Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, United States
diy CO2: questions about overdosing, aeration, pH, & hardness
I'm thinking about making some diy co2 and connecting it to a Hagen ladder for my 10 gallon future Cherry Shrimp tank.
One of the main reasons I'm considering this is for the pH changes, my water is 8.2 pH, 11 gH, and 71 ppm kh. I want to get it down to 7.5 pH or below for the Cherry Shrimp, and would rather do this in a way that didn't color the water like peat would. In addition, I have 2 10 watt 6500 K cfls, and since I've added these I've been having more algae issues, and I've heard that adding CO2 will help the plants out compete the algae. I'm also adding some fertilizer, carefully chosen for its lack of copper, I'm using Kent's pro plant and Seachem's Iron. Right now I have a rather odd grouping of plants, Amazon Sword, Wisteria, Java Fern, and Pennywort. I'm going to completely redo the scape before I get the shrimp though, and will have Christmas Moss, Weeping Moss, Taiwan Moss, Downoi, and Marsilea minuta. Perhaps some other types too.
I'm very nervous about overdosing the CO2 and hurting the shrimp. I know a lot of people recommend turning the CO2 off at night to prevent this, but since I'm relying on it to keep my pH at a shrimp-safe level I'm concerned that the pH will swing too much if I do so or get too high again. I'd like to know if having an air stone on just at night would also cause a pH swing, or if diy CO2 by its very nature causes pH swings. Since the shrimp are definitely the priority in the aquarium I would rather waste a bit of CO2 than risk and overdose, and I was wondering if having an airstone on all the time would be an okay solution. I also have a hang-on-the-back filter that has an adjustable flow, which I could use to aerate a certain amount. I was also thinking about buying Seachem's CO2 indicator and keeping an eye on things with that. Which of these precautions would be the most likely to prevent a CO2 overdose, if any?
Also, would CO2 make my water too soft for shrimp? Cherry Shrimp prefer slightly hard water, would the unchanged gH be the important measurement for that, or would my water be considered soft with the addition of CO2?