New to C02, Looking For Advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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New to C02, Looking For Advice

Hello all, I recently decided to make the jump to high tech and purchased a GLA regulator and have been running Co2 on my 125 gallon for about three weeks now. I'm always researching the questions I have but have a couple I thought I'd throw out to maybe get a fresh perspective.

125 gallon 72x18x22
2x Eheim 2217
1 row Finnex Fugeray
2x Hydor inline 200 watt heater
3x Hydor 450 powerhead
GLA Ultimate regulator with atomic inline diffuser
Ferts- changed from PPS Pro to EI two weeks ago when I added more plants, root tabs.
Tank has been running since April

Co2 -
Started with 4-5 bubbles per second, on one hour before lights on, off one hour before lights off. Took the co2 indicator 4 - 5 hours to get to lime green, I know there is a lag but this seems too long. This week I changed the timer to turn on 2 hours before lights on and pushed it to 6 bubbles per second, not seeing a big difference in the time it takes on the indicator. Did this partly because I felt I needed more co2 in general but also I believe I'm starting to see what I believe is BBA, short black fur forming around leaf edges however nothing on rocks, wood, substrate or glass yet. Research says up the co2. With my size tank what BBS and timer schedule would you have? I'm tempted to start running the co2 4-5 hours before lights on.

Also, I'm confident about the advice I received in setting the co2 system up but am wondering if it is optimal for my tank set up. The co2 is injected from the right outlet in the corner so I'm concerned if the 2 eheims along with the powerheads are enough to move the co2 from one side of the tank to the other and fully saturate the water column. I feel like I get decent circulation throughout the tank yet while really liking the Eheim 2217's the turnover isn't the greatest. My temptation is to add a third filter and inject the co2 in the middle. Does the right side appear healthier than the left? Some yes, some plants no, probably too early to tell. I don't want to jump into that temptation yet because what I've learned with my other hobby, woodworking, the joy of buying a new tool isn't always necessary. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sorry for the long post, try and make them short and sweet yet they turn into paragraphs. Appreciate the responses.

Last edited by joeyNdana; 08-22-2013 at 01:58 AM. Reason: Add info
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 02:17 AM
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The bubbles per second measure is pretty meaningless as the actual co2 saturation depends on multiple factors.

Without having more details, I would certainly open that baby up: I am used to a stream of bubbles.

Additional approach would be to have multiple points of co2 injection into the tank.

Do take it in steps and watch your fish.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 01:34 PM
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+1 on more CO2. Bubbles aren't accurate. I'm using 5-6 bps on a 50 gal. For larger tanks, you should observe tank inhabitants, pearling etc. If livestock is not distressed, turning up is a good idea.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 02:10 PM
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Your tank is big. And forget your bubble rate. Most likely the amount of CO2 you need to inject would be more than what you can count with the bubble counter. I stop using the drop checker with my newly converted dirt tank because it takes too long for it to change color. It isn't accurate if you need more than 30ppm of CO2. 25ppm to 60ppm is all yellow.

Read Tom's thread there about using the KH and Ph reference chart to gauge your CO2.

Basically, by knowing how much of the ph value is dropping, you can determine how much CO2 you have, based on your KH level. What you should do is to measure the ph in the morning or at night when the CO2 is off for 4 to 5 hours. You need the CO2 in the water to degas first. Ideally, you can pour some tank water into a cup and to let it sit for 24 hours to 48 hours. Measure the ph of the sample. Then, you measure the ph again in the tank water after the CO2 comes on for 2 hours. Your current ph in the tank water should be lower. How low? Depends on how much CO2 you have been injecting.

If your KH is 3 and the ph value before CO2 comes on is 7.2 and then it drops to 6.3 after 2 hours with the CO2 running, you have approximately 45ppm of CO2 level.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 02:30 PM
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This is why I use a pH controller and calibrate to standardized pH buffers bi-weekly, clean the pH probe, etc. Testing KH & pH colormetrically is quite variable and presents a lot of test error...way more than using a good probe. You can at least create a standard (known) KH solution to titrate against to calibrate your test kit. For example folks make up a 4dKH standard solution for use in the drop checkers. Well do the same and titrate it so you know the color change in your measurement is as accurate as your eye can detect. The more accurate you can be in testing the easier it will be to set up you system.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate the responses so far. I'm going to try the KH PH reference and see what I come up with.

I do get some pearling on the glosso I planted, only other pearling I have seen are on some Anubia and Java leaves, and those leaves have the algae forming on the edges, the pearls sit right on top of the algae.

I have various Rotala, hygro, bacopa, java fern, anubias, vals. My limnophila aromatica and star grass seem to be doing real well, no algae and are starting to grow. The limnophila lost its purple color but the leaves are a nice yellow to green. What plants should I expect to pearl?

Any thoughts on my filtration? Should two Eheim 2217 be fine for a 125?
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