co2 manzanita, chart and dc - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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co2 manzanita, chart and dc

I have pressurized CO2. I am using a pH controller. The tank is still pretty new.

ph- prior to CO2 - 7.5
pH- after CO2 - right now set at 5.8

kH - 4
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5-10 (per API kit)

I have an GLA drop checker. As it sits it is yellow.

I am using a modified EI dosing with the full Seachem line, switching to dry tomorrow.

Currently the tank is heavily planted and it has 2 danios, 3 otos, and 3 horned nerites.

I am starting to get what I believe is GDA and some hair algae. The GDA is on the glass. The fuzz ( not the new wood fuzz, im past that stage) is starting to form on some driftwood and my HC.

I turned the controller down to allow more CO2 last night, in an attempt to slow algae growth. Within 30 min my danios were flashing machines. I'm assuming that was a clue so I turned it down, it seems to have stopped the flashing.

According to the drop checker and the charts I am way over injecting CO2. Obviously a pH of 5.7 in my set up is too much for Danios.

The plants have all been pearling at this level but I am having trouble keeping horned nerites, and otos alive. I do not think I can solely rely on the drop checker or the charts as an ultimate guide.

I guess my question is how much CO2 is too much? I want to add more aquatic life but I dont want to doom them to their grave either. Where is the happy median point and what is the best method to find it?

Bump: Its a 60 gallon cube tank with 2 Marineland aquatic plant LEDs running 5.5 hours per day.

The only dumb question is probably the one I just asked.....so you're good.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 10:39 PM
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Typically, you're looking for a one point ph drop with co2. Having the problem of dying inhabitants should be a clue your co2 is too high. All fish and invertebrates are different. I would reduce the co2.

Your algae could be from insufficient nutrients or high lighting. I personally would raise the lights as a start. Adding the dry fertilizers may correct the issue but the main culprit here imo is your lighting. You can even try raising the lights and increasing the photo period. The photo period and intensity is not linear. Low light for longer periods are less likely to cause algae issues.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 10:49 PM
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If you can't keep fish alive then, yeah you have too much co2. Turn it down! If your tap is 7.5 generally speaking shoot for 6.5 with co2 by mid lighting cycle. From there you need to control your lighting and maintenance.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2016, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Rakaal View Post
I do not think I can solely rely on the drop checker or the charts as an ultimate guide.
I have no faith in a drop checker or the charts.
It is not even worth posting the math behind the chart.
Modified water/RO etc... make it all different.

As said every drop of 1.0 in pH = 30ppm of CO2.

In your case (7.5 - 5.8)* 30 = 51ppm CO2
Targeting a pH of 6.5 - 6.8 would be a better idea.

When reading CO2 before it is turned on I would degas the sample.
10 minutes with air stone in the sample will ensure CO2 is removed.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys...

Raising the lighting is not an option...I'm not that handy, plus the distance from light to substrate is already 20 plus inchs.

I will lower the co2 over the next few days and see what happens.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
As said every drop of 1.0 in pH = 30ppm of CO2.
Doesn't it depend on the KH level? With a high KH, it needs more CO2 to reduce the same amount of PH?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 04:35 PM
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Doesn't it depend on the KH level? With a high KH, it needs more CO2 to reduce the same amount of PH?
Absolutely!

The general suggestion of a one point PH drop is just an average. Every tank is different.

The calculations of CO2 are based on carbonate hardness only. Carbonate harness is the predominant buffer in most aquariums. However, non-carbonates such as borates, phosphates, silicates, and other bases can affect this calculation.

What this means is that if we have any non-carbonates, actual CO2 level will always be LOWER than the calculated CO2 concentration. It will never be higher.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 05:13 PM
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What if KH goes up or down due to plant uptake, substrate interference or tap parameter changes? How does then the pH - CO2 – KH controller regulate the preset CO2 level? Well, it keeps chasing the wrong levels.

How does 1 pH drop work?
1 dKH 08 ppm CO2
2 dKH 15 ppm CO2
3 dKH 23 ppm CO2
4 dKH 30 ppm CO2
5 dKH 38 ppm CO2
6 dKH 45 ppm CO2
7 dKH 53 ppm CO2
8 dKH 60 ppm CO2

So what’s left?
Probably the old good bubble counter and possibly the addition of a CO2 level indicator called drop checker. Bubble counters don’t lie.

Is there any other CO2 option?


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward View Post
What if KH goes up or down due to plant uptake, substrate interference or tap parameter changes? How does then the pH - CO2 – KH controller regulate the preset CO2 level? Well, it keeps chasing the wrong levels.

How does 1 pH drop work?
1 dKH 08 ppm CO2
2 dKH 15 ppm CO2
3 dKH 23 ppm CO2
4 dKH 30 ppm CO2
5 dKH 38 ppm CO2
6 dKH 45 ppm CO2
7 dKH 53 ppm CO2
8 dKH 60 ppm CO2

So what’s left?
Probably the old good bubble counter and possibly the addition of a CO2 level indicator called drop checker. Bubble counters don’t lie.

Is there any other CO2 option?
You're certainly correct that if KH changes the accuracy is altered. No argument there. As I've said many times the PH/KH relationship is an estimate at best. This doesn't mean this idea is invalid. It's simply one tool that we can use. Do you need to watch your KH and PH? Well, of course!

CO2 is not a set it and forget it thing. It never has been. Water flow, plant mass, temperature, KH, bio-load and a slew of other things affect CO2 levels. Therefore, constant attention needs to be paid to delivering CO2. Reducing the things that can alter CO2 levels also provide a more stable environment which fish and plants both prefer. Wildly changing parameters are never a good thing and are an indication of a poorly maintained aquarium.

Drop checkers also have value. When properly used they can be a visual indicator of an approximate CO2 level. One can even alter the dKH solution to monitor lower or higher CO2 levels. However, the indicators can take a couple of hours to change. PH controllers can respond much faster and in the case of an equipment malfunction turn off the CO2 entirely. Not bad insurance to have really.

Actually, bubble counters can change. Bubble rates are not equal across various sized tanks. To say for example 3 bubbles per second is right is completely wrong for several reasons.

Three bubbles per second may be fine on your 10 gallon tank while it would have no impact on my 240. It's the same logic as changing medication doses for children versus adults. Size does matter.

As far as the accuracy of bubble counters, they're all different. The size of the bubble (which is the amount of CO2) is altered by several things. Increase the pressure and your bubbles get smaller. Use mineral oil in your counter and the bubbles get quite large. The input size of the gas into the chamber alters bubble size. Fluidic bubbles are a science in themselves. It's quite a complex field of physics. Scientists even use ultrasonic waves to control bubble size now.

As you can see the delivery of CO2 is not a simple thing to pull off. I'm not aware of any hobby grade method to do it accurately. In my opinion, the best monitor is experience and a keen eye. Until someone comes up with a bullet proof delivery method aquarists need to realize this is not as simple as setting a bubble counter and going to bed.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 07:22 PM
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As you can see the delivery of CO2 is not a simple thing to pull off. I'm not aware of any hobby grade method to do it accurately. In my opinion, the best monitor is experience and a keen eye. Until someone comes up with a bullet proof delivery method aquarists need to realize this is not as simple as setting a bubble counter and going to bed.
Do you think ADA aquarium owners are fiddling with their CO2 bubble counters all day long?


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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I have walked the CO2 up to show a pH of 6.2. I keep the controller on 24/7 to maintain a constant CO2 level. I realize this may not be necessary but I'm still learning and am trying to maintain as many constants as possible.

The otos and nerites have definitely perked up.

Yesterday was my wc day. I scrubbed the glass and haven't noticed a reappearance of the glass algae. I still don't know if it's gda or diatoms. I definitely have green thread/hair algae. I twirled some out, I see a little more today. I also started with dry ferts yesterday, so we will see how it goes.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rakaal View Post
I have walked the CO2 up to show a pH of 6.2. I keep the controller on 24/7 to maintain a constant CO2 level. I realize this may not be necessary but I'm still learning and am trying to maintain as many constants as possible.

The otos and nerites have definitely perked up.
It sounds like you're on the right track. I still think your CO2 levels are a little high. I know this sounds crazy but I have my doubts whether we need to be so close to being toxic to our fish. When we try and keep the maximum CO2 concentrations there is little room for error. Plants seem to do quite well with levels below that “red zone”.

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Do you think ADA aquarium owners are fiddling with their CO2 bubble counters all day long?
I'm not quite sure what you're asking here. ADA is a brand name. CO2 is CO2. I'm not suggesting tweaking your CO2 on a daily basis. I am however suggesting to LOOK at your tank and make informed decisions on a daily basis.

Most ADA tanks are trimmed frequently and generally cared for. Why would someone spend a fortune on a tank and neglect it? So I would expect the system to be more stable in regards to CO2. However, regardless of the system CO2 levels can vary. A hobbyist could just as easily neglect an ADA tank as a bargain basement brand.

Could you elaborate on where you're going with this? I'm at a loss.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 09:21 PM
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Actually, bubble counters can change. Bubble rates are not equal across various sized tanks. To say for example 3 bubbles per second is right is completely wrong for several reasons.

Three bubbles per second may be fine on your 10 gallon tank while it would have no impact on my 240. It's the same logic as changing medication doses for children versus adults. Size does matter.

As far as the accuracy of bubble counters, they're all different. The size of the bubble (which is the amount of CO2) is altered by several things. Increase the pressure and your bubbles get smaller. Use mineral oil in your counter and the bubbles get quite large. The input size of the gas into the chamber alters bubble size. Fluidic bubbles are a science in themselves. It's quite a complex field of physics. Scientists even use ultrasonic waves to control bubble size now.

As you can see the delivery of CO2 is not a simple thing to pull off. I'm not aware of any hobby grade method to do it accurately. In my opinion, the best monitor is experience and a keen eye. Until someone comes up with a bullet proof delivery method aquarists need to realize this is not as simple as setting a bubble counter and going to bed.
You are going into deep details here in regards to using simple bubble counters for CO2 dosing. You are describing mineral oils, fluidic science, complex field of physics and ultrasonic waves. Why?

Look at ADA, no pH – KH – CO2 controllers and no crazy red zone CO2 levels. It is a simple set it and forget it bubble counter system. Sure the rate is aquarium size dependent, but it is not that crazy. When I looked at some ADA aquariums this is what I found

Code:
  3.5 gallon or   13 L   0.5    bps 
  5   gallon or   20 L   0.5    bps
  8   gallon or   30 L   1      bps
 15   gallon or   65 L   1 - 4  bps
 40   gallon or  150 L   3 - 4  bps 
 45   gallon or  180 L   3      bps
 60   gallon or  245 L   6 - 8  bps 
160   gallon or  650 L   3 - 6  bps 
230   gallon or  900 L   5      bps
375   gallon or 1500 L   5 - 10 bps
400   gallon or 1600 L   6 - 8  bps
It cannot get any simpler than this and it works, it is something to think about.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 10:30 PM
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Thanks for responding. I understand what you mean now Edward.

Those recommendations are using ADA products. Let's not forget that those recommendations come with others. Use these nutrients dosed this way, with this light fixture, using this filter among many other things. In a nutshell "cookie cutter" planted tank. Nothing wrong with this. The man has made a fortune supplying the same products and the advise to use them. It's a a lot easier when the playing field is equal.

We're not dealing with a step by step process here. People have a myriad of different components and systems. To say use this many bubbles per second using any bubble counter, bubble counter solution or regulator is simply inaccurate. This is why I went into the variables that control bubble size. It has nothing to do with showing how much I know (which is far less than most btw) or to show off. Instead, I say this because it's a basic physical fact. You simply cannot compare apples to oranges.

I really get tired of advice that says do this and that because it works for me. The fact is, if you want to be truly successful you have to do your homework and think about what's going on. If I used an Ebay special bubble counter and a Chinese regulator at 1 psi it would not be the same bubble rate as a high end system. Regardless of price it would not be equal unless we were using the same equipment, hence ADA.

We'e so focused on coming up with a fool proof system for everything that we all seem to forget that this is suppose to be fun. Tweaking things and figuring it out is one reason I enjoy this so much. Painting a picture by numbers is not the same as something you do on your own regardless of how others feel about it. It may be an over used phrase but the journey really is the fun part. Of course that's just my opinion. I would rather tinker and play and share my experiences than open a box and follow directions.
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Last edited by Zorfox; 04-22-2016 at 10:43 PM. Reason: spelling
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