Does CO2 need to be full time? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Does CO2 need to be full time?

My aversion to CO2 has less to do with expense than it does with water chemistry. When I hear that CO2 doesn't harm fish 'IF' you stay below a certain level I always think to myself' how do you know, did the fish tell you? For all we know they're swimming around with a migraine.

What I do know is that fish like oxygen bubbles, especially larger fish and that's a direct contradiction.

Yet, I want my plants to do well. If I installed a tank with regulator and diffuser installed down in the plants, couldn't I just give them an occasional wafting of CO2?

My tank has a footprint of 9 sq and the plants are all bunched together in 1 1/2 sq so it doesn't seem right to saturate the entire tank if I can find a way to occasionally give the plants some needed CO2.

To help with this I am only planting only low tech plants with lots of light and Excel dosing.

Any opinions?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeCasa View Post
My aversion to CO2 has less to do with expense than it does with water chemistry. When I hear that CO2 doesn't harm fish 'IF' you stay below a certain level I always think to myself' how do you know, did the fish tell you? For all we know they're swimming around with a migraine.

What I do know is that fish like oxygen bubbles, especially larger fish and that's a direct contradiction.

Yet, I want my plants to do well. If I installed a tank with regulator and diffuser installed down in the plants, couldn't I just give them an occasional wafting of CO2?

My tank has a footprint of 9 sq and the plants are all bunched together in 1 1/2 sq so it doesn't seem right to saturate the entire tank if I can find a way to occasionally give the plants some needed CO2.

To help with this I am only planting only low tech plants with lots of light and Excel dosing.

Any opinions?
In the wild, co2 concentrations can be very high. The amazon, directly measured by myself, showed between 20ppm and 45 ppm of co2. Average was about 35ppm but went off the charts the deeper you go. A swamp can have up to 100ppm to 5000 ppm. Now about the "fish like oxygen" well actually they don't. Not always. If you add too much oxygen or to less oxygen, they will suffer depending on the species. Not joking. 100% serous. Too much oxygen is just a fatal as too much co2. And the hits don't stop there. Can can give fish too much of normal air in the water (you placed them in a water fall environment). Fish that are not evolved to survive in high air concentrations will suffer from dermal emphysema. Where the air will concentrate in their bodies and explode. PS, this can happen to you. Now about excel. The main ingredient in excel is glutaraldehyde a man made chemical used to sterilize medical equipment. Something no fish has ever evolved to protect itself from. So bottomline. 1.) Co2 in the wild will go way beyond 30ppm. 2.) Fish that live in these areas have evolved to withstand that. 3.) Too much of anything will kill your fish. 4.) Even though glutaraldehyde has been proven safe for fish, you don't know if the fish "like it" or just wondering around with a migraine. 5.) Fish evolve to certain types of conditions. Taking the fish out of those conditions will stress the fish. But most fish can adapt to many different environments.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Very intelligent answer, you gave me some facts to digest

I appreciate it
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 04:37 PM
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I have to say the chances of you putting too much oxygen in the water for your fish is about nil. too much flow for your fish is going to be a factor long before too much oxygen will for any fish. like to super oxygenate your tank you would need ocean surf conditions in your tank with constant churning that would beat your fish to death long before oxygen levels reached toxicity. do you know why fish in rivers and streams are usually right below the rapids areas? because thats where there is the most oxygen..... now using the amazon as the previous poster did yes co2 levels are higher but that doenst mean that o2 is low..... the two are not mutually exclusive in water as some people seem to think its not a one or the other scenario you can have good oxygen levels in high co2. or any combination of the two.

as to the original question. burst co2ing is going to throw your tank in a constant state of change. so here is my pet scenario.

1 normal oxygen/co2 level, aerobic bacteria develop to a sustainable population size to the "normal" levels.

2 run co2 for a short time upsetting the regular o2 co2 balance, possibly smothering the aerobic bacteria due to higher co2 levels, definitely swinging your ph into a drop, increasing acidity.

3 bacterial die off, increases ammonia levels in the water not as dangerous in low ph conditions.

4 turn off co2, co2 levels drop spiking PH and turning the ammonia more toxic.

wash rinse repeat.


you are better off ihn my opinion to give a constant super low dose of co2 than you are swing your tank like a pendulum stability is always key to success in tanking. JMO

"[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." -original author unknown-

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-16-2014 at 12:49 AM. Reason: Back to back posts
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 05:26 PM
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Plants don't need CO2 after the lights are out so it doesn't need to be on 24/7. I usually start the CO2 .5 hour before the lights on and cut it .5 hour before lights off.

If the fish is swimming around with a migraine, you'd notice

I agree with you, messing around with CO2 concentration is tricky. You have to notice lots of details from plant's health to the fish's health. I used to have a CO2 detector that would turn on and off the CO2 so it wasn't on all the time. It was great until it broke and it's too expensive to rebuild properly.

CO2 concentrations, while occurs in nature, affect different species differently. Usually, the hillstream, fast current species don't like CO2. They've evolved in low CO2, high O2 waters.

They've done studies on glut, the stuff in excel, on fish fry. It does cause deformation at a certain concentration.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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Good conversation and it is bolstering a middle ground position in line with what I was working towards myself. I should be neither low tech nor high tech but rather I should be high on the low tech scale and low on the high tech scale.

Everything in moderation, setup a CO2 system but run it at very low levels only during daylight hours, dose with Excel but stay at the very bottom of the dose chart. continue setting up an excellent light system but minimize the amount of time that the lights run high. Set up a storm and fade in slow, eight hours on and fade out.

And the most important thing is do not get caught up in growing plants that do not fit this regimen. DO NOT change the regimen to satisfy a particular plant, change the plant to one that grows within the regimen.

Run everything at steady minimums and run on a schedule.

Fish and birds often don't give warnings when things are awry, they simply die. I raise cichlids, they have individual personalities and they quickly become pets. It may be debatable whether CO2 and Excel will harm fish but it's not debatable that they would do better without either. So minimize, minimize, minimize.

I appreciate everybody's help
MeCasa

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-27-2014, 09:14 AM
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Keep the parameters as smooth as possible. If it does change, make sure the change is not sudden. I swear it's why acclimated live stock survive much better.

Like everyone said it also depends on the fish. Don't forget you can't assume what they can handle in the wild as a lot of stock is captively bred now. So they so well in whatever parameters the breeders had.

I'm running a constant 24-7 low co2 bubble count on my latest tank and everyone seems happy.
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