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DIY CO2 made easy Do It Yourself

Discussion in 'Aquarium Equipment & Decor' started by James0816, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. James0816

    James0816 Thread Starter New Member

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    Many hobbyists like to have natural plants in their aquariums. Depending on factors such as lighting and the types of plants you keep, you may need to add CO2 to your system. However, buying a pressurized setup can be a bit costly. In comes DIY (Do-It-Yourself). Even then, some people think that even this method is cumbersome. Well, here we are going to go from start to finish just to show how simple it really is.

    Step I: Making the medium (a.k.a Jell-O)
    ............. Ingredients: 1 pk. Regular 8oz Jell-O. Flavor Optional.
    ............................ 2 ½ cups boiling water
    ............................ 2 cups pure cane sugar
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_MasterIngredients.jpg

    ............. 1) In a large saucepan, fill with water and bring to a rolling boil.
    ............. 2) Empty (1) 8oz package of Jell-O in a large mixing bowl.
    ............. 3) When water is boiling, carefully measure out 2 ½ cups.
    .............................. a. CAUTION: Contents will be very hot. Be Careful.
    ............. 4) Pour water in bowl with Jell-O and mix thoroughly until well dissolved.
    ............. 5) Pour in sugar and thoroughly mix again until well dissolved.
    ............. 6) Once everything has been dissolved, pour contents in a flat Tupperware container.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_JellOMix.jpg
    ............. 7) Cover and place in refrigerator.

    Step II: Making the Reactor
    ............. While the Jell-O is setting up, let’s make the reactor vessels.

    ............. Materials: 1 64oz Juice bottle (Ocean Spray seems to be best)
    .......................... 1 1pt bottled water bottle
    .......................... 4’ CO2 tubing
    .......................... GE Silicone I caulk (optional)
    ............. Tools:..... Cordless drill w/ bits
    .......................... Scissors
    .......................... Case Knife
    .......................... Needle Nose Pliers
    .......................... Toothpick
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_Tools.jpg
    ............. 1) Start by thoroughly cleaning both bottles with hot water.
    ............. 2) Remove lids. Drill a 3/16 hole directly in the center of the juice bottle lid. Drill two holes in the smaller water bottle lid.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_HolesInLids.jpg ............. * NOTE * For best results, start with a small drill bit to create a pilot hole. Then using other bits, work your way up to 3/16. The 3/16 size is a fraction smaller than the diameter of the tubing and will provide for a tight fit.

    ............. 3) Using the case knife, carefully trim any shavings left by the drill bit.
    ............. 4) Measure about 2’ of tubing.
    ............. 5) Using scissors cut one end of the tube at an angle.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_AngledCut.jpg
    ............. 6) Push the angled end through the top of the cap.
    ............. 7) Using the pliers, grab the end and carefully pull the tubing the rest of the way through the cap.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_PullTubingThrough.jpg
    ............. 8) Cut off the angled end to make a flat cut.
    ............. 9) Slowly pull tubing out of cap until about ¼” remains in the cap.
    ............. 10) Repeat steps 5-8 with the opposite end of the tubing into one hole of the water bottle cap.
    ............. 11) Test fit tubing in water bottle and adjust length if needed. There should be a bend in the tubing.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_TestFit.jpg
    ............. 12) Using the remaining length of tubing, repeat steps 5-9 using the second hole on the water bottle cap.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_CapsWithTubing.jpg
    ............. 13) Caulk around all three pieces of tubing on the inside of the caps using GE Silicone I caulk only. This is an optional step as the seal around the tubing will be sufficient with the 3/16” hole depending on how you diffuse the gas. I didn’t do this at first until I switched to a glass diffuser, which resulted in needing higher pressure. In one setup, I discovered a leak in the separator bottle so I added the silicone.
    ............. 14) Use the toothpick to spread the caulk completely around the tubing to ensure the entire area is covered.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_CapWithCaulk.jpg
    ............. 15) Set caps aside and let silicone cure at least 24hrs.

    Step III: Time to make gas
    ............. Now that our Jell-O has set and our reactor vessels have been made, it is time to start making gas… CO2.
    ............. Ingredients: 1 tsp Bakers or Brewers Yeast divided
    .............................. ¾ tsp for initial setup
    .............................. ¼ tsp to add later
    .............................. ¼ tsp. Sugar
    .............................. ¼ cup hot water
    .............................. ¼ tsp. Baking soda
    .............................. Air stone (diffuser)
    .............................. * NOTE * use a limewood airstone or glass diffuser for best results
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_gasingredients.jpg
    ............. 1) Activate the yeast. In ¼ hot water, dissolve ¼ tsp sugar. Stir thoroughly.
    ............. 2) While water is still spinning from step 1 (tornado effect as I like to call it), carefully pour in ¾ tsp of yeast. This will help in prevent clumping.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_yeast1.jpg ............. “snow globe” effect shows the yeast activating:
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_yeast2.jpg
    ............. 3) While this is activating (appox. 15 minutes), cut Jell-O in small cubes. The small cubes allow for more surface action for the yeast.
    ............. 4) Add the cubes to the large bottle.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_jelloinbottle.jpg
    ............. 5) After yeast has activated (again allow approx. 15 minutes), add 2 cups hot water to Jell-O bottle.
    ............. 6) Pour yeast mixture into bottle.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_yeastinbottle.jpg
    ............. 7) Add ¼ tsp Baking Soda.
    ............. 8) Using hot water, fill bottle until you have approx. 2” free space from the lid.
    ............. 9) Add remaining ¼ tsp yeast.
    ............. 10) Fill seperator bottle at least 3/4 full ensuring to cover the opening of the tube.
    ............. 11) Cap both bottles tightly. Remember to allow for a “curve” in the separator bottle.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_finalsetup.jpg
    ............. 11) Within hours, you will start to see generation of CO2.
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_DIY_20CO2_finalproduct.jpg

    That’s all it takes. Now go grow beautiful and healthy plants.
     
  2. James0816

    James0816 Thread Starter New Member

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    I have since switched all my limewood air stones out with glass pollen diffusers like this one:
    ai735.photobucket.com_albums_ww357_James0816_BabyOtoCats_Parents_011510.jpg

    This caused extra pressure build up and resulted in a leak at the top of the caps. I placed silicone on the top side of the cap as well and all is working perfectly.
     
  3. HBIC

    HBIC Need help??? That's what we're here for :)

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    If you add sugar what is the purpose of the jello? Also what purpose does the baking soda have? I have always just used warm water yeast and sugar.
     
  4. James0816

    James0816 Thread Starter New Member

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    The Jell-o "locks' the sugar. As it slowly dissolves, it releases the sugars to the yeast. Makes the mix last longer. The baking soda is used to stabilize it.
     
  5. James0816

    James0816 Thread Starter New Member

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    Now I'm one to be known to experiment quite often. It's been awhile since I conducted any experiments so I thought I would tinker with this recipe a bit. I've done a lot of reading and ran across people using uncooked rice. Thought it was interesting so....hence...my latest experiment.

    Back on 15-Mar-2010, I decided to use 1/4 cup uncooked rice in my formula. I divided it in half. The first half went directly into the jell-o (made the jell-o and then spread the rice out in the liquid, placed in fridge).

    When it was ready to assemble the bottle, I took the remaining half of rice and made a thin layer at the bottom of the bottle, added some cubes of jell-o, more rice...jell-o until both were used up.

    As of today, I am still getting 1 bubble every 7 seconds in the seperator bottle. That's currently just over three weeks on this bottle.
     
  6. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    Hey, this is great James...thanks for sharing...but I have to wonder what the monster yellow peep was for?
    Foreman/supervisor? Lol! (Sorry, couldn't resist).
     
  7. WhiteGloveAquatics

    WhiteGloveAquatics New Member

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    I use
    brewers yeast
    sugar
    water
    brown sugar

    two weeks on the tank, I am at 1 bubble/sec still.
    I have 4 2 liters on this tank though.
     
  8. James0816

    James0816 Thread Starter New Member

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    Yeah...he's our little helper. He has turned out be like the garden knomes. We take him everywhere with us and he even celebrates the holidays too! :)
     
  9. MOD_Dawn

    MOD_Dawn Active Member

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    He needs a hard hat & a mini-pair of googles (mad scientist look) :)
     
  10. MasterBlue

    MasterBlue Active Member

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    humn... I might just do this o.o;
     
  11. FishVixen

    FishVixen Active Member

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    I have everything here at the house! HHMMMM I might have to try this. should I do 2 for a 55 gal? heavily planted with 3.6 WPG
     
  12. Aeschere42

    Aeschere42 New Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but I have a noob question: what does the separator bottle do? Before seeing others with the same general idea in this post, I was planning on just throwing some sugar, water, and yeast into a single bottle with a tube coming out of it. I'm guessing the separator is for if the yeast mixture comes up the tube. Does this normally happen/could I go without it?
     
  13. Anthony

    Anthony Active Member

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    I don't know for sure but I think it's so if any liquid gets in the tubing it drops out into the next bottle and doesn't go into the tank.
     
  14. HBIC

    HBIC Need help??? That's what we're here for :)

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    If the pressure builds to high it will push the liquid up the tubing and into the tank, which will kill your fish (I have personal experience with it). I know the separator sounds like a dumb idea but truly it is worth the extra five minutes and 6 inches of tubing.
     
  15. Aeschere42

    Aeschere42 New Member

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    Thank you for the info, I have it going with the separator at the moment and the plants seem to enjoy it. Now I just have to build up finances for a decent pressurized system :D.