tainted/bad/low quality c02???? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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tainted/bad/low quality c02????

Hello everyone! I've been trying to figure out a problemI've been having for a long time. I've made all kinds of changes but nothingseems to be working. most of my plants are just../...not happy. Even my javamoss. I was thinking about it and the only thing I can think of that I havechanged since this started was that I am getting my c02 from a differentplace.....could that be an issue? I've heard talk of "food grade c02"but I thought that was just a rumor??
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 06:50 PM
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Hi @joku,

Are your dosing any liquid carbon supplements with that CO2 like Excel, CO2 Booster, Metricide, etc?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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No :-(
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 08:11 PM
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CO2 comes in multiple purity levels. Food grade means it is safe for humman consumption. The FDA requires food grade CO2 to be 99.9% CO2 with 0.1T impurities. The purest CO2 I found in a google search is 99.9995%. Industrial grade is about 99% If you are getting food grade CO2 the problem is probably not a CO2 contamination. Even with industrial grade contaminants shouldn't be an issues. After all the air plants use is 78% N2, 21%O2, and about 1% argon with the remainder being mostly CO2. If plants do fine iwth 99.9T impurity levels any impurity in your gas bottle would have to be something exotic to harm plants. Next time you get your tank filled ask them what the purity level or grade is.

If your concentration of CO2 is OK I would look at light and fertilizer as the possible causes. What can you tell us about those?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2018, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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I've got a pretty good Current Satelite plus pro fixture over it. I thought maybe it might be too much so I dialed the photo period down from 11 hours to 6. Its been 4 weeks and doesnt seem to be getting better.
The next direction I'm heading in is changing my ferts. The last time I posted people suggested supplementing what I'm doing with ....iron?...and something else?
I dose flourish twice a week and flourish trace 3x/week.
I've been doing this same thing for 7 years with no problem. All of a sudden like 7 months ago things have gone awry....like...my java moss is brown :-(
I thought it could be the ph and hardness levels. Tested and found my GH was way to high, got that under control like 6 months ago. still very unhappy plants. Tried giving root tabs to my root feeders too :-(
I also thought it could have been "java fern disease" because my java fern has been looking messed up for a couple of years. I removed 90% of it....no better :-(
...the only things I know I'm doing wrong is using liquid ferts and doing water changes only once a month.
The first image is 6 months ago, compared with 3 weeks ago....you can see things are growing....just very brown, transparent, and/or burnt looking (java fern). One of these images has a blue drop checker, that was between tank changes.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
...the only things I know I'm doing wrong is using liquid ferts and doing water changes only once a month.
There is a good chance that is your problem. some nutrients get used up very quickly. It is very likely you will have a nutrient deficiency develop one week after a fertilizer dose. With CO2 it could be a lot faster. So the fertilizer will help your plants for a few days and then your plants will be starving for nutrients for 3 weeks.

Quote:
GH was way to high, got that under control like 6 months ago. still very unhappy
plants.
High GH can happen if you have a nutrient deficiency.

Quote:
I dose flourish twice a week and flourish trace 3x/week.
I've been doing this same thing for 7 years with no problem.
This combination is very low on nitrogen, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. If your tap water is low on any one of these or your fish waist will be the only source of these nutrients. I don't see enough fish in your pictures to supply enough of these nutrients. So a nutrient deficiency is likely.

Most of the calcium and magnesium zinc and copper your plants need is coming from your tap water not your fertilizer. and in my opinion that will not be enough with one water change per month. Almost all of your nitrogen is coming from fish waste only because your fertilizers don't have any. Most California tap water does not have nitrogen in it. So you are likely deficient in nitrogen.

So if you do a water change once a week and Keep your nitrate level at 10p
pm and Phosphate level at 1ppm things should improve to some extent but you probably will have to try a different fertilizer. You might also need to add a GH boosters. Sacromento gets most of its water from rivers and supplements with ground water. surface water is quite soft so if your tap water GH is low increasing it by 2 degrees with a GH booster (like Seachem Equilibrium) would also help.

Well water has a higher GH and it is often blended with river water when surface water levels are low. Keep in mind California had a 5 year drought that ended a couple of years ago. So the chemistry of your tap water has likely changed in the last couple of Years which could explain why you are now having problems.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Ok. So you really dont think the c02 could be the problem. I dont want to change to dry ferts. Ive been doing the same thing for 8 years :-p

Bump: Ok. So you really dont think the c02 could be the problem. I dont want to change to dry ferts. Ive been doing the same thing for 8 years :-p
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by joku View Post
... I dont want to change to dry ferts. Ive been doing the same thing for 8 years :-p
...
I highly recommend you make the switch to dry ferts. You'll find them a lot less expensive and you'll get get much better results. I know it's hard to change from what you had been doing for years, but I think once you make the switch you'll never look back, just as I did.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joku View Post
Ok. So you really dont think the c02 could be the problem. I dont want to change to dry ferts. Ive been doing the same thing for 8 years :-p

Bump: Ok. So you really dont think the c02 could be the problem. I dont want to change to dry ferts. Ive been doing the same thing for 8 years :-p
Make sure to quote people who you are replying to, that way they will get notified when you reply to them.

I felt exactly the same about dry ferts when I first started. Now that I have jumped ships, I realise that it really only has benefits. While it can be confusing at first, It is much cheaper and allows you to customise basically every nutrient if you want to.

Of course you don't have to use dry ferts but you definitely need a source of macronutrients. You could buy flourish potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous but the cost will add up quickly on larger tanks.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 05:06 PM
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Well I can say I've been dealing with this for the last 18 months myself. Over my countless hours and months Ive spent days reading, watching, talking, sitting on forums. I can tell you a few things I wish I had done differently and a few things I think I've learned.

Don't try too hard to control your water. If you are in a softener as I was you might have to use RO. With RO you need to reconstitute it by adding minerals using a product like equilibrium. Outside of that situation stay away from buffers and pH down/up ect. Stock and plants can adjust, except for a few outlier situations.

Consistency is key. Seriously. Pick a schedule and stick too it. This is as much for your sanity as the plants, but plants appreciate it too. Pick a fertilization schedule and stick with it.

Purchase dry ferts and mix them yourself. Use rotalla butterfly calculator and try to understand it. Figure out what your looking for in a dose and learn what each one does. Estimative Index (ei) is probably the easiest all things considered. This comes back to consistency, you don't want to be chasing levels.

This one is critical but key- Make light your limiting factor. In a perfect situation you can have all the co2 in the world and all the fertalizer you can imagine but if you have the correct amount of light for your plants you shouldn't get algae because the plants will outcompete. That's why dosing your tank heavy with ei is ok, you remove the excess weekly so it doesn't build up and the plants have anything they could ever want.

Patience makes all the difference. You won't change something today and see it tomorrow. You're after stability not flexibility. It took 2 weeks to get that way, it will probably take 2-4 to get back where you want it. Change one thing at a time, do it for a week, then decide what's next. Don't be an idiot like me and change light brightness, duration, and fert mix in one day. It's taken months to come back, and tons of algae.

Enjoy what you're doing. It's tough sometimes but don't get impatient and upset about it. It's just as much about the journey. I guess that's a bit more philosophical but it works for me ...sometimes... Lol

I could be way off on some of those, I'm still pretty new, but if someone told me that a year ago it would have saved me a lot of money and stress. Good luck bud.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Well I can say I've been dealing with this for the last 18 months myself. Over my countless hours and months Ive spent days reading, watching, talking, sitting on forums. I can tell you a few things I wish I had done differently and a few things I think I've learned.

Don't try too hard to control your water. If you are in a softener as I was you might have to use RO. With RO you need to reconstitute it by adding minerals using a product like equilibrium. Outside of that situation stay away from buffers and pH down/up ect. Stock and plants can adjust, except for a few outlier situations.

Consistency is key. Seriously. Pick a schedule and stick too it. This is as much for your sanity as the plants, but plants appreciate it too. Pick a fertilization schedule and stick with it.

Purchase dry ferts and mix them yourself. Use rotalla butterfly calculator and try to understand it. Figure out what your looking for in a dose and learn what each one does. Estimative Index (ei) is probably the easiest all things considered. This comes back to consistency, you don't want to be chasing levels.

This one is critical but key- Make light your limiting factor. In a perfect situation you can have all the co2 in the world and all the fertalizer you can imagine but if you have the correct amount of light for your plants you shouldn't get algae because the plants will outcompete. That's why dosing your tank heavy with ei is ok, you remove the excess weekly so it doesn't build up and the plants have anything they could ever want.

Patience makes all the difference. You won't change something today and see it tomorrow. You're after stability not flexibility. It took 2 weeks to get that way, it will probably take 2-4 to get back where you want it. Change one thing at a time, do it for a week, then decide what's next. Don't be an idiot like me and change light brightness, duration, and fert mix in one day. It's taken months to come back, and tons of algae.

Enjoy what you're doing. It's tough sometimes but don't get impatient and upset about it. It's just as much about the journey. I guess that's a bit more philosophical but it works for me ...sometimes... Lol

I could be way off on some of those, I'm still pretty new, but if someone told me that a year ago it would have saved me a lot of money and stress. Good luck bud.
Ok. The consensus seems to be that I should try the dry ferts approach. Can anybody point me in the right direction for a good place to start with this?
....I have....jugs of flourish and flourish trace...can I just not use them anymore? Should I supplement them with something at first?
Also, how important is it to do a weekly water change? I've been doing a change once a month or every other month. I have a pretty low bio load.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 03:32 AM
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Quote:


Ok. The consensus seems to be that I should try the dry ferts approach. Can anybody point me in the right direction for a good place to start with this?
....I have....jugs of flourish and flourish trace...can I just not use them anymore? Should I supplement them with something at first?
Also, how important is it to do a weekly water change? I've been doing a change once a month or every other month. I have a pretty low bio load.
OK, to start with I'd go over to nilocg. He has everything you need to get your ferts going. Great pices, great guides, great ready to go kits. Look for the EI starter kit, add an additional iron supplement if you want (I got ferrous gluconate but don't use it because I can't dose it correctly with my job). Mix the dry ferts in 2 bottles (one for macro, one for trace) according to the guide in their website. Then dose according to the schedule you want.

It's just tough to say you should stick with seachem because the math involved can be confusing and you have no real control. If you want more nitrates and less phosphates, well youre out of luck with seachem. You get more of both or less of both. In addition to this the "trace" minerals you get with a CSMB mixture is more complete than a flourish trace (I think, I could be wrong on that). Unfortunately I was in the same boat. Bought a bottle of literally every fert seachem offered. I ended up dumping 3 bottles to mix my own ferts. The rest, aside from Excel(which you can use in conjunction with dry ferts), are just sitting there. I'm keeping them in case someone I know starts a low tech tank, but in reality they'll probably end up down the sink so I can use the sweet sweet 500ml bottles.

As far as water change, just do it. I only have 7 fish and a few inverts in my 20 gallon with a huge filter and I still do it. It's as much about refreshing the system and removing excess ferts as it is about removing waste. If you go for a waalstad setup you really don't have too, but that's a completely different approach. In addition to removing waste, you're also adding minor trace elements from the tap water. Just generally balancing the tank. It's possible to ease up on water changes if you dose sparingly, but as you bought a co2 injection system, I imagine you want growth. It's hard to maintain a high tech and low maintenance tank, especially without very fine control over the ferts.

It's a pain to switch over, but trust me it's worth it long term. It's a pain to do weekly changes and do some reading about these chemicals, but it's as much about stability and keeping yourself sane as it is about removing the "bad".

These are just the things that have worked for me. They might not be exactly what suits you best. Hell I could be outright wrong with some of this info, I'm still learning. I think we are all though and that's what makes this hobby fun. I made the change about 6 months ago and I'm still riding the struggle bus, but I'm making progress. I'm sure you will start heading the right direction and find what works for you too!

New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC

Last edited by dcchillin; 10-09-2018 at 06:41 AM.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-09-2018, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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thanks! ^_^

Awesome! thank you @dcchillin! ^_^
What do you think about this one?
Thrive 500ml | Premium Liquid Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics
I'm concerned because my tank is in my office and im only there twice a week, with colleagues who are able to dose on 3 other days....so 5 days a week. The nilocg site suggests dosing 6 days a week with the EI method. this mix seems like it might be better for my situation?....I think?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 02:23 PM
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When dosing, I use the EI method and mod it to fit each tank after watching what is going on there. EI is an estimate! That means don't get too hung up on dosing it exactly right or exactly on schedules that are posted. There is likely to be a perfect amount for you to eat and the same is true of plants but that doesn't mean it is perfect for all people nor all plants. The best thing I find about using dry ferts is that I can add more nitrate if wanted without adding a bunch of other stuff not wanted. Do it six days if it fits and five if it fits better!
Calculate using this:
Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator
Get the ferts here:
Dry Fertilizer | Aquarium Fertilizer
Try it, adapt as needed after looking at plant nutrient deficiency charts/pictures from online and come back with lots of questions!
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-10-2018, 11:13 PM
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Awesome! thank you @dcchillin! ^_^
What do you think about this one?
Thrive 500ml | Premium Liquid Fertilizer | NilocG Aquatics
I'm concerned because my tank is in my office and im only there twice a week, with colleagues who are able to dose on 3 other days....so 5 days a week. The nilocg site suggests dosing 6 days a week with the EI method. this mix seems like it might be better for my situation?....I think?
No [email protected]PlantedRich said it best!

New to the hobby, feel like ive really found something that can be a life long passion. I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to pass along any advice, and look forwards to being able to do that same. -DC
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