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Aquarium Set-Up

DIY Carbon Dioxide in the Aquarium


Uarujoey does a detailed DIY Carbon Dioxide system for any aquarium that requires it. The video is almost 20 minutes and provides the various parts required to make your own DIY Carbon Dioxide generator and delivery system.

This system is sized in such a way that it will be scalable from a 10 gallon aquarium to as large as required. However, a practical limit for this type of CO2 generation is about 40 gallon of aquarium capacity. After that size is reached, it is recommended to move to an actual pressurized canister CO2 system rather that trying to produce enough with a DIY carbon dioxide system like this.

DIY Carbion Dioxide - Image by Steve Depolo on Flickr, used under the Creative Commons licenseThe system uses separate bottles to develop the right amount of CO2 for the tank. You can size the actual implementation using various plastic bottles – a liter or two liter pop bottle seems to be the most useful. DIY carbon dioxide manufacture is not difficult – it is the result of organic reactions between yeast, water and sugar. The actual amounts of each required is clearly provided on the video itself.

Aquariums require carbon dioxide when they have live aquatic plants in them. The CO2 is used by the plants when they are photosynthesizing sunlight to produce sugars that are used to grow and thrive. Most times DIY Carbon Dioxide is only needed to support the growth of heavily planted aquariums. Sparsely planted fish tanks are usually able to support the growth odf the pants within by the generation of the CO2 from the normal processes going on in the aquarium – respiration and decay processes will produce some carbon dioxide.

Dangers of DIY Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide, whether generated by a DIY Carbon Dioxide system, a pressurized canister system or simply the CO2 manufactured naturally in the tank will tend to use up hardness and push the pH towards the acid range over time. When a DIY Carbon Dioxide, or any other system is added, careful regulation of the pH and the alkalinity must occur. This requires more careful testing to ensure there are no sudden swings in either.

The other danger of adding CO2 to the aquarium is that it will not be used when there is no light. Just like other organisms, plants will only use CO2 and release oxygen when they are photosynthesizing in the presence of light. When the lights are turned off, they begin to require oxygen and release CO2 as well. In a heavily planted aquarium where a DIY Carbon Dioxide generator is in constant operation, there may be a time of day – very late in the evening where the oxygen level may drop in the aquarium. This is termed morning kill, where the fish are killed by the sudden deprivation of oxygen just before dawn and the return to sugar production by the plants.

 

About

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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About blueram

Steve Pond, of Tropical Fish Aquarist, has kept fish both personally and professionally for over 50 years.  He writes regularly on the wide range of current topics that are important to people who keep tropical fish tanks as a passion and a hobby.

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One Comment

  1. KikaMarch 5, 2015 at 10:35 pmReply

    The difficulty to keep a ferehwatsr tropical tank depends on how big it is, what you stock it with, and whether or not you have it planted with live plants.Normally, if you stock the tank up to the max, it will require more frequent water changes/gravel vacs to prevent the waste from building up, leading to algae issues.If you plant the tank, usually that will help with nitrates/fish waste, but plants themselves require specific lighting and water additives/minerals. However, adding live plants means they sometimes come with annoying aquarium pests like pond snails.If you under stock the tank, provide ample filtration/aeration, and routinely maintain the tank via water changes, equipment maintenance, etc., then ferehwatsr tropical tanks are not hard to maintain.Typically, the hardest part of setting up a fish tank is cycling the tank. Aside from that, routine maintenance and upkeep usually provide a healthy tank environment that is easy to keep.

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