CO2 and PH Fluctuations - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 and PH Fluctuations

So I just (yesterday) started dosing CO2 into my first planted tank. My animals show no signs of stress, and my CO2 indicator solution is calibrated to 4 dkh. I have 2 questions, one regarding CO2 and PH fluations that I am seeing and one regarding nitrogen/phosphates...

1) Without CO2, my PH is between 7.5 to 8, with CO2 at approx 5 bubbles per sec, my PH drops to about 7 or maybe slightly below 7. I have only RCS, amano shrimp, and ottos in my 16 gallon tank at the moment. Are these big daily swings in PH harmful to my animals? I see no signs of stress and they are doing work on my current algae issue, but I am worried about their molts/fry. Also, I've been checking my PH since I've turned on CO2, that is yesterday and today. Yesterday I was getting the same PH reading and added about 75% of the recommended dose of Seachem Alkaline buffer to raid the PH and GH. I'm still getting the same reading today while CO2 is on, despite having added Seachem Alkaline buffer yesterday. I need advise, should my tankmates be fine as is or should I try to raise the PH above 7 with more Seachem Alkaline buffering agent (I nearly killed my animals once by adding too much buffering agent when I gave the fluval CO2 kit a try, but the rate was uncontrollable and I opted for a complete setup)?


2) On the first day of CO2, I did a major 50% water change beforehand, and afterwards added the recommended dose of the following Seachem products: Nitrogen, Phosphate, Trrace, Iron, Excel. Right before my lights were scheduled to turn off, I took a long look and there was noticeable growth in just the first day. Today I've noticed almost no growth, that is, the growth I was used to seeing before the addition of CO2. My gut feeling tells me to dose nitrate and excel daily from here on out, but I've yet to figure out or adopt any kind of dosing strategy. Advice on this matter would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 12:22 AM
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The swing in PH from CO2 injection is fine. It's the carbonic acid that lowers your pH. Most people shoot for at least a whole point drop in pH during injection time. Do yourself a favor and ditch the alkaline buffer. You don't need it. Get a KH/GH test. KH of at least 3-4 should be more than enough to stabilize your pH. Chemicals that alter pH eventually become the issue for pH instability. You can use a GH booster such as seachem's equilibrium or salty shrimp GH+ to raise your GH a few points. Just target the range for the shrimp you keep. My amanos do good around a GH of 8, whereas my taiwan bees prefer a GH of 4-5.

You don't need Excel if you are injecting CO2. It is used to help plants in a low CO2 environment make better use of the carbon that is available from how I understand it. It's not a fertilizer. I use it for an algacide exclusively, as I feel it does a better job at this.

As far as growth goes, the light controls the rate of growth... which increases the demand for CO2 and fertilizers. If you are injecting CO2 and not changing the light source and food, you won't notice much of a difference, if any at all. As far as dosing a high tech tank, you'll most likely want to use the EI method starting out. You will need to alternate between macro and micro nutrients daily if you want to ensure no deficiencies. High tech tanks can get out of balance with fertilizing quickly. Many of us use this calculator for dosing: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator Just input your tank size, whether you are using pre-mixed nutrients or dry dosing and it will spit out the exact amounts to reach your target.

Hope this helps some.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madcrafted View Post
The swing in PH from CO2 injection is fine. It's the carbonic acid that lowers your pH. Most people shoot for at least a whole point drop in pH during injection time. Do yourself a favor and ditch the alkaline buffer. You don't need it. Get a KH/GH test. KH of at least 3-4 should be more than enough to stabilize your pH. Chemicals that alter pH eventually become the issue for pH instability. You can use a GH booster such as seachem's equilibrium or salty shrimp GH+ to raise your GH a few points. Just target the range for the shrimp you keep. My amanos do good around a GH of 8, whereas my taiwan bees prefer a GH of 4-5.

You don't need Excel if you are injecting CO2. It is used to help plants in a low CO2 environment make better use of the carbon that is available from how I understand it. It's not a fertilizer. I use it for an algacide exclusively, as I feel it does a better job at this.

As far as growth goes, the light controls the rate of growth... which increases the demand for CO2 and fertilizers. If you are injecting CO2 and not changing the light source and food, you won't notice much of a difference, if any at all. As far as dosing a high tech tank, you'll most likely want to use the EI method starting out. You will need to alternate between macro and micro nutrients daily if you want to ensure no deficiencies. High tech tanks can get out of balance with fertilizing quickly. Many of us use this calculator for dosing: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator Just input your tank size, whether you are using pre-mixed nutrients or dry dosing and it will spit out the exact amounts to reach your target.

Hope this helps some.
$$$CHA CHING$$$.... that link...
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