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The Celestial Pearl Danio Forum • View topic - How to make your own DIY CO2 Reactor

How to make your own DIY CO2 Reactor

Discuss your favorite water plants, and how to best grow them, here!

How to make your own DIY CO2 Reactor

Postby celestialdude » Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:18 pm

Here's how to make your own do-it-yourself CO2 Reactor. This is good for planted tanks because carbon dioxide is needed for healthy plant growth. Having CO2 injection in your tank will make the difference between lush and mediocre aquatic plant growth. I have been using CO2 in my tanks and holy guacamole, luxuriant abundant plant growth!!

There are 2 parts to a CO2 setup :

1. CO2 Reactor - this is where the CO2 generation takes place. The natural process of fermentation is used here.

2. Diffuser - since CO2 does not dissolve easily in water, it needs as much exposure as possible to the water before it travels up to the surface as bubbles. For our purposes, there are 2 types of diffusers :

a. glass diffuser : pictures :

b. what I call the "step-ladder diffuser" that is part of the Hagen Nutrafin CO2 Natural Plant System : pictures : ...also pictured here below :

Image

To make the reactor, simply use a 2-liter soda pop bottle, get a cork, drill a hole in the cork, stick an airline connector into it (must fit snugly), fit your airline tubing to the connector, and the other end to your diffuser. This is what the reactor's outlet section looks like :
Image

What goes in the CO2 reactor? This is not rocket science, even if you use inexact measurements, it will still work, but here's what I've found works well :
1. Pure water (reverse osmosis or distilled) -- but if you must use tap water, make sure the chlorine is removed. Fill 3/4 of the bottle with this water.
2. As much table sugar (white sugar) as can dissolve in the water.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda. This helps neutralize the acidity so the fermentation can continue longer.
4. Add 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast (regular, not the quick kind).

Be patient... several factors affect the rate of bubble production, including temperature. It could take days before you see any bubbles, or it could be within an hour. If it's really taking forever, add more yeast. If you can suggest better ingredient ratios, let us know in this thread. Be careful though, of adding too much yeast. You'll get too many bubbles and the whole thing will fizzle out quicker.

I actually mixed and matched my CO2 systems - used Hagen's diffuser with my DIY 2-liter soda bottle in my 20-gallon tank, and Hagen's (smaller) reactor bottle with a small glass diffuser in the 5-gallon.

This short video clip shows my Hagen diffuser (also known as a bubble counter) producing bubbles (...OK it was just ONE bubble... time for a reactor refill) :


Happy DIY-ing!!!
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