Maybe too much CO2? How do I tell...? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe too much CO2? How do I tell...?

So I have a CO2 reactor and a pH Controller. I degassed my RODI water for several days, one full day with an airstone. My degassed pH was 6.8 so I figured I would target 5.8 with my CO2 drop as a start. My pH controller worked perfectly keeping the pH right at 5.8 all-day.

I never really paid much attention to where my fish hung out but it looks like a lot of them are hanging out near the top of the tank. Not sure if this means that I have too much CO2 or just that a lot of them like hanging out near the top of the tank!





What is the best way to tell...? Trial and Error or ???
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 01:57 AM
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Honestly, trial and error is kinda the right answer. But, yes, when my bows spend too much time up at the surface then it means I am pushing too much CO2.
I guess my first question would be "how adjusted are your bows to CO2?". Generally speaking, when I introduce a new fish to my tank they seem to head to the surface quickly where the other fish act normally. Assuming you have tomorrow off, you could try 5.9 on the controller and see what happens.

Another option, one that I use, is add an air stone to your setup. The trick is to figure out the timing. i.e., CO2 on at 10am - bows act normally. By 12:00 noon, you are getting close to the 1.0 drop - bows are getting closer to the surface. Turn on the air stone (but don't change the ph meter). Observe what happens.
In my case, the bows are happy again and the tank ph holds just above my ph cutoff.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 02:47 AM
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I keep in mind that we are changing the water when we add CO2. That means I only change it very slowly, going form no CO2 to fully enriched, I may take as much as a week. Going from 6.8 to 5.8 in a day is really much like doing a 100 % water change and my fish would react very badly. I would very quickly do a 25-50 % water change and set the controller to only drop it something much less. Since I am in no hurry when adding CO2 and I can fully see and control it, I often only go down .2 each day andwatch for a point where they begin to act off, at which point I stop until they are normal again.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 04:03 AM
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But then there are people who run their co2 on timers like me who see the full ph point drop down and up each day. As was explained to me the ph drop through co2 injection is a 'false' drop and my fish handle it with no problems if I don't do it to aggressively. I drop from 7.0 to 6.1 in two hrs everyday right before lights on. Where it stays between 6.0-6.2 for the lights on period and then slowly drifts back up to 7.0 in about 10-12Hrs during lights off. I've been considering pushing it another point or two but have been hesitant to change as things are going well as it is.

For myself I dialled in my co2 injection rate so that I drop about .9ph in two hours, that final .1 takes about another HR to achieve. Having reached this sweet spot of injection I now see zero signs of stress/effect on my fish. If I drop much faster I'll start to see surface action and stress. This has been my limited experience so far with injected co2 in my setup.

I know from your other threads you are battling bba. For me when I was fiddling with my co2 near daily to dial it in I had some bba creeping in. Now that my co2 is stable it's pretty much going away on its own(never was to much). I had treated some with h2o2 but haven't for about a week and noticed some that I had never treated is turning red(dying) of its own accord. The only place it's really persisting at all in my tank is on some driftwood that I'm hesitant to treat in anyway as it has Christmas moss on it. I also only run a 7hr photoperiod.

45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 12:58 PM
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You mentioned degassing the RODI water. Is this the remineralized water you add to the tank, or just straight 0TDS RODI?

I would degas the tank water to get the pH personally when using RODI. Jnot sure if you add anything to raise the kH. Just another thought.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 02:28 PM
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When you say they hang out near the top, do you mean going right up to the surface? Or hanging out in the upper third of the tank? Big difference. Most fish have a preferred area to hang out in....lower third, middle, or top. Not sure with the fish you have, but it's possible that's just the natural behavior.

In general, a drop from 6.8 to 5.8 should not have any affect on the fish. Unless of course you are low on oxygen. Do you have any surface agitation? CO2 and O2 are not mutually exclusive and you want high levels of each.

The other possibility is that your degassed value is off for some reason. Are you dosing anything to add KH? If so, how much and what is the KH?


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all, this is great information. So after the CO2 shut off and the airstones came on, they did seem to drift down a little bit. This morning my pH is at 6 and they are not hanging out at the top (yet) so I will just keep an eye on them and try and adjust from there!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 05:43 PM
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It makes more sense to me to degass your actual tank water because that's the water your fish are habitating. Your Ph in the tank
could be different than your reconstituted RO water. I'm going to do that comparison myself.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 06:41 PM
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This is a guideline that a lot of people successfully push well beyond, but should give you a starting point. With my water, a 1 point pH drop would indicate 105 PPM, which I reached last week and possibly pushed past. This proved fatal to all fauna except pond snails. Prudent to take it slow when upping CO2.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
When you say they hang out near the top, do you mean going right up to the surface? Or hanging out in the upper third of the tank? Big difference. Most fish have a preferred area to hang out in....lower third, middle, or top. Not sure with the fish you have, but it's possible that's just the natural behavior.

In general, a drop from 6.8 to 5.8 should not have any affect on the fish. Unless of course you are low on oxygen. Do you have any surface agitation? CO2 and O2 are not mutually exclusive and you want high levels of each.

The other possibility is that your degassed value is off for some reason. Are you dosing anything to add KH? If so, how much and what is the KH?
I would say that the fish that are near the top are in the top 1/3 of the tank, but many of them are still all over the bottom of the tank as well. It is not all of the fish, just some of them.

The only surface agitation I have (such as it is) is my canister filter outputs I have pointed slightly up so that I get some surface agitation, but other than my airstones that come on after lights out, that is all that I am doing.

I tested the degassed value of my RODI water as I think you suggested. But @mboley suggested that maybe I was supposed to be checking the degassed value of my tank water instead? I checked the pH before dosing with Equilibrium to 3dGH, I am doing nothing at all for gKH. I suppose the pH could be off as a result, but I am using a fully calibrated pH probe to test, so I don't really think it was off unless I should have tested after I dosed for GH.

In doing more reading, it says that if they do not have enough O2 that they would "gasp for air at the surface" or "hang out near filter outputs" and I do not see any of this at all. I think I might just be paranoid!

I just did a water change two days ago so I will do my measurements and see where we are at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mboley View Post
It makes more sense to me to degass your actual tank water because that's the water your fish are habitating. Your Ph in the tank
could be different than your reconstituted RO water. I'm going to do that comparison myself.
I will do this as well and see what my numbers look like pH wise after degassing some tank water...

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-11-2020 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
In doing more reading, it says that if they do not have enough O2 that they would "gasp for air at the surface" or "hang out near filter outputs" and I do not see any of this at all. I think I might just be paranoid!
Yeah I'm thinking that may be the case.

As to O2, a good surface ripple is good to have at all times.

Like I said, unless I am missing something your pH drop does not seem to be near dangerous.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Yeah I'm thinking that may be the case.

As to O2, a good surface ripple is good to have at all times.

Like I said, unless I am missing something your pH drop does not seem to be near dangerous.
This pH controller was a great idea, thank you for pointing me in that direction. It keeps the pH right on track the entire day, you can clearly see where it cycles on and off to hold the pH:



In any event, I watched the fish on and off all day and they were all over the tank, top and bottom so I think I will leave it set where it is for now. I am rotating back into flying first thing AM so I will be away from the tank until Friday, so we will see what happens with the settings the way they are for a bit. Let them settle down and see how everyone does. I did end up losing a fish over the whole thing, he just ended up dying....
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-10-2020, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
This pH controller was a great idea, thank you for pointing me in that direction. It keeps the pH right on track the entire day, you can clearly see where it cycles on and off to hold the pH:







In any event, I watched the fish on and off all day and they were all over the tank, top and bottom so I think I will leave it set where it is for now. I am rotating back into flying first thing AM so I will be away from the tank until Friday, so we will see what happens with the settings the way they are for a bit. Let them settle down and see how everyone does. I did end up losing a fish over the whole thing, he just ended up dying....


Which ph controller are you using that has this GUI? Is the controller part of an apex system or does it have an app?


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Which ph controller are you using that has this GUI? Is the controller part of an apex system or does it have an app?


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I actually have three different pH probes on my tank. The first one is on my Seneye Reef monitoring system (pH, Temp, NO4, NO3, O2 Potential (Calc only), PAR, Lux & Kelvin), the second one is on my pH controller (pH only) and the last one is the one I am actually using for the graphing using this:





It is from Atlas Scientific, it is their WiFi Hydroponics kit that talks to thingspeak (free) out of the box. I then wrote a little python script to pull the data into my locally hosted influx database (free) and from there I graph it using grafana (free). This unit measures pH, conductivity (EC) and temperature. I have long used Atlas probes in my pool control projects and I wanted to have EC in near-real-time (~15-second readings) so I went ahead and added this to my system.

This is my current dashboard:




I am more than happy to share more of how I have it all set up if you are interested.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-11-2020, 01:24 PM
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Maybe too much CO2? How do I tell...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
I actually have three different pH probes on my tank. The first one is on my Seneye Reef monitoring system (pH, Temp, NO4, NO3, O2 Potential (Calc only), PAR, Lux & Kelvin), the second one is on my pH controller (pH only) and the last one is the one I am actually using for the graphing using this:











It is from Atlas Scientific, it is their WiFi Hydroponics kit that talks to thingspeak (free) out of the box. I then wrote a little python script to pull the data into my locally hosted influx database (free) and from there I graph it using grafana (free). This unit measures pH, conductivity (EC) and temperature. I have long used Atlas probes in my pool control projects and I wanted to have EC in near-real-time (~15-second readings) so I went ahead and added this to my system.



This is my current dashboard:









I am more than happy to share more of how I have it all set up if you are interested.


Wow thatís an impressive set up! Iím guessing you put all the probes in a sump. I was interested, however thatís definitely outside my capability or at least beyond what Iím willing to learn at the moment. I was really hoping someone just made a unit that interfaces with its own app and is pretty simple.


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