DIY c02, ona 75 gallon tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2005, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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DIY c02, ona 75 gallon tank

I'm from vancouver BC, and the water here is VERY soft and acidic (with a ph of around 5, and a gh of aproximitly 2 dh) Im wondering if anyone has the same probelm as me. Is keeping freshwater plants even worth the trouble of constintly fighting my water conditions?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2005, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention above...

Im currently running a DIY c02 system on my 75 gallon tank. This DIY system consists of two, 4 liter mil gujs connected with a 2 way gang valve and sillicon toobing. There is only 1 fish in my 75 gallon tank, and I belive that there is little no no c02. Im prepeared to handle all the work of replacing the mixture every 2 weeks, but I'm wondering if my DIY c02 system will have any effect at all in a 75 gallon tank. Even if it will only raise the c02 levels by a couple ppm, would it positivle affect my plant's or not???
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 12:32 AM
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hardness is easily fixed. i have 2 KH and 7 GH (both considered very soft) in my tap water, but most would agree that we are both at an advantage. It is much easier to increase hardness than it is to decrease.

Ignore what the pH says out of your tap. What you are interested is what the KH is. Before you start to inject co2 you will have (*a flat out must*) to get your KH above 4 dKH. You will have a pH crash if you dont. I recommend going up to 6-7 degrees. Baking soda will increase that. 1 teaspoon per 50g's will increase degrees KH by 1.

However, since you have low GH as well, you may want to experiment with Calcium Carbonate instead which will raise your KH and GH at the same time. I have no idea what the measurements are for an incremental increase of KH though. Maybe someone can fill in.

As for co2, instead of re-doing both every 2 weeks, re-do them on weekly alternates. This will help keep the "fluctuations" down. Also, dont just take one out and re-do it. Instead, have a 3rd bottle, get it started the night before, and then switch them out. Consistency is the key.

Just try it out to see if it will work for you. Worst case scenerio is you have to spend your Saturday afternoon scrubbing algae Or worst x2 case scenerio you over do it (very doubtful) and kill your fish.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Hay Spar. Thanks for the info...

I have a commercial product called "Equilibrium" it rases the gh. The product is made by "Seachem". It claims to "esablish ideal mineral content for the planted aquarium". Is this anny better than adding baking powder to raise the gh??

I did what you said earlyer and added baking sod to raise the kh. Now all i need to worrie about is all the confusing plant nutreince. I don't know if it matters, but my gravel is 4-8 mm in size.

Last question. I havint been turning on ond off my lights at regular intervals. Some days I leave the light on 8 hours, and others days I might leave it on for 12 hours. Additionaly, some times the light get turned on at 8:00 am and turned off 8 - 12 hours later, but sometimes the light don't get turned on till 11:30. Does this affect the plan't in a negitive way or not???
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 03:19 AM
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baking soda does not increase GH. only KH.

Rex Griggs mentioned in another post that Equilibrium has too much Potassium (K) in it, so should move away from using it. He recommended to use a combo of Epson Salt (for Mg) and Calcium Carbonate (for Ca and KH). In the mean time until you get your hands on some CaCO3, continue using the Equilibrium though. If I get some time I will run some tests on a 5g bucket to see what the increase to GH and KH is with CaCO3. Or you can try it if you already have some.

If you havent yet, go to Rex's website (find a post of his and click on the "www" button at the bottom of each post) and read up on all his nutrients discussions. There are plenty of posts on this board as well that discuss them in great detail.

You need to pick and get set with a constant photoperiod with your lights. You can buy a auto-timer from Home Depot for $5 to help you with that. No more manually flipping the switch. My plants would go days without lights if it werent from those

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 03:43 AM Thread Starter
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hay, couple more questions...


first; what are Epsom Salts and Calcium Chloride. Where can I purchase these things, and how much do they coast?

second; can my plant's survive without fertilizers for the mean time?
If I get my water chemistry right (the gh & kh) how long would the plant's survive for without fertilizer? I don't have much money, and I don't know when ill be able to purchase all the fertilizers.

lastly; My gravil sub-strate is fairly large sized, ranged from 3-8 mm. Is this a problem or not?

thanks again..
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 05:55 AM
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i get everything from www.gregwatson.com, but commerical products are available around you to save on shipping.

i always forget what the commerical names of some of the products are though. I just know that Espon Salt is MgSO4 and you can get it very cheap ($1-$2 maybe) at any pharmacy store like Walgreens, CVS, etc.

If you want to raise KH along with GH, then you need Calcium CARBONATE (CaCO3), not Calcium Chloride. You can get CaCO3 from Home Depot, but forgot what exactly they call it. It is on Rex's website somewhere I think. I think it is Pulverized Limestone. You can get a 20 year supply for like $10 with whatever it is

GH is the combination of Calcium and Magnesium in your water. That said, if you do choose to use Calcium Chloride instead to raise GH, then you can just continue using straight Baking Soda to increase KH with neither affecting eachother (GH vs KH that is). KH is increased by adding Carbonates (or Bi-Carbonates) to your water; hence the CO3 portion of CaCO3. Baking Soda is Na2CO3 (adds bi-carbonates).

I am not sure about the gravel size. As long as it is something that roots can grab onto then you shouldnt have a problem.

The primary problem with not fertilzing is that algae is going to love it. As long as you keep the lights on the tank and do water changes then the plants will at least sit there and probably not die for quite a while. Wont look good in any sense, and you wont see much, if any, growth.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 06:04 AM
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Epsom Salts can be found at any drug store. Calcium carbonate and calcium chloride can be found at any decent home brew beer store.

You might even be able to find those two products at a larger feed store. I can get a 50 lb bag of each for under $20 apiece. The smaller the bag the higher the price.

Epsom Salts at CostCo are just a few bucks for 7 lbs. Calcium Chloride is about $1 a pound at the home brew store.
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