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FAQs on Carbon Dioxide and Planted Tanks: Yeast-Bottle Types

Related Articles:  Carbon dioxide and the planted freshwater aquarium by Neale Monks, CO2 Canopies

Related FAQs: CO2 & Planted Tanks 1CO2 & Planted Tanks 2, CO2 Canopies& FAQs on CO2 Planted Tanks: Rationale/Use, Sources, Compressed Gas Types, Control/Delivery, Measure, Dangers,

Google doing a search for "yeast reactor" - looks like it might be helpful: http://www.hallman.org/plant/CO2.html

CO2 Alternatives 07/20/2008 Hello....I have a 29 gal FW community tank using a Whisper 2 filter. It's illuminated with a 10K light for about 14 hrs/day. I keep the Ph at 6.8 to 7.0 and ammonia is nonexistent due to my mixing Zeolite with my charcoal filter media. <Zero ammonia should have nothing whatever to do with the Zeolite, which you shouldn't be using in a community tank anyway. Unless you have money to burn, you get much better results with biological filtration, especially at a neutral pH. My thoughts on carbon in freshwater tanks are well known here at WWM -- basically I consider it a waste of money. But again, if you don't mind spending money on stuff you don't need, by all means stick with it! If, on the other hand, you want good value and good water quality, simply through out the carbon and Zeolite, replace the space in the filter with good quality biological media (e.g., ceramic noodles) and do large, regular water changes (e.g., 50% weekly) instead.> I regularly add Seachem's Trace, Flourish, and Potassium and I place a phosphorus pad alongside my filter bag to minimize algae growth. At one time I included Seachem's Nitrogen in my additives, but that resulted in a huge algae bloom. <You shouldn't really need to add much stuff to a planted tank assuming you have a decent substrate to start with. The fish provide ample nitrate and phosphate. All you really need to add are trace elements, especially iron. Standard issue plant fertiliser will do this.> To remedy sluggish or nonexistent plant growth I installed the CarboPlus CO2 system a few years ago and the improvement is mixed, at best. <Lacklustre plant growth is almost always down to two things: firstly light intensity, and secondly substrate quality (assuming of course you've bought true aquatic plants and not terrestrial plants -- to often widely sold). You say nothing about light intensity, the 10,000K refers to the *colour* of the light, not the intensity. For standard plants, you're aiming at 2-3 watts per gallon. The actual colour of the lights couldn't matter less, as plants seem to be far more adaptable than, say, corals. CO2 is "icing on the cake" -- it makes a good system better, but it won't turn around a failing system. If you remember your high school biology, when you studied photosynthesis and limiting factors, you'll recall that CO2 is a limiting factor. Increasing light intensity speeds up photosynthesis up to a point, and then raising the CO2 concentration speeds up photosynthesis still further.> I've been considering a gas CO2 system but the tank's location gives no opportunity to hide a 5 lb. CO2 bottle. Someone suggested a yeast reactor coupled to a PGP Power Reactor CO2 system built by Plantguild Products. Does anyone have any history or comments on the effectiveness of such an approach? <Yeast reactors can work well, but they're fiddly and require careful usage. On the flip side, they're relatively cheap to run. CO2 bottles are easier but more expensive. The best systems of any kind are electronic, with automatic devices that add the right amount of CO2. If you're going to invest in upgrading an existing CO2 system, that's perhaps the most sensible approach. But if you're finding your plant growth is poor at the moment, then I seriously doubt that CO2 is the key factor, so I'd review other aspects. Are the plants suitable for your tank? Are you providing the water hardness they want? Is the water too warm or too cold? What substrate did you use? What is the intensity of the lighting? When did you last replace the lights?> As a side note, if this unit's power head is noisier than my Whisper filter, it's a no-no. Thanks for your comments! Ken <Can't really comment on this; properly build powerheads should be close to silent. If you are finding yours make excessive or rattling noises, it may be faulty/misused. Air bubbles for example make a racket when inside impellers. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: CO2 Alternatives  7/20/08 Thanks Neal....obviously you've given me a TON to think ....and rethink about. KLP <Good stuff. Keep thinking, reading, asking questions! High end planted tanks are very difficult to set up and maintain, and argue *at least* as much work as a reef tank. You want to expend your time and money as carefully as possible. Cheers, Neale.>

Extended Cycling 1/15/08 Hi WWM Crew, <Hello,> I am setting up a rather small (40 G/ 150L) Tanganyika Tank. Water, Substrate (Aragonite) and Rocks are in the tank. Filter, Heater and Maxi jet are running. Filter is a Fluval 305, Media right now are Prodibio Bio Digest on Ceramic Media, Activated Carbon and 100ml of ROWAphos. <Sounds great, though I admit to considering carbon a total waste of space in freshwater tanks.> I'm slowly raising pH and KH to 9.0 and ~14KH respectively. Unfortunately I realized that I'll have to be away from the tank <Oh...?> for 3 weeks at the end of March. There will be somebody who can fill up evaporated water once a week, but not much more. <OK.> My questions here is, is there any problem to be expected when I extend the cycling and wait with the livestock until I'm back in late April? <None at all. If the tank is currently unstocked, throw in one or two of those dumb "holiday" food blocks. As the calcium carbonate (or whatever they are) dissolves, it releases small amounts of flake food. The food will rot, release ammonia in the process, and keep the bacteria happy. I think those blocks last 2 weeks, in which case you might ask your "baby sitter" to throw the second one in halfway through your trip.> I really don't want to put a couple of juveniles in there to pair off, and then not be there if there is any trouble. <Agreed.> Should I feed the bacteria with some fish food or organic salmon scraps? <Yes, but do as indicated above, so the food is releases slowly, a bit at a time.> As usual, many thanks for your great help and input, Jörg <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Extended Cycling   3/5/08 Hi Neale, <Hello Jörg,> it's Jörg again. So of course I couldn't keep my hands still and started to play with the 10 gal. planted tank, (the Tanganyika is still undergoing that extended cycle...nothing new there) and I now fully understand the warnings about small high wattage high fertilizer systems. That chemistry changes for sure fast in that tank, so I am learning daily, trying to make sense of what I see. <Yes, this is a problem with small tanks anyway, but as soon as you add biogenic decalcification (plants removing bicarbonate as a substrate for photosynthesis) and CO2 fertilisation, the whole things becomes essentially unpredictable -- as far as I can tell, anyway!> So in short over a period of 3.5 months I went from pH 6.8, KH 1.5, GH 1.5,no CO2, 18W to pH 7.4, KH 5.5, GH 7.0, DIY yeast generated CO2, 36W/8000K. <Yikes!> Of course the DIY yeast CO2 required some learning, and over the last couple of days it was rather low as my yeast batch ran out of steam, and I was waiting for a better yeast strain to arrive in the mail. Anyway, the pH suddenly raced up to 8.1. <Hmm... I hope there aren't any fish in there. This sort of pH change doesn't do them any good at all.> I made a water change with some low pH water I had from soaking driftwood, and brought down the pH to 7.8, still high for the Tetras and Corys, but I didn't want to hammer those guys... <Couldn't matter less to them; fish want a stable pH long before they want a specific pH. You can easily maintain Corydoras and most tetras at pH 8, provided it is stable.> Made tests again yesterday and the situation is as follows pH 8.1, KH 3.3, GH 6.7, CO2 generator is still not at full production (~ 48 hrs running). If I take some of the water and keep it in beaker for an hour or so the pH drops to 7.4, nothing done to it..., Tank Temp. is 78 F. <During the daytime, under bright lights the plants should be removing the CO2, allowing pH to rise; if you left the CO2 running at night though the water would become acidic. Hence you need to switch off or disconnect the CO2 generator at night. If you remove the water to a glass where there are no plants, the CO2 presumably dissociates into carbonic acid, and hence the lowers the pH. I guess... I'm not 100% sure.> I'm using a pH meter (calibrated to 7.00 @ 77F) and some drop tests for cross checking my sanity. <Good.> Is it the fertilizers? <CO2 fertilisation? Yes, at least in part.> What am I not getting here? The pH should drop after the water change and the KH now being 2 degrees lower, no? <When you do a nice big water change, the pH, hardness and carbonate hardness should move towards whatever your tap water is. It will take a little time for the CO2 generator and the effects of photosynthesis to kick in> Why does it stay high, even so I've added softer, lower pH water? <No idea. In any case, I'd be reducing the CO2 amount by 25%, 50% and so on until I arrived at a value that resulted in minimal pH changes.> Once the CO2 kicks in it should go down again, but I'd really like to understand why it stays up there so stubbornly... <In the ideal case, the plants should be using up the CO2 as fast as you're adding it, so that pH depression should be minimal. Try using smaller amounts, measure the pH night and day, and determine by trial-and-error what's the amount you need. The theory is fine, but practise is what counts. Try leaving off the CO2 for a few days, and see how the pH changes. If it still changes, then there's something else going on.> Thanks, for your input, can't wait to hear what you think. Jörg <Cheers, Neale.>

Co2... Yeast/bottle type... DIY media  2/18/08 A while back I purchased a cheap co2 reactor. you know the ones that run on yeast fermentation. I was wondering is there a cheaper way to refill the unit other then the packets . Can I make my own? <Oh, yes... there are a few home-made/DIY mixes of sugars, yeast packets that can be used... I would look into what is posted on the Krib (.com) here> The name of the system is Hagen Nutrafin CO2 System. <And worth experimenting... Bob Fenner>

Plants looking better   3/11/07 I contacted you folks about 11 days ago with a concern with algae and <Hello Bob, glad to hear from you again.> poor plant growth, at Brandon's suggestion I purchased Flourish Iron.  I also found the articles you suggested very helpful. I have already noticed a decline in algae and my plants are perking up. <Good to hear.> Putting this 55 gallon tank together has a very interesting project and somewhat expensive. I have over $600 in the stand, plants, fish and all <My wife freaked when she saw how much it was going to cost to do our reef tank.> accessories, also my girlfriend has several hundred in it.  With that in mind, the CO2 system I am putting together will be very low cost as I have access to many of the items at my work and home. <Low cost doesn't mean low quality.  I am all for DIY.> I purchased a used regulator EBay for $25, I'm looking for a tank, I have a solenoid valve, have made a bubble counter <Interesting.> For now I am using a home brew system (www.netpets.org/fish/reference/freshref/co2.html)injected into my filter intake.                                       <I used something very similar to this for three years when I was breeding Pterophyllum.  The plants just loved it.> I made this for a few dollars, it's producing around 80 bubbles a minute! <It is quite impressive when you realize how far a little yeast can go. > I'm checking the PH a couple times a day. <The only time pH really becomes a concern with dosing CO2 is at night.  The plants stop producing O2, and start producing CO2.> Thanks for your help! <Anytime.  I wish more people were interested in keeping plants.  They look great.  Send a pic of the plants when you get your new reactor done.  Brandon.> Bob

Need Help - Green Water Problem, planted tank   9/27/06 I am having a green water problem that so far, I have not been able to get rid of.  To get rid of the green water, I have been doing ~ 75% water changes at least twice a week, cut way back on fish feedings, added more fast growing stem plants such as Anacharis, Bacopa, and Wisteria, and stopped adding the Seachem Flourish fret's. I even tried a blackout, in which I unplugged the lighting and covered the tank with a comforter for 24 hrs.  The problem remains'¦whenever I do water changes, the  green water comes back in about 3 days. <Wonder what the root problem/causes are here?> My tank and water parameters are given below.  Considering that GH and KH were low when I tested yesterday evening, I also added 2 tsp of Epsom salts to boost GH, and a tsp of baking soda to boost KH. I will retest this evening and post the results here. <Okay> Also, am a bit surprised that my CO2 is so low considering that I am using three 2L yeast bottles, which seems to be a bit more than a tank of this size would need for adequate CO2 levels.   Any help would be appreciated!!! - Michael Tank Parameters Tank: 38 gallon tank; heavily planted Age: 2-1/2 months; started 7/7/06 Filter: Aquaclear 50 <Need more than this likely> Substrate: Eco-Complete Lighting: 2 X 55 watt PC; 12 hrs/day CO2 Source: Yeast Reactor; 3-2L bottles using wine yeast; ceramic diffuser Fert.s: Fish load (a bit on the heavy side on intention); Seachem Flourish Water Quality Parameters pH: 6.9-7.0; TetraTest pH/pH probe Nitrate: 0; Salifert Nitrate Test Phosphate: 0; Salifert Phosphate Test <Being taken up readily by the algae> KH: 1.6; Salifert Alkalinity Test GH: 0; TetraTest GH CO2: 5-7 ppm; CO2 calculator, http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm <Well... I would "stay the course" at this point... with one change. I would turn off your DIY yeast/C02 reactors... they may be supplying more than carbon dioxide here. Bob Fenner>

Yeast Won't Produce CO2  - 01/09/2006 Hi crew. I very much thank you for your earlier responses. I have been stuck up with a problem yet again. I want to know which type of yeast is suitable for the DIY method. I used bakers yeast at first. It started producing CO2 in just half an hour but after 2-3 days the production of CO2 is stopped. Will active dry yeast be suitable for this purpose. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanking you < Check the expiration date on the yeast box. Old yeast packages are usually the problem.-Chuck>

DIY CO2 yeast spill Bob, HELP!! Here's the situation in a nutshell. I have a 70g planted tank running 4 months now (5 zebra danios, 3 true SAE's, 1 Pleco, 6 Serpaes, 2 o-cats). Last night while with a babysitter my 3-yr-old kicked over the DIY CO2 bottle and this morning there was a horrible white cloud.  We couldn't see the back of the tank! The SAE's are all gone and the others are not looking good. What needs to be done to clean up the yeast spill and salvage the tank? Thanks. Jeff Tucker <Quick like a bunny change out as much of the water as possible.... toss in whatever PVP containing water conditioner you have (Amquel, Stresscoat...) in multiple doses... BobF>

Something's Brewing in the Fish Tank.... - 10/14/2004 I have read extensively on this both here at your site, again great job, <Thank you for the kind words!>> and at numerous others including the krib. <Likely my favorite spot for CO2/GH/KH information.> my questions are this: co2 affects ph not KH right? <Uhh....  Yes.  I believe so.> peat affects KH, GH and ph? <Yes, yes, and yes.> I have seen it suggested that lowering with peat first will help hold a more stable ph when using Yeast co2, is this true to your knowledge? <Can do better than knowledge on that - I can testify to seeing it happen in my own tanks.  My tanks are stuffed, er, "to the gills", with peat and bogwood, and if the CO2 stops, everything stays stable.  Seems a freaky miracle, to me, but the pH doesn't even flinch.> I'm at 8 dH and 4kh, so I'd have to raise my KH after bringing down the ph with peat right? <Mm, may be a good idea.> the more popular yeast mixes aren't very effective for me, but I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming so wont that altitude make a difference, maybe why I'm not seeing the production most are? <Uhh, I really, really don't have an answer to that; so sorry.  It seems to make sense, though.> I get one bubble about every 20-35 sec.s with mixes others get 1 a second. could be my water I suppose.... <Or good/bad batches of yeast.  Do try to get your yeast from a brewers' supply.  Also of note, it will take quite a while for a newly mixed batch to "rev up" to production; mine take a couple days to be producing regular, timely bubbles - my fix for this is to run two generators on the one (72 gallon) tank, and stagger the mix, so one is always going full swing while the other is starting up or petering out.> I've been using a bell but am considering banding it to the powerhead so it enters where the water does and chops up the bubbles, any thoughts and feelings. <I think and feel that this would be a very good plan.  It will get the CO2 more easily dissolved into the water.> This has been a little frustrating and the info available is black and white different.... <Indeed.  Patience really, really is key, here; it will take you time to work out what will be best for your tank.  A good, quality brewers' yeast will be a good move, if you're not already using it, and do consider setting up a second DIY on a Rubbermaid container to "fiddle" with, as well, if you're concerned at messing with your fishes' water too much.> help! :) Ian <I hope to have been of service....  Please feel free to let us know if you have further questions.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Carbon dioxide infusion AND circulation Dear Bob, Well done for the website - very informative. I have just started using a DIY Co2 injector for 4 small plants I introduced recently. I have had my 1 metre aquarium for over 10 years however I always had big fish so plants were never possible to keep. Since I have the Co2 injector which is giving out very small bubbles (the big bubbles are being broken down by the water filter), do I still need aeration? I am asking this question as my 3 clown loaches tend to sleep more than they used to do when I switch off the aeration. I would really need to have some good advise on this, as I do not want to harm the fish. Having said that the aquarium looks nicer without aeration. Thanks a lot for any advise you will be able to give me. < Yes you still need to aerate the tank. During the day when the lights are on the plants take in co2 from the water and give off oxygen. At night when the lights are off the process is reversed and the plants take in oxygen from the water and give off co2. So at night there is a competition between the plants and the fish for oxygen. Aeration adds oxygen to the water so both your fish and plants will benefit. -Chuck> Antoine Azzopardi MALTA

CO2 charger not working! Hi, I will be very grateful to you if you can help here (this question might be a little off topic, but I couldn't find an answer in hours of web searching). I recently added live plants to a 35g freshwater fish tank -- several dwarf water onion, java fern, corkscrew Val, crypt walkeris, Anubias, and anacharis.  I also increased from ~1 to ~2 watt's per gallon of quality lighting (1 day spectrum, 1 actinic blue) when I added the plants, and added a timer to maintain 10-12 hours of light.   The problem is the plants have failed to thrive, and several types of algae have gradually increased (brownish on glass/rocks, reddish on plant leaves, and hairlike in a couple of instances).   *I've used liquid fertilizer minimally (= or less than manufacturer's instructions with liquid fertilizer, and added a few substrate tablets), *I've kept pH to about 7.0 (it went very high, > 8.0, for a while!), *ammonia, nitrites, hardness, etc. have consistently been near zero/normal,<good> *I'm doing weekly ~25% water changes,<good> *I've cleaned the algae where I've been able to (off of the glass and rocks), The only thing I've tried and failed at is starting a CO2 reactor (the yeast/sugar/water combo won't start in several attempts, I'm re-doing the set up suspecting some kind of contamination)... I'm hoping this will enliven the plants to take up whatever nutrients are causing the algae to thrive.  Does this make sense or am I missing something?  Also, do you know of any source for troubleshooting information on starting a CO2 generator??? (I'm an engineer and ex-home brewer so this problems a little frustrating!!!)<From what I have read the combination of the three..lighting,co2, and the fertilizer should keep the plants thriving.  I found a site from our FAQ's that might help http://www.hallman.org/plant/CO2.html  and our FAQ's on CO2 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/co2agfaqs.htm   hope these links help!!! IanB> thanks in advance for whatever help you can provide!!! Rod Co2 I moved my figure-8 puffer into the new 45 gallon tank a couple of days ago.  His color is quite pale and he is ventilating heavily.  Is this just from the stress of moving or is it possible that the DIY yeast Co2 generator has saturated the water with too much Co2; especially given that I only have a few plants and very little lighting, just one bulb (N.B. my tank has 10 ghost shrimp and a bumblebee goby; the bumblebee goby made the move at the same time as the puffer and appears to be doing quite well).  I think I will add an airstone right away to inject more air, is this a good idea?  Also, should I disconnect this Co2 generator?    A speedy reply would be appreciated.  Paul <Hi Paul, I highly doubt the DIY yeast Co2 could diffuse enough Co2 into a 45gal to harm the fish.  This is most likely stress from the move.  Check the rest of your water parameters to make sure they are all within range.  An airstone could not hurt at this point.  Eventually if/when you really get into the plants and the Co2, the surface agitation from the additional aeration might pose a problem, but right now the fish are your main concern, so I would go for it. Best of luck, Gage>

CO2 <<Greetings.>> In order to inject CO2 to the aquarium I know two methods. First is CO2 tubes plus accessories Second is producing CO2 by yeast+sugar+water solution. I plan to use 2 liters Coca-Cola bottle to store the solution. However, I cannot guess the effect of CO2 pressure when I adjust and limit the CO2 output. <<Haha... this is the fun of yeast reactors. It is quite possible to build up sufficient internal pressure to burst a plastic soda bottle.>> If you have any experience I will be very pleased to hear it. <<Well, your best bet is to experiment. There will be a safe proportion of water, sugar, and yeast. I found this link on Google doing a search for "yeast reactor" - looks like it might be helpful: http://www.hallman.org/plant/CO2.html >> Best regards, Ercument E. Sorusbay <<Cheers, J -- >>

CO2 Set-Up Hi Robert, <Hello Michael> Thanks for the SPEEDY and great tips...both much appreciated! I'll definitely look into a "temporary" CO2 setup, perhaps try it for a couple of months. I couldn't possible justify an elaborate (and pricey) CO2 bottle/solenoid system right at the moment, but an experiment is not beyond me! <Great! Ah, the joy of finding things out> The RO unit advice is a point well-taken, something I've been considering anyway. <You will not regret this investment into you, your family and wet pets health> I'll definitely use the baking soda tip you mentioned...when I read that, It really dawned on me I should have finished my second year of chemistry! (DUH!) <I'll say! I only know/remember much of all... from a few years of teaching at the H.S. level...> As far as the larger tank...well....you got that right too! My wife and I have been planning for the (not too) distant future for a species tank, perhaps with Jack Dempsey's. Going from a blackwater tank to a Cichlid tank...guess I've always been one of extremes! =) <Ahh! Now, about those elusive lottery numbers...> Thanks again, and I'll be sure and let you know how things pan out! <Looking forward to it. Bob Fenner> Michael

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