CO2 all day, all night ??? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 all day, all night ???

I am about to put together a planted tank setup with a dense population of fish. Due to a tight budget I have planned to use a DIY CO2 system. I am aware that plants use up O2 when the tank is not lit. Do I need to worry about having to shut off CO2 injection into the tank during the night or will the increase in Co2 concentration be insufficient to kill my fish during the night?

If I need to shut the Co2 injection off during the night are there any automated ways of doing so?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:24 PM
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I think some people run an airstone or bubble wall at night to use oxygen/surface agitation to drive out some of the CO2 that is not needed at night. And I think it's hard to generate enough CO2 with DIY to cause a massive PH swing overnight -- but let someone on the forum with more experience than I have tell you the details on that. I don't have any CO2 running yet myself, so I can't give you a definitive answer.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:31 PM
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CO2 all day, all night???

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Originally Posted by uncskainch
I think some people run an airstone or bubble wall at night to use oxygen/surface agitation to drive out some of the CO2 that is not needed at night. And I think it's hard to generate enough CO2 with DIY to cause a massive PH swing overnight -- but let someone on the forum with more experience than I have tell you the details on that. I don't have any CO2 running yet myself, so I can't give you a definitive answer.
I started DIY CO2 and at first I didn't run an airstone at night. Everything was fine. But after the first bottle change, I seemed to have a stronger batch and my hubby actually noticed the fish were all hanging about at the surface and acting strange. I grabbed the pump and an airstone and never looked back. I plug it in at lights out and unplug it first thing in the morning - usually a couple of hours before the lights come on. Figuring (probably erroneously, but it makes me happy...) that it gives the CO2 a little time to build up before the lights come on and the plants go to work on it. This seems to be doing the trick in my 20 gallon.

FWIW - Kathy
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:37 PM
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That's what I was thinking of doing with mine when I get the DIY Co2 set up on my 29 gallon -- just to be on the safe side. Plus the fish do seem to enjoy the bubbles!
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:41 PM
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CO2 all day, all night???

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Originally Posted by uncskainch
That's what I was thinking of doing with mine when I get the DIY Co2 set up on my 29 gallon -- just to be on the safe side. Plus the fish do seem to enjoy the bubbles!
My adorable little African Butterfly Cichlid is off like a shot as soon as the bubbles go on - swims back and forth and kind of "attacks" them. It's way too cute... I think even if I don't really need it I'll keep using it as long as the plants continue to thrive - it brings the lad such joy!

Kathy
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 01:52 PM
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My otos like to swim to the top of the tank, then swim down along the glass THROUGH the bubbles. And the danios chase each other through them as well. Since I already have the airstone and the pump, I figure I might as well run it at night and keep 'em happy, and also prevent the possibility of a CO2 overload if I make an especially bubbly batch. I'm really getting anxious to upgrade my lights and get my CO2 going!

-- Another Kathy!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 03:07 PM
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CO2 all day, all night???

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Originally Posted by uncskainch
-- Another Kathy!
We are slowly taking over the WORLD!!! Mwahahahahahahaha!

Kathy
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 03:26 PM
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As to shutting off a DIY CO2 setup, I've not heard of a way to do this. Since most are based on plastic bottles, if you stop the flow, you get a build up of pressure in the bottle. Guess what happens if that pressure gets too stong?!?

So, should you notice a problem, go with the air bubbles...don't stop the DIY CO2.

Personally, I run pressurized 24/7. I only get a pH swing of 0.1 over night (from 6.8 down to 6.7). I have a very slight current at the top of my tank and never get a slick on my water surface. FWIW.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 04:11 PM
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There are two problems you want to avoid:
1) lack of oxygen at night since plants now consume oxygen
2) CO2 overdose (plants now produce co2 also, adding to the normal fish load AND CO2 from DIY is not being consumed)
CO2 levels do not effect oxygen levels (does not drive each other out)

Since you have a dense population of fish,d efinitely run an airstone at night. The pH swing up wont hurt them. The problem is that the plants consume oxygen whent eh lights go out and the airstone provides oxygen, but also drives out Co2.
A major CO2 downswing can killl your fish extremely fast if you run out of KH to buffer the swing.
You can also majorly CO2 poison your fish since you dnt have control of CO2 output.

I ran DIY on a 20 gallon and killed two young discus. I had a DIY reactor on the output side of an XP2. They were gasping for air and trying to jump out of the water. THey hit the hood so hard it woke me up in the morning and i found them half conscious jumping out of the water.
I ran DIY on a 45 gallon with 15 baby discus, and had an overdose issue again.

I finally paid more for a pressurized system and a pH controller.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSS
As to shutting off a DIY CO2 setup, I've not heard of a way to do this. Since most are based on plastic bottles, if you stop the flow, you get a build up of pressure in the bottle. Guess what happens if that pressure gets too stong?!?

So, should you notice a problem, go with the air bubbles...don't stop the DIY CO2.

Personally, I run pressurized 24/7. I only get a pH swing of 0.1 over night (from 6.8 down to 6.7). I have a very slight current at the top of my tank and never get a slick on my water surface. FWIW.
If one uses a powerhead driven reactor for DIY CO2, then a simple solution is to turn off the powerhead at night.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 09:32 PM
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I would just like to add that depending on your tank size it is very possible to get too much co2 with a diy system over night. I just had that problem today when I got home from work. I had just made a new batch up before I left and didn't really think about it since I had never had a problem before. I got home and all of my fish were at the top gasping this got me into action to test water ph and kh. The measurements before I left were 7.2 ph with 10 degrees kh this gave me around 19 to 20 parts per million co2. This mornings test I had a ph of 6.2 and kh around 11 degrees wich is about 208 parts per million co2. I'm honestly surprised that I did not kill of the entire tank but I got the air pump going fast and am watching for any trouble from the stress.
As far as shutting a diy off it is real simple since it is in a bottle just unscrew the cap till the seal breaks and the co2 with escape out of the cap.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot guys (and girls - don't want to be sexist). I ll certainly take your opinions and recommendations into consideration.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash
If I need to shut the Co2 injection off during the night are there any automated ways of doing so?
Before you worry too much about this, or work on systems to deal with it, you need to experiment with your mixture and your input method. Both can be adjusted to give a rate that is more stable and not excessive when used 24/7.

First, of course, be sure that you are not using a reactor that is just too big for the tank. No 5 gallon carboys for a 20 gallon tank, for example, and no 2 liter jugs for a 10 gallon even. IME, about 1 liter per gallon or less is OK. I used 2 liter jugs and 3 liter jugs on 20 gallon tanks, probably one gallon per 20 gallons is OK, depending on your mix.

In general, using less yeast will lower the initial rate. Also, if using bread yeast, baking soda can moderate the initial rate and prolong the total life of the run. Then you can try mixes using molasses or Jello which can have more moderate start rates and long life.

Then, do some measurements to see if you actually have a problem that needs fixing. It may be that the CO2 rate is not high enough to be an issue by morning.

Highly effecient input methods can be worked on. For example, if you use an internal power reactor you can power off for a few hours at night, or all night, and the gas will either build up or escape the reactor depending on design. Hard-plumbed filter run units, as in most external reactors, probably cannot be altered, but running an airstone can drive off CO2 at night.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 08:42 PM
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Ok.. so i can accurately respond to this post! YES DIY co2 WILL cause enough of a co2 swing to kill fish/shrimp. I have a 29 gallon and use 4 2 liter bottles to get me at 30 ppm co2 and one day i forgot to disconnect the co2 at night and i woke up to grey colored water, fish floating at the surface, and dead shrimp everywhere!!! This happened mainly because the co2 batch i made was much stronger than what i usually use so the co2 went wayyyyyyyy up when the lights went out, but it CAN happen and im sure its a risk you dont want to take! So what i do is put a check valve into the hose close to the hood of the tank, and at night i just disconnect the tube from the check valve and stick it under the hood so it stays there disconnected, then in the mornings i just hook it back up and im good to go beats the heck out of having to worry about turning on a pump and bubble wall and all that mess, and how can you go wrong at .50 cents for a check valve you should have hooked up anyways?
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-16-2005, 08:53 PM
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I have had pH drops after water changes as large as 7.0 to 6.2 (sometimes probably lower than 6.0) with no problems. I do however have an Emperor 280 that as the box says for the spray bar, "powers bio-wheel with oxygen rich water". Also I get good gas exchange with it and my plants pearl all day every day, and I'm guessing that that's why I haven't had any problems with pH swings.

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