Homemade DIY CO2 Reactor Video

Update:

It appears that the video has gone missing. Until I can find it and re-post it, you may be interested in Home Made CO2 Reactor, Do It Yourself CO2 Reactor Construction Details, and CO2 Reactor Modifications

CO2 Reactor videoHere is a video of my brand spanking new, already modified Carbon DiOxide aquarium reactor.

The water flows into the top in the big hose, which is coming from my external canister filter. The CO2 is coming from a pair of old juice bottles which have water, baking yeast and sugar in them. This all gets mixed up in all the splashing fun as it goes down the tube with the bio-balls.

At the end of the video you can see my little CO2 monitor in the fish tank – that little bell thingy stuck to the side of the tank. Blue means low CO2, green means good CO2, and if you notice it is more green then it is blue. This is even after the old method of CO2 injection was showing blue, and I hadn’t refreshed my Yeast Bottles yet. This new device appears to be more effective at CO2 Injection then the old feed-it-through-the-canistor-filter method..

CO2 Reactor Modifications

I did a little research last night on the internet about how other people where building their CO2 reactors. Nothing like researching after the fact, right? I was looking to see if anybody else was building their reactor the same way I was. I didn’t find reference to it, but, there are hundreds of DIY Reactors out there, so I not too worried about not finding one. I did stumble across a person who used an RC airplane part called a Bulkhead Fitting. This looked to be a much cleaner way of attaching the airline tubing to my reactor.

Big Al’s was having it’s 1 year anniversary this weekend, and the “plant guy” was giving a demonstration on how to build a proper planted tank. I figured I wouldn’t learn much, but it was something to do with my Saterday, so I went. I was right, his song and dance was for new peeps, and not experienced planted tank creators. More importantly, there is a hobby shop next to Big Al’s, so I could pick up this part.

At the hobby store, in the RC airplane section, I found my new fitting. It is a “Large Bulkhead Fitting, 1/8 inch I.D.” packaged by a company called “Fourmost Products”. It is designed to be used as a fuel line connector.

These modifications replace the previous steps I have posted to my blog.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is my old (heh, 2 whole days!) airline connection using a airline tube elbow fitting. I had zip-tied it together. I had managed to make the whole reactor without any glue, and it didn’t leak (much)!

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the top part of my new fitting. I think this looks much better then the old fitting did. I used the old part of the hose that had the old fitting cut into it to make a seal for my new fitting. I don’t have any small O-rings for this yet, so I had to improvise. Getting proper O-Rings is on my todo list.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the inside view of my new fitting. Don’t do what I did, and make the hole too close to the outside of the endcap so the nut won’t set square. I still put it together like this because I am way to impatient to go get some silicone, and seal the hole up, and drill a new one. My fitting does leak just a tiny little bit, but not enough to worry about it today.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the finished reactor modification. I really like that the blue fitting matches the blue bioballs. The fitting seems just the right size for my airline tubing.

I am going to use the other fitting that came in the two-pack and replace one of my CO2 bottles where the current glued together mess is coming apart. Posted by Picasa.

Do It Yourself CO2 Reactor Construction Details

As promised, here are some more details on the construction of my Home Made CO2 Reactor. This CO2 Reactor is made from a couple of aquarium siphons, and an airline tubing splice connector.

I drilled a hole in the top Siphon Cap the same size as the airline tubing splice connector. I chose to drill the hole as close to the edge of the ridged plastic in hopes that I can give the connection some mechanical strength. I left as much room as I could so there would be enough surface area to make a watertight connection.

Here I am drilling a hole through the plastic siphon hose after I had slipped it back onto the end of the siphon cap. This hole is the same size as the inside of the plastic airline splice peice. I wanted the rubbery hose to form a tight seal around the airline splice.

After a lot of cleaning of the burs in the hose and pushing hard, I finally got the splice to fit inside the hole.

I made an improvised clamp system out of 3 nylon zip ties to hold this whole area toghether. This area leaked a little bit, so I ended up wrapping another zip tie around the elbow of the airline tubing and the siphon tube, to press the airline tubing more tightly against the rubbery hose in hopes of creating a better seal. The water leak seems to have stopped.

In looking at how the completed arrangement thing functions, I may move the airline tubing down into the larger part of the siphon tube. With the airline tubing fitting where it currently is in the hose, a lot of water preasure is trying to make the whole thing leak. I think by moving the airline fitting out of the hose, and into the larger tube, where there is mostly gas as opposed to moving water, I can eleminate the chance of this fitting creating a leak. I also think that I would be able be able to change out one of my Yeast & Sugar CO2 bottles without water trying to flow down the airline tubes when the whole thing is mounted higher then the water level on the fish tank. Posted by Picasa.

Home Made CO2 Reactor

My friend Matt flew in yesterday from Arizona. We ended up going to Big Al’s pet store. We where looking at the planted tank accessories, and noticed that they want $130 for a CO2 Reactor. We put one together for under $40.

A CO2 Reactor is a device used with planted tanks that will help push Carbon Dioxide into the aquarium water. Plants LOVE carbon dioxide. It is a major fertilizer.

Here are the $40 worth of parts I needed to make my Homemade CO2 Reactor. These parts include a couple of Siphon aquarium Cleaners, some Bio-Balls, airline tubing and couplers, and an Eheim Filter part I used for a water line splice.

We disasembled one of the aquarium siphons and attached the hose to the other siphon. These are Python brand siphons, they are fitted by compression – no glue, so just pull hard, they will come apart. There are enough bio-balls inside to completely fill the tube.

Here Matt and I are leak-testing the Do It Yourself CO2 Reactor in my bathroom. We hooked it up to my Ehiem Canistor Filter, ran it into a bucket of water, and turned it on. Can you believe? It works! Only a minor leak too!

Here you can see the CO2 Reactor installed on my fish tank. I wanted it to be visable, so I mounted it right up front. I just think this gadget looks so darn cool!

More complete assembly details to be coming soon. Posted by Picasa.


Here is where I run the hose from my CO2 bottles into my Eheim canister filter. The canister filter holds the CO2 in the water for a lot longer than any other way I know of. This greatly helps getting the CO2 to diffuse into the water. I used one of the nipples that come with the really thin air hose to splice it with the thicker hoses. I drilled a small hole in the center ot the green plastic sheild and stuck the nipple into the filter pickup. The canister filter pump breaks up the bubbles into tiny little bubbles that stay in the tank for a while even after they are pumped back into it. Posted by Picasa.