View Full Version : DIY CO2 setup for 55 gallon

03-30-2010, 01:07 PM
Well, I've been searching the internet, but I'm kinda at a loss on how to do a DIY CO2 setup. A lot of the ones I'm finding use canister filters which I don't use (I have an Emp 400).

Does anyone have a good link to a site that would help me out?

03-30-2010, 01:24 PM

I have one of these before building a reactor for my canister filter. If you use a 2 liter bottle method, just connect the hose to the cap and you are set.

03-30-2010, 01:41 PM
Won't I need something to send the water through that?

03-30-2010, 01:47 PM
No, that just sits inside against the glass, and the co2 goes up the ramps slowly dispersing. You need to have a slight current in the tank to circulate the water.

03-30-2010, 02:04 PM
Ah, ok. So I would put that maybe near the outlet of my Emp 400 HOB filter? And for a 55-gallon, I would need (2-3) 2-litre bottles? Btw, thanks for the help, this looks a lot simpler than some of the PVC creations I was seeing on google.

Larry Bugg
03-30-2010, 02:32 PM
What size light are you using. If your are running a lot of light you will find it hard to supply enough DIY Co2 to a 55 and the bigger problem is that it won't be putting out Co2 on a consistent amount which is a big issue with algae. My first attempt at a planted tank was a 55 running DIY. I was told not to do it but had to see for myself. Granted I was running pretty high light, but it was algae city.

03-30-2010, 02:39 PM
I should get my T5 HO light in the mail today. It comes stock with a 12000k bulb and an actinic bulb (which total I think would be considered lowish medium light?). If it lets me, I will probably take both bulbs out and just run a single 6750k daylight bulb (which I think would be considered lowish medium?). I will be planting 1-2 amazon swords, some anacharis, slender leaf java, and anubias.

What do you guys think, will DIY CO2 with suffice?

03-30-2010, 10:22 PM
I wouldn't inject CO2 into a tank with a hang on power filter like the Emperor 400. It's a waste of CO2 as you will be gassing out the CO2 you're trying to inject. Attaching a CO2 output to a filter inlet only really works with canister filters. The CO2 you inject needs time to dissolve into the water. If you plan on keeping the Emperor 400 (I have one on a 75 gal planted tank), I would recommend adding Flourish Excel as your carbon source.


03-30-2010, 10:37 PM
I have a DIY CO2 setup on my planted 55 gal, and it works pretty well. I have T5s on the tank, but only run 2 bulbs at a time.

I use a plastic apple juice bottle, 2 cups sugar, 1 tbsp yeast, a pinch of baking soda, and it lasts 10-14 days. I drilled a small hole in the plastic cap and slid a plastic hose adapter into hole...sealed it in with some silcone caulking, and attached a small (1-2") piece of tubing to the inside part if the adapter. I have the outout tubing going into the intake of my maxi-jet powerhead. This chops up and disperses the CO2 nicely.

I do run into occasional algae problems, but have been able to overcome them pretty well so far.. chinese algae eaters really help..as well as a couple of Ottos...

'other' Larry

03-31-2010, 07:24 AM
Thanks for the replies guys!

Caricell: what kind of filter and lighting do you have? I will probably only be going with a single 48" T5 HO 6750k bulb. That should be just enough to put me at lower end medium light plants to my understanding. I'm guessing your apple juice container is 1.5-2 gallons?

Gofish: I have seen many posts debating this, and the consensus was long as you keep your water level as high as possible the loss was negligible (loss mainly occuring at the bio-wheel). I will make sure to research it more though.

Also, I got my light in yesterday. It was the cheapest one on the internet ($60 with shipping), but it's actually not bad. I will try to take some pictures and post a review tonight.

03-31-2010, 01:19 PM
On that tank I have a marineland c-360 canister filter. Lighting is the equivalent of a coralife aqualight (4-bulb T5-ho) but built by a much better company (Catalina aquarium) Their ballasts outlive the coralife ballasts by a LONG time.

In fact I just ordered 4 new bulbs from them for $46. Because I've bought from them before, he threw in an extra bulb.

'other' Larry

03-31-2010, 08:30 PM
Yeah, I think a canister filter will be my next big purchase. I'll probably try to hold out and see if I can get one used from someone upgrading, etc.

I'm not planting too heavily, so I think my plants will be ok in the meantime.