still totally confused and discouraged about my CO2 - fish should be dead! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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still totally confused and discouraged about my CO2 - fish should be dead!

According to my test kits (AP liquid), I have a KH between 4 and 5 and a pH between 6.2 and 6.4. Tap water PH reads much darker than 7.6 (that's as high as it goes). I do large weekly water changes (about 60%). I'm using 4 bps.

Shouldn't my fish be dead? They act fine and there's only a little pearling. Even that pearling could just be CO2 mist trapped under the leaves. I'm totally confused and starting to really feel discouraged. Even stranger, I remember when I used DIY CO2 that I had the same KH and a pH only a little over 6.0 (according to the test). The fish were fine then too and NO pearling!!! Strange. I'm totally confused and starting to really feel discouraged.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2008, 11:41 PM
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Do you have anything else in the tank that could effect the pH?
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 12:05 AM
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4 bps ! Isnt that a little high. Id cut back on the CO2 . Lookm in that chart of the Kh and Ph for CO2 in ppm. You shouldnt be any more than 25-30ppm of CO2 . No ,a pH of 6.2 wont kill the fish but a rapid change to it might depending on the specie. Id try more no more than 1 bubble per second.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 03:45 AM
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You know, that's a LOT of CO2 going in. The only thing I can imagine is that your reaction process isn't getting as much diffusion as you'd like.

I'm only doing about 1bps into an Eheim. I get crazy pearling and I almost killed everything the day after I cleaned the filter and my flow rate increased significantly. I feel like it's got to be your reactor setup.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loachlady5 View Post
Shouldn't my fish be dead? They act fine and there's only a little pearling. Even that pearling could just be CO2 mist trapped under the leaves. I'm totally confused and starting to really feel discouraged. Even stranger, I remember when I used DIY CO2 that I had the same KH and a pH only a little over 6.0 (according to the test). The fish were fine then too and NO pearling!!! Strange. I'm totally confused and starting to really feel discouraged.
Don't get discouraged loachlady. The main thing here is that your fish are not dead and I haven't heard you complain that your fish are acting strange or stressed out. One thing that you and I have talked about is the diffusion method that you are using and the HOB filters. When I was running the same setup as you I didn't have much pearling either. The main reason in my case was because I wasn't getting the CO2 dissolved that well. Another thing that will effect pearling rate is the fishload in your tank. The higher it is, the less pearling there will be. You shouldn't base your success off of pearling alone. The biggest indicators are plant growth, algae formation, and fish health. If all three of these things are good shape then I wouldn't necessarily trust the test kit.

Like Rex asked, do you think there might be something in the tank affecting Ph? Do you have peat or anything else that you can think of in there?

Edit: You need to test your PH after the CO2 hasn't run for a while and after the CO2 has been running for the majority of your photoperiod. Obviously, you should have two completely different results with the PH being higher when the CO2 hasn't been running. Post your results from this.

One thing that might be worth while is to take a water sample into a fish store that you trust and ask them to run the tests. This might help verify or nullify your readings. You could be worried over nothing.

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Originally Posted by bdement View Post
You know, that's a LOT of CO2 going in. The only thing I can imagine is that your reaction process isn't getting as much diffusion as you'd like.

I'm only doing about 1bps into an Eheim. I get crazy pearling and I almost killed everything the day after I cleaned the filter and my flow rate increased significantly. I feel like it's got to be your reactor setup.
bdement, what size is your tank? Just curious. Loachlady's is a 75 gallon. She is running one bubble per second more than me and I have a 29 gallon. Maybe my fish should be twice as dead. Not even sure what my Kh hardness is, and to be honest I'm not too concerned about it.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 08:02 AM
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Try a drop checker to get a more accurate measure of CO2 levels as opposed to the kH/pH tables.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 08:07 AM
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I thought of a drop checker, but I thought that the results might be skewed from that. Loachlady is misting all of her CO2. If small bubbles of CO2 make their way into the drop checker bell, won't that effect the DC solution quicker than someone that is dissolving CO2 into the water column without all of the microbubbles?

It would seem to me that the misting would cause higher concentrations of CO2 to get into the drop checker which wouldn't necessarily reflect appropriate levels of CO2.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rex Grigg View Post
Do you have anything else in the tank that could effect the pH?
I don't think so. No wood or peat. Substrate is eco complete mixed with black colorquartz (should be inert).
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
Another thing that will effect pearling rate is the fishload in your tank. The higher it is, the less pearling there will be. You shouldn't base your success off of pearling alone.
I would say I have an extremely high fish load (5 clown loaches, 3 horseface loaches, one dojo loach, 2 polka dot loaches, 4 corys, 1 twig catfish, 1 bristlenose pleco, 13 black skirt tetras, 4 black neons, 3 glass barbs and 1 ghost shrimp). I will be giving away the neons and glass barbs shortly. I didn't think about the fish load. I will test this morning b/f the CO2 turns on.

I just now took a PH sample (5:30 am CST). It reads b/w 7.0 and 7.2, closer to 7.0. Here's my cycle:

11am - CO2 starts
12 pm - lights on
8pm - CO2 starts, large air stone starts
9pm - lights off

The best reading would be taken right before 11 am, but I won't be home. I took a water sample and will let it sit for 24 hrs to reach equilibrium. Then I will test that.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bdement View Post
I feel like it's got to be your reactor setup.
I think the diffusion method isn't the best, but not the worst either. The CO2 is directly fed into the impeller, and the mist goes everywhere. The only thing that concerns me is that the very end of the spray bar seems to "burp" occasionally, letting a lot of CO2 pop up to the surface and be lost. That hole may be bigger. I did not use a drill, but hot nails. I have more PVC pipe and could do it again w/ a drill. It wouldn't take long.

There could also be a leak, I guess. How can I check for a leak?
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 12:35 PM
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4 BPS is not a lot on a 75 gallon, especially if you are getting a big ol CO2 belch.

the pH, KH, CO2 relationship & chart will not be accurate if you you have buffers in your water that are other than carbonate based (like high phosphate levels, or if you used pH adjusters).

the best way to check for a leak is a bit of dish soap (or bubble soap) at the joints. (I've heard windex also works)

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 04:25 PM
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Also, you seem to be running HOB's, which, biowheel or not, generate a bit of surface agitation. Not sure how much of an effect that has, but I thought I'd point that out.

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 07:49 PM
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2008, 08:05 PM
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Get a drop checker, it's the only way to be sure about CO2 ppm.

Forget about your tap pH in relation to your tank's pH. The tap contains things that effect pH, which will precipitate out after a day or so in an open container, the pH it settles to is closer to the actual pH of your tap. After being added to the tank, even without CO2 injection, pH often settles even more due to a carbonic acids built up in the tank, add CO2 and it settles more. For instance, my tap is pH8.2, after 24-48hrs in an open container, it settles at 7.2, added to the tank without CO2 injection it settles to <7, turn on CO2 and it settles to 6.4~6.6. Once you understand this process in your own household, then the pH/KH chart can be useful, or else a drop checker is the only way to go.

Also, if you're one to worry about this, it is more important to make sure the source water going into the tank has the same KH and GH levels and temp of the tank rather than the same pH, due to the precipitating compounds in the tap. People not understanding these properties is what the makers of snake oils like PH-Up and PH-Down are counting on to be able to steal your money and trick you into creating a bigger problem in your tank, fooling you into buying more of their product to try and fix the "problem". Ph can constantly change from properties that the fish are not concerned with, they want consistent KH, GH and temp. The pH drop from CO2 only concerns them if CO2 levels are too high, then it's the CO2 ppm that is the problem, not the pH. The long term pH drop from a buildup of carbonic acids only effects wild caught hard water fish, which are not suited for acidic water, the issue here is the acidity of the water. PH can be a guide to figuring out other important parameters but is not the sole parameter that need s to be adjusted, if it is too low or too high, figure out what is causing it and address that rather than concentrating on the pH.


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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2008, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazcrash69 View Post
4 BPS is not a lot on a 75 gallon, especially if you are getting a big ol CO2 belch.

the pH, KH, CO2 relationship & chart will not be accurate if you you have buffers in your water that are other than carbonate based (like high phosphate levels, or if you used pH adjusters).

the best way to check for a leak is a bit of dish soap (or bubble soap) at the joints. (I've heard windex also works)

Thank you. I do not have high phosphates and don't us PH adjusters. I might try the soap thing just in case there is a leak.
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