Miss Margo Tackles 6th-Grade Chemistry; Almost Murders 40 Pets

    This post is late because I was vacillating about whether to post this story here, or in a popular aquarium hobbyist forum.  Obviously, to protect my privacy, I couldn’t post it in both.  I decided to post it here even though the 4 people who read this blog will not give a shit about the content matter.  I figured that the aquarium hobbyist forum already has a zillion similar threads–why add another?  

      So here’s the deal:  I have this big freshwater community aquarium, and I decided that I wanted to restore it to the knockout showpiece it is meant to be.  This will take time, obviously, but there are many small steps to be taken. 

       First thing’s first: get rid of the cheesy silk and plastic plants.  I had the best fake plants in the market, but they were never convincing.  I needed live aquatic plants.  So, I put on my boogie shoes and trotted down to a Local Fish Store (LFS) to purchase some.  Amazon sword, micro sword, some crypti, java fern, a moss ball–nothing special.  Dipped em in bleach and planted them in the substrate with some fertilizer tabs around the roots.  So far so  good, right? 

     Well, plants breath CO2.  They breath CO2 and make Oxygen (how very fortuitous). If I wanted my plants to thrive, according to all the internet gurus I found whilst researching, I needed to inject CO2 into my tank.  

      CO2 injection systems cost a lot of money, so I decided to make one by myself.  There were lots of instructions on the internet.  I already had a factory-manufactured kit that was supposed to be good for tanks up to 40 gallons.  I thought:  If I double that, there will be plenty of CO2!

      I went down to the bodega and purchased some white sugar and active yeast.  See pic on my kitchen table:


    Then I moved the project to my bathtub, because I was afraid there would be some awful chemical reaction that would disfigure me or mutilate the other animals somehow.  Don’t ask. 
         In a green plastic Diet Ginger Ale bottle, I mixed 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda:

     Then, through a funnel, I poured in most of a gallon of warm water with a tablespoon of yeast.  This is where I became very nervous.  I had no idea what to expect.  In fact, I wore my sunglasses to protect my eyes, just in case something bad happened. 

   Sure enough, there was a chemical reaction.  Lots of fizzing.  Reminded me of making volcanoes with baking soda back in 3rd grade. 

I’d made a hole in the Ginger Ale cap with a power drill and sealed some plastic tubing through it with silicon, which I let dry overnight.

     
      I twisted the cap back onto the ginger ale bottle and set up the two bottles by my aquarium.  Then I rigged up the plastic tubing and attached it to an underwater powerhead (used to distribute the CO2 bubbles).

Elegant setup, yes?
     Then I let the CO2 rip!  
    These pics don’t do it justice.
     Basically, my aquarium looked like a fucking jacuzzi.  BUBBLES EVERYWHERE.  My CO2 system was massively overbuilt.  Here are a few pics (again, they don’t accurately portray the incredible CO2 infusion:
    I consulted the aquarium forum, where the members helpfully told me that my fish were going to suffocate in short order unless I stopped with the CO2.
             Whoops.
            Now I turn it on for a short time each day–maybe an hour at most.  So far, so good.  
        If you know about CO2 in planted tanks, please email me.  Thank you.


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