Looking to start using co2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Looking to start using co2

I think that I have had enough experience with plants and have decided to go into using co2. have a couple questions though. For now I plan on using diy co2 as it is cheaper for me to do.

So here are my questions

1. Ceramic diffuser vs. atomizer, which is better?
2. How do you go about sizing the right co2 diffuser/atomizer for your aquarium?
3. Also do I just use airline tubing for this or do, I recall seeing and hearing in mentioned in a couple vidoes about co2 tubing?
4. How do I know how much co2 to add to my tank, I plan on using a bubble counter
That's all I can think of for now that found vague.

Last edited by fishkeeper01; 06-02-2016 at 08:51 AM. Reason: added question
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2016, 09:03 AM
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1) Depends on if you like the CO2 "mist" or not. Diffusers tend to have more of a mist effect than atomizers. Atomizers may require higher pressure.

2) The manufacturer should specify for their products. Large aquariums may require multiple diffusers and/or other methods of CO2 dissolution (e.g. reactor)

3) Airline tubing works, as does CO2 tubing. The loss of CO2 in regular airline tubing compared to the more expensive CO2 tubing is minimal.

4) A bubble counter only serves as a quick visual check to see that your CO2 is indeed being injected. A drop checker with 4 dkH reference solution is an alternative, or even just watching your livestock and plants will do.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so back with more questions. I had to put of this co2 escapade for a little bit because I got really busy. So I want to start off slow with this. I was gonna try the citric acid diy co2 method discussed in this video on my 5 gallon dirted tank with medium that I started a few months ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JzvfHO31Ug

So something that I have been wondering about is what can be done to minimize the amount of co2 I lose from bubbles popping at the surface? Also what I am curiuos about is the fact that co2 is best run when the lights are on. However my lights run from 10:30am-6pm, so what is the leeway for if the co2 runs while lights are off in case I don't get to it in time? I know a major downfall to diy co2 is the fact that they can't run on solenoids which are pretty much timers right? Correct me if I am wrong
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 05:46 AM
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You may be able to find some ceramic CO2 diffusers that work at lower pressures. They work by creating a fine mist, increasing the surface area that is exposed to the water column, allowing faster dissolution of CO2.

Alternatively, there are commercial devices such as a CO2 ladder, which increases the time the CO2 bubble has to dissolve into the water column.

I'm not sure what you are asking regarding the leeway of the CO2. As you plan to use the citric acid DIY CO2 method, you cannot turn it on/off, and I assume your lights are on a timer. The CO2 will just be running all day, so that should be fine.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Well because in the video he talks about how the system works, and that you can turn of the production of co2 by shutting the needle valve.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 01:41 PM
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Well because in the video he talks about how the system works, and that you can turn of the production of co2 by shutting the needle valve.
You are correct. You can turn it off.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so now to my last question. Because co2 is best run with the lights on and my light are on a timer but the co2 is not, what is an appropriate amount of time for the co2 to run while lights are off, in case I can't always be in time to turn off the co2 when the lights go off?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-27-2016, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by fishkeeper01 View Post
Ok, so now to my last question. Because co2 is best run with the lights on and my light are on a timer but the co2 is not, what is an appropriate amount of time for the co2 to run while lights are off, in case I can't always be in time to turn off the co2 when the lights go off?
AFAIK the only issue is the potential to run the CO2 too high for the fish since the plants won't be consuming any CO2. I know some people with pH probes run CO2 all the time to keep the level constant at all times. However, I don't use DIY CO2 so I can't really offer anything more on how people with those set-ups handle the overnight period. Though I suppose you could simply let it run while you are home and see what happens. That way you are there to respond if it does start to go too high. Then you would know when, if at all, it might become an issue.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Ok aside from fish gasping for air, is there any other way of monitoring co2 levels?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 03:00 AM
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Ok aside from fish gasping for air, is there any other way of monitoring co2 levels?
You can also monitor it by using the PH/KH/CO2 chart with a good PH meter. This is how I determine my CO2 levels to get a baseline then I slightly increase/decrease CO2 depending on the response of the plants or fish.


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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 04:05 AM
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I use 2l of DIY CO2 and run for the whole time in 23g shrimp tank, it is not that different in my views whether you turn it off or on for the whole time..my drop checker is always green and I havent any issue with shrimps and plants for that. May be cos it is just diy CO2. I use ceramic diffuser as I hard atomizers need high pressure and will work only with pressurized system.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 04:28 AM
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You can also monitor it by using the PH/KH/CO2 chart with a good PH meter. This is how I determine my CO2 levels to get a baseline then I slightly increase/decrease CO2 depending on the response of the plants or fish.
Do note that this relationship only is accurate if the only pH altering buffer in your water column is carbonate (which is unlikely to be true). This is why some people use a drop checker with a 4 dkH reference solution consisting of only carbonate as the buffering species.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but co2 is new to me. How do you use 4dkh solution with the drop checker?
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:07 PM
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Well because in the video he talks about how the system works, and that you can turn of the production of co2 by shutting the needle valve.
There is a very cheap solenoid valve listed on Ebay that I'm using now. It works fine with a DIY CO2 system, and lets you use a timer to shut off the CO2. I suspect this cheap solenoid valve will not last a really long time, but at the $15 price, it doesn't matter.
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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but co2 is new to me. How do you use 4dkh solution with the drop checker?
A drop checker only indicates a rough estimate of how much CO2 is in the tank water if you use distilled water, with just enough baking soda in it to get a known KH of 4 dKH, in the drop checker "bulb". You add 2-3 drops of API pH test kit reagent to that water to turn it to a solution that is blue for very low ppm of CO2 and green at around 30 ppm, and yellow at much higher ppm of CO2.

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:21 PM
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There is a very cheap solenoid valve listed on Ebay that I'm using now. It works fine with a DIY CO2 system, and lets you use a timer to shut off the CO2. I suspect this cheap solenoid valve will not last a really long time, but at the $15 price, it doesn't matter.

A drop checker only indicates a rough estimate of how much CO2 is in the tank water if you use distilled water, with just enough baking soda in it to get a known KH of 4 dKH, in the drop checker "bulb". You add 2-3 drops of API pH test kit reagent to that water to turn it to a solution that is blue for very low ppm of CO2 and green at around 30 ppm, and yellow at much higher ppm of CO2.
Hoppy you got a ebay link to the solenoid valve that you use? I saw the milwaukee one but i don't want to spend that much...

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Hoppy you got a ebay link to the solenoid valve that you use? I saw the milwaukee one but i don't want to spend that much...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
There is a very cheap solenoid valve listed on Ebay that I'm using now. It works fine with a DIY CO2 system, and lets you use a timer to shut off the CO2. I suspect this cheap solenoid valve will not last a really long time, but at the $15 price, it doesn't matter.

A drop checker only indicates a rough estimate of how much CO2 is in the tank water if you use distilled water, with just enough baking soda in it to get a known KH of 4 dKH, in the drop checker "bulb". You add 2-3 drops of API pH test kit reagent to that water to turn it to a solution that is blue for very low ppm of CO2 and green at around 30 ppm, and yellow at much higher ppm of CO2.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-29-2016 at 08:38 AM. Reason: No eBay links
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