CO2 and pH emergency - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hi, all. I know this is my first post here, and I hate to start off with an emergency, but I really need some help.I just started CO2 injection this afternoon, and the pH of my tank went way down in the last few hours. This wouldn't be a problem if I already didn't have fish in the tank. They all look way stressed and I lost one cardinal. Here are the tank stats:

20g high

pH: 6.6 (down from 7.6)
Amm: 0
Nitrite: 0
GH: 9 degrees (down from 11)
KH: 3.5

The CO2 is a DIY kit. Should I stop injection, or is there some other steps I should take? Please help!!!

Thanks in advance

-Joe
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:05 AM
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Stop the injection and aerate the aquarium! Add a pump and airstone ASAP! Those CO2 levels are too high.

That should save your fish tonight! We'll worry about getting your CO2 back up and running properly after we save those fish!

Mike

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:09 AM
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Those CO2 levels are not that high. Only 26.4 ppm. I run higher than that. What's actually wrong is low O2 levels.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Allright, done. Thank you so much for replying so quickly! Is there anything else I need to do tonight, or just wait it out and pray? Before I go and try to kill my fish again tomorrow, what in the heck did I do wrong???

Thanks again, Mike!
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:17 AM
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A pH drop of 1 in a few hours is stressing. Remember it's a logarithmic scale, so 6 is actually 10 times as acidic as 7. Definitely stop injection now and reduce the amount going forward.

What size CO2 mixture bottle are you using? How do you dissolve CO2 in the water? What is your lighting? Do you have a lot of plants?


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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:17 AM
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Bump your kH up a bit. This will also raise your pH but the CO2 will bring it back down.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
A pH drop of 1 in a few hours is stressing. Remember it's a logarithmic scale, so 6 is actually 10 times as acidic as 7. Definitely stop injection now and reduce the amount going forward.

What size CO2 mixture bottle are you using? How do you dissolve CO2 in the water? What is your lighting? Do you have a lot of plants?
I'm using a 2 liter soda bottle with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups of sugar. I put the CO2 tube into the inlet of my Penguin 170. Right now, I only have 2 plants, a crypt and a hunk of java moss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Bump your kH up a bit. This will also raise your pH but the CO2 will bring it back down.
Should I use baking soda for this? and how much? I don't want to jump the pH back up too quickly and stress the fish more.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 04:30 AM
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you didn't have enough plants to consume all the co2.now just fill the whole tank with o2.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 06:04 AM
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You can use baking soda. Try adding ľ teaspoon every couple of hours.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 07:35 AM
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Hi, we seem to have a small group of us learning how to CO2 soft water... me included...

I added some crushed coral to my water yesterday and kH has come up to 4. Allready I noticed that the pH high was lower and the low was higher (iow, a smaller swing overnight).

Unfortunatley today is waterchange day, so its gonna soften a bit again...

Something of interest I read is that O2 and CO2 concentrations in water are basicaly independant of each other... Ie. they don't displace each other...

In a properly CO2ed tank you could have oxygen levels in excess of 100% of the normal levels, due to hypersaturation with oxygen by plants (pearling).

O2 is normally added by agitating surface...
CO2 is normaly reduced by agitating surface...
A balancing act seems the order of the day.

O2 levels should be at their highest levels just before lights off and lowest just before lights on.

QUESTION FOR REX....
If my CO2 had to stop suddenly for any reason, would I be looking at much higher PH levels than normaly? (is this why you guys say that bottled CO2 seems to be a better way of handling soft water?).

I would have to get a bottle of O2 for my girlfriend before I spend that much on my tanks.

Cape Town, South Africa.

Hi. I'm back.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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As of this morning, pH is back up to around 7.2. How high do I have to get my KH to avoid pH swings like this? Also, for just my two plants, how many bubbles should my CO2 injector be producing per minute? What's the best way to balance the CO2 with O2?

It looks like I should have read this board a little bit more before trying the DIY CO2 injector. Thanks again for answering all of my questions!

-Joe
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 01:07 PM
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You are learning what a delicate dance water chemistry can be. Everyone seems to want their kH between 4 and 8. I shoot for increasing the GH a little so that when I inject CO2, and it hydrates and dissolves, it has something useful to associate with when it forms bicarbonate(kH) rather then just adding sodium bicarbonate. I haven't heard of elevated sodium levels being a problem in anyones aquarium, but why risk it.

This way I get another nutrient added to my system, calcium, as well as stabilizing the pH. The same way Nordic is using the crushed coral in his filter so he can raise his calcium levels just a little.

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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCMurphy
You are learning what a delicate dance water chemistry can be. Everyone seems to want their kH between 4 and 8. I shoot for increasing the GH a little so that when I inject CO2, and it hydrates and dissolves, it has something useful to associate with when it forms bicarbonate(kH) rather then just adding sodium bicarbonate. I haven't heard of elevated sodium levels being a problem in anyones aquarium, but why risk it.

This way I get another nutrient added to my system, calcium, as well as stabilizing the pH. The same way Nordic is using the crushed coral in his filter so he can raise his calcium levels just a little.
I've heard that potassium bicarbonate is a good alternative to sodium bicarbonate. It will give your plants a little bit more K in in the water. What is a good level of GH? And a good way to raise it?
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 03:37 PM
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I use two sources of calcium, I have a scatter of dolomite gravel mixed into my substrate and I add calcium to the water with a commercial additive made for reef aquaria. A good place to average is between 5 and 10 degrees of GH, a little less isn't bad, more and you start thinking about african rift lake tanks. Actually you'd need a lot more for that, ignore the exageration.

Nordic is using crushed coral gravel in his filter, but he needs to remember to test regularly and keep an eye out that he doesn't raise the GH level too much.

Yes potassium is a good thing to add to the tank, it seems like most plants need that to do well.

Sean

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-23-2003, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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My GH is at 9dH, which is in the specified range. I think what I need to work with right now is the KH of the water, which is down around 3.5dH. What's a good level for this?
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