Can you have too much CO2? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-04-2006, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Can you have too much CO2?

I recently started up a 3.5G tank and put a Nutrafin yeast CO2 kit on it. The tank only has plants in it (java fern plantlets, some java moss, and riccia fluitans). Lighting: 8 watts T5, KH = 6. This morning, the pH was 6.2. Using Chuck's calculator, that gives a CO2 level of 114 ppm! Is there any harm in having such high levels of CO2? I am also dosing Excel at 3x to get rid of BBA on the roots of the java fern plantlets.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-04-2006, 11:21 PM
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I doubt that you have that high a level of CO2, and the presence of BBA almost proves it. You can double check your CO2 level by taking a tank sample, letting it sit out in the open overnight, then check its PH. If the tank PH is 1.0 lower than that you have 30-40 ppm. If it is only 0.7 lower you have 15-20 ppm, and if it is 1.3 lower, you have 60-80 ppm. High CO2, at least to the levels we talk about, won't harm plants.

Hoppy
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2006, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hoppy!

I tested my pH last night and got 6.2. I held a sample overnight and tested it this morning and got 6.5. The only problem is that I am using Wardley's Jr pH kit, which does not go below 6.2, so it's possible that last night's starting pH was actually lower than 6.2. In any case, going by your scale, the CO2 is quite low then. But then can you explain the substantial drop in pH over just 2 days? (see log below) I was previously using the tank to house 10 serpae tetras temporarily till I sold them, so the nitrates were high starting off. I did a 30% water change and started the yeast CO2 on May 2. The plantlets (with their BBA) came from another tank and were added to this tank on May 2 and 3. I am aware that the pH-KH-CO2 method assumes no other acids, but what besides the added CO2 could have lowered the pH then? Note the May 5 am pH is for the sample that was held overnight.

Date Time pH KH CO2 NO3 PO4
02/05/2006 pm 7.4 6 7 30 1.5
03/05/2006 am 7.0 18
03/05/2006 pm 6.8 29 20 1.5
04/05/2006 am 6.2 114
04/05/2006 pm 6.2 114
05/05/2006 am 6.5
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2006, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a slightly more readable version of the log! The KH is 6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwonger81
Date Time pH CO2 NO3 PO4
May 2 pm 7.4 7 30 1.5
May 3 am 7.0 18
May 3 pm 6.8 29 20 1.5
May 4 am 6.2 114
May 4 pm 6.2 114
May 5 am 6.5
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-05-2006, 12:37 PM
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Its quite possible that your co2 plunged that low in a matter of hours as you've seen for a 3.5 gallon nano. You can do several things like add an airstone at night, or you can modify your yeast to sugar ratio (less yeast).

The nutrafin things are great for 10g tanks, but may be too much for anything smaller unless you tinker with the recipe.

There is such a thing as co2...it can lead to poisoning of the fish (if they're still in there).

Also, take a closer look at those java fern plantlet roots and be sure its BBA...the plantlets (and mother plants) send out adventitious roots off the main root to adhere to rocks and stuff so that may be what you're trying to kill with the excel.

Re-boot!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Georgiadawgger,

No fish in there at the moment, just plants. I was wondering if too much CO2 can be bad for plants.

I'm pretty confident it's BBA - there are black tufts that look different from the roots of most of the other plantlets and mother plant.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 03:08 AM
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Are you using substrate like ADA aqua soil? These type of substrates can really lower pH.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-06-2006, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Nope, it's bare bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc
Are you using substrate like ADA aqua soil? These type of substrates can really lower pH.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 05:03 AM
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Is the riccia pearling?

Sergio C.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Sergio,

Yes, the riccia is pearling. Not a HUGE amounts, but a decent amount.

Jeff.

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Is the riccia pearling?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 04:39 AM
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Most plant's ability to utilize CO2 is saturated at around 30ppm. Levels higher than this are not likely harmful (but not useful at the same time) as long as you don't put any fish in the tank. As previously suggested, I would tinker with the recipe a bit. Try half (or even 1/4th the yeast, to the same amount of sugar). May be worth your while to get a feel for how long the mixture will last you, and when CO2 production peaks. Then add a second bottle the day the CO2 level peaks from your 1st bottle. This will provide you with a more consistent CO2 level.

Example:
Day 1
Bottle A mixed and CO2 production begins.

Day 14 (just an example - this is NOT a lunar cycle - you've got to figure your length of time out).
You notice your CO2 production has peaked (either by counting bps, or noticing your pH has reached its lowest point. Add Bottle B, same recipe.

Day 15 - 27
As CO2 production in Bottle A begins to wind down, Bottle B begins to increase, maintaining (in theory) a more consistent level of CO2.

Day 28
Refill Bottle a with a fresh mix.


This could work out to be every 2 weeks, 4 weeks 6 weeks. You've got to make the determination, but generally, the less yeast you use, the longer your mix will last.

I hope I'm making sense. I just got home from work - where I've been for the past 13 hours.

Sergio C.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2006, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info and suggestion, Sergio!

In my main tank (30G), I am using 2 Nutrafin CO2 kits, currently staggered so that I refresh them every 18 days. That day was picked semi-randomly - I did not look at bps or nadir pH. I will try to take a more systematic approach with the next cycle. So far I have done OK, with my pH relatively stable at 6.7 (after 12 hours, the sample was 7.4, but that was the upper end of the kit - I've got a better pH kit on the way).

The 3.5G tank has only 1 CO2 kit, so staggering it is not an option. But I will definitely try using less yeast for the next cycle. I figure there's no point interrupting the current cycle if there is no harm of excessively high levels of CO2 (since there are no fish in there).

I appreciate you posting after your long day at work. I hear you (I'm still working on a few things - fortunately I can do my work at home).

Jeff.
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