CO2 micro-bubble/fish health issue - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-22-2006, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 micro-bubble/fish health issue

Has anyone heard that the now popular method of CO2 addition via micro-bubbles has potential health risks to fish?

Apparently the CO2 bubbles can "stick" to their gills. Is there any truth in this? If so would there be a problem?

Personally I don't believe it myself. With many gurus using this method I'm sure we would have heard by now.

Any comments greatly appreciated - the more detail the better. Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-22-2006, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George
Apparently the CO2 bubbles can "stick" to their gills. Is there any truth in this?
Truth to what? That the bubble stick to their gills? Or that the bubbles are CO2 ? LOL (I thought that was a debate to still be settled!)

On a serious note, I've been running that way for quite a while now (6 months, maybe?), and I haven't noticed any increase in fish deaths.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-22-2006, 07:07 PM
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I can say from my experience that the CO2 mist method will kill a lot of fish if you don't monitor the level of dissolved CO2 in the water. But, if the level is within reason the fish don't seem to care - at least mine haven't yet cared.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-22-2006, 07:18 PM
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In the labs I've worked at, we gas rats with CO2 before dissection. They seem to knock out within seconds, but we keep them under for half an hour just to be sure.

One time I was scooping the last bits of dry ice out of a deep container. I stuck my head in to reach the bottom, inhaled just a little bit (regular breathing), and felt the world slip by immediately. I was able to pull myself out and had to sit down for a bit to recover. I was in a locked lab by myself and am sure that if I took any deeper of a breath, that I would have fallen in and that the person who found me would have to make a call to the morgue.

I know that rats and humans are not fish, but it sure works fast when you want to suffocate something. I can't imagine it to be good for the fish to have surges of CO2 dissolve into their gills via bubbles.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy
I can say from my experience that the CO2 mist method will kill a lot of fish if you don't monitor the level of dissolved CO2 in the water. But, if the level is within reason the fish don't seem to care - at least mine haven't yet cared.
Actually, I do now recall having some gasping problems when I first put in my ceramic diffuser. But, per the forum, I was looking out for it. After adjusting the CO2 bpm, things did settle down. Forgot about that one.

Good call!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 02:19 PM
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This is a very interesting thread, I have a few questions:

When using a PH controller so that the dissolved CO2 won't reach lethal dosis, is it save to use micro-bubbles with fish? Would anyone who got casualties from using micro-bubbles and know for sure it wasn't because of the too high dissolved CO2 (>40mg/L), share their experiences here? If there's no casualties, do they behave differently than before you've used the method? Like, won't they lay eggs anymore, don't eat well anymore, colours of the fish are starting to get "flat" (excuse my english) etc. ?

For the people who think it doesn't have any effect on fish, what are your arguments to believe this? I don't mean to attack people who are using this method with fish in their aquariums, I am just curious. In time, if there are lots of people using this method without any visible negative effect on the fish, I too will believe that this method does not have any impact on the fish. Even though the "CO2 bubbles on gills" is a scary thought.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 03:29 PM
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I'm not a fish expert, as my time in the hobby has been more focused on the plants, though I do keep 40 or so in my 46g. I'm currently running with an SMS controller and a glass-sintered (sp?) stone which produces a mist in front of my vertical spray bar. When I first when to the diffuser, I left off the controller. Within an hour of switching to this method (as opposed to an external reactor), I noticed fish losing color, labored breathing (excessive gill movement) and reduced movement. I slowed down the bubble count, swished my hand in the tank water for a minute or so and within 15 minutes, they were acting normal (in my eyes). I ran that way for a couple weeks, and (again) due to a flaky CO2 regulator setup, I eventually put the controller back in place.

Though I still don't see the wonderful 'pearling' that most see when running the diffuser method, I do see little bubbles swirling around my tank when the CO2 is 'misting' into the water column. To my untrained eye, the fish continue to behave as they did prior to the change.

FWIW, my fish consist of Cardinal and Rummynose tetras, Harlequin rasboras, Bushy-nosed plec, assorted corys and loaches, and Otos. Sorry, I don't know the latin names on any of these fellas.

One data point,
Brian.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-10-2006, 08:33 PM
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Thanks Brian,

I added Amano shrimps recently and they behave (as far as I can tell) normally. No deaths, and they still change their "skin". I will post here when something strange is happening.

I use the method as safely as I can since I got the shrimps. This is my routine:
I turn off my CO2 at night (with timer ofcourse ), it comes on 4 hours before lights go on (on reactor, no micro bubbles) to make sure it's 30 mg/L when lights are on. When I come home, ~2 hours in the light period, I let the CO2 go to the powerhead-inlet (instead to the reactor) to create micro bubbles. So any correction from the controller to keep the CO2 at 30 mg/L, is done via micro bubbles, while going from no-CO2-at-night to 30 mg/L is done via the reactor. The only hassle is to turn a switch at night so that the CO2 goes to the reactor, and when I come home to turn the switch again to get micro bubbles. This can be solved with another magnetswitch, but I'll see if the method is worth another 100$ to spend.
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