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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

About 5 months ago I moved from no CO2 to pressurized CO2 for my 55 gallon. At this point my tank was mediumly well planted and most of my plants were half the size they are now. I used a cheap ebay in-tank atomic diffuser at about 3bps, but I didn't have a drop checker yet. However my plants would pearl so I thought that 3bps was good.

After a few weeks of that the diffuser broke and I made a Cerge's Reactor as well as got a drop checker. With that reactor I never got the drop checker to turn green, even when I would crank the CO2 up, so I figured I made it wrong somehow.

After a couple months of trying Cerge's and getting nowhere I bought the Ista Max Mix reactor (the biggest one). At this point I had double the plant coverage from when I started pressurized CO2. I was also starting to have problems with bba, so I would put the CO2 up to about 5bps and the drop checker would never turn completely green, however the bba went away so I left it like that for a long time. Then about a month ago I started getting problems with bba on the other side of the tank, away from the outflow of my canister. My drop checker is completely blue again. I've been cranking up the CO2 to an unreadable bps, I mean they aren't even bubbles, just a stream of air, and I still cannot get the drop checker to turn green. I can get it sorta blue-green but that's it. And the drop checker is right next to the outflow! The bba still persists and I don't know if it's normal to have a bps so high.

I've changed the solution in the drop checker, which contains 4dkH solution and bromethyl blue. I've looked at the reactor and it seems to be working properly, some air will build up at the top of it but not a lot. I can also see tiny micro bubbles coming out of the outflow. I don't have any bubbles coming elsewhere that would out offgas the CO2, just a ripple from my canister filter and muffled AquaClear 110 (muffled by a sponge so that the outflow is just a trickle, no bubbles).

As for how many plants I have, the tank is probably 80% plants at this point. There's a huge Amazon Sword and Red Tiger Lotus, carpeting plants, everything.

Other stuff:
Amount of fish is somewhat heavy but not overstocked
I have a coralife lamp with two 48watt T5HO lights (6500K and 10000K)
I EI Dose Green Leaf Aquarium's EI dosing package

What I'm thinking is that I just have so many plants that this is normal to have to have the CO2 so high? I just don't want to risk my fish. Thanks for any input
 

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What canister are you using? I don't use a bubble counter either. I've found a lower gph canister works better then high flow. Did you make your 4dkh solution your self?

How long before lights is your co2 turned on.

I have mine on a hr and 40 mins before lights and turn off an hr before lights out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My canister is an Eheim 2215. I bought the 4dKH off Ebay, and unfortunately I only have one timer for both the lights and CO2 so they come on at the same time. I know this isn't ideal and have been thinking about getting another timer, does turning on CO2 before lights come on make a huge difference? Lights and CO2 are on for 8 hours
 

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It helps with bba getting cO2 at right levels before lights. Can you test the kh of your solution? It should be easy to get the right levels with that filter.
 

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Review of the main points?
You know you are blowing CO2 in, it is not being excessively wasted by bubbles, the fish are not stressed but still the drop checker is not the correct color. I read often about the fluid for drop checker is not right. This makes me feel that it would be worth the time and effort o make my own so that I could have more control as well as a good supply on hand to change fluid any time that there was a question.
The drop checker is just a simple reference but there is nothing much worse than getting test info that is wrong!
 
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