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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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gasping fish?

OK so I have a DIY CO2, and I recently built a rex style in line reactor to my eheim. I previously had it going through a power head. The improved CO2 dissolution was dramatic and I almost gassed my fish ( I have 3 2 litre bottles on a 46 gallon tank). In the past I have always let the CO2 go overnight, however now with my increased dissolution efficiency this does not appear to be a viable option.

So I set it up so that I can detach the CO2 from the reactor, which I though would stop the fish from gasping at the surface...

As I sit here typing, I am looking at my tank and every single fish is at the surface of the tank. There is no CO2 being input since I turned off the lights, so why would they be at the surface?

I should also say that I do not have a drop checker, so I cannot see what my ppm CO2 is. I was just wondering if anyone has experienced this before. They were perfectly fine before lights out, so it seems unlikely that the CO2 would increase without any other input... Am I missing something here?

Thanks for the help, sorry for the long post.

tl;dr edit:

fish look to be gasping at night even without CO2 input...why?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 08:05 AM
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What are the parameters of your water, fish tend to stay at the surface also if the water conditions aren't good. Make a water test.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tharsis View Post
..
As I sit here typing, I am looking at my tank and every single fish is at the surface of the tank. There is no CO2 being input since I turned off the lights, so why would they be at the surface?

I should also say that I do not have a drop checker, so I cannot see what my ppm CO2 is. ...
It's rather obvious that you have used way too much CO2 in the tank. At this point you want to get as much circulation as possible going and get the CO2 out. I'd add a bunch of airstones or use a powerhead with the output going straight up. I'd also remove any covers until you get this fixed.

Get a drop checker. If you have no way of knowing how much CO2 is in the system, you'll be likely to repeat this again.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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The fish are showing absolutely no signs of stress when the lights are on though so I cannot see how my CO2 levels are way too high.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 01:45 PM
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when the lights go off plants start taking in oxygen, thus oxygen is reduced. you need surface agitation or they will suffocate.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 01:56 PM
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when the lights go off plants start taking in oxygen, thus oxygen is reduced. you need surface agitation or they will suffocate.
Get a powerhead(s) and a air pump on the thing ASAP!

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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when the lights go off plants start taking in oxygen, thus oxygen is reduced. you need surface agitation or they will suffocate.
doh...of course! thanks overstocked.

This did not happen before, as for the reason it is happening now:

I am guessing that with my now elevated levels of CO2 from more efficient diffusion, there is a greater impact when O2 is removed from the system in the evening. Even though my CO2 absolute amounts are constant (or atleast not increasing), the removal of the O2 increases the relative % of CO2 in the tank.

Or is it that the plants are growing faster/healthier now so they are removing more oxygen than they were previously?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:08 PM
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I am guessing that with my now elevated levels of CO2 from more efficient diffusion, there is a greater impact when O2 is removed from the system in the evening. Even though my CO2 absolute amounts are constant, the removal of the O2 increases the relative %.
Nope.

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Or is it that the plants are growing faster/healthier now so they are removing more oxygen than they were previously?
Yep.

Run an air pump on a timer and have the air pump turn on when your lights go out. Have the air pump turn off one hour before your lights come on. No need for an extra powerhead. The surface agitation from the air pump will quickly outgas the CO2 in your tank, provided you already have adequate water circulation.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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yeah I think I will do that, my airpump so bloody loud though lol.

Are you sure that there is not even a little bit of truth to my 1st idea? If you are removing O2, the total amount of gas is decreasing therefore the relative percent of CO2 should increase. If I was at lets say 15 ppm before I switched to the inline diffuser, the relative increase at night could hypothetically bring it up to 20 ppm. If I am at 30 ppm during the day though, the relative increase at night would take my above the threshold for the fish.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:20 PM
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yeah I think I will do that, my airpump so bloody loud though lol.

Are you sure that there is not even a little bit of truth to my 1st idea? If you are removing O2, the total amount of gas is decreasing therefore the relative percent of CO2 should increase. If I was at lets say 15 ppm before I switched to the inline diffuser, the relative increase at night could hypothetically bring it up to 20 ppm. If I am at 30 ppm during the day though, the relative increase at night would take my above the threshold for the fish.
When are you shutting off the CO2 at night? If you are injecting CO2 up until the point of the lights turning off, there is a high level of CO2 in the water and then all of a sudden, none of it is being used up.

Try this as an experiment: Disconnect the CO2 one hour prior to your lights shutting off then observe your fish and report back.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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^ yup that is what I did last night, I just shut off the CO2 as soon as the lights went off.

Makes sense, I will disconnect it an hour before lights out and see what happens. Thanks for the advice guys!

This really goes to show how effective the inline reactor is! I never had these issues when I was simply blowing bubbles through a waterpump. All that wasted CO2 makes me shed a tear.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:32 PM
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All that wasted CO2 makes me shed a tear.
Don't worry. After a month or two of doing DIY CO2, you'll give in and get a CO2 setup with a solenoid to turn off the CO2 at night.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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lol I have been doing DIY CO2 for over 6 months now!! On three different tanks!!!
I have it down to a science, but my local grocer thinks I am a total sugar fiend.

I am but a lowly grad student living below the poverty line, I really want a CO2 set-up but alas it will have to wait until I am gainfully employed. I work with nitrogen tanks at school alot connecting them to various experimental equipment, and there are tons of solenoids and regulators lying around etc...

Whenever I am changing a nitrogen tank I find myself singing 'one piece at a time' by Johnny Cash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIuo0KIqD_E
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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yup so I unhooked the CO2 1 hour before turning the lights off and no gasping. Thanks for the help!
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 02:53 AM
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yup so I unhooked the CO2 1 hour before turning the lights off and no gasping. Thanks for the help!
Good to hear.
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