Issues with pH/KH/CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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Issues with pH/KH/CO2

I have a 10 gallon. Just got KH and pH test kits and the numbers are confusing me.

My KH is low, like 1-2 degrees. My pH is like 7.6. This puts my CO2 really low, like 3 ppm. I have DIY CO2 with a ceramic diffuser. My plants, especially my HC is happy. But obviously somethings not working right with the diffuser.

I don't feel like the tiny bubbles from the diffuser are really getting into the water column. They seem to still just go straight to the top and burst. I'm gonna try aiming a small power head at it to move the bubbles around some and we'll see what happens.

I have a power filter. Is the surface agitation from the water return causing my problem?

Is the low KH not allowing the water to take up more CO2? Is this a common issue with the glass diffusers? Any help is appreciated.
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Last edited by mattc8210; 12-08-2014 at 04:09 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 05:16 AM
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KH and CO2 are independent.

You have a very poor diffusion method.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 05:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solcielo lawrencia View Post
KH and CO2 are independent.

You have a very poor diffusion method.
Fair enough. Care to help with a suggestion? I see lots of people using the ceramic and glass diffusers. Am I implementeling it wrong? Like I said before, I added a powerhead to keep the tiny bubbles underwater longer.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 06:26 AM
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Have you tested the water straight out oh the tap? Your kh seems very low. I'm still learning myself.

You could try reducing surface movement or feeding co2 under the powerhead or add another diy bottle.

If your plants are growing well and you have no algae I wouldn't worry too much about it
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 06:28 AM
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I placed my diffuser under my canister filter intake so all the co2 is completely disolved. Some people make reactors to do the same thing.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 06:32 AM
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Your tank looks beautiful by the way.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javajive1981 View Post
I placed my diffuser under my canister filter intake so all the co2 is completely disolved. Some people make reactors to do the same thing.
So what's the point of these diffusers if we still have to find a other way to actually get the bubbles into the water? What about all the videos I see of people with just a diffuser?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 01:07 AM
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They may be running a pretty high volume of CO2 through the diffuser, knowing that a lot of it is not staying in the water.

How are your numbers looking when you place a power head right over the diffuser? Is the pH dropping?

KH and pH are not independant. They are closely related, but subject to other influences.

The local water company may add something to keep the pH up to protect the pipes.

Here is another way to know if your CO2 is getting diffused: Are you seeing the pH change through the day? The cycle will probably look something like this:
Morning: pH low. CO2 is at its highest.
Midday: pH rising. Plants are using CO2, perhaps faster than it is entering the tank.
Late afternoon: pH at its highest.
After lights out: pH dropping. Plants are no longer using CO2.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-09-2014, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I used baking soda and brought my hardness up. I also had the powerhead blowing on the bubble stream since last night and my pH dropped some. I'm up to around 11 ppm of CO2 now. Now I moved the powerhead over the diffuser so it's taking up the bubbles directly and distributing them. Well see what that brings.

Maybe I need more CO2? I'm using one 2L soda bottle with the standard recipe of 2 cups sugar and a heaping teaspoon of yeast. Can I add more yeast to increase the intensity at the cost of duration?

I experimented with CO2 a few years ago more casually and don't remember having this much trouble getting the ppm up. I was diffusing it much more crudely by just jamming the bare end of the tube into a slit in the power filter intake with no air stone or anything. Maybe I was better off with something like that.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-10-2014, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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The pH is coming down some more now that the powerhead is taking up the bubbles. Still not up to 30 ppm, though. I think I might be getting too much surface movement with the power filter.
I'm thinking about a small canister with a spray bar. I have a H.O.T. Magnum laying around that I could try but it might be too big. I'd need to divert the flow somehow a bit. I wonder if there are mods of some kind. What kind of media would you recommend? Straight biological, probably, right?
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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So things are going better as far as diffusing the CO2. But a couple of new issues have emerged.

For one, there's a lot of microbubbles due to the powerhead chopping up the diffuser output. So much so that the water can appear almost cloudy from a distance. Thoughts?

Also, I keep getting this slimy, white snot growing on the ceramic plate in the diffuser. I researched it and apparently it's from the yeast and whatnot in the CO2 bottle. I have a bubble counter in between and it doesn't really even appear to be collecting anything in it as far as runoff from the reactor. This slime inevitably clogs the ceramic and makes it produce big bubbles. Ideas?

Thanks for all the help so far.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:42 AM
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Spray the diffuser with peroxide it will cut down on that nasty slime build up
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Midnighttide102 View Post
Spray the diffuser with peroxide it will cut down on that nasty slime build up
I soaked it in bleach and it came back in 3 days or so.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 05:24 AM
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They get clogged fairly quick the peroxide helps but still need cleaning readily I don't use a ceramic diffuser anymore for that reason it seems like your cleaning them weekly
I modified a elite minifilter it works better then the diffuser
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 11:42 AM
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Yeast slime, one of the sure things about yeast is it will slime your equipment. If your bubble counter isn't filled with water that should help slow down the slime from reaching your diffuser. You can try another method of diffusing CO2 into your tank. Sometimes the crude methods are better. I found running it into a modified powerhead to be an effective way to diffuse CO2. They are easier to clean and help to disperse the CO2 by adding flow. FWIW, I've been told that the CO2 inside a small bubble needs three seconds to diffuse out of the bubble. What's left in the bubble after that point would be other gas that moved into the bubble.

From the picture your water surface ripple does not look as if it would cause CO2 to gas off at an unusually fast rate but a clogged diffuser might be causing problems. Make sure you have no gas leaks. Sounds as if you might.

No need to add baking soda, IMHO.
Did I miss something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Here is another way to know if your CO2 is getting diffused: Are you seeing the pH change through the day? The cycle will probably look something like this:
Morning: pH low. CO2 is at its highest.
Midday: pH rising. Plants are using CO2, perhaps faster than it is entering the tank.
Late afternoon: pH at its highest.
After lights out: pH dropping. Plants are no longer using CO2.
This is a good way to determine CO2. The pH drop is relative to ambient CO2 levels of about 2-3ppm, for any KH value. From there a pH drop of 1.0- to 1.3 would correspond to a CO2 level around 30-45 ppm on the pH/KH/CO2 table. That would be independent of KH. You can find your base line by letting a sample of the tank water sit for 24 hours before testing the pH. That being said, I'm not sure you would need those levels if your light isn't too bright.


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