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DiY Jello Co2

10616 Views 31 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Sanctum38
i haven't seen anyone else on here who uses this, so im wondering if a few of you are hiding? I'd love to compare recipes and diffusion methods with tank size and results since most of this information is buried elsewhere and it took me forever to find where to start.

I believe the concept behind it is limiting the rate at which the yeast consumes sugar while providing nutrients (the jello mix protein) to the yeast, at the same time as it consumes the jello the alcohol content remains rather constant since the sugar is locked in with water, The batch ends after it processes the last of the jello and the last of the sugars is consumed. If it ends prematurely you can refresh it by emptying half of the water out, mixing water (at the temp the yeast recommends) + yeast (slightly reduced so it doesn't end prematurely again)

First batch: (2 month duration)
3L Canola oil Jug
4 boxes of jello w/ 4 cups of sugar added
Mix and Congeal overnight in fridge

1 cup of warm water (40C) + 1 tsp of Champagne yeast

Diffusion is airline cable cut at a 45 degree next to the top of my xp1 intake, the suction is just enough to pull at the surface tension so the filter takes in smaller bubbles. Goes steady stream for about 60 seconds, then pauses 20-25 seconds. Tank is sitting at 35 ppm Co2 when lights come on. Upset fish, agitation and night aeration was required.

Second batch: (2 days duration) - Scrapped Batch due to poor congealing and yeast not activating
3L Canola Oil Jug
4 Boxes of Jello w/ 3 cups of sugar added
Mix and congeal overnight in fridge *make sure fridge temp is cold enough!*

1 cup warm water (40C) + 1/2 tsp of champagne yeast

Diffusion has changed to Venturi on outtake into a spray bar aligned vertically. Dissolves nicely in the water and bubbles help give visual indication of batch output (compared to intake through filter diffusion)

Third batch: (3 month duration during warm summer months)
3L Canola Oil Jug
4 Boxes of Jello w/ 3 1/3 cups of sugar added
Mix and congeal overnight in fridge

1 cup warm water (40C) + 3/4 tsp of champagne yeast

Diffusion has changed to Venturi on outtake into a spray bar aligned vertically.

Fourth Batch: (start date: mid-march 2011)
3L Canola Oil Jug
4 Boxes of Jello w/ 3 1/2 cups of sugar added
Mix and congeal overnight in fridge

1 cup warm water (40C) + 3/4 tsp of champagne yeast

diffusion method changed: Wood Air Block (j&L sells them) placed at the bottom of the tank under canister spray bar
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I haven't used the jello method, but I gave up DIY CO2 after about a year for pressurized. I used wine yeast and just a sugar/water mix when I did it, in 2x4 L juice jugs. When I did it, I used the ceramic diffusers which didn't work so great, but was better than the Hagen ladder. Have you considered a needle wheel? By all reports, they are very efficient, and won't cause the burping in canister filters that sometimes happens when injecting CO2.

When you say you are getting 30 ppm CO2 with lights on, I assume this is running 24/7 and determined with a drop checker? If not, and you are using the KH/pH relationship, be aware that the relationship doesn't work if you use buffers and I seem to recall you used crushed coral in your filter?
what i meant was 30 ppm when the lights come on, after being out all night and morning. The drop checker is a lime green, the reagent is mixed so that 30 ppm is green, so im likely sitting on the cusp of 35 ppm by the time the lights come back on.

As for the relationship, i use crushed coral to buffer my KH due to water here sucking for hardness. It was my understanding that Phosphate Based buffers (ie your typical PH UP/DOWN crap) is what makes the chart innaccurate. Figured since crushed coral is Calcium carbonate, that it would definately be portrayed correctly (well accurate as the tests are) through KH tests.

You do bring up a good point though, many don't think about the phosphates when they use those buffers, and on top of that, most ei dosers do add phosphates aswell, which increases the error margin of your KH test.
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That's pretty good. I don't think I ever got 30 ppm steady when I used DIY. Does it change at all during the photo period.

I'm not sure about the phosphate vs. carbonate buffering. I found that the chart was reading all over the map when I tried to use it and the first thing I did after that was to get a drop checker for each tank. That's when I realized that I was never getting enough CO2 in my 125 and gave up on DIY CO2. On my 20 gallon, it would fluctuate wildly from yellow to blue depending on how long the lights had been on since I couldn't regulate it. I never actually used the pH up/down stuff, but used baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

So is the idea of the jello to stabilize the production of CO2 or is it to prevent to rapid fermentation to alcohol which kills the yeast.
Problem with the sugar water solution is all the sugar is available for the yeast to replicate quickly. so you get a huge spike of co2, then it tapers off. With jello, you lock in most of the sugar and force the yeast to slow down, also has a minimal source of protein (not sure if it affects it). I've seen people report they've lasted 6 months on a single batch, steady for the most part. Some report that they need to refresh the yeast solution now and then, others not, if it dies early you dump out half the water, replace the yeast + warm water and it kicks up again. Generally if you use champagne yeast, the water volume increases as it processes the gelatin/sugar, so the alcohol content is not as likely to become great enough to kill itself off.

Rexx grigg, from planted tank, even uses jello method for his smaller tanks and he sells high quality co2 equipment. But he sets the jello in a pan then cuts it into chunks to increase the surface area and give a giant boost to co2 production once its mixxed into the cannister.

oh and the drop changer slightly darkened from the start of the photo period, but it definately was still above 30 ppm.
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WOW! Now you make me wanna try it!

But two issues, it seem to use quite a bit of material over time if you compare it to a pressurized CO2 system! Just two worries are, one, it might not be steady (but you seem to prove me wrong), second, if it doesn't last up to 6 months, and you're actually changing it every 2 months, it's a little more costly over time! But hey, it definitely sounds really good, i wanna try it on a 5 gallon! =) but no matter what, this is much better than the regular sugar and yeast formula
Second issue... it might look too delicious... i might eat it before i give it to my fish tank =(

Anyways, my question is.. if i find a 10L container like this one
Does it still release at the same rate but only last longer? Thanks =) very curious to try that! HAHA!
Rexx grigg, from planted tank, even uses jello method for his smaller tanks and he sells high quality co2 equipment. But he sets the jello in a pan then cuts it into chunks to increase the surface area and give a giant boost to co2 production once its mixxed into the cannister..
Sounds interesting. And I didn't know Rex used DYI as most of my CO2 equipment is from him (3 Fabco needle valves, 1 regulator, 1 mini-manifold, all CO2 tubing, all brass check valves, and 2 clippard solenoids). I assumed that since he sold so much CO2 equipment that he wouldn't bother with DYI. But if it lasts for months then it would make sense. Mine lasted no more than 6 days before being unable to get to 30 ppm. Now I just a bottle every 6 months for $30 and I'm done.
as i said, information on it is pretty buried :p as for cost

Cost of container, (free if you use a food product contrainer)
Boxes of Jello, $1 each
4 cups of sugar, crap all
champagne yeast, partial packet ($1 each packet)
water.. free.

Even if im one of the unlucky ones and it lasts 3-4 months, im still way ahead cost wise, afterall, its only a 29 gallon. we'll over estimate the cost to $5 a refill every 4 months.

to avoid a "bad batch" you simply activate your yeast first to see if it starts to replicate. if you skip this and its still bad, you pour out the water + yeast, the jello is still there to be used up. if after a few days its not working as much as you'd like, add an 1/8th tsp of activated yeast and re-assess. Seems much more forgiving than the standard DiY
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Yeah, for me it's not the cost, it's the dial-ability (is there such a word?) to bring the CO2 up to the level I wanted, and the ability to turn it off at night, and having to mix the stuff every week. If it lasts even one month, it would be an awesome improvement over sugar/water.

For me the difference between $60 a year and $10 a year is irrelevant, compared to the amount of money I spend on fish food :)
Sounds like a good idea so far! Might have to just give it a try sometime =)
I've never tried this, but it is supposively the most effecient way to produce consistent DIY CO2.

I should try this on my 10 gallon tank.
just be careful on a 10 gallon. i had to degas my 29 gallon and increase surface agitation to save my fishies. bright side of things, the flow on the surface will help with the film :)
Hey Neven, just a quick question "If i leave my jello CO2 in, and have a airstone or powerhead running when lights are off, is it okay?"
Thanks Neven!!
Hey Neven, just a quick question "If i leave my jello CO2 in, and have a airstone or powerhead running when lights are off, is it okay?"
Thanks Neven!!
If you are bordering a solid yellow with no hint of green, then yes for sure. If you are using that much yeast though, you'll likely burn through your jello quicker (still longer than standard yeast water) and be in need of yeast top ups.

As for an update on my Jello Co2. I've only just started noticing a slight decrease in co2 levels. The change is so gradual though that its hardly noticed until you think back to what it was. So sitting at solid green i figured i'd try to top off the yeast again before hitting 20 ppm. I drained the water so only 1/4 of it remained, i mixed 3/4 tsp champagne yeast with 1 cup of 40C water and a pinch of sugar, let it rehydrate for 15 minutes then poured it in.

Result wasn't simply more co2, it was still misting out of my filter outtake despite being broken up by the impeller, so before i killed any fish i opened it up and tossed 1 more cup of water in with a dash of baking soda. It worked in slowing it down nicely :) Probably the reason it went insane was now the jello loosened off the bottom allowing for more surface area to the sugars and protiens.

So far it seems to be working great for my tank, i don't get fluctuation of co2 like i was getting when i had the basic yeast water sugar formula, the hardness of the tank keeps the PH swings to negligible. I think i'll fine tune my mix more next time to make it last longer and have less of a burst at the start, and i think the key to that is 1/2 cup less sugar in the jello and perhaps 1/4 tsp less yeast.

Also i'll like to make mention of a member's plight when he gave jello a test run as i did. Eternity302's Tank was practically destroyed by chunks of jello spewing into his tank. He lost fish and many plants, he was forced to do a restart to the whole tank. Its a slap in the face to any hobbyist when they lose their beloved project.

Im mentioning this in this thread, despite it having its own thread, because it is a risk you take whenever you try these methods with your tank. It doesn't need to be jello, heck it doesn't even need to be diy co2. People have ruined many tanks with whatever method thats used. Accident's do happen, but more often its carelessness that'll do it.

so i'll say this for your diy method no matter the type.
SECURE IT! they are very prone to tipping if you use 2L bottles.
Do Not Shake the Bottle while it's connected to the tank. If you do shake it, take the airline off of it.
NO airstones. they are meant for higher pressures so when you connect it to diy, you get 1 of two things, enough pressure to push a larger bubbles out (never misting), or BOOM yeast, sugar water everywhere.
Do not Block the line. Some use a chopstick, just like above, can lead to ruptures of the thank.
DO NOT SEAL IT! you are using DiY, there will be loss, accept it, because sealing wont give you much more life, and most who do seal also disobey the above two 'rules'
Start small! Undersize your first batch just barely, then adjust SLOWLY. Don't go hmmm 1/4 tsp yeast wasn't good enough im goin 1 tsp next. baby steps, you want to perfect the method you use without killing things.
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This batch of Jello Co2 has officially come to an end! I noticed a pressure drop as my misting in the tank wasn't nearly as much as before, and then my drop checker started slowly deepening in colour. So 2 months long on my first batch of Jello co2. One thing i noticed is dumping out the solution, was it wasn't that strong of an alcohol scent like the typical yeast sugar gets. It was like cracking open a watermelon cooler.

This next batch i altered slightly:
3 cups of Sugar, 4 boxes of jello made as directed.
I'll be starting with 1/2 tsp of champagne yeast

The changes is less yeast and less sugar. Not normally a fan of changing two variables at once, but the yeast can be adjusted if it doesn't produce enough. I doubt the sugar reduction will be a limiting factor, i'd much rather hit a solid green and have my batch last 4-6 months than a yellow-green that lasts 2 months.

If i can't hit green on the drop checker, i'll be adding 1/4 tsp more yeast. If im wrong and the sugar is limiting me, this batch wont go wasted, i can add a bit of sugar each week to keep it going, i don't want to add too much though cause if the alcohol spikes, i'll lose the yeast (like regular DiY does). Thats what i see as the worst case scenerio, if it happens then the next batch i'll use 3 1/2 cups of sugar :) The co2 wouldn't be fluctuating to much imo if i need to top sugar up, the metricide dosing will provide the plants with the extra needed carbon for my plants to uptake the nutrients im dosing, aswell as reduce the chance of a BBA outbreak from fluctuations.

Sure i could have left it at the original recipe, but i want to perfect this, after all, its about a cheap low maintenance co2 source without the drawbacks of typical DiY batches. I've read about people achieving the proper balance and gettin over 6 months on a batch.
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Hi neven,

What is the total volume of you're second batch? Will I be able to use a 2L
pop bottle?

Also, where did you find champange yeast? I didn't see any at the safeway across from my house.
save on foods/pricesmart :p they have a wine making isle normally paired with the bulk foods.

try this for a 2L

2 boxes of jello
1.5 cups of sugar
fridge over night
1/2 tsp yeast + 1 cup of warm water (@ recommended temp)

should work fine. if its not enough, try adding 1/8tsp of activated yeast to the mix. if its still not enough, restart and try 2 cups of sugar. with a pop bottle it'll be less co2 loss than a canola oil container ;)
Thanks for that neven. It just so happens that I have a 29G as well so I've been following this thread and intend to try it out once my new drop checker comes in the mail. Wish me luck ;)
first batch i screwed up, my kid turned down the fridge so it didn't completely form over night, and the yeast didn't take off even with an increased amount of nutrients available. So i scrapped it and used a new packet of yeast, modified it a bit. Also i use watermelon jello it has more protein than most other kinds

3 1/3 cups of sugar
4 boxes of jello

3/4 tsp of champagne yeast. 1 cup 40C water.

Results, consistent light green (no yellow tinge), with rippling of the surface
If it kicks up a bit i doubt it'll go above dangerous levels, probably wont go into the pure yellow at all.

i think me i found the mix that'll give me the exact output i want :D
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Hey neven,

I mixed a jello batch as per your reccomendations and it's producing a good amount of co2. However, I noticed that it is foaming quite a bit. Is this to be expected? Luckily I caught it before it reached the top and stuck some tubing in it to break up the foam.

Will this foaming decrease over time or will I need to make a new batch? The mixture comes up to about 1 inch under where the bottle starts to curve.
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