High Light High Tech Newbie, Terrified of Killing Fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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High Light High Tech Newbie, Terrified of Killing Fish

Between potentially gassing my fish with too much CO2 or poisoning them with too much plant fertilizer, I'm pretty worried. My tank is low light right now, but soon I'm upgrading my light which means using CO2 and fertilizer. Can you guys give me any pointers on fish safety?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 05:42 AM
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I'm a lot like you: fish first. I'd suggest a drop checker and some properly calibrated fluid, and giving every adjustment of the CO2 a day to see how it works out.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 05:17 PM
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Assuming the fish health as a priority over the plant and algae situation?
When starting the CO2, it may take a bit for the fish to get used to the new water situation. That means start at a low level and increase it gradually as you watch for the fish to act differently. Watch for less activity or less interest in eating. If you see signs of this, they may be having a bit of trouble so let hem get used to the current before adding more/higher levels of CO2. If you feel they are really looking bad, do a quick water change to get the levels of CO2 down. Depends on the fish how much they will react but I find most will adapt quite well but they do need time! Somewhat like us going to high altitude, it is better if we can do it over several days or even weeks for some. Early morning seems to be the time when my fish react to cO2 the worst so watching and really, really asking yourself if they act weird is good at that time of day.

Ferts seem to be far less trouble for them. But then it depends on the fish there also.

Watch carefully, don't do changes when you will not be there to watch and take action before it gets really bad. Keeping a plan for quick water changes is a good safety move.
The old saw? Proper prior planning prevents poor performance? Goes double for fishkeeping!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 09:36 PM
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Since this will be your first high tech tank, I suggest you play with the co2 first before introducing the fertz. Both can be extremely dangerous for the fish but with co2 you can experiment with more safely IMO and utilize a drop checker to find the equilibrium that is necessary for your tank. During this process try to constantly watch your aquarium. The fertz are dangerous for the fish but more likely to lead to an algae outbreak. The algae outbreak would be easier to combat once you have a generally idea on how to control lights and co2. Once again this is my own opinion.

Last edited by Ukranianwarrior; 08-13-2014 at 09:40 PM. Reason: more info
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 04:44 PM
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Don't be overly concerned unless you end up with an extreme situation your fish will be fine. You should start your ferts, CO2, and high light all at the same time. As soon as your plants are under high light they will react to it in just a few hours and will need the ferts and CO2. If you don't have one of those elements the you've created the imbalance that will allow algae to flourish.
Do install a bubble counter and drop checker, but the latter won't tell you much until you begin to get used to it and know how to interpret it. Set your bubbles to start with about 2 bps and go from there. Do keep your eye on the bubble counter because it takes a bit of time for the flow of CO2 to settle down and remain consistent so you'll probably have to keep adjust the needle valve for a while.
You can expect to see a decrease in your fishes activity during the peak CO2 times and you may see some of them up near the surface. If they don't appear to be gasping or in any discomfort but are just hanging around up there they should be fine. I've noticed that if I add a new fish in during the CO2 period he quickly ends up at the surface and appearing to be in discomfort while the rest of the fish appear fine. The following day they are all good again.
Dry ferts are the easiest and cheapest way to go and I'm not sure why the post above suggests that they can be extremely dangerous. I've never read that before and I've never had any experience that would suggest that. The only thing I can think of that a little care be used with is Excel. The dry ferts and liquid micro ferts should cause you no concerns at all. I've read someone suggesting that you can add enough ferts in one go to last a week or two over a vacation period. Never tried that myself as I go the other route and crank down the light and shut the CO2 off over vacations.
The estimative method of dosing is the easiest, especially to start with, and here is a link to tell you how much to add.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys! I feel a lot better now that I know what to do
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