CO2 frustrations - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy CO2 frustrations

I've had pressurized CO2 in my 58g for about 3 months now and it has been a huge source of frustration. I had it set initially for about 2-3 bps just to start and then got a HUGE outbreak of BBA. I bumped it up to an unknown amount (I have a drop checker on order) and since then, I've lost two of my rainbows. Neither of them really gasped at the surface but both hung out about 2" below during the entire day and rarely moved and I'd never seen anything like that before.

The BBA is finally beginning to die out and tonight, I saw one of my two remaining rainbows gasping at the surface. Strangely, my hatchets, ram and last rainbow have yet to show any signs of stress except that all of the fish have become less active and seem somewhat sluggish. Is it possible that the CO2 level is too high and it's affecting the fish in different ways? All of the fish used to constantly chase each other around the tank and now some of them hide while others just stay put most of the day. Even my BN pleco has disappeared for days at a time and it was always out and about.

Unfortunately my needle valve is extremely touchy and while it may seem to be set to a reasonable level for an hour, it seems to increase on its own a few hours later. I'm so frustrated and would hate to lose all of the fish but the BBA wasn't much fun either.

Sorry for the long post but I just wondered if anyone thought that the recent deaths are caused by the CO2, as all other parameters are well within normal (0 ppm ammonia, 5ppm nitrates, 0 nitrites). Also, the pressurized CO2 has dropped my Ph to 6.0...don't know if that had anything to do with the casualties either.

Any information would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping that drop checker gets here from Aquaticmagic soon.


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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 12:58 PM
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I do not know the specifics of your setup but it sounds like the fish could use some 02, aerate the water after lights off until they come on again by raising the spraybar to lightly break the surface creating a small splash.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 01:35 PM
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Bumping up the CO2 level without knowing what CO2 levels you have is like driving with a blindfold on.

A simple KH and pH test will give you an idea of your CO2 levels.

Also CO2 alone is not the cure for algae. You only have 5 ppm of nitrates. That's within the error margin for a lot of test kits. And have you actually tested your nitrate test kit?

Are you dosing any ferts?
Water change schedule?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I knew I'd missed some information on my first post...Rex, I have tested KH at 1 and GH at 4. According to the formula I've read, I should have about 30ppm CO2, is that correct? I'm also dosing EI method with 50% - 60% water changes each week.

Haven't tested the nitrate kit, so you're right, I'm sure there's inaccuracy there. Either way, I suppose I should assume that nitrates are a little low, especially with the lowered bioload caused by all of my recent fish deaths.

WfxXx, should the extra O2 only be used at night or should some be added during the day as well, or will that only decrease my CO2 concentration...


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digsy View Post
... I saw one of my two remaining rainbows gasping at the surface. Strangely, my hatchets, ram and last rainbow have yet to show any signs of stress except that all of the fish have become less active and seem somewhat sluggish. Is it possible that the CO2 level is too high and it's affecting the fish in different ways?
Rainbowfish (well, depending on what type exactly) have a higher O2 demand. many fish have higher O2 demands, especially fish from cooler faster flowing rivers. I can't say for sure how sensative to CO2 they are though. Alot of times lack of O2 is the culprit not excessive CO2. Are your plants pearling? Do you have surface agitation (at least at night)? I had a lot of O2 related deaths in my tank that I thought were CO2 related at the time. I now run twice the concentration of CO2 and my fish are happier than ever.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Crazy, I did not realize that rainbows had a higher need for O2. It's the sort of problems with say, keeping an amazon species (my ram) with species from the other end of the planet. There was an obvious lack of planning involved here. There seems to be a decent level of agitation with my output from my Fluval filter being near to the surface and my powerhead. The power head intake is positioned just above my glass disc diffusor so, I suppose that's creating some more O2 but maybe it's just not enough...


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 10:58 PM
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Sounds like you may need a PH monitor or Drop checker to more accuratly measure how much CO2 you have going into the tank. (see my sig)
you may also consider some sort of o2 areation for the night time while the plants consume O2.


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-28-2007, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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BS, unfortunately your FS post came just a day or so after I'd won an EBay auction from Aquaticmagic for a drop checker.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-29-2007, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Tonight I dropped an airstone in the tank after the lights went off after WfxXx suggestion. I'm going to see how things look in the morning and see if this has made the difference....


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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I lost another rainbow last night, despite the airstone in the tank overnight. I'm planning on starting over, maybe with a school of tetras but hate to do that not knowing what killed all of the rainbows (I still have one remaining). Are there any parameters, oddities that I haven't thought of that might be the real culprit here?


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 04:58 AM
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You may have been just a little late on the aeration, I would not completely rule that out just yet.
Is the tank clean?
Is the filtration up to par w/proper media and is the media is good condition?
Are you dosing to much of something you should not be?
Most likely it is an 02 issue.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 07:27 AM
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Sorry for your loss. I keep Rainbows as well. And the bigger ones are more susceptable than younger ones or tetras, IME.

Whenever Rainbows slow down, and one suspects its too much CO2, you probably have too much CO2. I run mine pretty hot, and I can see when its too much - as my Rainbows start slowing down, way down. If it was me, I would drop the gas a little. And I'm talking during the daytime. You might want to run air at night, although I don't. I do have it on the ready for a CO2 mishap and that has saved the day numerous times while I had a funky needlevalve going for some months.

One can spot kill the BBA with Excel with a dosing syringe (in the sticky), enough to really set it back and keep it at bay for a reasonably long time with CO2 at a reduced level.

One should be able to contain any algae without pushing the gas so hard as to cause fish stress etc. But all the parms have to be near the right place. Good luck. Hope you get some more Rainbows as they are awesome fish!





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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 12:41 PM
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I have Rainbows as well, and just started pressurized CO2 a few weeks ago. I thought it was all in my head, but once I got the levels up on it, I did notice a definite change in behavior of my Rainbows. They slowed down a bit (although never had been feisty) and moved more towards the surface, when before they had basically been in the middle (I never see them at the bottom).

They are still ok though...they have seem to adjusted a lot. Maybe you went too hard, too fast and it wasn't just the overall CO2 increase.

I also know what you mean about finicky needle valves. Mine isn't too bad, but since I am new to all this I find myself constantly playing with it. At least now it's easier to watch since I moved the tank/valve closer to the bubble counter.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 01:32 PM
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Asty,

See my thread about metering valves in the Hardware forum.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-30-2007, 04:08 PM
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Saw it, Rex....I am debating getting one. Thanks though.

My project right now actually is the homemade reactor you have designed. I am trying to figure out how to test it for leaks (now that I switched the teflon tape for actual expensive pipe thread goop) without having to actually plumb it inline in my setup first.
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