Why won't my CO2 levels go up?! Please HELP! - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 68
Why won't my CO2 levels go up?! Please HELP!

Hey guys, I'm really hoping some of you can help me out here. Here's what Im working with:

-55g
-3.75wpg bright kits
-AC500 filter
-No fish currently in tank
-Plants: 4 Amazon swords, some java moss, corkscrew val, anacharis, some -new glosso clumps
-Substrate: large rock and flourite
-Pressurized CO2 w/ CO2 "proof" tubing (the expensive stuff)
-Homemade diffusor (rio200 pushing water through a gravel vac tube with bubbles in it - i.e. http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...ad.php?t=50905 )
-Tap water is about pH 7.8

First I tried having the CO2 diffused by my AC500 impeller (I just stuck the hose in the intake). I knew this wasn't optimal, but CO2 is cheap and I figured it was worth a shot a first. That didn't produce much at all in the way of CO2 ppm, so I decided to go ahead and build the diffusor I have now. I cannot seem to get my C02 levels above like 3-5ppm. Here are some numbers for you:



June 12 - Tanked CO2 had been going into tank for about 24 hours, into the AC500 intake to be dissolved by the impeller. Very high bubbles per second (was trying to saturate the tank).

pH: 7.4 (as you can see, my water pH dropped .4 from the usual 7.8)
GH: 3 degrees
KH: 5 degrees (6ppm CO2)
PO4: 1.5
NO3: 20
NO2: 0
NH4: 2.0 (I have no freakin idea where this Ammo came from... my snails?!)



June 23 - I have had homemade diffusor up and running for about 24 hours now. Running between 1-2 bubbles per second. I had a big algae issue going on (prolly due to PO4 levels), with very hazy water - tried a 3.5 day full blackout, which didn't clear up the hazy water (usually does) - so I did a 90% water change today.

Before water change:

pH: 7.4 (pH was obviously holding steady)
GH: 4 degrees
KH: 3 degrees (3.5ppm CO2)
PO4: .5
NO3: 7
NO2: 0
NH4: 0 (Something obviously took care of my ammonia mystery)

After 90% water change:

pH: 7.9 (ouch - pH jump :\ )
GH: 3 degrees
KH: 5 degrees (1.8ppm CO2)
PO4: .5 (Im starting to think something is wrong with my Phosphate test kit - it never looks very colored like the match card)
NO3: 0



So... big pH jumps... not good. Very little CO2 in my water, after spending insane amounts of money on this ... very not good. And glosso not growing fast ... worst of all! OK, so thats a side note and Im impatient... but I seriously pray every night before bed that my glosso will not die and actually spread :p But anyways, I could really use input from yall, as it seems I will never achieve 20ppm CO2. I've spent a lot of money and I am gettin no results... this is so depressing. What should I do to increase my CO2 to that level?!

Also, 2 more quick questions, then I'll sit back and hope for replies:

1) I notice a fair number of small bubbles coming out of the bottom of my reactor tube that just float right up to the top... should i put some sponge in the bottom? Will this help diffuse more gas?

2) My tank has a ton of tiny bubbles all in it... seriously it looks like my tank is filled with Sprite. There are tons of bubbles coming from all of my plants, and even on the side of my tank. There are tons of bubbles especially after a big water change. Is this normal? What am I seeing... oxygen?
cgcaver is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 10:35 AM
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 29
If your pumping loads of gas into the tank and the plants are pearling it (your last point #2) sounds like your pH test kit or probe might be on the fritz. I'd be checking that out. Alternatively your kH test might be way understated. What are you testing with?
TechoJunkie is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 11:37 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
BiscuitSlayer's Avatar
 
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Acworth, GA
Posts: 2,365
When I do a large water change, I get the bubbles that you are mentioning. I don't think that it is pearling. I think it might just be air that gets trapped by the plants when the water level drops below the tips of the plants.

I use a filter sponge on my CO2 reactor to help keep CO2 from escaping.
BiscuitSlayer is offline  
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 12:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
The bubbles after a water change are the dissolved gases from the new water. It's not pearling.

I never had good luck with a gravel vac type reactor. Had one on my 29 gallon tank with pressurized CO2. Could not get over about 15 ppm. Then I built a DIY external reactor and had to cut the bubble rate in half and got around 30-35 ppm. Your mileage may vary.

Also the AC500 could be part of the problem. They cause a lot of water disturbance which allows the CO2 to escape.

My advice would be to go to EBay and get a nice Jebo cannister filter, build an external reactor and see if that helps.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 68
Im testing with a brand new :
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/...tegory_id=3081


I dont think it's pearling either, but I'll watch for that over the next few days. I keep my water level very high, so there is minimal surface agitation from the AC500. If the DIY tube reactor just wont work out... is there a cheap diffusor you guys would recommend?
cgcaver is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 07:22 PM
Guest
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 30
I use the same test kits...they're good...but sometimes you can get a bad one...as far as your setup is concerned, since you already have the tank, pressurized CO2, and good lighting, why don't you just round out the package with a good canister filter and external reactor? HOB filters are not good b/c as Rex said, they cause too much surface movement. With pressurized CO2, there should never be an issue with not getting enough...it's there, you just need to set everything up to accommodate it.

good luck.
Kyle V is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-24-2005, 07:57 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
jart's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: NS Canada
Posts: 1,401
Rex is no doubt right, but I seem to recall reading you may have success decreasing the CO2 loss with the HOB by affixing some foam or the like to the outlow of the filter to reduce the surface agitation. I think I read that here somewhere; perhaps if you did a search for Aquaclear you may have some luck.

Of course this approach may not solve your problem fully if the problem is your reactor.
jart is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-25-2005, 12:14 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
Just a wild thought. Try a Hagen ladder. See if it raises the CO2 levels. They are actually quite an efficient little method of getting CO2 into a water column.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2005, 01:59 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (66/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 673
Smile Re:CO2

Just because you've got CO2 going into the tank does not mean its being absorbed especially with that much water disturbance. Try the ladder first to see. You'll know when your plants are pearling. You'll see bubbles at a constant rate one after another. Regards, JC.
actioncia is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 68
Is there any way to get a Hagen ladder thing without buying their whole CO2 kit? I'd like to give it a try if you guys think it will make that much of a difference.

I have no airstone in my reactor. I keep my tank slam full of water so my AC500 doesnt make much surface agitation. I turned down my light from 3.75wpg to 1.75wpg so my plants wouldnt "eat themselves." I do not use any type of water buffers at all. My substate is flourite with Arkansas river rock (I tested it with vinegar before I put them in my tank - no bubbles when vinegar was poured on them). I even increased my bubbles per second drastically, and all that seemed to do was create a big air pocket a the top of my reactor. I think this answers all the questions ppl had.

Readings from my tank still indicate that Im only hitting about 6ppm CO2. This is so depressing... To make matters worse, I now have terrible "green water" algae, so Im doing a 48 hour black out (all I can think of is I over dosed some nutrients after i did the big water change). Im starting to lose all hope


OK, here's an update:

6/26/05 Sunday

pH - 7.4
NH4 - 0
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0
PO4 - .25
GH - 3
KH - 5



Someone from one of the forums asked for this info, so let me post it:

My Tap Water:

pH - 8.2 (yeh its like a rift lake coming outta my sink :p )
NH4 - 0
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0
PO4 - .5
GH - 2
KH - 5



I put 4 cups of water from my tank into a bowl and let it sit, so I could get a stable equilibrium reading from my tank water. Here's what I got:


After 24 hours of sitting:

pH - 7.6
GH - 2
KH - 6

After 72 hours of sitting:

pH - 7.8
GH - 2
KH - 6

I cant remember who asked for this info... but theres the numbers. Im not sure what this tells you, but Im praying you have answers for me Hope this helps. If anyone can please tell me what is going on, and why my CO2 levels in my tank wont go up, I would greatly appreciate it.
cgcaver is offline  
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 03:33 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
You can get the Hagen ladder separately from most any of the mail order houses.

Test the river rock with a stronger acid than vinegar. Vinegar is a very poor choice for testing the reactivity of a carbonate containing substance.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 68
Well I'll be a son of a monkey's uncle. Looks like the mystery has been solved! Steve, I owe you big time for your input on this one

I went and bought a Low-Range pH kit and it turns out my pH is actually around 6.8-7.0 LOL so... that means im getting 18-28ppm CO2. YES!!!

Now my only quandary is how I'm going to raise my pH. 6.8 sounds awful low for Mbuna... Would you guys recommend using crushed coral? Is that something I would have to add once, or periodically? Is there a better alternative? Also, would that increase the GH of my water? If not, what could I add to increase hardness, since Mbuna like hard water?
cgcaver is offline  
post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 01:18 AM
Algae Eater
 
bigstick120's Avatar
 
PTrader: (249/100%)
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,182
in my planted cichlid tanks I use epsom salts to keep the gh up, I have only recently added CO2 and their is no adverse effect to the cichlids yet. My one tank has a ph of 6.8 and the other is around 7.0 both with kh of 5-6. My understanding is that they are more concerned with hardness and whatnot and not the PH, others say that adjusting the PH with CO2 doesnt really matter. So I dont worry about it and neither should you. My one tank with CO2 has about 300.00 worth of cichlids in it. This was a major concern to me as well. As long as its stable and consistent it wont matter


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bigstick120 is offline  
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 02:53 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
Epson salts alone are only part of the gH. You should also add some form of calcium. Something like calcium carbonate and then add baking soda for the kH.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2005, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 68
so do or don't add anything...? some ppl are telling me to just let the Mbuna (when i get them) adjust to the water and leave it alone without any additives to alter pH/gH - is that good advice?
cgcaver is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome