CO2 and fish health / respiration? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-14-2017, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 and fish health / respiration?

I have a high tech setup, 50g tank and I've been running 30ppm CO2 based on pH and drop checker.

In that month, plant growth has been excellent, but I have some keyhole cichlids (only fish in tank) and noticed that their respiration is generally faster. Noticable gill movement.

The past two days, I disconnected the CO2 to get it refilled, but local Dick's needs a repair to their fill station, so I have a very short photoperiod while I wait for a refill. Without CO2, fish respiration is back to normal, and one of the pairs spawned!

This leads me to believe there is not enough oxygen in the tank. I have a large airstone running 24/7 and the return bar is angled up to ripple the surface. Nothing I have done while running CO2 has gotten the fish's respiration to slow.

Any suggestions? Could it be the are stressed by the rapid pH change each day? Is high tech generally not good for fish?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
I have a high tech setup, 50g tank and I've been running 30ppm CO2 based on pH and drop checker.

In that month, plant growth has been excellent, but I have some keyhole cichlids (only fish in tank) and noticed that their respiration is generally faster. Noticable gill movement.

The past two days, I disconnected the CO2 to get it refilled, but local Dick's needs a repair to their fill station, so I have a very short photoperiod while I wait for a refill. Without CO2, fish respiration is back to normal, and one of the pairs spawned!

This leads me to believe there is not enough oxygen in the tank. I have a large airstone running 24/7 and the return bar is angled up to ripple the surface. Nothing I have done while running CO2 has gotten the fish's respiration to slow.

Any suggestions? Could it be the are stressed by the rapid pH change each day? Is high tech generally not good for fish?
I had the same problem in my 75G, the fish's respiration really seemed stressed, especially my little tetras. The cichlids didn't seem as bad. I've been on and offf several trips the past 2 months, so I just cut back the CO2 a lot, but I need to figure this out finally after we drop our daughter off at college next week. So, ChrisX, I hope you dont mind if I join you in asking this question?

Thanks for any help!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 05:00 PM
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Since CO2 and O2 exist independently of each other it's easy to have enough O2 in your tank while having too much CO2. One does not displace the other in an aquarium. You can increase surface movement and all over circulation to increase oxygenation and be sure that it makes it to all parts of the tank. Good degassing will help maintain steady O2 and CO2 levels. Inadequate degassing causes CO2 levels to rise continuously over the injection period leading to stressed and possibly dead fish. Tom Barr had a good thread on this somewhere and I think Dennis Wong covers it in a video or two ( link below ). I would increase your flow and surface agitation and cut back on CO2 until your fish are not stressed then I would gradually, over the course of days, try increasing CO2. If you can't get it to where you think it should be then I would cut back on light and work with lower CO2 levels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alTRKo8-jeM
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 05:16 PM
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30ppm is too high regardless of "common knowledge"..My opinion..
Don't decrease (or increase) CO2 levels drastically ..ever..
Can be quite problematic..
Consistency is more crucial than gross amount.

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...ng-the-balance

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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I'm all for lowering the CO2 and/or light if possible. A 1.5 pH swing seems like alot even though thats what the charts says is needed with my KH.

Tank currently has no CO2 and only 3 hours of lights because my cichlids are sitting eggs. I'll have to figure out what to do if they hatch... but I could temporarily transition to low tech...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 06:00 PM
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w/out CO2 your pH will swing quite a bit at night while the plants/fish/bacteria are respiring..
Can't guarantee anything but if you do the dilution thing and shoot for 15ppm ..slowly..should be fine



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Last edited by jeffkrol; 08-15-2017 at 06:01 PM. Reason: edit
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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I need to monitor this more closely. Apparently EI dosing raised my KH from 5 to 7. Other tanks are kh 5 with same ratios. Ive started dosing less alkaline buffer and eventually KH should settle to 4 or 5 in this tank.

Geez.. my CO2 may have been 45+ when PH got to 6.6 every day. A difference of just 2 KH is 15ppm CO2. Possibly it was the MGOC substrate that raised Kh, idk.

Does CO2 displace oxygen, or are the fish reacting to high CO2 or ph change?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
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I need to monitor this more closely. Apparently EI dosing raised my KH from 5 to 7. Other tanks are kh 5 with same ratios. Ive started dosing less alkaline buffer and eventually KH should settle to 4 or 5 in this tank.

Geez.. my CO2 may have been 45+ when PH got to 6.6 every day. A difference of just 2 KH is 15ppm CO2. Possibly it was the MGOC substrate that raised Kh, idk.

Does CO2 displace oxygen, or are the fish reacting to high CO2 or ph change?
CO2 can displace oxygen if it were at much higher concentrations. To my understanding when the fish are gasping it isn't necessarily that there isn't enough O2 in the water, just that there is too much CO2. Gas exchange is a passive process across the gills. So if CO2 levels are higher in the water, the lower CO2 levels in the fish have a harder time getting out of the fish, if that makes sense. Of course higher O2 in the water will allow the fish to tolerate higher CO2 levels because the opposite process with O2 is happening.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 06:58 PM
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Thank you everyone for your answers. I think that not enough surface agitation might have been the problem in my case as much of the surface is taken up by plants. Is there some kind of accepted limit to the amount of surface area that plants/leaves should not exceed assuming a fully stocked tank?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
I have a high tech setup, 50g tank and I've been running 30ppm CO2 based on pH and drop checker.

In that month, plant growth has been excellent, but I have some keyhole cichlids (only fish in tank) and noticed that their respiration is generally faster. Noticable gill movement.

The past two days, I disconnected the CO2 to get it refilled, but local Dick's needs a repair to their fill station, so I have a very short photoperiod while I wait for a refill. Without CO2, fish respiration is back to normal, and one of the pairs spawned!

This leads me to believe there is not enough oxygen in the tank. I have a large airstone running 24/7 and the return bar is angled up to ripple the surface. Nothing I have done while running CO2 has gotten the fish's respiration to slow.

Any suggestions? Could it be the are stressed by the rapid pH change each day? Is high tech generally not good for fish?
I have never measured my co2, but I noticed that optimal co2 for the plants is too high for the fishes. I get the best pearling from the plants when the fishes are gasping at the water surface. I try to make the fishes comfortable first (no signs of stress).
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