DIYS CO2 - yeast + sugar; Paludarium questions.

DIYS CO2 - yeast + sugar:

Just started using a homebrew CO2 system using yeast and sugar a few weeks ago.
So far the results are very positive but find I'm having trouble maintaining a consistent
flow of bubbles. After a week the bubble count drops pretty significantly and the pH in
the tank begins to gradually rise. If I put in a fresh mix of sugar and yeast in warm water,
the CO2 really starts going after about fifteen minutes. Need to increase the amount of
flow through the filter to encourage CO2 dissipation (normally I keep it dialed to the
minimum to prevent this) but the pH can drop quite a bit and I estimate it's around
6.0 or lower. (the test kit is difficult to read and only valid 6.2-7.5) Last time, I tried
just retaining some of the old yeast batch to see if I could skip adding yeast each time.
This didn't seem to work very well at all. Next day, I added fresh yeast and more sugar
but it was slow to start cooking. There must be something toxic left in the old batch which
inhibits the new stuff from rapidly reproducing. alcohol? The concentration should of
ethanol should be low but perhaps even a small amount will slow it down? Maybe 
some other organisms are growing in there too? Do people who use this method always
start with all fresh water, sugar and yeast? I find if the water is too warm to start with,
that it reacts too fast in the beginning so I'm experimenting with using less yeast
ie. about a 1/4 of the package.  Last time I think I used 2/3 and this was too much I
suspect. Any recommendations? Thinking of setting up a second yeast reactor and
alternating changes. I think the bottled CO2 will be cheaper in the long run because
the sugar is fairly expensive on a monthly basis and a $20 (here in Vancouver) refill
of a 20lb tank should last at least 1 year if used moderately.

On other news: Peter has mailed me Aponogeton mad. bulbs and they should be arriving
in the next week or so. I noticed one other posting here concerning someone growing these
plants and wondered if you'd share your experiences with us? 


   Paludarium Questions: 

I'm thinking of setting up a paludarium for Aponogeton propagation. Anyone have suggestions? 
How deep should be the water? If there are no fish, is it wise to use very rich organic substrate
 i.e. 25% composted manure? Are commercial fertilizers ok in this application? Do you slope the
soil/sand so that some of it is above the surface? For Aponogeton seeds, I think they should
be in moist sand with probably direct sunlight or strong light for germination. Is mold
and fungus a problem? Do you use aquarium type filtration of the water or UG circulation?
How about CO2 in a paludarium? Thanks for the benefit of your experiences! :=)

-- Steve Pushak

              - Don't fear what you face; Face what you fear!