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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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newbie question

sorry if this is repeating a thread I haven't found yet...BUT.

I just got my automattic CO2 system from DRSFosterSmith, and have it all set up under my 75 gallon tank. I have a 48" dual satellite and a light of unknown wattage that has a flora Gro Bulb in it. Also it has 12 of 15 bags of EcoComplete substrait in it 4 solid inches that slopes up at the back to 5 or more. I have a 300 watt heater and an emperor 400 biowheel. All is new and I am putting not just plants but...Discus in the tank. They ar currently in a 30 gallon and have out grown the tank. So I want to move them but am setting up the 75 for while befor I add the fish. I will also be adding cardnals and soem rummy nose tetras...

My question is this. I have everything set up and moved Two plants from the 30 gallon tank (as test subjects) I want the Ph to lower with the CO2 down to 6.00 with a 0.10 buffer on each side of that. I plan on adding a regular airstone to the other plug of the automatic controller. My problem is that I have been adding co2 for three days now and the PH is now going UP steadily. Is this normal for now???? I thought about adding fish to respire...but hate to cycle with fish. I was hoping to get all the plants in first and let them grow a while and make sure the water is stable...before adding teh discus tha I love. But Whats wrong withte set up if the CO2 Is raising the PH? Any and all help will be appreciated.

thanks

dave
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 12:11 PM
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It's possible that you have some of the bad bags of Eco-Complete. Have you tested the kH and gH? Were there white chunks in the Eco? Was there a milky fluid in the bags?
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 12:26 PM
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Dave,
I doubt you will ever reach you're goal with an "Emperor 400 biowheel", way to much surface aggitation.
Not a good filter for a planted tank, you are going to need a Canister filter, and a lot more plant's.

Craig

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 06:26 PM
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If you want to lower the pH with the CO2 you should know the amount of buffer or kH in the water. If you are using just tap water you may have too much kH in the water.

Test the kH of the water you are using and if it is very high I suggest that you dilute it with some RO water. I diluted mine until I have a kH of about 6ppms and you will be better able to stablize the pH with the CO2.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is the kH/CO2 ratio. You can over dose CO2. This is only used as as example: you have 15kH and your pH is 6.8 your CO2 will be 71ppms. Now when you lower the kH to 5 and your pH is 6.8 you will have 24ppms CO2. This is only an example and the numbers are not accurate. It is just an indicator to show what happens when you have high kH and lower kH. The more kH you have the more CO2 you will use to lower the pH. Check out the various charts that will show the kH/pH ratio and the amount of CO2.

Here is a good article on kH/pH/CO2 and at the bottom there is a calculator and chart to determine the amount of CO2 you have per the amount of kH and pH.

http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm


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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the replys. I was worried about the emperor. But I'll have to fix that one later. And as far as water the whole tank is with RO/DI water. I need a Kh test kit I think but I have noticed that it is STILL going up. It got down to 6.4 and then is now up and climing past 6.8. And that is just not good for the discuss. this is my first co2 injection...so I'm gonna be learning the whole way. It's a lot different from the Reef tanks that I'm used to. I did lower the flow rate through the Co2 reaction chamber...but that doesn't seem to help. and No the eco was a good batch...no cloudy and no white spots. Keep the suggestions comming.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 07:51 PM
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If you are using only RO water that may well be your problem. You need a buffer/stablizer, kH in order for you to control the pH. Ro water is stripped of all kH thus you have no stabilizer.

My suggestion is to drain about 1/3 of your RO water and replace it with some regular tap water. This will add kH and gH into the sytem giving it some biffer/stabilizers.

Get that kH test kit today they are not very expensive and test the kH before the water change and record it. Then drain out 1/3 of your water and add tap water. After oh say a few hours, you want to have the RO and tap water mix up very well, retest for kH. It should show some improvement.

Continue to drain and add tap water until you have approx 5-6kH. Now you can add the CO2 and adjust the pH/Co2 levels according to the chart I posted previously. And the fluctuations should stop. You will have a Buffer to stablize pH.

You will not be able to achieve a stable pH with out kH as a buffer or stablizer. You need to get kH into the water.


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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-12-2005, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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ok so what about the clorine and stuff from the tap water...sould I still use a declorinator? I see what your saying and yes it makes sence...but isn't there something that I can add to the RO water to make it more buffered. Also what about water changes...and top offs. Should I use RO or tap or a mixture. In my reefs I would never get tap water NEAR the tank and now you just told me to add 1/3 of the tank...WOW. This is going to take some getting used to. isn't most of the stuff in tap water dangerous to the fish I wish to eventually add?

Again thanks for the help...I really appreciate it. Also is KH known as General Hardness? I have a test for that...but never use it. Just asking.

dave
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 12:02 AM
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A plant tank is upside down and backword's from a reef, nitrAte's=good, tapwater=good etc...
cut the RO with tap, if you have say a KH6, and you want KH3 cut RO w/tap 50/50..
that is, if you are needing to use RO water in the first place, most tapwater in the US is good for plant's.
if you use straight RO, and want to keep any kind of critter's in the tank, then you will have to add back to the RO, that's running uphill...to much unnecessary work.

Craig

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 12:36 AM
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With my 40 gal tank I started several years ago with tap water only. Then wanted to lower the pH which was over 9. I used so many products that claimed to lower pH, and they did but for just a day or so.

Reading and experiementing I realized I needed to deal with the pH problem by lowering the pH buffer,kH. So here I go again. I purchaced one of those tall tube filters that converts your tap water into Softwater thinking it will lower the kH. But all it did was to lower the gH and not the kH.

Reading and experimenting once again, I decided to add water with out any gH and pH and stripped of most nutrients that plants enjoy. I used RO water.
Finally!!! I was able to lower the pH buffer, kH. I was able to control the pH by adding just enough CO2 to maintain a pH of 6.8!!! My goal was realized!!!

So during the next few weeks and months I just did my water changes with RO water and checked the pH kH and gH to make sure those three things were in check.

Then came the realization of an imbalanced tank algae of all kinds!!! I did not need plants!!! I had enough algae to give away!!! But no takers..LOL!!!

Fortunately for this forum and reading other sites to rid your tank of algae was not too easy but I was able to see light at the end of the green tunnel.

I started to add some purchased pre mixed ferts. I used the older line of Kent Freshwater plant supplements which in a short time I was able to recover from an imbalanced tank and started to enjoy my long hard earned hobby.

As time went by so did the algae. I have not had any algae except for a nasty GreenWater outbreak that I blame on not maintaining a good dosing schedule.

The price of the Kent products, even though they did very well for me were getting to expensive. I now use all products from Greg Watson, CSM+B,KNO3, K2S04 and PO4.

So back to the RO water you will can use it in your water changes as I do and on occasions add tap water to maintain kH. But I have not done that for at least 6 months. My kH is stable at 6kH as well as my gH at 6gH.


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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
ok so what about the clorine and stuff from the tap water...sould I still use a declorinator? I see what your saying and yes it makes sence...but isn't there something that I can add to the RO water to make it more buffered. Also what about water changes...and top offs. Should I use RO or tap or a mixture. In my reefs I would never get tap water NEAR the tank and now you just told me to add 1/3 of the tank...WOW. This is going to take some getting used to. isn't most of the stuff in tap water dangerous to the fish I wish to eventually add?

Again thanks for the help...I really appreciate it. Also is KH known as General Hardness? I have a test for that...but never use it. Just asking.

dave
I have found that there is something in my tank that maintains the kH and gH I need and I have not added any tap water for at least 6 months. As far as your initial set up you will not be adding fish for at least a few days. By that time the clorine will be dissipated from the water.

kH is not the same as General Hardness.


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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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ok this is starting to make more sence. I was more worried about adding tap water to top off...and water changes...but even then I can just let it sit for a day or two. do both of you still think I should ditch the emperor filter...is surface aggitation really not wanted in the planted tank...I worry about a flim developing on the surface. I don't want to skim it like a reef tank but still I DO want gas exchange to exist. So does the emperor reallt have to go already?

this may be my last question for a while. hehe
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 02:21 AM
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What are you're tap water reading's?
PH
KH
GH
N03
P04

What do you have for fert's? mAcro and mIcro, trace.

If you want a "fish tank" with blue gravel and a sunken ship w/pretty bubble's the Emperor is the right choice,

You have a nice tank with pressurized C02, good light etc, the biowheel is going to work against you, with 3wpg, you are going to need a good filter,I would recommend a screaming green Eheim and a crash course in plant health and their need's.

Craig

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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 06:27 AM
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The surface agitation you will get with a bio-wheel filter is counter productive in a planted tank. Especially if you are pumping in CO2 which is what you should be doing.

IMO the brand of filter you get is dependent of the $$$ you want to spend since the main reason for a filter in a planted tank is to circulate the water. You will not want to use any charcoal type medium. Only use sponges and the ceramic type medium. This will give you a great place for all the benifical bacteria to grow. Canister filters are best for this.

Find a filter that has several removable trays or sections where you can easily remove them for cleaning and of course adding the sponges and ceramic medium. Also your filter should be able to cycle your complete water column at least 3 times an hour.

It should have an inlet nozzle that you can place toward the bottom of the tank. I have a spraybar that I drilled with extra holes to decrease the flow pressure comming out of the bar. By placing it about 2 inches from the substrate you will prevent surface agitation which will cause your CO2 to dissapate.

I have noticed that if I get surface scum it is easy to remove by increasing the amount of CO2 slightly. I have not had that problem since I have converted from a DIY CO2 system to a pressurized system. But it did appear just last week and I found out that my ceramic diffuser was clogged preventing the CO2 to be released into the water. After a good cleaning with hot water and some clorine, and a good rinsing, I replaced the diffuser and restarted the CO2. The surface scum was gone the next day.

One other thing Keep learning - ask questions - and don't stop!!!


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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Ok some quick questions then.

1. Is a diffuser better...I just have the reaction chamber...which seems to keep getting full of air...Co2 I'm guessing?

2. Is a Rena canister filter a good choice? I have experience with these and like them personally plus I have access to them locally, and the parts would be changeable between the otherone I have.

3. Should I run the Co2 through the canister filter or is the set up that I got (a seprate unit altogether) ok to use in a 75 gallon system?

4. With the lighting tha I have...I think almost 3 watts per gallon...should I keep the glass top? Is that something that planted tanks need or is it just a fish percaution? ( I like it on here just because I would hate to loose a discuss that I raised from the size of a nickel)

and thats all for now. Again I will bea asking more about ferts and supplements...after I get the set up finished.

again thanks a lot guy...this forum is already a great help...I feel so backwards (like I'm cheating on my reef)
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-13-2005, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
Ok some quick questions then.

1. Is a diffuser better...I just have the reaction chamber...which seems to keep getting full of air...Co2 I'm guessing?
I use a diffuser because I have a small 40 gal and it is suffient for my size of tank. Most with larger tanks do use reaction chambers. Is this the type that is inline with your inlet hose from your filter to your tank? Or what make is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
2. Is a Rena canister filter a good choice? I have experience with these and like them personally plus I have access to them locally, and the parts would be changeable between the otherone I have.
I use a Fluval cannister filter. Many say they are not worth it, but mine works great for me. When looking for a filter the best critera is to look at the gallons per hour (GPH). You want to have a large enough filter to circulate your water a the minimum of 3 times per hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
3. Should I run the Co2 through the canister filter or is the set up that I got (a seprate unit altogether) ok to use in a 75 gallon system?
If I was to retrofit my CO2 system I would run an inline reactor. Basically its a PVC pipe filled with som bioballs or other coarse filter media that will help break up the CO2 bubbles and dissapate it into the water. You will have on one side an inlet tube that will carry water from the filter into the reactor. On the other side the outlet tube where the water will exit and to into the tank. Then on the side close to the inlet tube side you will have a small nipple to attach your CO2 line that will have a check valve to prevent the water going into your CO2 equipment. Just a basic discription. You can find several designs in the DIY I believe or ask around some have instructions on how to make them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
4. With the lighting tha I have...I think almost 3 watts per gallon...should I keep the glass top? Is that something that planted tanks need or is it just a fish percaution? ( I like it on here just because I would hate to loose a discuss that I raised from the size of a nickel)
I don't have glass on my tank. I heard it impedes the light getting to your plants. Water condisation builds up on it as well as other light obstructing things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveonbass
and thats all for now. Again I will bea asking more about ferts and supplements...after I get the set up finished.

again thanks a lot guy...this forum is already a great help...I feel so backwards (like I'm cheating on my reef)
Best to ask and learn all you can so when you get to the point of fertilization you have a very good idea of what is happening. A word of caution-- I am not the one to ask about that estimative mumbo jumbo that many love to do. I am the kind of aquascaper that needs to know exactly what I have in my tank. I always benefit from a good test kit. Guess who uses test kits too the creator of the estimative dosing mumbo jumbo. I asked and he admits he also likes to use test kits!!! (not posted to cause controversy. Just an honest statement.!!!)


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