Best way to know you're at 30ppm Co2 or optimal co2 levels - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Best way to know you're at 30ppm Co2 or optimal co2 levels

So I know this has been talked about 1000 times on here, and Ive dont plenty of searching...but here's some questions based around my tank specifics


My 40B has been set up since early November. I run pressured Co2 with a Red Sea Pro Kit. It consists of a regulatror (plastic and cheap), needle valve (plastic and cheap) (bubble counter, yes) and diffuser pump. I have since switched to Cerges reator for diffusion.

Im just waiting on a Swagelok check valve, but I have a nice Victor dual stage reg, parker metering valve, burkett solenoid and JBJ style bubble counter that I will be installing this week.

I'm assuming this higher quality setup will give me more constant co2 metering. Im pretty sure the cheap needle valve that came with the Red Sea Pro Kit isnt that precise.

Is using 4dkh solution and a drop checker the best way to get the lime green that indicates 30ppm? Is it ok to have more than 30ppm?

Im trying to dial in my co2. I run 4x39W T5, dry ferts EI, and the bottle. I have algae issues (staghorn and stringy brown algae) so Im playing around with my co2 levels. In reading around these forums, I see Tom Barr saying that if your co2 isnt right, you'll get algae. Thats why Im focused on my co2.

If I take a cup of water of my tank and let it sit 24hrs, the pH is like 7.2. If my in-tank pH probe is reading 6.2, does that mean for sure that I have 30ppm? Ive gotten it down to 5.8, would that be approx 45ppm? How do I know my ph levels are constant?.

In the meantime while I have this algae, i cut back to 2x39W.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 10:59 PM
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The drop in pH is in relation to atmospheric CO2 concentrations. That is to say when you drop the pH 1 point, you have increased the CO2 concentration in the water by 10. However, you do not know the atmospheric concentrations for certain as they tend to be in between 2 and 4 ppm. So a one point drop in pH is a nice guide, but it doesn't tell you anything because there is another variable in play (atmospheric CO2 concentrations). You could have anywhere from 20-40 ppms. Dropping the pH down to by 1.4 would give you 14 times the atmospheric concentration.

You can typically push your drop checker into yellow. Most of my tanks stay at a definite yellow. Adjusting CO2 over the course of a couple days will enable your fish to handle much higher concentrations than just subjecting them to it instantly. Just increase the CO2 a bit each day. If your fish start showing signs of distress, move it back a coupe notches.

What brand of light do you have? It would seem with 4 strips of HO lighting over a 40B you may need to elevate it in order to reduce algae. That would depend on the what brand, reflectors, time, etc.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
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Im running a retrofit setup from hellolights. Brand of bulbs are 6500k aquamedic. 8 hour photoperiod.

As for raising the lights, that's not an option as these are installed in a fixed canopy.

When i had the pH as low as 5.8, from co2, the neons and rummy nose were still hanging out at the bottom of the tank. The drop checker was lemon yellow. The fish showed absolutely no signs of distress.

Is the idea to keep your bps rate equal to that of plant consumtion? Meaning my goal is to find the co2 rate at which 100% of the co2 is being consumed by the plants? No surplus or deficit during the entire photocycle?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:13 AM
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What I do is set my co2, see how my plants respond for the week and adjust as needed. There is no magic number because each tank is different. If your fish are good raise the co2 A LITTLE and eventually you will find a pps rate which works for your plants and keeps the algae away. Also, just a one word tip. Flow. If your tank has minimal flow. There is no use raising your co2 because it can't get to the plants. I've had it where one side of the tank looks amazing while the other is wilting away because my filter was only moving water on that one side so no co2 was getting to the other.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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For flow, Im running an Eheim 2217 and a Koralia Nano 240. Seems good - the plants are gently swaying.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 02:20 AM
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aiming for a magical co2 concentration is useless if you dont have a co2 meter. also the problem with drop checkers is that they take hours to change in any direction, and that there are a few shades of green corresponding to 10-80ppm co2. fine tuning? useless! my drop checker is there to let me know if something horrible happens such as the co2 tank running out or the solenoid stuck open, timer died, etc.

observe your animals directly and increase or decrease co2 accordingly. the idea is increase co2 until your algae problem is manageable, as long your fish are ok. shrimp are more sensitive and will either drop dead or breed less. the pressure of high co2 can be nicely compensated for with good o2, i.e. healthy and heavy planting, which is what you probably have.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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I'd say my tank is medium planted. The brown algae is everywhere, but the staghorn affects my anubias and is getting in my dwarf sag.

Diatoms are brown, and this is what I think I have, but I cant find alot of stuff about the stringy characteristic of it. It blows away easily. Im told that my tank is just immature and it will go away, but its been steady for 2 months now. Its starting to really get me down.

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