The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
831 Posts
Yes, it can be done. Carbonic acid, humic acid, it doesn't matter which one you use to keep pH low as long as it remains stable. I started a taiwan bee tank running around 15-20 ppm 24/7. The problem I had was when the water line dropped, pH fluctuated due to gas exchange, therefore my bees wouldn't breed. As long as you can keep it consistent, I don't see a problem doing this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,297 Posts
I'm no expert on CO2 setups, never done so myself, but from what I do know, it seems a lot cheaper and more stable to set up a tank using buffering substrate, RO water and GH minerals.


If you go the cheap DIY CO2 route, there's a higher chance of overdosing the tank and killing your shrimp.


If you go high end route doing it "the right way", it can be rather expensive. Even then, things can still go wrong, although the chances are less when done correctly as compared to DIY. It's usually not recommended to run CO2 24/7 either, since plants produce less oxygen when the lights are off. I've seen it recommended to turn the CO2 on 1 hour before the lights come on and turn it off 1 hour before the lights go off.

Some people do recommend an air stone in a tank with shrimp and CO2, which can result in using CO2 *more* than without an airstone. Therefore, it costs more running CO2.


And then there's the factor of buying new tanks of CO2 vs refilling used CO2 tanks. The re-used tanks may not have as good of a seal as new CO2 tanks do, thus resulting in wasting CO2 if it ends up leaking out.




Feel free to take this information with a grain of salt because, like I've said, I've never set up CO2 in a tank, I've only read about it and some of the pitfalls of using it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
794 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response @Zoidburg!

I've already got all the equipment up and running for pressurized CO2, and have lots of spare and extra parts, so it would cost me nothing to set it up. CO2 itself is crazy cheap ($20 for 10lbs) too.

I'd have to buy the substrate (not cheap) as well as buy either RO water (kind of a hassle) or buy a RO unit and get in plumbed and set up with a reservoir tank and a place for the "waste" water to go (preferably so I could still use it in my garden).

So I can see if someone is starting out from scratch why going the CO2 route isn't often recommended, but for my purposes it would take $0 and about 15 mins to hook up :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
IME, a buffering substrate is NOT a good way to reduce pH. The carbonate buffers in the substrate are released as the water becomes acidic. This raises KH and, subsequently, pH. The substrate is constantly trying to buffer to 7.0. The lower the ph, the more carbonate is dissolved. Add CO2 and you have a constant carbonate factory. If you are trying to keep pH low, go with an inert substrate, add no carbonates and use the CO2 to set the pH acidity you want. If by "low" you mean a pH stable at 7, then the buffering substrates are good.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
831 Posts
I'm no expert on CO2 setups, never done so myself, but from what I do know, it seems a lot cheaper and more stable to set up a tank using buffering substrate, RO water and GH minerals.
Plenty of folks have raised CRS/PRLs in a high tech environment but taiwan bees can be a bit more fussy with their parameters. That said, it's definitely cheaper and less of a headache to just purchase a good buffering substrate, especially if you intend to breed them. It's cheap insurance when you figure in the cost of these shrimp.

FWIW, I was using a buffering substrate along with 24/7 CO2. The substrate wasn't getting the pH down enough for TBs to thrive, so I tried to bring it down some with a constant, but low flow of CO2. It's true that plants won't use the CO2 at night but for the sake of pH stability, it needed to run constantly and consistently. I wouldn't recommend DIY CO2 for this very reason. A good injection system with a decent regulator is a must. You can't have needle valves jumping around everywhere, adding more/less CO2 to the water column. Aeration definitely needs to be good, CO2 or not. Being as O2 and CO2 levels are independent of one another, this isn't an issue here, as long as aeration is good. This holds true with certain fish species as well. I found myself wasting CO2 even when running high tech, due to the amount of surface agitation I was using. CO2 is cheap enough, so I didn't see it as a big deal, honestly. So again, if you can keep it stable, it can work.

In the end, I got tired of having something else that needed attention so I just removed the old substrate and replaced with a better substrate. It's bad enough that I have to drip water changes and siphon uneaten food, I don't need to worry about topping off water everyday to keep CO2 levels consistent. After growing out a decent HC carpet without the use of CO2 or glut, I don't feel the need to inject CO2 into any of my tanks anymore. I also hate pruning too, so then there's that. haha

Bump:
IME, a buffering substrate is NOT a good way to reduce pH. The carbonate buffers in the substrate are released as the water becomes acidic. This raises KH and, subsequently, pH. The substrate is constantly trying to buffer to 7.0. The lower the ph, the more carbonate is dissolved. Add CO2 and you have a constant carbonate factory. If you are trying to keep pH low, go with an inert substrate, add no carbonates and use the CO2 to set the pH acidity you want. If by "low" you mean a pH stable at 7, then the buffering substrates are good.
I believe @Zoidburg means substrates like Controsoil, SL-Aqua, ADA, Fluval Statum, etc. which buffers pH below 6.5 by releasing humic acid and attracting KH ions to their "charged" surface. Most of my shrimp tanks are below a pH of 6, some closer to 5.5 with the use of remineralized r/o water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,297 Posts
@madcrafted I know of two people on this forum raising CRS in soft tap water, possibly with RO water mixed in, and a GH remineralizer. Their shrimp are also on Black Diamond Media Blasting Sand. Both live in areas where water is soft to begin with, so using tap isn't as big of a deal... not only that, but one of them has conditioned the CRS to these parameters. (and sold the shrimp on to the other member) Not saying it can't be done, just that from a startup position, as @MCFC mentioned, it makes more sense for *most* people to go the buffering substrate route with RO water and GH minerals. That is, especially if you have no experience with CO2 setups. Yes, it can be done as long as you take the time to research it! It can sometimes be a balancing act doing high tech planted tanks with CO2 and keeping a thriving colony of shrimp, IMO. Since the CO2 setup is already there, it certainly helps jump-start that part of the project! LOL

@Deanna - madcrafted is correct. I'm talking about RO water with 0 KH (carbonates/bi-carbonates) and GH only on a substrate that's meant to buffer the pH down to 6.5 or below. I'm not talking about a substrate that's crap and maybe only buffers to 6.8 or 7 pH. Also, from what little I know of CO2 and KH, I wouldn't recommend for most people to use CO2 in a tank with inert substrate and 0 KH. I feel like inert substrate + 0 KH + CO2 = would result in potentially major pH swings or too far of a drop in pH. You need some KH to keep the pH stable, even if at a lower pH range with CO2 injection. With a buffering substrate that lowers the pH, it's already targeting a specific pH range and adding a little CO2 could push it down a tad further. If you were to turn the CO2 off, it wont have the ability to jump above neutral as it might in a tank with inert substrate. If I'm incorrect in this information, I'm sure madcrafted or another more knowledgeable CO2 'expert' would correct me! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
@madcrafted @Deanna - madcrafted is correct. I'm talking about RO water with 0 KH (carbonates/bi-carbonates) and GH only on a substrate that's meant to buffer the pH down to 6.5 or below. I'm not talking about a substrate that's crap and maybe only buffers to 6.8 or 7 pH. Also, from what little I know of CO2 and KH, I wouldn't recommend for most people to use CO2 in a tank with inert substrate and 0 KH. I feel like inert substrate + 0 KH + CO2 = would result in potentially major pH swings or too far of a drop in pH. You need some KH to keep the pH stable, even if at a lower pH range with CO2 injection. With a buffering substrate that lowers the pH, it's already targeting a specific pH range and adding a little CO2 could push it down a tad further. If you were to turn the CO2 off, it wont have the ability to jump above neutral as it might in a tank with inert substrate. If I'm incorrect in this information, I'm sure madcrafted or another more knowledgeable CO2 'expert' would correct me! :)
What I do is run inert substrate with zero dKH (in RO/DI) and pressurized CO2. I use the CO2 to drive the pH down to about 5.2 during the day with a 2 point recovery at night. Now, keep in mind, I only have several Amano's, so it's not a shrimp tank. My purpose is to have high CO2 levels while stalling the BB with low pH in order to provide plants with more than just NO3. CO2 driven pH changes do not affect fish and, at least, Amano's. The pH is controlled by the CO2 (I don't use a pH controller). In any case, pH shock is something of an old wives tale. What used to be considered dangerous pH changes was actually dangerous TDS changes, at least for fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
lol gl with the co2 route i wouldnt recommended it. once i took off my reg, the population was boomin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,297 Posts
@Deanna, osmotic shock I am well aware of, and since you have amanos which are typically rather hardy, probably not such a big deal... but for more sensitive shrimp such as CRS, or perhaps more specifically PRL/PBL and Taiwan Bees, that sounds like a dangerous game to be playing. If you don't have some of these shrimp in low pH, they wont breed. They might live, but the colony wont thrive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
@Deanna, osmotic shock I am well aware of, and since you have amanos which are typically rather hardy, probably not such a big deal... but for more sensitive shrimp such as CRS, or perhaps more specifically PRL/PBL and Taiwan Bees, that sounds like a dangerous game to be playing. If you don't have some of these shrimp in low pH, they wont breed. They might live, but the colony wont thrive.
Yeah, as I mentioned; I can't comment on the shrimp world. My focus was on fish. Of course, we used to think the same thing about fish, but maybe the pH shock is a legitimate issue for some shrimp.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
831 Posts
There's also the theory that lower pH helps to suppress bacteria in the water column, giving young TB shrimp a better chance of survival during those first few crucial weeks. These shrimp just don't have a high fry survival rate to begin with, nor do they have large clutches compared to other caridina shrimp. This is true, even today. Stability is emphasized above all else but a low pH is often overlooked. This is why breeders of these shrimp often try to maintain a pH of 5.5-5.8.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Does that imply non-CO2 driven pH changes can affect fish? And if so, do you know what is happening with the CO2 driven pH change that is different?
In a sense: yes. Think of pH as a gauge. It’s telling you that something might be wrong if it’s moving too much or is what we think of as a bad level (too high or too low). Then, we need to find out why it is happening. In the case of CO2 driven changes, it’s the carbonic acid, which doesn’t affect fish and some shrimp (apparently), but the TDS components (GH, KH, etc.) or organic compounds haven’t changed. If the pH is being moved by the non-CO2 possibilities, such as TDS component fluctuations (the source of osmotic pressure problems) or increasing organic compounds, now you have a problem that can affect the fish. You might even think of pH as a symptom.

There's also the theory that lower pH helps to suppress bacteria in the water column
It definitely suppresses the BB in our biofilters (be they in a filter, substrate or surface). In fact, I count on it happening. If you are referring to other bacteria that might harm shrimp, I don't know, but some bacteria do prefer acidic conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,428 Posts
It definitely suppresses the BB in our biofilters (be they in a filter, substrate or surface). In fact, I count on it happening. If you are referring to other bacteria that might harm shrimp, I don't know, but some bacteria do prefer acidic conditions.
Bacterial infections are the biggest issue for experienced shrimp keepers (proper parameters are the biggest issue got newer keepers). It's very difficult to keep the substrate clean when you have babies that will get sucked up. Unfortunately, that detritus buildup can start to foster some pretty nasty bacteria, and add something like high heat or high nitrogen, and you can end up losing a colony due to the domino effect that starts.

Low temp and low pH helps suppress the growth of that bacteria as well as keeps ammonium in it's not-as-toxic form. There are several advantages, but the big downside is having to replace substrate every so often.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top