What is the reasoning behind Tom Barr's statement about CO2 being "artificial" - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Question What is the reasoning behind Tom Barr's statement about CO2 being "artificial"

Tom Barr,

I have read on the forum that you say that the addition of dissolved CO2 as carbonic acid in water is an "artificial" method for lowering pH. You also say that pH swings due to dissolved CO2 as carbonic acid is harmless to fish.

Could you please explain the scientific reasoning behind this.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 09:51 PM
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Not sure it's "artifical", our tanks are to begin with.

pH changes due to salts, eg baking soda/buffers harm fish if done rapidly.
pH changes done with CO2 gas do not.

Do a water change, say 75%, with a CO2 enriched tank, the pH will change rapidly, fish are fine.

Do not dose CO2 at night, the pH changes every 24 hours week after week, fish are fine.

Try it and test it yourself.
Many have killed fish trying to harden or soften their water too fast, too much. I know of know one that does large water changes weekly that has killed their fish due to pH changes in their tank's water vs the tap they use to refill, often this is a full unit difference.
10000's of folks do this weekly without issue.

When looking at the pH only, there is a difference when using CO2 vs salts/buffers and fish health.

Adding CO2 does not change the TDS or salt content of the water, that is what is critical as well as O2 levels for fish/critter health.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 10:21 PM
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Maven:

My understanding is...

The CO2 disolved in water allowed to sit out ranges from 3-5 ppm. You might find a natural system with >5 ppm but I would say a ppm of 30+ is certaintly artificial.

Am I answering a question that was not asked?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maven
Tom Barr,

I have read on the forum that you say that the addition of dissolved CO2 as carbonic acid in water is an "artificial" method for lowering pH. You also say that pH swings due to dissolved CO2 as carbonic acid is harmless to fish.

Could you please explain the scientific reasoning behind this.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-18-2005, 11:49 PM
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There are natural springs with 30ppm of CO2, most FW water has excess CO2 relative to the air.

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Tom Barr



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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 12:42 AM
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Tom,

Would this indicate why during power outtages that keep any flow of co2 (using pressurized system that needs an outlet to work - solenoid/regulator) from entering the tank for long periods of time, and thus giving a large spike of pH as plants utilize the current supply seems to have little effect on the fish?

This happened a while back for me, and other than having Discus die (figure it was from the no-filteration though), all my other fish ended up fine. My pH was normally at 6.8 and had gone up to 7.6 pH over the 7 hours without electricity (not sure the increments over the hours/minutes the pH changes though as I was at work).

My main reason to ask is that my wife wont let me get pressurized co2 for my 180g tank due to being scared that if another power outtage happened then no co2 would flow in causing a large spike in pH. Rays are extremely sensitive no quick changes in pH. In this case though I would not have any plants to utilize the current co2.

any thoughts?

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spar
My main reason to ask is that my wife wont let me get pressurized co2 for my 180g tank due to being scared that if another power outtage happened then no co2 would flow in causing a large spike in pH. Rays are extremely sensitive no quick changes in pH. In this case though I would not have any plants to utilize the current co2.

any thoughts?
My thoughts are that when the power goes out, there will be no lights (for plant photosynthesis/CO2 consumption) nor filters (for water circulation/CO2 outgassing) so there is no reason for a sudden loss in CO2 and related rise in pH.

This is all theory, since during power outages measuring the pH is usually my least concern.

But I think this should not be a reason to not get a pressurized CO2 system


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2005, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spar
My main reason to ask is that my wife wont let me get pressurized co2 for my 180g tank due to being scared that if another power outtage happened then no co2 would flow in causing a large spike in pH. Rays are extremely sensitive no quick changes in pH. In this case though I would not have any plants to utilize the current co2.

any thoughts?

Sure, your fish died due to a lack of O2 or heat.
The CO2 off gassed and that caused the pH to rise.
Fish did not die due to that, that much I can promise you.

No light, the CO2 was not removed by the plants...........

So off gassing is what occured.

The fish are fine when you do a large water change and the pH changes dramatically in less than 20 minutes.

But there is plenty of O2.

Your wife needs to realize that the fish died due to overstocking, low O2, no circulation.

That plants saved the fish that lived more than harmed them(by adding pure O2 gas).

Rays and plants don't go well together IME.

Regards,
Tom Barr


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 05:49 AM
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Before I started planting my tanks my fish didn't seem to mind the pH of the tap water holding nicely at 9.4. Since then, I've left the CO2 on all night and drove it down to 6.6; left it off all day and let it creap to 7.2; changed half of it every week push it up to 7.4 from a constant 6.8. My corys and tetras don't seem to care and lounge around the same as they always do in the afternoon. I've also had my pH in a 10-gallon tank driven down to 6.4 and back up to goodness knows what with a DIY set-up with no ill effect on my rasboras. IMHO, pH swings from CO2 don't matter much to my fish. I always have my filter on so I've got good water circulation the temperature stay put.

I do know that the fish don't take kindly chlorimane and positively need a de- chlorinator that will take care of that. Dang near killed every one of them using a ammonia detox solution because I found some real cheap. That matters.

Andrew, MASI Treasurer

This message is always under construction: 75-gallon tank; 2, Eheim 2026 filters - one twice broken; Tek Light with 4, 54W T5s (6000K) ; Sand on top of 4:1 sand:clay mixture; Milwaukee CO2 controller; PlantGuild vortex CO2 reactor; pH = 6.6, kH=70mg/l, GH=120mg/l; EI; Flourish excel on 50% weekly water change: AGA Member.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 12:39 PM
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One solution for power outages might be to store, say 10 or 20 gallons of water in the house at a 7 ph to replenish some fresh O2 rich water. Pouring in such would give the fish some fresh O2, IMO. bob





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