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-   -   DIY CO2 System questions. (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium-equipment/diy-co2-system-questions-54776/)

Cornelius1208 11-03-2010 03:00 AM

DIY CO2 System questions.
 
I want to build my own DIY CO2 system for my 55 gallon aquarium. I've found a very good instruction video on YouTube that shows me how to do it, but I have some further questions that were not answered in the video.

Here's the video so you know what I'll be basing my questions from:

In the video in the part about him fitting the check valve into the rubber stopper, he says you can optionally insert an adapter in the rubber stopper, then connect more tubing, and THEN connect the check valve. I was wondering what would be the benefit of using the adapter and extra tubing as opposed to just immediately inserting the check valve into the cap. Does it make a difference?
Another thing I was wondering was how many juice bottles (soda bottles) of the yeast/sugar mixture will I need to create enough CO2 for my 55 gallon aquarium?
And lastly, once his CO2 system is all setup, he has the air tubing run directly into the intake tube of his filter to act as a diffuser. Since I do not want to do this, would a simple air stone work as a good enough diffuser, or should I look for other solutions?

Thanks,
Cornelius1208

1077 11-03-2010 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cornelius1208 (Post 505354)
I want to build my own DIY CO2 system for my 55 gallon aquarium. I've found a very good instruction video on YouTube that shows me how to do it, but I have some further questions that were not answered in the video.

Here's the video so you know what I'll be basing my questions from:
YouTube - How To Build Your Own Aquarium CO2 Unit

In the video in the part about him fitting the check valve into the rubber stopper, he says you can optionally insert an adapter in the rubber stopper, then connect more tubing, and THEN connect the check valve. I was wondering what would be the benefit of using the adapter and extra tubing as opposed to just immediately inserting the check valve into the cap. Does it make a difference?
Another thing I was wondering was how many juice bottles (soda bottles) of the yeast/sugar mixture will I need to create enough CO2 for my 55 gallon aquarium?
And lastly, once his CO2 system is all setup, he has the air tubing run directly into the intake tube of his filter to act as a diffuser. Since I do not want to do this, would a simple air stone work as a good enough diffuser, or should I look for other solutions?

Thanks,
Cornelius1208

I'll Give you my thoughts.
I would use the adapter and then five or six inches of hose, then place the check valve. This way, should the check valve need replacing as they do on occasion, you would not have to remove it from the stopper which could result in the check valve not fitting as snuggly after doing this a few times and this could then allow CO2 to escape before it reaches the tank as well as preventing the solution of yeast/sugar from possibly clogging the check valve.
I should think it will take a couple of the bottles for yeast/sugar and perhaps a spare that you could prepare when one or the other becomes low but perhaps they would both run low at similar rate? Don't Know.
I would purchase a diffuser for the CO2 rather than an airstone. the bubbles from airstone would be too big and would quickly burst when reaching the surface (also quickly) and thus the CO2 would escape more quickly. Hope some of this helps.

dfbiggs 11-03-2010 12:56 PM

2 Attachment(s)
When I orginally made mine I was having leaks between the air hose and bottle top, but I'm not using rubber stoppers either. But now I got a good seal by inserting the check valve directly into the plastic bottle cap and and using epoxy around it to stop leaks. I let it dry for 48hrs and I have't had a leak since. But eventually you may have yeast/sugar build up but I have been using mine for months and months and still works fine. So if you do glue your check valves into the caps then you just go buy some more 2 liters or find a way to clean the ones you have.

I don't know how many plants you have in your 55g but I think 2 -2 liters will be fine and then the 12/16 ounce soda bottle for the gas separator/bubble counter. I use 2 cups a sugar in each 2 liter and 1/2 tsp yeast in one and 1 tsp in the other. The most important step is making sure you get the temperature hot enough..they say warm water but you really need hot. You can see on that back of the yeast package at what temp it takes to make it react..I try to get it around 116-117 degrees. I dissolve the sugar first in the hot water by shaking then add the yeast and shake no more. Then give it a while to build up enough gas to make it to the end of the airline. (this is what I used in my planted 37g...was a little too much for it but probably right for 55g)

I recommend the glass diffusers because if you use a regular airstone the CO2 will go right out of the water and you want it to be there long enough for you plants to use. You will be able to see the little bubbles build up on the surface of the water.You could use a regular air stone if you are just interested in lowering you pH. It will still drop your pH. I have seen a white air stone at Petco/smart that is for the BiOrb tanks that seems to have the fine holes need to disperse CO2 properly but since BiOrb stuff is a rip off you may just want to start with the right thing..a glass diffuser.

Also I recommend spending the extra cents to buy the brass t-valve..the plastic ones tend to leak.

dfbiggs 11-03-2010 01:09 PM

Just want to add a note..don't ever stand with your face over the top the the bottles even if you think you have a good seal..lol..it's under a lot of pressure. And getting a sticky sugar yeast shower is gross especially the smell...:)

Cornelius1208 11-03-2010 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1077 (Post 505393)
I'll Give you my thoughts.
I would use the adapter and then five or six inches of hose, then place the check valve. This way, should the check valve need replacing as they do on occasion, you would not have to remove it from the stopper which could result in the check valve not fitting as snuggly after doing this a few times and this could then allow CO2 to escape before it reaches the tank as well as preventing the solution of yeast/sugar from possibly clogging the check valve.
I should think it will take a couple of the bottles for yeast/sugar and perhaps a spare that you could prepare when one or the other becomes low but perhaps they would both run low at similar rate? Don't Know.
I would purchase a diffuser for the CO2 rather than an airstone. the bubbles from airstone would be too big and would quickly burst when reaching the surface (also quickly) and thus the CO2 would escape more quickly. Hope some of this helps.

Ok great, that's exactly the info I wanted to hear on where I place the check valve. And I bought two 3 liter bottles today to use. Would making a solution with ratios proportionate to this size bottle be ok for my 55 gallon, or should I make just as much as I would if I were using 2 liter bottles? About the diffuser, can you show me a good glass CO2 diffuser? I'd like a nice one if it's going to help me that much more than a simple air stone would, but am not sure what to look for. Would this be a good diffuser?

Co2 Dispenser Aquarium Fish Tank Carbon Dioxide Diffuser - Wholesale Factory Direct

Quote:

Originally Posted by dfbiggs (Post 505512)
When I orginally made mine I was having leaks between the air hose and bottle top, but I'm not using rubber stoppers either. But now I got a good seal by inserting the check valve directly into the plastic bottle cap and and using epoxy around it to stop leaks. I let it dry for 48hrs and I have't had a leak since. But eventually you may have yeast/sugar build up but I have been using mine for months and months and still works fine. So if you do glue your check valves into the caps then you just go buy some more 2 liters or find a way to clean the ones you have.

I don't know how many plants you have in your 55g but I think 2 -2 liters will be fine and then the 12/16 ounce soda bottle for the gas separator/bubble counter. I use 2 cups a sugar in each 2 liter and 1/2 tsp yeast in one and 1 tsp in the other. The most important step is making sure you get the temperature hot enough..they say warm water but you really need hot. You can see on that back of the yeast package at what temp it takes to make it react..I try to get it around 116-117 degrees. I dissolve the sugar first in the hot water by shaking then add the yeast and shake no more. Then give it a while to build up enough gas to make it to the end of the airline. (this is what I used in my planted 37g...was a little too much for it but probably right for 55g)

I recommend the glass diffusers because if you use a regular airstone the CO2 will go right out of the water and you want it to be there long enough for you plants to use. You will be able to see the little bubbles build up on the surface of the water.You could use a regular air stone if you are just interested in lowering you pH. It will still drop your pH. I have seen a white air stone at Petco/smart that is for the BiOrb tanks that seems to have the fine holes need to disperse CO2 properly but since BiOrb stuff is a rip off you may just want to start with the right thing..a glass diffuser.

Also I recommend spending the extra cents to buy the brass t-valve..the plastic ones tend to leak.

In my 55, I have a good amount of plants, but I'd eventually like to get more, so I would like to have a decent amount of C02. And I did not know that about making the water super hot! I thought it was just lukewarm; thanks for telling me that. I heard CO2 was going to lower my pH, but by how much exactly? My pH is around the 7.3 range, so is the CO2 going to make my tank really acidic, and once I hook up the system, will it change the pH drastically and harm my fish? And what do you mean by saying the BiOrb air stone is a rip off? Do they not work very well? And what would you recommend as far as glass diffusers as well?

Cornelius1208 11-03-2010 11:29 PM

OH another thing I forgot to ask you dfbiggs was what is the importance of the bubble counter? Is it absolutely necessary or is just strongly recommended. What would be the benefit of me making one?

1077 11-04-2010 02:06 AM

Would agree with brass fittings and possibly brass adapter, as well as using tubing such as silicone rather than airline tubing which could deteriorate from effects of fermentation process. I have heard of this happening with those who use airline tubing and also reprts of airline tubing becoming clogged over time more readily due also to the fermentation process.Airline tubing may also not be suitable for pressure created over the long haul.
Not knowing how the fermentation process affects plastic over time,, I would use glass diffuser which might be more suitable and easier to clean.

dfbiggs 11-04-2010 12:14 PM

Yeah the water temp was really the biggest problem I encountered because people kept saying lukewarm. There is a range you want to stay in because if you make it too hot it will fizzle out fast or kill the bacteria (yeast). Also I was impatient with letting the gas build up. Before you see bubbles come through your glass diffusor a foam of yeast/sugar layer will build up on the top of your water. After it gets about 1 inch thick it will start working its way through the airline.

Just to give you an idea my tap water is a steady 7.9-8.0 pH and say I ran the system starting in the morning by night time is can drop ridiculously like 8 to 6.5. That is the downfall with the DIY because there is no regulator normally. What I did to have more control was run my CO2 Air line through a gang valve and adjust the lever to the lowest setting. I turned mine completely off overnight too or you would wake up and you pH would be 6.0. And of course mess with your sugar/yeast mixture to make it work for you. Remember the more yeast the faster it wil eat your sugar and the more often you will have to replace the mixture. I was replacing mine once a week or every week and a half.

You will want to figure out how to run a steady CO2 injection before you add fish. It's really the easiest if you have fish that require soft water.

I say Biorb is a rip off because you can get an air stone for 99cents but since Biorb is the newest trendy thing they can charge you $4 for an air stone. I haven't tried one. I kind of boycott BiOrb and there bubble aquariums because their target market is people who care more about looks than quality of life for fish :)

As far as glass diffusers I get mine from ebay. You can look around for others this is just an example. Here is a link.
Live Aquarium Fish Tank Aquatic Plant CO2 Diffuser-AT30 - eBay (item 190453492161 end time Nov-05-10 20:43:06 PDT)

There are many fancy ones to choose from. Some have a bubble cou nter right in them. Also know when you see nano diffusers they are a bit smaller. I have one nano and 2 like the one in this pic. I almost like the nano better just because it is easier to hide. Be gentle with these things they break very very easy..lol.

The benefit of the bubble counter is to get a steady rate of flow. If you didn't have one you wouldn't be able to see if your mixture was making gas unless it was coming from the diffuser. And sometimes your diffusor will get clogged with debris and you would think you needed a new mixture when you really needed to clean your diffuser. Plus it will teach you at what rate you need to keep your CO2. Some say 1 bubble per second is sufficient but I was trying to keep mine as slow as possible to make just enough to push through. It would last long this way and wouldn't give me such a huge pH swing.

Hope I answered everything for you.

redchigh 11-04-2010 12:16 PM

DFbiggs-
never knew you were one of those CO2 people. :P

dfbiggs 11-04-2010 12:17 PM

I told you I was months ago and you said "Oh you're one of those people" remember..soo judgemental


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