gm72
05-16-2010, 09:30 PM
depends on how the HOB's outlet is, if its breaking the surface then the Co2 in the tank is gassing off faster then it can be absorbed.

Yes that is correct, but again, the point is that it is possible if the aquarist positions the outlet appropriately.

Plant Man
05-16-2010, 09:54 PM
Yes that is correct, but again, the point is that it is possible if the aquarist positions the outlet appropriately.

Yes, I agree and change my stance on this. I had a long chat with Wild Turkey on this subject and looking back my HOB experience was with a biowheeled penguin 330.

I think that if the water transfer is smooth with no water breaking you sure can use a HOB with DIY.


Also, a Drop Checker with a 4dkh water solution in it for the PH drops is a must for getting an accurate Co2 reading! Forget about what I said about testing tank water with a PH test kit. It turns out that my testing with said PH kit was inaccurate to almost 50% less Co2 then I thought I had!

Read up on Drop Checkers and 4DKH solution. This is the way to go if you donít have a digital PH monitor.

KK1
05-17-2010, 01:14 AM
I have to admit I find alot of the CO2 discussions confusing. Some wouldn't have a planted tank without it,others believe you can. My question: is there a simple CO2 tablet I can periodically use (as needed) to save alot of time and hassle?

rich311k
05-17-2010, 01:17 AM
No. The key to CO2 is consistency. Bouncing levels are worse than not adding any at all. A pressurized system makes it simple, DIY is inherantly unstable and a bit of work.

Some company does sell somekind of fizz tab, it is a waste of money.

KK1
05-17-2010, 01:42 AM
OK,thanks, I'm getting a clearer picture on this now. I was scared you would say there's no CO2 tab(LOL). It was too good to be true...

Lady Hobbs
05-17-2010, 03:27 PM
No. The key to CO2 is consistency. Bouncing levels are worse than not adding any at all. A pressurized system makes it simple, DIY is inherantly unstable and a bit of work.

Some company does sell somekind of fizz tab, it is a waste of money.

And darned dangerous to fish is you happen to put the diffuser in the wrong place in the tank! Mine was too near the filter intake tube and it drained all the CO2 from the bottle in about 5 hours killing 14 fish as I slept.

Not too great when a tiny piece of yeast gets caught in the airline and plugs the thing up, either, which happened to me a month ago. Still cleaning the stickie-goo off my bedroom walls.