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The Yeast Co2 Method

Discussion in 'Lighting, CO2, Ferts & Flow' started by SuperColey1, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    UP TO DATE DETAIL:

    SUGGESTED SETUP - 3 x 2Ltr Soda bottles on a 125Ltr tank
    SUGGESTED RECIPE - 400g sugar + 3/4 teaspoon yeast
    SUGGESTED ROUTINE - Change all 3 bottle weekly but on seperate days.


    CURRENT RECIPE - 400g sugar + 1/2 teaspoon yeast. change each bottle every 3 weeks, one each week.


    To introduce this 'little' article (have you ever seen my posts. lol) I will lead into why this subject has cropped up and a little about myself so you can chuckle or just understand my quirks :)

    I have been in the fishkeeping hobby now for 4 years. Yes thats right not that long. My first tank was bought in October 2006. It went planted in January 2007 and I went through all the common pitfalls. Maybe more than many do these days as the forums weren't as full of good info then as they are now. The hobby was still absolutely littered with the myths even that short amount of time ago. This is something that many people including myself are gradually, through regularly relaying of the messages, putting right these days and hopefully the reality will outweigh the myth eventually. Of course even we are learning and some of the 'new fact' we spoke of just a couple of years ago is already surpassed with even newer information. Leanring is always a stepping stone and all info is replaced with better info as more and more is understood.

    I have a bit of a short concentration span and am constantly getting bored with something and moving onto something else. This has been quite a problem with the planted aquarium. It holds my attention until I master it. Then its boring.

    So once I mastered growing plants with pressurised CO2, mastered the CO2 and circulation and fertilisation etc I got bored.

    I was totally unmotivated with the hobby but for some reason rather than do what I normally do I decided to keep the tank and set it up in a way that it would look after itself.

    I sold the pressurised CO2, associated diffusers and glassware etc and even the cirulation pumps. without CO2 and now with a slower growing low energy setup there was no need for the high circulation and therefore the 5.6x turnover of the Eheim would suffice. It became a non fert, non CO2, non water change tank.

    After a couple of months I started to get interested in this new system. I wanted now to master it and therefore the motivation returned. A year later with zero water changes and no problems after the initial first couple of months and a new system mastered guess what......yep bored. I needed a new challenge.

    I had been reading about extra iron dosing and using different grade chelated irons as they break down at different rates and therefore act like a sort of drip feed. I decided to test this but here I had a problem. This is now a slow growing non CO2 tank. How can I test growth rates in a slow (almost stagnant growthwise) growing tank. answer I can't. I need to speed this up so I can see changes.

    I didn't want to return to pressurised CO2 as I have mastered it....Been there done that etc so here is the new challenge.

    In the early days of the first year I was like most. 'can't afford CO2 I am going to use yeast setups' The result was like most. A big failure. Inconsistent levels, BBA, staghorn etc. Why my drop checker is almost yellow. I berated thepeople who told me my CO2 was not right. The DC said otherwise. How can it be wrong. It wasn't wrong that is the answer, however it can only tell the sotry from its position and not elsewher within the tank.

    Everything I had been told and ignored was right!!! You can't use yeast on anything but a <70litre tank. Even then its inconsistent. It had all been true...........or had it?

    You may have read me saying the same. I promise you I have been one of the most vocal opponents to anyone saying yeast setups are a viable option in any setup long term.

    But now I ask myself this. Can it be done? Is it really not viable? Why can't it be done?

    So over the next few weeks and maybe onward from there I am going to try and prove myself and others wrong. I am going to try and make a yeast setup work as good as pressurised. Maybe better than some others get their pressurised to work :)

    Why the change of opinion. I know a lot more about the systems now than I did when I failed before. I know the importance of flow, I know how to setup a system to work perfectly with or without CO2 therefore I am going to apply that knowledge and ability to making this work and maybe some others will be interested in the battle :)

    So there you go a brief...cough cough....aherm....OK not so brief lead in to this experiment.

    The next post will be the start of something that will hopefully be helpful and interesting :)

    Regards
    AC
     
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  2. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    Lets start with a few questions:


    Why do we suggest the yeast setup is not a real viable option?

    This is a question of consistency/stability. CO2 is THE key element in the aquarium. The rest is quite simple to sort out by putting the right setup there. Buy appropriate filtration/Circulation and get it setup in the best position. Buy the appropriate lighting for the setup etc. These are all side issues that aren't CO2 specific but can make the CO2 fail through no fault of the CO2 system.

    Dealing with a gas in water is much harder. There are several necessities here:

    - The injection rate needs to be relatively consistent. No point injecting X amount today, Y amount tomorrow and Z amount the day after etc. This is the major advantage of pressurised systems. You set the rate and as long as the system is functioning properly then it will maintain that same rate day after day. That means you can forget about this problem with pressurised.

    With the yeast setup it is very hard to sort this problem. The rate builds from zero to a peak and then slows down again after the peak due to the natural process of fermentation. As the alcohol increases it kills off the yeast.

    We try and counteract this by overlapping the bottles. 2 or 3 bottles means you can change one alternately every 2 or 3 days (each bottle lasts a week in this system) and therefore while one is at peak the other is just starting, while one is dropping off the other climbing and when one is about to be changed the other is reaching peak. However due to the natural process no one mix (however accurately the ingredients are measured) will yield the same result and therefore at best this method lessens the peaks and troughs that are the main problem of the yeast setup.

    The second problem is that with a pressurised system you can just turn it up and up until you reach your desired ppm. With the yeast setup this means adding more bottles. On average 1 bottle at peak will give 1bps if done correctly. It won't be exact. so if you need 3bps that means you need 3 bottles at peak or the average of a number of bottles to equal that amount.

    The yeast setup is also running 24/7. This is not a problem however. If we can get the consistency and stability right then it should be the same as running pressurised 24/7. Namely using a lower injection rate aimed at getting peak ppm at lights on. We don't want fish being gassed at night and preferably don't want to have to run an airstone at night either. Lets rule this problem out now. The injection rate is what makes this problem appear or disappear and that is the same for yeast and pressurised.

    The third problem applies to all CO2 setups. pressurised too. How to reach the desired ppm and maintain it. How to get that ppm around the tank and remove dead spots. Again this is a problem that is not attributed to yeast etups. This is a seperate problem from the actual CO2 itself. Get this wrong and it will affect all systems so circulation must be sorted out. This can be ruled out as a 'yeast specific' problem.

    So we are left with just one problem here on which to concentrate that is specifically related to the yeast setup. That is the injection rate. Getting consistency and stability. I will detail how I can rule out the other problems as a cause of any negative results we encounter in the next post :)

    Regards
    AC
     
  3. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    Third post in and not even started the experiment yet :) This is all important stuff, good reading and will help you eliminate problems in your setups with yeast or pressurised CO2.

    So to eliminate the non 'yeast' specific issues. It will cost..............nothing (or at least a couple of £ at most) :)

    I need to get this system right if I want the only part I have to concentrate on to be the injection rate itself.

    However I am going to make this hard for myself. Make it a challenge. I am going to break some 'rules' that even I will state when advising people.

    I am not going to alter my turnover for this experiment. I currently have 5.6x turnover for the non CO2 setup. With pressurised I used a Koralia 1 to boost me to 17.6x turnover and therefore get circulation pumping well, eliminating all deadspots.

    That would be too easy though. I want to get this working so that a new user doesn't have to buy extra equipment to boost the circulation (assuming what they have is good enough.) Therefore I am breaking the 10x turnover rule. I always suggest this for CO2 setups but this system will remain at 5.6x.

    First thing I have done is to setup the filter inlet/outlet (glass lily pipe and inlet) on the left to blow to the right. Then the water goes down the right hand pane and along the bottom. This is the theory at least.

    The Eheim 2224 gives a much better flow than any previous filter I have used (although same flow rating on paper) and I am pretty confident it will 'bridge' the gap that I have seen before with other filters.

    The flow reduction over the month is minimal and I do clean the filter every month.

    Hopefully that is circulation sorted. we shall see :)


    Next - diffusion method.

    I don't want a diffuser in the tank this time. I used to be obsessed with glassware. filter inlet/outlet, glass diffuser, 2 glass DCs, glass J pipe for the CO2 hose etc.

    With all of that stuff now sold (apart from the filter inlet/outlet) and not wanting to spend any money to make this work I am left with one option.

    From trials of various pieces of kit a couple of years ago I have an external diffuser left in my 'never to be used again' box and so I am going to use that.

    This is no fancy glassware version as you will see in the next post as I setup this system. It is plastic. More on this later.

    I can rule out defficiencies due to nutrient as I will be running full EI dosing plus extra Fe and 50% weekly water changes.

    I may get a bag of Purigen to chuck in the filter at some point to remove the organic N from the water too.
    EDIT - 6/10/10 - Seachem Purigen added to filter media.

    Whats left? I can't think of anything :) circulation sorted, method of diffusion sorted. Nutrients sorted. Just need to get the CO2 in now.

    Finally a couple of little points:

    1 - I have been doing water changes over the past couple of weeks and messing about with flows to get some BBA in there. I want to try and get the CO2 running well and using the BBA as an indicator of how well I am doing will be useful. BBA is always a problem with yeast setups and therefore if I can get rid of it with the CO2 I have a really good gauge.

    2 - To make things even harder for myself I have lowered my lighting (height not power) down from 13" above the water level to 7 " above the water.

    May sound strange to people but this is an LED setup and super high PAR. 1.1WPG in actual power but we are talking equivalent to 3 or 4WPG in your fluorescent setups.

    This difference in height will mean a difference in PAR similar to going from medium light to very high light.

    Fun and Games. lol

    So next post the experiment finally begins..............at last you say :)


    Regards
    AC
     
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  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    Before I detail how to build the yeast setup lets just clear one final thing up.

    Many people who use the method are obsessed with longevity. They think the aim is to make the mix last longer and seem to proudly boast that their mix lasts X number of weeks. This is the wrong way of thinking. It doesn't particularly matter how long the mix lasts if it is rising and falling.

    We are not interested in it lasting a few weeks if its peak period was 3 days in and it started dropping on day 6. That defeats the consistency/stability objective entirely.

    So we are aiming for a mix that will last for a week or so at a decent rate. We will discard it soon after it starts to drop and replace it to start again.

    BUILDING THE SYSTEM.

    The cost for all of this is zero assuming you already have the items needed.

    Fizzy pop bottle - these are designed for pressurised liquids and therefore ideal for this purpose. They are made to withstand the kind of pressure we will be putting it under.

    CO2 hose - standard airline will suffice but proper CO2 hose is better. it is non porous where standard airline may let some gas out. CO2 hose is also much stronger and is not soft so gas will not 'burst' it in normal circumstances where airline may well burst.

    straight through airline connectors - These will be used in the top of the bottle.

    Nut - Look through your spare nuts and bolts and find a nut that is very slightly smaller than the airline connector. This will be used to provide support when unscrewing the cap or removing hoses.

    Aquarium Sealant - Some guides will say you shouldn't need this but I always use it. gsa can get through the minutest of spaces that are unidentifiable by eye. We do not want any leaks no matter how miniscule they are as we want to maintain the absolute maximum pressure possible.

    T-Connector/Gang Valve - We are using multiple bottles and therefore we have to T off from each bottle so that all bottles lead to 1 hose. I prefer to use gang valves as you can shut off the airline connected to the bottle you are changing whilst maintaining the pressure on the other system from the other bottles. Be careful not to buy an airline one as they will leak CO2 out. they are not made for pressure and there are many sold labelled' manifolds' that are not fit for this particular purpose.

    Non return valve - This will be needed to go between the bubble counter and the diffuser as we don't want tank water siphoning back into the bottles. That will fill them up and then a 2 way problem can occur. Yeast mix/alcohol can get into the tank and also the tank water dilutes the mixture rendering it obsolete. The NRV will let the CO2 through but not let tank water down.

    The parts ready:
    [​IMG]

    1 - Take the bottle cap and using a drill bit slightly smaller than the straight through connector make a hole in the centre:
    [​IMG]

    2 - Push the straight through connector through the hole:
    [​IMG]

    3 - screw the nut onto the inside of the straight through connector until it won't go further by hand, then firmly grip the straight through connector on the outer of the cap with some pliers using only enough pressure to stop it turning while you use a spanner or pliers to screw the nut tight up to the top of the lid:
    [​IMG]

    4 - blob the sealant around the outer of the straight through connector:
    [​IMG]

    5 - wet a finger tip and gently dab the sealant down in towards the join between straight through connector and the hole in the cap:
    [​IMG]

    6 - connect the hose to the straight through connector:
    [​IMG]

    7 - Leave to cure for 24 hours

    Repeat the process for a second bottle.

    We will start with 2 bottles so you may make more later if needed.

    The next step is the bubble counter. This is a similar process to the yeast bottle except there will be 2 holes. I would suggest using a smaller bottle with a wider cap. Something like a lucozade bottle with a 2 inch cap.

    Make the 2 holes in the lid and poke the hoses through the holes. One wants to be short and the other long. The longer one should be pushed through so that it will reach near to the bottom of the bottle. The other only wants to show through the cap slightly. Then repeat the sealant part on the outside.

    With the bottles ready and curing you have to wait 24 hours before the next step.

    Regards
    AC
     
  5. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    The mix is quite simple really. I have taken the recipe of someone who takes pride in their '4 week megamix' then adapted it for a faster reaction - higher levels for a shorter period of time.

    I'm not interested in that drop off period or making the mix last longer. I want it to work at maximum and keep the consistency up, then the mixture gets binned when it slows.

    The vital recipe :) I am using exact measurements so that it will hopefully get a pretty similar reaction from bottle to bottle but by the very nature of this there will be slightly different reactions.

    1/8th teaspoon up to 1 teaspoon adjustable measuring spoon:
    [​IMG]


    In your 2 litre bottle add 400g sugar.

    In a mixing jug add 3/4 teaspoon yeast and add a couple of pinches of sugar and a little (100ml) lukewarm water. Give it a stir and then let it rest for 10 minutes.
    * 5/10/10 yeast reduced from 1 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon


    Add the water from the mixing jug into the bottle.

    Top up the bottle to about 2 thirds (3 inches from the top) making sure to first use a little to get the remnants out of th jug.

    Without screwing the cap on connect the cap to the T-piece or gang valve. Then connect the hose that is reaching furthest into the bubble counter to the T-piece.

    Fill the bubble counter with water. It should be filled to a level where the short hose is safely above the water while the longer one is safely below the water.

    You now have cap 1 connected to the bubble counter hopefully: like this (ifnore that the cap is already screwed onto the bottle in this picture. You don't want to do this yet):
    [​IMG]

    Do not screw on the cap until you have the whole system completed. You may if wanted make up the mix after you have the diffuser and NRV in place.

    The short hose from the bubble counter should be connected to the NRV. Make sure the NRV is the right way round and then connect the other end of the NRV to the diffuser. Connect the empty 2nd bottle to the T-piece and screw the cap on close the gang valve to this empty bottle if using one. This completes the system.

    Now you can screw the cap onto the full bottle.

    THE PROCESS

    The full bottle will start fermenting. Within a few hours you should see a 'head' appear on the water. CO2 will then rise up through the hose and into the bubble counter. It exits the longer tube and bubbles will rise through the water to the empty airspace. It then passes into the shorter hose and up the airline through the NRV to the diffuser.

    Next post will be the final steps in the initial setup.

    Regards
    AC
     
  6. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    Firstly I will just say that after 3 days you will make up the same mix for the second bottle. Don't forget to open the valve once connected if you are using a gang valve.

    After that you will replace each bottle when it is a week old so that they overlap each other. Choose a day for each to remember i.e. bottle 1 on Sundays and bottle 2 on Wednesdays.

    A few pics of the setup now before I detail the pieces I am using.

    This is the 2 bottle setup in situ next to my filter. The bubble counter is the smaller bottle at the front with the orange cap:
    [​IMG]

    The bubble counter in action. You can just see a bubble about to come out:
    [​IMG]

    The caps of the bottles and the NRV next to the furthest bottle cap:
    [​IMG]

    Onto the diffuser.

    I am using an external diffuser. It works by a similar method to the internal ceramic disc diffuser. It is a sealed chamber that fits inline on the output (from filter to tank) hose and inside the sealed chamber is a ceramic tube. This acts like a hose where the water runs through it.

    [​IMG]

    I have used this on a pressurised setup before and when there is no pressure (i.e. solenoid cuts off the CO2) the section outside of the ceramic tube fills with water as it seeps through the pores. When the solenoid switches on the gas pressure pushes the water out of the outer section and then gas passes through into the water flow to be expelled at the filter outlet.

    This picture shows it when it was linked to the pressurised setup:
    [​IMG]

    And here it is in situ on this setup:
    [​IMG]

    It is pretty efficient and hardly any bubbles come out of the outlet. They seem to be virtually all in solution by the time they reach the outlet:
    [​IMG]

    I did test this using a spraybar first to make sure that those without Lily pipes could get the same result and it worked fine.

    Another advantage to this unit is that unlike an internal disc diffuser it can be setup inside the cabinet and therefore not exposed to light. This of course means algae won't grow on it and therefore reduces the need for cleaning.

    I will probably sit this is neat bleach for a few hours (or overnight ;) ) once a month while the tank is dark and then rinse it thoroughly before sitting it in a strong water and dechlor solution for another few hours the next day before reconnecting. This will of course mean me needing to use a hose connector whilst cleaning otherwise I would need my filter off for a few hours. There is always a little trade off to these sort of things.

    Now we have a pretty efficient system. The 2 bottles are giving just over 1 bubble per second. I may add a third bottle if it proves not to be enough but as you will see in the next post the drop checker is indicating that I am somewhere near to the perfect area in terms of 30ppm target.

    Next post will detail making a DIY drop checker.

    AC
     
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  7. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    THE DIY DROP CHECKER

    This is my own design and I spent........ermmm......... minutes deciding on how it would be designed. lol. Thats how simple it is to make :)

    I won't go through the use of a drop checker as Aaron has already done that. His guide can be found here:

    http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?showtopic=268972


    Some may dismiss the need for a drop checker with a yeast setup but as you will see I'll rubbish that right now. Yes I was wrong again :) I'm doing a good job of proving myself wrong so far and hopefully in a few weeks time I'll have proved myself wrong on many counts regarding yeast CO2 setups :)

    Many will say you will never get a dangerous level from yesat. In fact search my posts and I am one of them. This setup is proving that wrong already. lol

    However the DC is an indicator of how high your levels are as well as making sure they are not too low. Its a good 'progress' indicator. Fish are better of course but still. I'm in DIY design mode at the moment.

    So the cost of the DC. For me it was nothing. bits I had laying around and many will also have these bits somewhere.

    The only cost will be for the 4dKH solution and a bromo blue Ph test if you haven't already got one.

    So what parts do you need? 2 parts is all I used.

    Firstly I have a 10ml syringe and secondly some CO2 hose.

    The Syringe is cut at approx the 5ml marking. the plunger is cut behind tha actual rubber seal. Just the actual plastic 'handle' section is cut off.

    Then the spout where the needle is attached is cut off. Then using the same drill bit I used on the bottle caps I rounded the hole where the spout was and poked some hose through the hole. Just up to the 3ml mark.

    Finally push the now 'disc shaped' plunger into the top and you have a sealed unit.

    I turned the unit upside down and with a seperate syringe (blunt needle attached) I put the needle into the unit so the tip was just past the end of the hose and 'pushed' 2ml of 4dKH water into the unit. I then also used the syringe to take some bromo blue and repeat the process by putting a couple of drops into the unit.

    Carefully turning the unit back the right way up the protruding hose pointing down move the hose in or out to make sure that all the solution in side of the unit is a good 2 or 3mm below the uppermost part of the hose.

    Then cut the hose on the outer of the unit to about 5mm.

    Then I used an old clip from a spraybar to hold the DC to the sidewall and here is the finished article. This is 2 days in and shows how well CO2 setup 'seems' to be working. very nearly limeade and this is toward the end of the photoperiod. It is bordering yellow at lights on but there is no reaction from the fish so I don't foresee a danger at the moment:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If I decide to continue with the yeast after the 5 weeks I may buy a new glass DC :)
    **** 7/10/10 New glass DC and fresh 4dKH ordered

    That is all for my initial startup.

    I can state that already the supposed 'slow growing' plants I use are showing lots of new growth.

    The BBA is still there but not getting worse. That is a good sign at this early stage.

    Here is how the tank looks tonight:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One of the 'baby' Corys (5 months old) thinking 'what on earth is that idiot fiddling about with now?'. lol
    [​IMG]

    Yep you got it. I am experimenting yet again with a tank that I breed corys in. lol. Brave or stupid?

    AC
     
  8. Jack sparrow

    Jack sparrow Member

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    I will be following this with great interest, as I have just set up a yeast co2.

    Thank you to your bordom :D im sure its going to be of great interest to many of us.

    Kind regards
    Jack
     
  9. coldcazzie

    coldcazzie Ice Queen

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    What a fab thread! Will definitely keep an eye on this.
     
  10. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Retired moderator :)
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    Great write up Andy. Be sure that you claim ownership of that DIY dropchecker design. I don't want to see members pinching it as theirs. I dislike that when it happens. It's happened with fert mixes here in the past and I get very angry.

    I am very glad that you are coming around to the possibilities of Yeast setups. While not as fancy as pressurized, yeast-based injection, IMO, outweighs the addition of chemical carbon, provided you can achieve stability. You've obviously given much thought to achieving stability and circulation, and by my own experiencse with successful yeast systems, I'm very confident that you'll succeed with this not so little project.

    As I told you via PM, I've considered using yeast CO2 in my 36g corner tank. For a diffusor, I used that little Rhinox 1000. It worked well in my small tank. I'll look into your method of diffusion for the larger tank, though.

    You know this will eventually be pinned, right? But let's let it sit for a spell and be enjoyed...

    llj :good:
     
  11. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    Lol. If people want to claim the DC they can. I'll auction it after the experiment. lol It would take longer to write the patent application than the thinking, fetching and building which quite literally was:

    What shall I do for a drop checker?

    7 minutes later it was in the tank

    I'm not so sure yeast outweighs chemical CO2. Maybe in terms of its production and environmental issues, but pressurised is sooooo reliable when its setup right. Never have to lift a finger or check for months etc.

    However I think yeast can be a viable alternative even if I have been quite dismissive in the past. No problem on small tanks but even on something like mine (33USG) it becomes much harder. :)

    We shall see :)

    AC
     
  12. JoshuaA

    JoshuaA Member

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    That DIY drop checker is so simple yet in a way quite smart, I love the design, Very intrigued by this thread and hope to see more soon :good: .
     
  13. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Retired moderator :)
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    I just think the liquid stuff stinks like nobody's business. Would rather smell yeast. :lol: And the lovely "moonshine" it produces. :lol:
     
  14. ian

    ian plant your tank
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    good work Andy...it'll be good to see this pan out. Just remind me on you wpg light output?
     
  15. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Planted Section

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    1.1WPG LED. Now only 7" above the water. I've lowered it down 4 inches. Will be similar to 3WPG fluoro.

    AC
     

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