Co2 introduction into established tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Co2 introduction into established tank

I have had a semi low tech planted tank for about 2 years now. I've recently gotten the itch to add co2 to allow higher light and more plants. Last week I ordered a regulator setup from gla and a 5 lb tank.
Here's the thing, I can't find enough information on how to introduce co2 into an already established tank. I currently have a school of 14 Cardinal tetras and a few RCS. I know that I must go slowly with the co2, but how slow? What should I be measuring once the co2 is turned on? The bubble rate should be around 1 bps to begin?

The ph of my water is 7.6. Substrate is gravel. Swords, crypts, Anubis right now. T5ho lighting.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:38 PM
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I did this just recently. I think the most important thing I did was go slow and watch my fish. I had everything come in on a Friday and planned to set everything up Saturday. Saturday morning I attached the regulator to the tank, attached the CO2 line to the diffuser, and installed the diffuser inline. I attached the solenoid to the timer and waited. Prior to everything coming on I adjusted the working pressure and tank valve as directed. When the solenoid came on with the lights I adjusted the needle valve to some ridiculously small amount and waited a few hours. I mean, this was ridiculous. Probably 5 bubbles in ten seconds. I later increased it. The next day I again waited until everything came on and started the process of increasing the amount of CO2 again. I've now landed at about 2 bps but have gone up to 3 with no ill effects to the fish. For me, though, the drop checker changes at this amount of CO2 and that's good enough for me. No need to push it to the limit.

Go slow, watch your fish, and, if you have a bubble counter, watch that as well. There's also a relationship between CO2, PH, and KH, but I don't know enough to tell you more about it. There's plenty of threads both here and through a google search that can help you with that. Some people purchase a PH monitor to help with this. I did not.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
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There's also a relationship between CO2, PH, and KH,
I think this is the best idea.

Back in the old day, we didn't have drop checkers. We measured KH and pH and with those 2 we were able to estimate CO2 concentration. It isn't foolproof because there are other things in water that affect the pH besides CO2. We used it for many years with great success, but then someone invented the drop checker and somehow the KH/pH/CO2 table has become a horrible evil to some people.

In the case of the original poster, they just want to know how slowly to introduce CO2 to an established tank. So measure your KH and pH, and estimate where you need to go with it. Then slowly reduce your pH with CO2 over the next few days as Psych suggests. Once you get it to where everything lines up on the table, you can decide then if using a drop checker or the KH/pH table is what you like best.

There is nothing wrong with either method. They both have their pros and cons. Use what works for you.

Several KH/pH tables HERE. Pick your flavor.

The reason I suggest this to start with rather than the drop checker, because there is a couple hour lag in indication with the drop checker. You could be adding too much CO2 and not know it for awhile. However, you can check your pH yourself every 5 minutes if you want.

If this interests you at all, I can explain the ph/KH table to you.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thank both of you for the responses. I believe I am having some confusion when it comes to reading my Kh results. I used the api test kit. It required 11 drops to change from blue to yellow. On the conversion chart that brings me to 196.9 ppm. I see on the charts you've provided that Kh is read in a much smaller number. Is this the amount of drops?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 10:09 AM
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Amount of drops is dKH and every chart works with it. Your dKH=11, your pH=7,6 so CO2 is 8 ppm. You should slowly aim for around 30 ppm. Go slowly. On my established tank (like 8 years going without restart) I added CO2 half a year ago and... nothing bad happened, just go slowly, nothing more. Start with 15 ppm, stay for a week, then change again.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 01:23 PM
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I agree with nel.

Your KH is 11. You want to select a pH so that where the two intersect on the chart, you are in the green area. I have done it over a few days with no adverse affects to the fish, but I never had to lower my pH much. Looks like for you lowering to 7.2 or so would be good. Then once you are there you can decide if you want to switch to a drop checker or stay with this method.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 05:39 PM
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The amount of CO2 that gives you almost all of the benefits to the plants depends on how much light you have. (see http://www.bio-web.dk/ole_pedersen/p...02_477_163.pdf ) If you have low light, up to about 40 PAR, you get virtually all of the benefit with as little as 10 ppm of CO2. If you have very high light, you need more than 30-40 ppm of CO2 to get most of the benefit. So, unless you have more than about 40 PAR light you can avoid even potential harm to your fish by aiming for about 10 ppm of CO2, not 30 ppm. My tank with only 30-35 PAR showed major improvement in the plants with less than 10 ppm of CO2 from a DIY CO2 system.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2016, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
The amount of CO2 that gives you almost all of the benefits to the plants depends on how much light you have. (see http://www.bio-web.dk/ole_pedersen/p...02_477_163.pdf ) If you have low light, up to about 40 PAR, you get virtually all of the benefit with as little as 10 ppm of CO2. If you have very high light, you need more than 30-40 ppm of CO2 to get most of the benefit. So, unless you have more than about 40 PAR light you can avoid even potential harm to your fish by aiming for about 10 ppm of CO2, not 30 ppm. My tank with only 30-35 PAR showed major improvement in the plants with less than 10 ppm of CO2 from a DIY CO2 system.
i totally agree with this. even tiny amounts of added CO2 can boost plant growth. i've read that the normal co2 level in surface waters in nature is less than 10 ppm so increasing this concentration a little bit in the aquarium may be enough. depending on your lighting, there could be no need for you to reach that 30 ppm level.
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