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Old 04-28-2013, 07:45 PM   #1 
bniebetta
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Diy co2

I have been looking into DYI CO2 reactors and I am shocked at house easy and cheap they are. I have seem a lot of videos on youtube. I had a few questions about it.

1. Are there any risks (other than the setup just not working) involved with home made setups? As long as I have a good gas separator component, my fish will be safe, correct?

2. Will a mini airstone attachment be effective as a diffuser? I have one on hand and would like to avoid having to order one as much as possible. I would build one with a water bottle and sponge, but I feel the airstone will be better sized for my tank and more aesthetically pleasing.

3. What do I need to expect as far as maintaining this system? Will it smell funny (seriously though)? How often do I need to replace the reactor contents? Anything else I should know about?
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:17 PM   #2 
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1. You'll definitely want to get a drop checker for the CO2. DIY is risky in a lot of different aspects, but if you have a drop checker in the tank you'll atleast know where you stand on CO2 levels in the tank.
You'll also want to look into some 4gKH solution (on eBay for like $5 plus shipping) to keep the reading on the drop checker accurate.
2. I've never heard of using airstones, but you can try a wooden chopstick as your diffuser. (google it) just break off the end, shove it into the tubing and let it rip!
3. You'll have to re-do the yeast mix pretty often, depending on tank size I'd expect atleast a couple times a week. If you get regular airline tubing you'll have to replace it sooner or later. You'll have to prune your plants much more often...
I haven't noticed a smell, but I'm running pressurized, so I can't speak for DIY,


While I'm thinking about it, make sure you get Co2 proof tubing. Co2 will eat through regular airline tubing eventually. You should also look into doing the pressurized route. I know it's pricey at the beginning, ($140 for everything from paintball tanks, to a great 2 guage regulator, to a diffuser for me.) but it's definitely worth it. A lot less risky. On amazon you could probably get the entire set up for about $60 if you looked into it. Its a lot less time consuming, a lot more accurate, lasts longer, and you can turn it off and on at anytime..just a thought, I can send you some links to decent set-ups at good prices if your interested.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:28 PM   #3 
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Ok as long as you have a good separator your fish will be safe, my only concern would be at night when plants switch from breathing co2 to breathing o2 be it the tanks I would do it in do not house bettas

it would help but I don't know if just the stone would give enough time for the co2 to diffuse into the water

as far as the smell goes I have no clue I would guess it would depend on how good of a sense of smell you have where the tank is and so on if it's in a well ventilated area I would guess it would not be bad but if in a closed off room might not be so good

I have looked into even getting the "real deal" co2 system to the diy ones and from all the research I have done you will at most boost plant growth by 20% or so at max so to me it really is not worth the cost time or hassle if I was growing plants to sell then it might be worth the effort if it offset the cost I just use api's co2 boost and some fert here and there
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:31 PM   #4 
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with diy setup your going to have a hard hard time getting 30ppm co2 and at a constant level. forget the dropchecker and the diy co2 IMO. with co2 you need a lot higher lighting and a lot more/stronger ferts. co2 is not at all for anyone new into plants or aquariums for that matter.

there are many risks with diy co2 including but not limited to - back siphoning, fish death (too much co2) insane algae outbreaks that occur within a day or 2 and many many other things.

if your wanting to go co2 get a reliable regulator and bubble counter with a quality needle valve. diffusion is most important with any co2 method air stone bubbling out co2 is going to be about as bad as you can get (no offence) I would lookinto inline reactors or possibly a powerhead diffusion method. of course theres always the glass diffusion method with the ceramic discs.

personally if I were you I would skip the diy and stay with lowtech plants.


if you want to add carbon source to the tank look at excel its about 4-5x faster then natural co2 while pressurized is about 10-15x. but then again excel is not highly recommended as ive had it melt more then a few plants in my tank. not to mention the active ingredient is used in medical tool sterilization, embalming barnicale cleaning from ship hulls any many other extreme tasks.

Last edited by MoneyMitch; 04-28-2013 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:49 PM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aemaki09 View Post
1. You'll definitely want to get a drop checker for the CO2. DIY is risky in a lot of different aspects, but if you have a drop checker in the tank you'll atleast know where you stand on CO2 levels in the tank.
You'll also want to look into some 4gKH solution (on eBay for like $5 plus shipping) to keep the reading on the drop checker accurate.
2. I've never heard of using airstones, but you can try a wooden chopstick as your diffuser. (google it) just break off the end, shove it into the tubing and let it rip!
3. You'll have to re-do the yeast mix pretty often, depending on tank size I'd expect atleast a couple times a week. If you get regular airline tubing you'll have to replace it sooner or later. You'll have to prune your plants much more often...
I haven't noticed a smell, but I'm running pressurized, so I can't speak for DIY,


While I'm thinking about it, make sure you get Co2 proof tubing. Co2 will eat through regular airline tubing eventually. You should also look into doing the pressurized route. I know it's pricey at the beginning, ($140 for everything from paintball tanks, to a great 2 guage regulator, to a diffuser for me.) but it's definitely worth it. A lot less risky. On amazon you could probably get the entire set up for about $60 if you looked into it. Its a lot less time consuming, a lot more accurate, lasts longer, and you can turn it off and on at anytime..just a thought, I can send you some links to decent set-ups at good prices if your interested.
That would be great :D even if I can't afford the real deal right now, i can get a better idea of how much I need to plan for.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:54 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyMitch View Post
with diy setup your going to have a hard hard time getting 30ppm co2 and at a constant level. forget the dropchecker and the diy co2 IMO. with co2 you need a lot higher lighting and a lot more/stronger ferts. co2 is not at all for anyone new into plants or aquariums for that matter.

there are many risks with diy co2 including but not limited to - back siphoning, fish death (too much co2) insane algae outbreaks that occur within a day or 2 and many many other things.

if your wanting to go co2 get a reliable regulator and bubble counter with a quality needle valve. diffusion is most important with any co2 method air stone bubbling out co2 is going to be about as bad as you can get (no offence) I would lookinto inline reactors or possibly a powerhead diffusion method. of course theres always the glass diffusion method with the ceramic discs.

personally if I were you I would skip the diy and stay with lowtech plants.


if you want to add carbon source to the tank look at excel its about 4-5x faster then natural co2 while pressurized is about 10-15x. but then again excel is not highly recommended as ive had it melt more then a few plants in my tank. not to mention the active ingredient is used in medical tool sterilization, embalming barnicale cleaning from ship hulls any many other extreme tasks.
I am technically new to aquariums and plants but I am an extremely fast and dedicated learner and very particular about detail and pros/cons. I would use a check valve to make sure there was no back siphoning or give me time to correct it if there was, unless this is not the way to do it. Is 18000K enough lighting? That is what I currently have in my planted tank. I use Excel and Comprehensive, but I wanted to look into other plant solutions because Excel is melting my jungle vals even when I underdose. I have two nerite snails to help me out with algae. Still a bad idea?

Thanks for your responses guys, I need all the help I can get :D
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:10 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bniebetta View Post
That would be great :D even if I can't afford the real deal right now, i can get a better idea of how much I need to plan for.

I'll PM you some of the things I was looking into.
It's a huge headache figure out what exactly you need and what the best price for them is.


But here is a basic list if you want to look for yourself.
Drop checker and 4dkh solution
co2 proof tubing (like 5' would be sufficient)
bubble counter
diffuser
co2 tank
co2 tank adaptor
co2 regulator (solenoid and double guaged would be the best method, but without is OK)
Check valves (the kind used for airline tubing to prevent back siphoning)
Teflon tape
and then you MAY want to look into paintball tank o-rings.

Anyways, I'll get started on a PM for you. :)


oh by the way:: what kind of lighting do you have and on what size tank? you may not even need anything more than excel or API co2 booster (or buying gluteraldehyde (SP)) depending on the lighting you have. Anything high light should have co2, moderate can do co2 or liquid carbon, and low light doesnt need anything besides maybe ferts.

Last edited by aemaki09; 04-28-2013 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:41 PM   #8 
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My lighting could be better, but it was what I had most closely available. It's a 18000K florescent (a lot, I know...) for a 20 gallon tank. I have eco-complete substrate and have so far been supplementing with Flourish Excel and Comprehensive. I know most of the plants in my tank but some of them came with a plant package that I haven't quite had time to match names and faces (or leaves, rather). So I can post pics of some here. I know for a fact I have dracaena (still not exactly sure if this is intended for aquariums but it was on sale at petco in their plant tank), dwarf hair grass, water wisteria, java fern, anarcharis, anubias, marimo moss ball, pelia rock, jungle val, but there are some I know and just can't remember. I got such a wide variety so I could get a feel of what I like and what I don't. I am interested in CO2 not only to benefit the tank, but also because I live the scientific aspect of aquariums and thought it would be a really rewarding project. I didn't have that much time to research because I am moving soon and do not have enough space in the new place to organize the sorority, so I was forced to throw it together if I wanted one at all (I think I did pretty well considering :p)
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:44 PM   #9 
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Watching this with interest. I keep investigating, and then I run into a thread where the co2 killed all the fish. Not worth the risk to me, at least right now.

But I do love the results!
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:37 PM   #10 
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16,000k? Are you sure?
That's not in the range to grow plants, you'll have to replace it with something between 5-8000k to grow them.
What type is it? T5, T8, or t12?

Also, all the plants you named are considered low-light, so co2 wouldn't benifit them too much.
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