Ambient Light and CO2 / Light Balance - The Planted Tank Forum
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  • 1 Post By Kandomere
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-20-2020, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Ambient Light and CO2 / Light Balance

Hi All,

How (if at all) do you adjust your lighting / CO2 schedule for increased ambient light in the summer months?

I'm tinkering and trying to find the right balance with CO2, LED Lighting and ambient light from long summer days for my little high tech tank. I can't change the ambient light in the room and in summer, light from the North and West-Facing windows is 'substantial' from 6 am - 1 pm and 'bright' from 1 pm - 8:30 pm. Hopefully I'll get my hands on a PAR meter in a month or two, but in the mean-time I'm struggling to decide what to do with the 6 am - 1 pm period. For now, I am running CO2 during that period, with no tank lighting.


I tried running low light and CO2 from 6 am - noon (lighting schedule attached) but with my current circulation / gas exchange it DID NOT work.
Algae, signs of stunted growth on Rotala, and CO2 drop checker readings that gave me the worry that I need to either increase circulation or that I was 'burning out' my plants (CO2 checker takes 3 hours to turn nicely green, stays in the 'target range' of green for most of the day, but turns very much yellow at the end of the light cycle - although my fish seemed happy enough).


So, now that I have my lighting on a more reasonable schedule I am inconsistently finding a yellow drop checker at the end of the day. One hypothesis is ambient light, but I'm wondering if I should be paying closer attention to my canister filter flow / circulation... Thoughts? Do you do any things differently when you have a lot of ambient light?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-23-2020, 08:12 AM
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depends on how much plants you have and size of tank

I'm a noob but yours seem high for ambient lighting.

my c02 starts at 6:30 to 12:30 pm
rule is 1 bubble / 3 seconds / 5 gallon

my Twinstar II 600SP starts at 6:30 AM at 3%, 25% 8AM, 50% 10AM, 100%12PM, 80% 2PM, 25% 4PM, 10% 6PM, 1% 10:45PM -- timer cuts power.

It doesn't jump but it calculates how much it needs to gradually increase between the two points.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, @Kandomere. It's helpful to hear your light dimming schedule. I have the same fixture! Gives me the idea to try turning it on super low (like your 3%) in the mornings.

I've actually never heard that bubble rule. How long does it take you to get your CO2 levels up? I'm not sure it works for my 15 gallon tank though: 1/3*3=1 BPS. I'm trying to tune my CO2 so that it gets to 30ppm within two to three hours of the CO2 turning on. With my level of surface agitation and inline CO2 diffuser I need to get over 2 BPS to get in the green zone, and I think somewhere like 2.5 BPS is my sweet spot. I have a pH probe coming tomorrow so that I can chart my hourly pH drop to better gauge CO2 levels and tune in my BPS. Just relying on the drop checker and looking for signs of fish stress is driving me bananas. I think it can take up to a couple of hours for CO2 changes to register in the drop checker? I'm terrible at imagining that they are showing stress and are on the verge of death... when actually their glass surfing action is probably just begging for food.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:04 AM
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You may want to read through this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...jection-2.html.

Basically, plants need very little ambient light to begin photosynthesis (some do so in the dark) and the first long wavelength of light (blue) is what awakens them. I leave my CO2 on 24/7. I believe that this improves stability, whipsaws fish and plants less and ensures plentiful supply, much in the way that EI intends to do with fertilizer. I have also found that CO2 total consumption is lessened when doing this (my tanks empty about 20% slower with 24/7).
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.Isley View Post
Thanks, @Kandomere. It's helpful to hear your light dimming schedule. I have the same fixture! Gives me the idea to try turning it on super low (like your 3%) in the mornings.

I've actually never heard that bubble rule. How long does it take you to get your CO2 levels up? I'm not sure it works for my 15 gallon tank though: 1/3*3=1 BPS. I'm trying to tune my CO2 so that it gets to 30ppm within two to three hours of the CO2 turning on. With my level of surface agitation and inline CO2 diffuser I need to get over 2 BPS to get in the green zone, and I think somewhere like 2.5 BPS is my sweet spot. I have a pH probe coming tomorrow so that I can chart my hourly pH drop to better gauge CO2 levels and tune in my BPS. Just relying on the drop checker and looking for signs of fish stress is driving me bananas. I think it can take up to a couple of hours for CO2 changes to register in the drop checker? I'm terrible at imagining that they are showing stress and are on the verge of death... when actually their glass surfing action is probably just begging for food.

It's from this article: https://thegoodalgae.com/hardware/ho...-planted-tank/
just a general rule.

I have a PH meter but I haven't had the time to calibrate. My PH is usually high around 7.4. Maybe it's the rocks I'm using, since I add Zero Water with 0TDS at around 6.6PH, but the PH always climbs back to 7.4 after a few days.

After about 6 hours of CO2, PH goes down to around 6.8 Cherry Shrimps seem ok with it and they're breeding.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P.Isley View Post
Thanks, @Kandomere. It's helpful to hear your light dimming schedule. I have the same fixture! Gives me the idea to try turning it on super low (like your 3%) in the mornings.

I've actually never heard that bubble rule. How long does it take you to get your CO2 levels up? I'm not sure it works for my 15 gallon tank though: 1/3*3=1 BPS. I'm trying to tune my CO2 so that it gets to 30ppm within two to three hours of the CO2 turning on. With my level of surface agitation and inline CO2 diffuser I need to get over 2 BPS to get in the green zone, and I think somewhere like 2.5 BPS is my sweet spot. I have a pH probe coming tomorrow so that I can chart my hourly pH drop to better gauge CO2 levels and tune in my BPS. Just relying on the drop checker and looking for signs of fish stress is driving me bananas. I think it can take up to a couple of hours for CO2 changes to register in the drop checker? I'm terrible at imagining that they are showing stress and are on the verge of death... when actually their glass surfing action is probably just begging for food.
toss the drop checker. make sure you calibrate your pH electrode weekly. need a baseline pH of your tank water, just before co2 starts. you want to get a drop > 1 pH point by the time your lights come on and have it remain stable for the duration of the photoperiod (not having it continue to increase). you need to find the balance between co2 input and what is used by plants and what is degassed.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 07:42 PM
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Before buying into any "rule" too far, we always need to think over how it is possible to set a rule on a subject that varies as much as our tanks. How is it even possible to set a "standard" for CO2 quantity when the water, fish, plants, light, surface agitation and diffusion all vary?
I often run several tanks and find a 75 takesnear the same setting on the flowmeter to get the same PH dro as a 20 long setting alongside it.
To me, this rule on bubble count its just totally missing the point as it doesn't even pretend to take into account how much of the gas is wasted by factors like poor diffusion or too much splashing.
Step one in my learning to ignore lots of the info I read? Know why info is written and what makes it profitable. Just printing the same info everybody else writes is not the way to boost sales but writing something nobody else has thought of is sure to get more traffic to the site, even if it is totally off the wall!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2020, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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I think I figured out why I had a yellow drop checker at the end of the day. I was ending up with this situation: (photo credit to Dennis Wong from the 2 Hr Aquarist @Xiaozhuang - this is a screen shot off of one of his Youtube videos).



Improved my circulation a few days ago by moving my lily pipes from the back to the side of the tank and used a pH meter to dial the CO2 in to a full pH drop before ambient light or artificial lights go on. @moke - exactly as you recommended! I also cleaned out the O ring on my Oase canister filter - it was intermittently making a little knocking noise which turned out to sucking air though the O ring seal - which wasn't helping matters. Now I get to a bright green drop checker and steady pH within a couple hours of CO2 turning on and it firmly stays there. Plants seem happier already.

@Deanna - Fascinating thread. Thanks so much for the link! Definitely making sure that my CO2 is fully 'dialed in' BEFORE sun-up.

@PlantedRich - my new BPS with the pipe change is now around 4 BPS. Really different from where it had been with lily pipes on the back on the tank!
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 12:04 AM
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Yes, moving the injection/ diffuser method or location does change how much effect the same amount of CO2 gives, kind of proving the point I was making about any firm rule on amount. Okay as a place to start but not a real firm idea of the amount we may need later. Bigger plants may need more if they like what they get at the start?
Tip to keep in mind on those O-rings is how much better they perform and last if we lube them. They are not rubber any more but some "unknown" combo of stuff, so one lube that I find really worthwhile is just simple petroleum jelly that we might call Vasoline, only not the real stuff but just a cheap brand with no scent, color, etc. We don't want menthol pumped into the tank! I like the Equate brand from Wal-mart as well as any but there are likely to be tons of other brands that are the same.
The point we want is to lube things with a tiny amount of slick stuff and the jelly is hard to wash off as it tends to not dissolve in water. Some are scared by the name "petroleum" but that is silly since plastic also comes from petroleum!
I find it helps to do just a fine little smear of it on anything that I want to stay flexible like O-rings and anything that I want to move like the ball valves on filter cutoffs. I don't break the handles off is I keep it lubed so it moves easy.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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@PlantedRich thanks for the petroleum jelly tip. I did put some silicon oil on since I already had in my supply kit as I use it to oil the tubes to my lily pipes so that I can get them off without breaking them. The silicon oil works to stop the head from sucking in air for now, but I can see how Vaseline‘s viscosity would be better /work for longer.

Last edited by P.Isley; 07-01-2020 at 07:21 PM. Reason: removed reference to Vaseline
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2020, 04:39 PM
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Careful of the Vaseline as it has menthol, go for the cheap stuff without color or scent! You and I may have read close enough to know but the next guy may not pick up the difference so I like to use petroleum jelly so that it makes people think a little closer!
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