Help! CO2 problem . . . maybe - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Help! CO2 problem . . . maybe

I planted my tank yesterday, added the recommended amount of PlantGro (Hagen trace minerals, came free with my CO2 unit) because I hadn't yet received my Greg Watson ferts, and started my little Hagen canister going with DIY yeast mix because the starter that came with it was expired. I used sugar to the first line, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 tsp baking soda, and warm water to the top line. Screwed the lid on and hooked it up. It started producing bubbles within an hour or so, but they were big and just jumped of the ladder as they came along. Today they're getting smaller and lasting longer on their way up the ladder, but combining into bigger bubbles at about the 8th level and traveling all the way to the end before popping up to the surface.

My tank is a 20g high with 3" Eco-Complete, heavily planted with stem plants and some crypts. I figure around 16g of water, give or take. I have two small pieces of driftwood that have been soaking for a month, and 2 small black basalt rocks. I treated the water with BioSafe. (Pew!)

Yesterday I tested my tapwater. This morning I tested my tank water - these are the results of both tests:

Tapwater:
pH = 7.0
Nitrate = 0
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Phosphate = didn't check
KH = 4
GH = 4

Tank water:
pH = 6.6
Nitrate = 0
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Phosphate = .5 ppm
KH = 4
GH = 16+ - I quit counting at 16

I tested my tapwater again at both the kitchen and bathtub taps, and I used two different KH/GH test kits for tapwater and tank water, and the results came out the same. Then I went to Chuck's CO2 calculator and put in my pH at 6.6 and hardness at 16 - and got a CO2 reading of 121 ppm! Surely this can't be right?? Most of what I've heard is that the Hagen units aren't likely to produce ENOUGH CO2, not too much. But then I put in my tapwater parameters of 7.0 and GH 4 and it said I had the correct amount of CO2, so I may not be doing this right.

I would like to put some fish in this tank eventually, and I don't want to kill them all. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks
Becky
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 12:30 AM
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You need to use kH to calculate CO2.

The ladder needs a few days to break in, then bubbles will travel smoothly to the top.

You have to ask yourself why the GH is so vastly different between tap and tank. Maybe you have a batch of bad EC which increases the overall hardness, or the basalt rocks are not really basalt, etc.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Oops!

Duh on me. Yes, I just noticed that I was using the GH to check my CO2. Sounds like my CO2 is okay. Do you have any idea what could have caused the spike in my GH numbers?? I'm completely baffled. I know the numbers are correct (as far as they go, I only went to 16 on each GH test of the tank water).

Thanks,
Becky
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Rocks and Eco-Complete

Hmm, the rocks were given to me by a geologist friend, and they're small. The Eco-Complete was ordered for me by my lfs and the liquid it was in looked fresh, like clear blackish water, no bad smell or milkiness. I read about the bad batches of EC, and I believe they all had the milky looking fluid. I don't know enough about water chemistry to know why GH and KH wouldn't both be affected. I'm beginning to think I need some kind of science degree to have a planted tank . . .

Becky
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 04:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckymcd
I'm beginning to think I need some kind of science degree to have a planted tank . . .

Becky
Trust me - it doesn't necessarily help. It mainly allows you to be on a first name basis with whatever is trashing your tank this week.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckymcd
Hmm, the rocks were given to me by a geologist friend, and they're small. ... I don't know enough about water chemistry to know why GH and KH wouldn't both be affected. I'm beginning to think I need some kind of science degree to have a planted tank . . .
Hi Becky, do not despair It's like getting a new car or coffee machine, once you figure out all the buttons and switches you can go really fast and drink good coffee

About the GH, really easy experiment you can do: Take three glasses/cups/whatever, fill them with tap water, and leave one like that, add some EcoComplete to the other one, and add rocks to the third. Let stand a couple of days, and measure GH. And conclude it's either one of them or not.

GH and kH don't have to be affected at the same time, there are different things, although usually closeby.

What's "Biosafe"? Why do you use it? Did the petstore clerk recommend it? Oh, put some of that stuff in a cup with tap water as well.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2005, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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I love a science experiment. I now have the cups lined up with plain water, water with Eco-Complete, and one with a small piece of the rock. What a great idea. I used Bio Spira by Marineland to cycle my tank and instructions said to use Bio Safe (their version of dechlorinator) to treat the water as other kinds of water treatment might interfere with the cycling process. I already had a big bottle of Prime, so I bought a 2 oz. bottle of Bio Safe at the lfs to use at the beginning. The stuff smelled horrible (as does Prime, but it doesn't make the water smell bad) and I thought it might be outdated (the ingredients that came with my Hagen CO2 set expired February 2002), so when I did the big water change the other night I used Prime to treat the water.

Thanks for your help,
Becky
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