Results of CO2 indicator are VERY different from kh/ph co2 calculator - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by KTLady View Post
Oh, and here is what the drop checker looks like this morning... I think thatís green, right? FYI, still no pearling on the plants.

I donít recall how much CO2 was in my 40 gallon. So long ago! I donít think I ever used more than 2 2-liter Bottles. And I think I just used a white stone diffuser! So very low tech.

Do you think the finnex 24/7 is providing enough light?

Yes the 1.0 ph drop usually indicates good co2. I would say the Finnex 24/7 light is medium light on a 55G. What plants are you trying to get to pearl. What are you dosing?


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post #32 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 05:57 PM
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Sorry to disagree but I can tell you that I don't think that is true, from years and years of observation. Take a tank that is co2-enriched (might work without co2 as well) and cut some of your stems in half. What happens? You see a stream of o2 escaping through the cut tissue. Did the tank all of a sudden become o2 saturated? I realize this isn't "true pearling" but it's the same idea. Plants visibly pearl when they are releasing o2 to quickly for it to be absorbed into the water. I do a lot of tanks with minimal plant mass, yet I have massive pearling. I coulr put one riccia covered stone in my tank or one rotala stem and get pearling.
I generally agree with your argument but would word it differently.

In order to see bubbles the rate of dissolution just needs to be slower than the rate of release of bubbles. It is governed by the partial pressure of the gas above the water, which is affected by Temperature, depth, and the Water/Gas surface properties. Releasing oxygen all at once by cutting open a plant you will likely see bubbles.

Oxygen when released from a plant will eventually rise to the surface(unless trapped) because it is lighter than water, at the same time it will start to dissolve. It dissolves more at higher pressures and lower temperatures. I would expect to see more pearling in deeper tanks due to less efficient gas exchange and a greater gradient of pressures. I would also expect to see more pearling in warmer tanks and larger bubbles in the middle/upper parts of the tank.

The notion that O2 saturation levels are static and you must exceed them to see pearling is a myth. O2 saturation scales with pressure which scales with depth and is not static.


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post #33 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Here’s the drop checker, sorry. Btw, I’m really not so fixated on pearling. It’s more that right now, my plants just turn into mush. Like, the leaves become transparent and they break down into mush. So I’m hoping to see some pearling as an indicator that something has improved bc im not seeing the plants improve yet! And I’m sure that might take a while so I’m looking for some sign that things are better. Bc my plants are still mush.

I don’t really think my rigged up CO2 reactor is clever. I just couldn’t figure out another way to diffuse enough CO2 to make the plants healthy. Please tell me another way to diffuse CO2 that’s not too expensive! I’m happy to get all suggestions!

So is the finnex 24/7 considered medium light no matter how you set it? Please tell me what lights to buy to get a good carpet going! My 40 gallon had a beautiful pearling carpet. I’m attaching a picture of my old 40 gallon. It’s from so long ago and it’s the only picture I have of it!
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post #34 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Here are my sad plants turning to mush...
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post #35 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Well I suppose the Anubia isn’t turning to mush, it’s just not growing and growing algae
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post #36 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 06:43 PM
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The sword looks like it could be suffering a deficiency unrelated to co2. Are you feeding it with root tabs or dosing the water column?

The Java fern is melting because it looks like the rhizomes are buried. You want to attach it to wood or rock.


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post #37 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 06:57 PM
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Please answer a few questions, so we can better help you. I'm thinking it's not just CO2 that's off. Typically, most plants will grow without CO2 but you'll have algae problems. There are exceptions to the rule, but I can't think of a single plant that will straight up melt without CO2.

What kind of filtration do you have on the tank?
What temperature do you have it set at?
What is your dosing regimen?
What substrate are you using?
What is your water change frequency?
How densely is the tank stocked?
What do your Nitrates / Phosphates look like?
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post #38 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 07:03 PM
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I generally agree with your argument but would word it differently.

In order to see bubbles the rate of dissolution just needs to be slower than the rate of release of bubbles. It is governed by the partial pressure of the gas above the water, which is affected by Temperature, depth, and the Water/Gas surface properties. Releasing oxygen all at once by cutting open a plant you will likely see bubbles.

Oxygen when released from a plant will eventually rise to the surface(unless trapped) because it is lighter than water, at the same time it will start to dissolve. It dissolves more at higher pressures and lower temperatures. I would expect to see more pearling in deeper tanks due to less efficient gas exchange and a greater gradient of pressures. I would also expect to see more pearling in warmer tanks and larger bubbles in the middle/upper parts of the tank.

The notion that O2 saturation levels are static and you must exceed them to see pearling is a myth. O2 saturation scales with pressure which scales with depth and is not static.
I think we're on the same page and I'm sure many of the principles you laid out have an effect on the process. The main point of my post is that pearling is based on the how quickly the plant releases oxygen not how oxygenated the water is. I don't think any of those will have a large effect within the hobby since we are not talking large differences between most setups. The plants are pushed to a point where you will see pearling in most tanks regardless of depth, temp and/or plant mass.

BTW: My 3 footer is only 10" deep and the temp is currently 70F, I don't use heaters. I think using heaters to get temps up to 75-78 is a myth for most tanks, but that's another thread.

Wherever the case, pearling plants make nice macro shots:

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post #39 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: fertilizer...I’m not using root tabs, just dosing the water with liquid fertilizer. Should I get root tabs?

Ok I’m going to dig up the java fern and attach it to the wood ASAP

Answers to Jello’s questions below...

Re filter: it’s a top fin silent stream hanging filter.... it came as part of a package deal with the 55 gallon tank.

Re temp: 78 pre-set heater

Dosing regimen: 3/4 capful of seachem Liquid fertilizer 2x per week (but this is a BRAND new tank, only had it going for a 1.5 months so my regimen is loose as I’m figuring out what’s what.)

Substrate is all Eco Complete

Stock: I have 3 guppies, 2 platys, one molly, one big shrimp (2 inches), 2 snails and about 6 tiny shrimp.

Plants— I bought a small amount of a LOT of different kinds of plants thinking that I would see what was doing the best and buy more of that. But since everything is dying, I’m trying not to buy any more until I figure out the problem. I have a few bunches of tiny grasses, some java moss, one anubia, an Amazon sword, a java fern, a few stems of Ludwigia, a tiger lily and some Val.

Nitrates and phosphates: nitrates are 0. Phosphates... I actually don’t think I have a test for phosphates... should I??

Backstory— This tank was started mid-September. My first fish came with anchor worm so I was doing a lot of water changes as I battled that. I treated it with this stuff from the UK that’s not supposed to harm the plants at all. Last water change was about 10% 5 days ago. I had been messing with the tank and fish so much and I was trying to give the fish a break. I was going to do another 10% change today. I use dechlorinated tap water. I’m fairly certain that all the meds are gone now. I’m not sure if I can ever buy another fish bc I have heard that the anchor worm is never going away and I don’t want any more fish to get sick. I pulled off every adult with tweezers and I haven’t seen any anchor worms for weeks. But I’m sure they are still there. I sort of gave up on treating the anchor worm and now I’m just trying to focus on the plants.

Thank you so much for all your help! I’m definitely making progress! Unfortunately I have forgotten so many of the principles that I knew the last time I was doing this... it was so long ago! I jumped in so fast thinking that it would all come back to me ...but it’s not!
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post #40 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 10:48 PM
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Re: fertilizer...Iím not using root tabs, just dosing the water with liquid fertilizer. Should I get root tabs?

Ok Iím going to dig up the java fern and attach it to the wood ASAP

Answers to Jelloís questions below...

Re filter: itís a top fin silent stream hanging filter.... it came as part of a package deal with the 55 gallon tank.

Re temp: 78 pre-set heater

Dosing regimen: 3/4 capful of seachem Liquid fertilizer 2x per week (but this is a BRAND new tank, only had it going for a 1.5 months so my regimen is loose as Iím figuring out whatís what.)

Substrate is all Eco Complete

Stock: I have 3 guppies, 2 platys, one molly, one big shrimp (2 inches), 2 snails and about 6 tiny shrimp.

Plantsó I bought a small amount of a LOT of different kinds of plants thinking that I would see what was doing the best and buy more of that. But since everything is dying, Iím trying not to buy any more until I figure out the problem. I have a few bunches of tiny grasses, some java moss, one anubia, an Amazon sword, a java fern, a few stems of Ludwigia, a tiger lily and some Val.

Nitrates and phosphates: nitrates are 0. Phosphates... I actually donít think I have a test for phosphates... should I??

Backstoryó This tank was started mid-September. My first fish came with anchor worm so I was doing a lot of water changes as I battled that. I treated it with this stuff from the UK thatís not supposed to harm the plants at all. Last water change was about 10% 5 days ago. I had been messing with the tank and fish so much and I was trying to give the fish a break. I was going to do another 10% change today. I use dechlorinated tap water. Iím fairly certain that all the meds are gone now. Iím not sure if I can ever buy another fish bc I have heard that the anchor worm is never going away and I donít want any more fish to get sick. I pulled off every adult with tweezers and I havenít seen any anchor worms for weeks. But Iím sure they are still there. I sort of gave up on treating the anchor worm and now Iím just trying to focus on the plants.

Thank you so much for all your help! Iím definitely making progress! Unfortunately I have forgotten so many of the principles that I knew the last time I was doing this... it was so long ago! I jumped in so fast thinking that it would all come back to me ...but itís not!

When you say Seachem liquid fertilizer, are you talking about Flourish? If so, it's extremely mild and likely why your plants seem to be suffering from deficiencies.

In many cases, if water column dosing is good enough, root tabs aren't required even in inert substrate, but in your case I'd definitely recommend root tabs. You have many options in this category, Seachem, Thrive, and Aquarium Co-Op offerings are all good choices. Others on this forum opt for the DIY route of using osmocote inside gel caps, but I prefer to get the aquarium-specific stuff.

Insofar as dosing the water column, I'd recommend getting a more "powerful" all-in-one liquid fertilizer, since that seems to be your comfort zone. For that I'd recommend NilocG's Thrive or Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Green. That would be a good place to start while you figure things out and decide if you want to dive deeper and start dry dosing, which I'd strongly recommend since you're going the co2 route already.


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post #41 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 11:10 PM
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I think we're on the same page and I'm sure many of the principles you laid out have an effect on the process. The main point of my post is that pearling is based on the how quickly the plant releases oxygen not how oxygenated the water is. I don't think any of those will have a large effect within the hobby since we are not talking large differences between most setups. The plants are pushed to a point where you will see pearling in most tanks regardless of depth, temp and/or plant mass.

BTW: My 3 footer is only 10" deep and the temp is currently 70F, I don't use heaters. I think using heaters to get temps up to 75-78 is a myth for most tanks, but that's another thread.

Wherever the case, pearling plants make nice macro shots:

Aquatic plants do increase the dissolved oxygen content of a body of water though, and once the water is saturated oxygen will no longer dissolve and form bubbles, which are what we call pearling.

https://plants-archive.ifas.ufl.edu/...solved-oxygen/
https://extension.usu.edu/waterquali...issolvedoxygen

It also seems that pearling happens more at the end of the photoperiod than at the beginning. This could be explained by oxygen saturation, but I don't see any reason photosynthesis rates would be higher later in the photoperiod given steady CO2 and light levels.

Apologies for the thread hijack by the way!


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post #42 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 11:21 PM
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Aquatic plants do increase the dissolved oxygen content of a body of water though, and once the water is saturated oxygen will no longer dissolve and form bubbles, which are what we call pearling.

https://plants-archive.ifas.ufl.edu/...solved-oxygen/
https://extension.usu.edu/waterquali...issolvedoxygen

It also seems that pearling happens more at the end of the photoperiod than at the beginning. This could be explained by oxygen saturation, but I don't see any reason photosynthesis rates would be higher later in the photoperiod given steady CO2 and light levels.

Apologies for the thread hijack by the way!
Not saying plants don't increase oxygen in water, but it has very little to do with a plant pearling. How would you explain a single stem in a tank pearling. Are you saying the one stem is saturating the tank with oxygen? Doesn't make any sense to me.

Also if plants pearled only when the water became saturated, all the plants would pearl at the point, assuming their photosynthesising. Certain plants pearl because they are producing oxygen at different rates and the ones that produce it quickly aren't fully absorbed. Similar to what happens with the cut stem. The tank didn't all of a sudden, become saturated because i cut a stem.


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post #43 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-02-2020, 11:30 PM
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I'm betting your melting is due to a lack of fertilizers. Check your bottle of Seachem Liquid Fertilizers, Im betting it's Seachem Flourish. If that's the case, you're not dosing any Nitrogen, Phosphates, or Potassium. I would check out Nilocg.com and pick up one of the options in their Thrive line.

Your plants need Nitrogen, Phosphates, and Potassium (Macronutrients or "Macros") and a whole host of micronutrients (Micros). Seachem Flourish provides Micros, but no Macros.

If I was a betting man, once you get a proper fertilization regimen going, those plants will bounce right back.

Ps. Once you start fertilizing properly, make sure to trim any leaves that are too far gone. If there's no real substance to the leaf, and it's basically just mush, then cut it and remove it from the tank. You don't want dying leaves to be a source of algae going forward.

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post #44 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 12:09 AM
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Not saying plants don't increase oxygen in water, but it has very little to do with a plant pearling. How would you explain a single stem in a tank pearling. Are you saying the one stem is saturating the tank with oxygen? Doesn't make any sense to me.

Also if plants pearled only when the water became saturated, all the plants would pearl at the point, assuming their photosynthesising. Certain plants pearl because they are producing oxygen at different rates and the ones that produce it quickly aren't fully absorbed. Similar to what happens with the cut stem. The tank didn't all of a sudden, become saturated because i cut a stem.
It's not necessarily one stem that saturates the water, but one stem can super-saturate water. In a closed system, water will naturally tend toward oxygen saturation (having the same concentration of O2 in the water as there is in the surrounding air) due to diffusion. This happens faster when the water is mixed, but will happen over time no matter what. If you placed a single stem in such an environment you would expect it to produce more oxygen than existed in the system at equilibrium, resulting in pearling. That single stem isn't taking the water from 0% to 110% oxygen content, it is taking the water from 100% to 100.5% oxygen content. So in a way you're right that the single stem IS super-saturating the water.

https://cdn.ioos.noaa.gov/media/2017...saturation.pdf

That isn't to say that photosynthetic rates don't have an effect on the visual impact of pearling. You've probably noticed a lot more pearling and bigger bubbles on faster growing plants than on slower growing plants, and that is what I would attribute to different photosynthetic rates. But it's also very common to see super fast growing plants with no pearling. Take Greggz' tank for example. You rarely see pearling in his tank because he has so many fish in there respiring (consuming O2), so the water never becomes saturated.

OP's tank is unlikely to see any pearling BECAUSE of the rotting plants. Bacteria breaking down dying plants also consume oxygen, so with any fish in there they are keeping DO levels below the saturation point.

As for the bubbles released from damaged plants, that's probably a mixture of CO2 and O2 depending on which gaseous transport pathways are disrupted. That would be a case of gases being released faster than they can be dissolved.


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post #45 of 67 (permalink) Old 11-03-2020, 12:44 AM
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It's not necessarily one stem that saturates the water, but one stem can super-saturate water. In a closed system, water will naturally tend toward oxygen saturation (having the same concentration of O2 in the water as there is in the surrounding air) due to diffusion. This happens faster when the water is mixed, but will happen over time no matter what. If you placed a single stem in such an environment you would expect it to produce more oxygen than existed in the system at equilibrium, resulting in pearling. That single stem isn't taking the water from 0% to 110% oxygen content, it is taking the water from 100% to 100.5% oxygen content. So in a way you're right that the single stem IS super-saturating the water.

https://cdn.ioos.noaa.gov/media/2017...saturation.pdf

That isn't to say that photosynthetic rates don't have an effect on the visual impact of pearling. You've probably noticed a lot more pearling and bigger bubbles on faster growing plants than on slower growing plants, and that is what I would attribute to different photosynthetic rates. But it's also very common to see super fast growing plants with no pearling. Take Greggz' tank for example. You rarely see pearling in his tank because he has so many fish in there respiring (consuming O2), so the water never becomes saturated.

OP's tank is unlikely to see any pearling BECAUSE of the rotting plants. Bacteria breaking down dying plants also consume oxygen, so with any fish in there they are keeping DO levels below the saturation point.

As for the bubbles released from damaged plants, that's probably a mixture of CO2 and O2 depending on which gaseous transport pathways are disrupted. That would be a case of gases being released faster than they can be dissolved.
I think your making a ton of assumptions. I find it implausible that a single stem or a single strand of riccia would supersaturate a 4 foot tank.

Pretty sure @Greggz has stated that he can force pearling by upping co2. If you don't see pearling in slower growing plants then in effect there is no pearling as far as the hobbyist is concerned. It's not about whether there is technically pearling for me, it's a matter of whether you see it.

If it was simply the o2 saturation of the tank, and the o2 can't be absorbed any more ALL plants would pearl. Pearling is an individual species thing. I don't think all plants produce the same amount of o2 within the same environment or at the same rate. Also if all closed-systems tended to go to oxygen saturation then you would expect to see pearling in tanks without co2 injection on a regular basis which just doesn't happen in the hobby.
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