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[APD] Re: Hagen CO2 natural plant system
I have 3 of these units in use and one DIY on a larger tank.
I am using sugar as per the original instructions, 1/4 teaspoon bread yeast,
and 1 tablespoon baking soda. I occasionally experiment with ale yeast, wine
(champagne) yeast, and gelatine, but always return to this mixture. In the
DIY I use firm gelatine cubes with wine yeast and yeast nutrient, but this
mix won't fit in the Hagen bottles very well.
I have tried to identify the contents of the Hagen "stablizer" packet, and I
think that it is mostly baking soda, with two other ingredients that I
cannot identify. Their mix tastes VERY salty, and I think I see a tiny bit
of salt under a magnifying glass, but the small amount of salt and the large
amount of salt taste do not agree. There is also something that might be
phosphate-related, but that is based on it looking somewhat similar to the
yeast nutrient mix that I got at the brew store that has phophates among the
ingredients (not too scientific, I know). Salt would inhibit the yeast, but
the regular bread yeast is inhibited enough I think.
I find that the baking soda does make the system run longer, I suspect that
it might be the low pH that kills the bread yeast, not just the alcohol, as
the fermentaion runs along, and the initial dose of baking soda will raise
the pH which might delay that action. I have observed that after a unit has
run for a few days without baking soda, then opening the unit and adding
baking soda will cause an immediate foam-over (run, do not walk, to the
sink!) Sort of like the old volcano experiment in grade school, acid plus
I have done several tests using the same mix but for one or one half
tablespoon of baking soda, and the full tablespoon of baking soda unit has
run much longer. At the end of the second week, the bubble rate was twice as
much with twice the baking soda. I suspect the sodium bicarbonate is
supplying carbon to create the carbon dioxide, but I didn't do well in
chemistry so don't look at me for a real explaination, I can only point to
what seems obvious to me. The yeast creates an acid condition, and the
baking soda reacts with that acid to release carbon dioxide.
Wine yeasts are said to tolerate the alcohol better, and they also tolerate
acid better, as I've read that brewers start with highly acid mixes to
prevent bacterial contamination. If you use wine yeast, don't use the baking
soda, they do not seem to go together well, IME.
One of the most important things is to keep the opened pack of yeast sealed
and in the refrigerator to maintian freshness. Also, I am using barely warm
water, it seems easy to use water that is too warm.
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2003 13:58:40 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Joanne000 at webtv_net (Joanne Damon)
> Subject: [APD] Hagen CO2 natural plant system
> To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
> Cc: joanne000 at webtv_net
> I recently purchased this system, it was on sale for $16.00...yes I
> know the DIY is cheaper, but one thing that interested me about the
> system was that the canister is somewhat insulated .. I keep my house
> very cool in the winter and have a hard time getting my bread to rise
> (yeast). I also have two very curious cats, they cannot knock over the
> canister as it is clipped onto the back of the tank.
> I did find an old post in the archives posted by Kevin Sheller, for a
> recipe to replace the refill packs (see his post below). I couldn't
> find a reply to his question about the baking soda for a stabilizer. I
> haven't seen baking soda or any type of stabilizer listed as an
> ingredient for a DIY system. Also if anyone has any updates on how they
> like or dislike this system or if they have any other advise on using
> their own ingredients... I would like to hear any comments.
> Joanne Damon
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