Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 01-26-2017, 01:30 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Nortzy21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 153
DIY CO2 system

Hello all,

I have a very low tech 29 gallon planted tank that is doing very well but I'm not getting the growth I'd like to see in the plants. I am not using a CO2 system (just liquid CO2) and have a cheap zoo Med flora sun plant bulb. I'm in high school supporting the tank off a minimum wage job and I'm looking into setting up a cheap, DIY CO2 system. I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with them and if you all have any tips about them. I have done my research and find that they're quite simple and not too hard to maintain. I know I won't get as good of growth with a diy system as an automatic system but I'm hoping it will significantly help my plant growth. My other question though is...if I set up a CO2 system, isn't the only way my plants will grow noticeably faster is if i also get better lighting? If so...what lighting would you all recommend? I know T5s would be good but does anyone have experience with LEDs? Anyway, let me know about what you all think about DIY CO2 systems and what I should expect with them or what else I may need to know. I'd appreciate any advice!

Thanks,
Sam
__________________

__________________
75 gallon turtle tank
Red-eared slider turtle w/ various tetras
20 gallon planted tank
Breeding guppies, cherry shrimp and assorted plants
Nortzy21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 01:49 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Bert2oo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,562
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nortzy21 View Post
Hello all,

I have a very low tech 29 gallon planted tank that is doing very well but I'm not getting the growth I'd like to see in the plants. I am not using a CO2 system (just liquid CO2) and have a cheap zoo Med flora sun plant bulb. I'm in high school supporting the tank off a minimum wage job and I'm looking into setting up a cheap, DIY CO2 system. I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with them and if you all have any tips about them. I have done my research and find that they're quite simple and not too hard to maintain. I know I won't get as good of growth with a diy system as an automatic system but I'm hoping it will significantly help my plant growth. My other question though is...if I set up a CO2 system, isn't the only way my plants will grow noticeably faster is if i also get better lighting? If so...what lighting would you all recommend? I know T5s would be good but does anyone have experience with LEDs? Anyway, let me know about what you all think about DIY CO2 systems and what I should expect with them or what else I may need to know. I'd appreciate any advice!

Thanks,
Sam


To be honest I hate them and feel that if people want to get into co2 they should skip DIY co2. I had DIY co2 for 2 months (baking soda and citric acid) and it caused me nothing but issues.

I don't want to kill your dreams but I want you to be aware that DIY co2 really isn't anymore helpful than dosing seachem excel in my opinion.

When I ran DIY co2 it tended to fluctuate causing an out brake of BBA algae that I was never able to get rid of.

In a 30g tank I was replacing the bottles every 5 days to get even close to the required 30ppm of co2 required. This was costing me around $15-$20 per week in ingredients. (Citric acid can be brought cheaper in bulk on Amazon or eBay). I was buying mine from the super market.

If your wanting to jump into high lighting to grow carpet plants and red plants etc it really is worth waiting untill you can afford a good pressurised co2 system. It end up cheaper in the long run and is far and away better than DIY.

Depending on the plants you are growing growth rate can be very slow in plants such as Java fern, mosses, anubias, vals, crypts. These are classified as low light plants as they can grow in lower light due to the slower uptake of nutrients/growth.

Co2 may speed them up a tad but you really wouldn't notice much difference. If your setup is low light I'd just dose excel and not worry about DIY co2.

Going high light? Pressurised is a must. Fixtures like satellite pro's, finnex planted 24/7's are most popular for high light aquariums.

High light is classified as 80-100+ par rating at substrate level so if wanting to go high lighting make sure the fixture you buy has a par chart that will tell you the par rating at your tank depth.

Dimmable LED's are best as you can set them to what you require. However many people use t5ho fluro tubes to achieve high light.

Golden rule is: the more light(par rating), the more co2 and fertilisers you will need.

Research EI dosing or PPS pro if you plan on going high light as seachem products won't be enough to keep balance in your aquarium.

Hope I've helped.
__________________

__________________
Bert2oo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 11:41 AM   #3
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Posts: 239
What to expect from DIY co2? Easily answered. Testing. Testing. And more testing. Seeing algae. Asking what kind it is and how to get rid of it. Adjusting your dosing per 100 different opinions. Testing. Testing. And more testing. Algae goes away. But another pops up. More questions. Adjust dosing. And that's just the first week. A lot of stress for a 1/4" of growth.

Ask me how I know.

Not saying you wouldn't have some of the same issues with a good co2 system. But the fluctuating co2 levels from a DIY system is what I am lead to believe causes the majority of issues. Just my opinion. And I'm far from an expert.
__________________
Cheers!
Ketso


55 gallon Planted - Tank Log
DIY Hood 96w 6500K
Rena Filstar Xp3
Ketso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 12:40 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
PerfectDepth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 607
I've had success with DIY Co2 in my 20 gallon long for 2 years now. 29 gallons is pushing the limits volume-wise for using DIY, but it can be done as long as you're not aiming for really high lighting. I use a finnex planted+ 24/7 on my 20 long.

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0263.jpg
Views:	75
Size:	245.9 KB
ID:	293865

I know the citric acid systems are popular, but yeast and sugar method might be less hassle because of the size of your tank.

I use yeast and sugar water in 3 one-Liter bottles. They last 4 to 5 weeks in my experience. I'm pretty sure using the larger 2L bottles is somewhat wasteful since they don't really seem to produce twice as much as 1 liter bottles.

Don't be afraid of overdoing it. For your 29g I'm thinking 6 one-liter bottles would work. You could change out the two oldest bottles weekly for 3 weeks, then skip a week, and so on so each bottle is being changed after 4 weeks of use.

Recipe:

1.5 cups sugar
4 cups hot tap water
1/2 tsp champagne yeast

Measure the sugar, add hot water, stir, drop the yeast in the bottle, then pour about 1 cup of the sugar water. Swish it around to dissolve the yeast, then I let it sit in a bowl of hot tap water to keep it warm (around 110F to activate the dormant yeast) for 10 or 20 mins, then pour in the rest of the sugar water.

To diffuse co2, don't bother with any kind of ceramic diffuser. They require pressure to build up before releasing any co2, which will inevitably cause it to just leak out somewhere else. You'll want to use some type reactor that mixes the co2 using the flow of water, and allows the co2 to bubble out of the line without resistance.
__________________
My 20 gallon long planted tank:
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...-a-349160.html
PerfectDepth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 01:31 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Nortzy21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectDepth View Post
I've had success with DIY Co2 in my 20 gallon long for 2 years now. 29 gallons is pushing the limits volume-wise for using DIY, but it can be done as long as you're not aiming for really high lighting. I use a finnex planted+ 24/7 on my 20 long.

Attachment 293865

I know the citric acid systems are popular, but yeast and sugar method might be less hassle because of the size of your tank.

I use yeast and sugar water in 3 one-Liter bottles. They last 4 to 5 weeks in my experience. I'm pretty sure using the larger 2L bottles is somewhat wasteful since they don't really seem to produce twice as much as 1 liter bottles.

Don't be afraid of overdoing it. For your 29g I'm thinking 6 one-liter bottles would work. You could change out the two oldest bottles weekly for 3 weeks, then skip a week, and so on so each bottle is being changed after 4 weeks of use.

Recipe:

1.5 cups sugar
4 cups hot tap water
1/2 tsp champagne yeast

Measure the sugar, add hot water, stir, drop the yeast in the bottle, then pour about 1 cup of the sugar water. Swish it around to dissolve the yeast, then I let it sit in a bowl of hot tap water to keep it warm (around 110F to activate the dormant yeast) for 10 or 20 mins, then pour in the rest of the sugar water.

To diffuse co2, don't bother with any kind of ceramic diffuser. They require pressure to build up before releasing any co2, which will inevitably cause it to just leak out somewhere else. You'll want to use some type reactor that mixes the co2 using the flow of water, and allows the co2 to bubble out of the line without resistance.


As far as a diffuser, would it be ok to use a small air stone in front of a power head? I've read that you want the bubbles coming out of the airline hose to be chopped up so the CO2 dissolves more easily in the water and is able to easily be taken up by the plants. Also, I have looked at the finnex planted +24/7 and I do think that would be a good option for my tank, plus it's reasonably priced. As far as bottles, I think 5 or 6 1 L bottles would be good since you said 2 L bottles don't make much of a difference. Also, did you silicone around the holes where you have the airline roving going through the bottles to prevent gas from escaping? Let me know what you think of everything!
__________________
75 gallon turtle tank
Red-eared slider turtle w/ various tetras
20 gallon planted tank
Breeding guppies, cherry shrimp and assorted plants
Nortzy21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 01:56 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Posts: 239
Don't take my post above the wrong way. It can be done. As evidenced by the fella above. But it will indeed try your patience in the beginning. Trying to find what worked for my tank size, plants, etc took more patience than I have. Everyone is different though.
__________________
Ketso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 02:08 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
PerfectDepth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nortzy21 View Post
As far as a diffuser, would it be ok to use a small air stone in front of a power head? I've read that you want the bubbles coming out of the airline hose to be chopped up so the CO2 dissolves more easily in the water and is able to easily be taken up by the plants. Also, I have looked at the finnex planted +24/7 and I do think that would be a good option for my tank, plus it's reasonably priced. As far as bottles, I think 5 or 6 1 L bottles would be good since you said 2 L bottles don't make much of a difference. Also, did you silicone around the holes where you have the airline roving going through the bottles to prevent gas from escaping? Let me know what you think of everything!
No, I don't think you could ever get co2 to sufficiently dissolve that way. If you're using a powerhead, take a look at this discussion. I've used a similar design. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/20...2-reactor.html

EDIT: it looks like the photos have disappeared on that link. If you can't see the photos either, take a look here instead: http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...ctor-w-venturi

If you're using a canister filter, another option is an external reactor. Do a google search for instructions for a "rex griggs reactor", or a "cerges reactor".

No, not a drop of silicone was used. Some people prefer to use bulkhead fittings, but I think the best way to get a good seal is to use an awl to poke a small hole in the bottle cap, only about half the diameter of the airline tubing. Then cut the end of the tubing at an angle so that there is a point that you can poke through the small hole to get started. Then I use needle-nose pliers to pull the tube the rest of the way through the hole, and cut a bit off the end so the tubing is flush with the rim of the bottle cap.
__________________
My 20 gallon long planted tank:
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...-a-349160.html
PerfectDepth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2017, 04:03 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
nirbhao's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Michigan, Metro Detroit
Posts: 3,000
I have a wooden "airstone" that is working decently. Super tiny bubbles.
__________________
I'm probably on my phone.

https://injaf.org/
https://thedelicion.com
nirbhao is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2017, 12:22 AM   #9
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Nortzy21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectDepth View Post
No, I don't think you could ever get co2 to sufficiently dissolve that way. If you're using a powerhead, take a look at this discussion. I've used a similar design. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/20...2-reactor.html

EDIT: it looks like the photos have disappeared on that link. If you can't see the photos either, take a look here instead: http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...ctor-w-venturi

If you're using a canister filter, another option is an external reactor. Do a google search for instructions for a "rex griggs reactor", or a "cerges reactor".

No, not a drop of silicone was used. Some people prefer to use bulkhead fittings, but I think the best way to get a good seal is to use an awl to poke a small hole in the bottle cap, only about half the diameter of the airline tubing. Then cut the end of the tubing at an angle so that there is a point that you can poke through the small hole to get started. Then I use needle-nose pliers to pull the tube the rest of the way through the hole, and cut a bit off the end so the tubing is flush with the rim of the bottle cap.


Ok thanks for the help. What powerhead do you use for the reactor and where did you buy it from? Also is there anything else in need to know about the reactor or some tips because if I'm going to go about doing diy CO2 I think having the rector is the only thing that will make the whole system work well and be worth it. As I can see in your tank, you're having great success with it and your plants and looking great. If you wouldn't mind posting a few picks of your CO2 system that would be great. I'd like to see how you have the tubes connected through the bottles and everything.
__________________
75 gallon turtle tank
Red-eared slider turtle w/ various tetras
20 gallon planted tank
Breeding guppies, cherry shrimp and assorted plants
Nortzy21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2017, 12:47 PM   #10
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
PerfectDepth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 607
DIY CO2 system

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nortzy21 View Post
Ok thanks for the help. What powerhead do you use for the reactor and where did you buy it from? Also is there anything else in need to know about the reactor or some tips because if I'm going to go about doing diy CO2 I think having the rector is the only thing that will make the whole system work well and be worth it. As I can see in your tank, you're having great success with it and your plants and looking great. If you wouldn't mind posting a few picks of your CO2 system that would be great. I'd like to see how you have the tubes connected through the bottles and everything.
Click here to see a photo. Notice the powerhead is turned sideways with the output pointing downward: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ml#post3387217

I bought the small powerhead on ebay. It's just 2W, 50 gph. I searched and couldn't seem to find any that small, just ones that look the same but larger. The smaller ones I could find look like this and should also work, but I'm not 100% sure: 50 GPH Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Pump Powerhead Fountain Water Hydroponic

Hydor makes a small 70 gph powerhead that could also be an option.

Finding a way to secure it in the tank is tricky. I just used a heater clip and suction cup which you can kinda see in the photo, and used zip ties to attach the reactor to it.

Generator bottles and bubble counter:
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0445.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	162.6 KB
ID:	294134
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0446.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	221.4 KB
ID:	294135
__________________
My 20 gallon long planted tank:
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...-a-349160.html
PerfectDepth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2017, 09:13 PM   #11
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Nortzy21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectDepth View Post
Click here to see a photo. Notice the powerhead is turned sideways with the output pointing downward: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ml#post3387217

I bought the small powerhead on ebay. It's just 2W, 50 gph. I searched and couldn't seem to find any that small, just ones that look the same but larger. The smaller ones I could find look like this and should also work, but I'm not 100% sure: 50 GPH Aquarium Fish Tank Submersible Pump Powerhead Fountain Water Hydroponic

Hydor makes a small 70 gph powerhead that could also be an option.

Finding a way to secure it in the tank is tricky. I just used a heater clip and suction cup which you can kinda see in the photo, and used zip ties to attach the reactor to it.

Generator bottles and bubble counter:
Attachment 294134
Attachment 294135
What do you think about simply buying a power head and hooking the CO2 output tube directly up to the power head so the bubbles can be chopped up and immediately distributed throughout the tank. I feel like this would be a much easier way of dissolving CO2 in the aquarium although it may not work as well as the reactor. I'd rather do this because I'm not sure how I feel about building a reactor and honestly I don't want to have to find all the parts for it. Let me know what you think.


It would look something like this...see photo at this link.

https://www.google.com/search?q=DIy+...mg4N5E5CMzM%3A
__________________
75 gallon turtle tank
Red-eared slider turtle w/ various tetras
20 gallon planted tank
Breeding guppies, cherry shrimp and assorted plants
Nortzy21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2017, 11:00 PM   #12
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
PerfectDepth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 607
What do you have for filtration on this tank currently?
__________________
My 20 gallon long planted tank:
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...-a-349160.html
PerfectDepth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2017, 11:16 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Nortzy21's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectDepth View Post
What do you have for filtration on this tank currently?


Just a Marineland Penguin 200 HOB filter
__________________
75 gallon turtle tank
Red-eared slider turtle w/ various tetras
20 gallon planted tank
Breeding guppies, cherry shrimp and assorted plants
Nortzy21 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2017, 11:37 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
PerfectDepth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 607
DIY CO2 system

A powerhead would chop up the bubbles, but not really finely enough, so a lot of the co2 would just bubble to the surface.

I think it would work much better to run the co2 line into the filter intake instead. Most hob designs will have a u-shape section at the top that will trap the co2 so it will be in constant contact with flowing water. If it doesn't end up working very well, I know the AquaClear brand hob filters work great for dissolving co2. You could always add an additional filter or replace your current one.

I'm also thinking that the powerhead is a great idea, but use it for improving circulation and co2 distribution rather than for dissolving co2. It would be best to have it on the side opposite from the filter blowing along the back glass toward the filter intake.
__________________

__________________
My 20 gallon long planted tank:
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...-a-349160.html
PerfectDepth is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
co2, diy, diy co2, stem, system

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
12 gallon long- DIY stand, DIY ATO, DIY doser, 24oz co2, and 2211 canister. Echistas Members Freshwater Tanks Showcase 20 12-03-2015 08:37 PM
Ac130 Elite over a glass Co2 diffuser when attached to a DIY Co2 system? Jmenehan2 Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 0 02-23-2013 02:33 PM
DIY CO2 System azn_fishy55 DIY Projects 7 08-15-2005 11:23 AM
DIY: Co2 system Aquaboy DIY Projects 5 03-15-2005 04:46 AM
DIY CO2 System - what should I look out for? rubysoho DIY Projects 11 01-13-2005 05:13 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.