Enough Co2 from soil?
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
Soil
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Default Enough Co2 from soil?

Hi!

I've started digging deeper into aquascaping and tricky plants and just started my first dedicated plant-tank with som shrimp.

The tank is 5g and pretty heavily lit by a LED floodlight and a 20w compact fluorescent bulb. The bulb is only 2700k, the LED is unknown but much whiter.

Anyhow, I dirted the tank for the nutrition it provides, but the dirt will also produce co2, right? And if so, how much does it produce and what causes it to keep doing it?

I know that if I start dosing co2 there is a chanse I tire of it and ruin the tank, but I would like to try harder plants anyway. Can I do it with soil?

I dont know much about this stuff and I need kind of a basic explanation because Im not good at chemistry.

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Old 02-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
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Haha, I dont think so, get pressurized CO2, possibly even DIY though I would not reccomend it. And just cuz ur CO2 runs out doesn't mean your screwed. You can always go lower light. Yes if you had high light and difficult plants, if you removed CO2, you would have to reduce lighting and in turn those hard plants would probably die since they needed that high light to begin with, but otherwise if you just have some easy plants that aren't too demanding, you will be fine.

Now as for the other things...

2700k compact flourescent is pretty much no light. I have gone to ACE hardware and tested their 2700k and 3000k CFL bulbs. Pretty much 10 PAR 1 inch from the light, so they will offer little to nothing. Don't waste $$$ on energy. I found a 5000k there for my emersed bowl and it delivers about 300 umols PAR about 7 inches from the source so, that worked for me. See if you can find something similar. Testing was done with the SAPS Apogee sensor.

Dirt will not produce CO2, though i am not sure on this. I do not know the chemistry behind it but i think can say that it will not provide enough. If you are trying to go without CO2, go low tech, that means low light. Once you hit medium light, your will want CO2. CO2 on low tech is also great, it will only help.

Aquatic plants are also very unique in that they can absorb nutrients not only from the soil, but also from the water. Thats why we can grow stuff in inert substrates like cat litter, gravel, flourite, etc. I personally don't like dirt since its messy and leeches tannins for a while. I chose aquasoil since it provides nutrients, looks great, and is easy to plant into. But it is only a supplement for the main fertilizing in the water column. So if i ran out of nutrients for some reason, I still have a backup to last a bit longer. Some plants are more heavy root feeders though like echinodorus. HUGE root systems.

Last edited by puopg; 02-24-2013 at 06:15 PM.. Reason: edit
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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bacteria in the soil will produce C02, however, you will need to add a carbon source for the bacteria to feed on like dead leaves. many people don't like to do this though because it can be messy and it may leach a lot of ammonia, which can be annoying...
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:53 PM   #4
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Soil sequesters a tremendous amount of CO2, but soil minerals doesn't produce it--it's produced by microbes living in the soil. Also, as soon as you disturb the soil, the CO2 gasses escape. So what I'm saying is that your soil that you put in your tank is going to have little to no CO2 in it--but don't get too hung up on that. There are multiple ways in which you can supplement or supply CO2 to an aquarium. Having CO2 in the soil doesn't do a plant much good anyway, they cannot absorb CO2 through their roots, only stems and leaves.
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishFarmer View Post
Soil sequesters a tremendous amount of CO2, but soil minerals doesn't produce it--it's produced by microbes living in the soil. Also, as soon as you disturb the soil, the CO2 gasses escape. So what I'm saying is that your soil that you put in your tank is going to have little to no CO2 in it--but don't get too hung up on that. There are multiple ways in which you can supplement or supply CO2 to an aquarium. Having CO2 in the soil doesn't do a plant much good anyway, they cannot absorb CO2 through their roots, only stems and leaves.
Thank you for that information. I did not know!
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Old 02-24-2013, 07:22 PM   #6
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Thanks people, straight forward and I understand what your saying! (; I just have this feeling that changing tubes, refilling mesk etc wont work in the long run for me, I need passive systems since I tire pretty easily. Also Im on a tight budget.

About 2 days after I filled the tank with water I had small bubbles rising and sticking to the leafs - excess CO2 escaping?

Just a second though - what if one had a sump in which one put dead matter, and have the outflow constantly disturb the soil and add circilation as an oxygen suply?

It would need a thin sponge on the intake of the pump which brings the water back to the tank - will the CO2 follow the water back up or just evaporate above the sump?
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