CO2 and surface agitation - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 and surface agitation

I was browsing through Tropical Paradise book looking at those magnificent pictures of tanks. I find most of them are using canister filter with return that creates surface turbulence to one end of the tank.

I have been told to make as less surface agitation as possible to keep CO2 in, which seems to contradict with those tanks in the pics.

I have a 10G that was having surface scum buildup problem since day 1. For the past few weeks, I took out HOB whisper filter that pours water down to the surface. For the last few weeks, my CO2 level has noticeably gone up, and I was able to maintain pH of 6.6, kH of 5 degrees.

Last night, I decided to put the whisper back on. After just 12 hours, My pH has risen back up to 7.1. Aaaaaaargh~!

My question:

1. Oily surface bothers me. Should I keep whisper on?
2. Would installing a canister, having the return water creating mid-tank flow help out with surface scum problem?
3. For those that has surface agitation but are able to keep CO2 in, what did you do to achieve this?
4. When I am not using whisper, My CO2 level with the equation comes out to be 37ppm with pH 6.6 KH 5. At this level, I noticed cardinals breathing rapidly. I assume it has to do with high level of CO2 in the tank. Should I bring the CO2 level down to below 30ppm?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:06 AM
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If you have surface scum, you've eliminated all surface turbulance and you're getting maximum CO2 efficiency. From posts by others, you can simply use a paper towel (one with no additives) to soak up the scum or you can purchase some black mollies.

If you don't like the scum, but still want your CO2 ppm around 30, then increase your bubble count. You use more CO2, but don't have to mess with cleaning the scum.

Gasping fish and high CO2 levels are still a bit unclear in my mind. When I recently change my spray bar orientation, my CO2 levels shot up in the 50+ range. I never saw the fish at the top, and thus didn't even realize it for a number of days. So, is there really a correlation between fish gasping and high CO2 levels? If so, where is that magical level? Or, as with everything else, does it depend on a "150" other variables?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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With the paper towel method, I have problem with it in my setup. I have a piece of bogwood that stick out to the surface, which I secured 2 orchid on it. When I am using paper towel, it often end up as pushing the oily scums to the corner that I can hardly reach, and the whold paper towel thing became quite inefficient.

Yes, black mollies. I have been adviced before. I didn't get them yet because I dislike their color and shape. (am I the only one that feels they are like pigs?) But if it comes down to that mollies is my only option to keep scums away without agitating the surface......Well, I guess I will have to get 1 for my tank eventually.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:29 AM
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Surface aggitation doesn't mean keeping CO2 in is impossible, but that CO2 is released easier. I slightly aggitate the surface during the day and can keep CO2 levels up. At night I agitate the surface more. I imagine all you need is a higher bubble count to make it work.

If the fish are acting stressed b/c of higher CO2, I would certainly lower it. It can also be low oxygen levels without your whisper and all that surface film. Observing fish and plants should take priority over numbers.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:30 AM
 
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run a cheap surface skimmer at night like I do. HTere about 20 bucks. Just connect it to your filter intake.

I also run a whisper 60 on my planted tank since I desided to go discus for extra o2. My PH went to 7.2 but, I messed with my bubble flow and I got it to stay around 6.7 all the time.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 01:40 PM
 
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Ok, seems like im joining the HUGE bubble rate crew and going for surface aggitation.

Does anyone worry about all the C02 going into their rooms, i hope i dont sufficate myself.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultramouse
Does anyone worry about all the C02 going into their rooms, i hope i dont sufficate myself.
Not my area of specialty, but I'd suspect you get exposed to a higher concentration of CO2 escaping from a freshly opened 2 liter soda bottle then you'd get near the top of your tank. Even with a higher bubble rate, a 5 lb CO2 tank should last several months. I would be surprised to hear that those levels of CO2, especially considering the air volume in the room, would be noticeable.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danmhippo
Yes, black mollies. I have been adviced before. I didn't get them yet because I dislike their color and shape. (am I the only one that feels they are like pigs?) But if it comes down to that mollies is my only option to keep scums away without agitating the surface......Well, I guess I will have to get 1 for my tank eventually.
Black mollies work well for me eliminating surface scums. Yes they are pig, but it's still fun watching them, and they do eat some algae so that's a plus.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 04:28 PM
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Just to add my 2cents on surface film- something I battled forever- one other option out is an ADA LILY PIPE outflow. It is ideal for both night time aeration and complete annihilation of surface film. It provides a really nice current/flow in the tank as well. A really unique item that was designed to deal with the many issues discussed here- Amano has been through all these trials also! I know they can be a bit pricey, though, but it is a unique and specific fix when other suggestions don't seem to work or aren't applicable (I had the same issue with the "look" of black mollies in certain layouts).
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-03-2005, 11:06 PM
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I think that the best thing for you to do is find what is causing the surface scum. IMHO the better the water quality the less surface scum your going to get.

Depending on how much you feed, you might want to try feeding less.

It might be the type of food you are using, try changing the food.

How often do you perform a water change? Try changing it more often.

How much water do you change during water changes? Try changing more.

Ron
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:04 AM
 
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I have never had any surface scum at all in my tank.

I have a magnum 350 canister filter using it's standard return. There is a tad of surface agitation, but not much.

I have a pair of lyretail back mollies. I like them. No downside to them that I see. I do see them eating air at the surface, so maybe they're eating the scum before it becomes something that you can see?

Louey
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Food is definetly a possibility. I feed only flakes for my fish. No more then what they can finish within 2 minutes. All I have is about 20 cardinals and a mated pair of betta. For these small bellied fish, I don't feed more than one pinch full of flakes. I don't feed frozen as they are mostly water, not much protein, and I plan on introducing homemade live food (daphnia) when whether starts warming up sometimes next month.

I do not know of the composition of the surface film. But the only 2 possibilities are airborn dust and fat from the food. I do 50% WC weekly.

I pulled out the whisper last night again, and plan to throw a molly into the tank to see if that will help.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-04-2005, 03:20 PM
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You could try Platys they look alittle different and are really similay from what I understand.
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