Gassed my fish today :( - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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Gassed my fish today :(

I have a setup with pressurized CO2 for a well planted tank. It's been running fine for a couple months now, with a few otos, a small school of neon tetras, a few pygmy corys, and red cherry shrimps.

I've had an algae problem for the past few weeks, so I figured I'd ramp up the CO2. I was at about 1 BPS, I turned it up to about 2-3 BPS this morning.

I came home from work to a tank full of floating, dead fish All the neons and otos were dead. The corys were very unresponsive. The shrimp, except for 2-3, were all mostly okay - which is surprising, as I thought shrimp were more sensitive to CO2 than fish.

The corys are now in a separate container while I'm waiting for the CO2 levels to go down. They're still alive, although very still at the bottom. I hope they make it, they're by far my favorites.

I'm obviously very upset at myself, but alspo surprised this happened. It didn't feel like I raised the CO2 levels that much. Especially upset because this is my first tank, and I've had 0 fish death until now, which I was very happy about as it seems most beginners go through those at first.

Well, live and learn I guess.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:05 AM
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CO2 is dangerous game and turning it 2-3 times (think about it not as adding 1-2 BPS, you are multiplying it 2-3 times)... You could go for example from 20 to 40-60 ppm. It's harsh, but remember to never ever play with CO2 when you can't be home for a day or better 2. Sorry for your loss. Take good care of corys, oxygenate water and they will be okay.
Once (at the end of bottle) my CO2 went mad and I found my congo tetra lying on the surface. Didn't even take fish out - turned CO2 off, big water change and left water level down (this way canister made a waterfall), 15 minutes and they were fine. With CO2 the most important thing is to react quickly.
I hope your corys will be back in their tank healthy :-)
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:14 AM
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Never make changes to your tanks when you are not around to keep an eye.
That means no late night and early weekday changes.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:15 AM
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I have a solenoid that failed about a week ago. Not even sure it's worth it. You get a faster growing plant but everyone inside is pissed off like Philadelphia. The other advantages is less spider webs on your tank.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:25 AM
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Ouch. I'm glad your corys made it, at least. That's so hard.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 11:15 AM
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Last week I setup a citric acid DIY on a ten gallon, it was running on sugar yeast before. I thought DIY didnt had the juice to gas my fish. Still since the bubble rate was kind of high I added a air pump at night just in case. Morning everything was fine, so turned off the pumps. After 30 min while feeding noticed none of the Zebra Danios are present. Every single one seemed like was HIGH. Did a 30% water change and turned on the air pump all was back to normal. The ph was low 6ish compared to 7.6

Note that I run a AC20 HOB on this tank so its not like there is no water agitation at all.

This is my second incident with Zebra Danios, I have no idea why these fishes are categorized as HARDY FISH. In my experience these are the first fish which take the hit, worse than RCS which I believed was the weak links in my tanks.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 12:19 PM
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We've all been there. You're not alone. That's the risk of using CO2.
Next time when there's an algae problem, look at the light situation first.


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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 02:31 PM
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That really sucks, but a good lesson learned for those that are new. I'm just starting into DIY CO2 also (ctiric acid) and had to constantly fiddle with the needle valve to get a stabilized 1 bps on the first day. The first night, the needle valved must have floated and it was going very rapidly. All of the fish seemed fine but one of my juvie rainbows was near the surface gasping. It's settled down since, and thankfully I didn't lose any fish, but it still makes me nervous. No one will be home during the day next week to monitor, so hopefully things will have stabilized by then.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:51 PM
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One reason so many people "gas" their fish is because we have been indoctrinated into believing that we must have the magic 30 ppm of CO2 if we use CO2. That just isn't a good idea. If we are not adding CO2 the atmosphere is supplying about 3 ppm of CO2 to the water. If we then add just 3 ppm more CO2, we have doubled the available carbon for the plants. If we add 6 ppm we still have only around 10 total ppm of CO2, but we have tripled the available carbon. With anything but high light those amounts are enough to make a very significant improvement in the plants. But, those amounts are way below what will harm the fish. Unless we are trying to grow very demanding plants, there is very little reason to use high light, and even less reason to try to get 30 ppm of CO2.

Suppose we use 1 dKH water in our drop checker instead of the usual 4 dKH? That makes the drop checker turn green at about 10 ppm instead of about 30 ppm, and yellow at about 30 ppm. So with that 1 dKH water, if we keep the drop checker between green and yellow there is very little chance of harming our fish, and we still get very significant benefits from using CO2. That is how I will be using mine from now on.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 08:39 PM
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Sorry to hear this. I did exactly the same a few months ago. But caught it just in time. Now I make no adjustments when Im heading out somewhere.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 08:56 PM
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Pretty much in agreement to the above and just want to add more food for thought:
Object is to inject enough CO2 to supplement removal of "naturally occurring" CO2 levels.
Judging CO2 addition by the shotgun method of keeping CO2 at say 30ppm is equiv to dumping a bag of fertilizer in to keep the levels high.
Ideally one would add CO2 in a manner that just replaces a certain level of CO2 that the plants can use w/ little daily excess..
Obviously it is easy to say but not easy to do.
Things like poor mixing (shouldn't apply that much really), natural outgassing to atmosphere (probably relevent) and then ACTUAL utilization levels and then hitting other limiting factors (light, fertilizer) make it quite difficult
to define what is an "ideal" level of CO2..

Freshwater Planted Aquarium Care and Maintenance: CO2 in the Planted Aquarium
CO2 Basics for Aquarium Plants
Quote:
An ideal CO2 level is 15 to 30 ppm. However, to allow for inaccuracies in measurements, you should target about 20 to 25 ppm. If you get a lot higher than 30 ppm, your fish will be stressed, and they could die if the CO2 is around 50 or more. It's hard to get lethal levels of CO2 into the aquarium, especially with a fermentation container. Lower than about 15 or so ppm, you will not see much effect on your plants.
I'd like to see the studies that determined this. I have no doubt that added CO2 can be a benefit.. I have doubts as to the effective level, and certainly it will move depending on other circumstances.

and to add to the mess. some do not see the benefit at all..
Debunked: CO2-Myth --- See tanks without carbon dioxide fertilization | MonsterFishKeepers.com

OK found some real data.. please see chart pg5..
summary..:
http://www.bio-web.dk/ole_pedersen/p..._2001_2_22.pdf
Between 1400 and 5400 LUX and increasing CO2 concentration from 6.6PPM to 35.2PPM you only get an increase of daily growth of say.. 0.3-1%
HOW they extrapolated that to say "25-50 mg/L will improve plant growth". is beyond me. Maybe someone else can explain that one..

Even at 15200LUX and increasing CO2 from 6.6 to 35.2PMM only increases daily growth 4.3%..

Besides trimming every week is a PIA..

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 08-16-2016 at 09:06 PM. Reason: edit
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for their insightful messages.

The 3 pygmy corys made a full recovery (I'll be moving them to a cory only tank soon, with another ten or so of them to keep them company). A few of the shrimp that were on their back wiggling their legs faintly also seemed to have recovered.

Still mourning the otos and neon tetras :'(
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Pretty much in agreement to the above and just want to add more food for thought:
Object is to inject enough CO2 to supplement removal of "naturally occurring" CO2 levels.
Judging CO2 addition by the shotgun method of keeping CO2 at say 30ppm is equiv to dumping a bag of fertilizer in to keep the levels high.
Ideally one would add CO2 in a manner that just replaces a certain level of CO2 that the plants can use w/ little daily excess..
Obviously it is easy to say but not easy to do.
Things like poor mixing (shouldn't apply that much really), natural outgassing to atmosphere (probably relevent) and then ACTUAL utilization levels and then hitting other limiting factors (light, fertilizer) make it quite difficult
to define what is an "ideal" level of CO2..

Freshwater Planted Aquarium Care and Maintenance: CO2 in the Planted Aquarium
CO2 Basics for Aquarium Plants


I'd like to see the studies that determined this. I have no doubt that added CO2 can be a benefit.. I have doubts as to the effective level, and certainly it will move depending on other circumstances.

and to add to the mess. some do not see the benefit at all..
Debunked: CO2-Myth --- See tanks without carbon dioxide fertilization | MonsterFishKeepers.com

OK found some real data.. please see chart pg5..
summary..:
http://www.bio-web.dk/ole_pedersen/p..._2001_2_22.pdf
Between 1400 and 5400 LUX and increasing CO2 concentration from 6.6PPM to 35.2PPM you only get an increase of daily growth of say.. 0.3-1%
HOW they extrapolated that to say "25-50 mg/L will improve plant growth". is beyond me. Maybe someone else can explain that one..

Even at 15200LUX and increasing CO2 from 6.6 to 35.2PMM only increases daily growth 4.3%..

Besides trimming every week is a PIA..
That Ole Pedersen article is a very good one. But, I think that articles of this type written more than 5 years ago are very likely to be questionable, because every year more is learned about planted aquariums. As time passes, the older articles require more and more critical questioning, to see how what has been learned lately affects the author's conclusions. The thing that stands out about the data in this article is that it doesn't adequately describe the meaning of the light intensity numbers. Are the light intensities measured at the substrate level, at the middle of the tank, at the water surface, or what? How tall are the tanks vs the distance of the light source above the tanks? Those are very important parameters, in my opinion.

Even with my quibbles, the article show what I observed, although it isn't what the article concludes. I observed that with low medium light, as I define it, adding far less than 30 ppm of CO2 gives a very significant improvement in plant growth. Note that with about 25 PAR (1400 lux) an increase in CO2 from less than 1 ppm to 6-7 ppm results in almost 4X faster plant growth. Another quibble: I don't believe that Pedersen really knew his CO2 concentrations anywhere near the accuracy he claims in the data shown. Measuring CO2 that accurately is extremely difficult, if it is even possible.

Quote:
Even at 15200LUX and increasing CO2 from 6.6 to 35.2PMM only increases daily growth 4.3%..
No, it increases the daily growth rate from 10.5% per day to 14.8% per day, an increase in growth rate of 41%!
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Last edited by Hoppy; 08-18-2016 at 04:30 AM. Reason: add more information
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 10:12 PM
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I gassed my fish earlier this week luckily I was only away for a few hours so I only lost one pour guppy. I made the mistake of thinking that 2 2L of DIY yeast CO2 in a 40G moderately planted with high light shouldn't be an issue. Well stupid me then decided to move the lights my plants were growing like weeds after all, you know what happened. It happens to everyone.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-18-2016, 12:03 AM
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I also gassed my fish. Not totally dead for any of them but very, very close. They were laying on the bottom and head down in corners. This was several months ago and I now have forgotten exactly why and how but I was changing out a leaking check valve. This was one of those things that I totally missed at the time and I was boggled as to the cause but later it hit me that in changing the check valve I had a little water in the lines. So to clear the water, I just went the easy way and blew through the tubing to force the water back into the reactor. My current theory is that when blowing the water back, I also blew all the CO2 remaining in the tubing into the reactor and into the tank.
Apparently there is enough CO2 trapped in my tubing to kill a tank if it all enters at one time. This is on a lower level of CO2 injected 125 gallon tank. I was here and heard the splashing from the death throes but think how that little CO2 from a line would hit a ten gallon tank!!!
I've cut back my planting, moved the CO2 off the main tank and rearranged my thinking on the value I place on CO2.

A link to my old post. Just in case you want to see scary?/
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...2-warning.html
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