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CO2 Problems

1673 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  btroutner I am in need of some help here. I have a planted 55 angel/rainbow tank and everything was going awesome. A friend of mine gave me a great deal on a CO2 system (pressurized) and I hooked it up last night and within about 10 minutes my fish were all looking lethargic and not moving much. Eventually I was getting angelfish huddles at the top of the tank like they could not breath. I turned the CO2 off, unplugged all the equipment and they are were up there for several hours. I had it running for only half hour max before I pulled the plug on it. I had it flowing through my bubble counter at a bubble per second or less. I didnt think it should affect them that much. I was told it wouldnt. I did a water test and all of my levels are still normal and my pH is still where it has always been. I did a small water change...probably 10-15% last night and a couple 25-40% changes today. I have lost now a total of 3 fish with a few more possibly on their way. What happened and how do I fix it??

It has been suggested to me that it may NOT be CO2 in the bottle (marked bottle for CO2) but rather some other gas.
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It has been suggested to me that it may NOT be CO2 in the bottle (marked bottle for CO2) but rather some other gas.
That popped into my head after reading your post.
1 bps into a 55 gal tank for 10 minutes would be impossible to harm fish if that was CO2 in the tank. Either that's not CO2 in that tank or the equipment had some kind of bad chemical on it. Possibly on the diffusor or reactor (don't know what you're using). Did your friend mention if he tried to clean the stuff up before he sold it to you?
best bet....dump the CO2 gas you have and get it refilled. then sterlize all the CO2 parts you have that go into the tank.
Make sure it isn't helium or natural gas or propane any of that mess up crap.
Make sure it isn't helium or natural gas or propane any of that mess up crap.

If your fishes voices are really high pitched it's helium...:icon_roll

Tommy <9))>>{
It has been about 48 hours or so, and I have lost a total now of 9 or 10 fish..i've lost count. All of them were rainbows with the exception of 1 angel. Everyone now seems to be doing so much better. I have not hooked up the CO2 again yet. The system I have is very simple...its a tank, with a F.R.O.G attatched to the fitting of the tank, then the airline goes out from there through the bubble counter and a couple check valves into the reactor. I am thinking about bleaching EVERYTHING before I use it again and potentially buy new airline hose. I am going to empty out my small bottle of "CO2" and have it refilled.

Helium as actually be suggested as a potential gas that it could be filled with. I am going to test a bucket of water tonight to see if I get the normal pH drop that comes with having CO2. Which I never saw in my tank.
It has been suggested to me that it may NOT be CO2 in the bottle (marked bottle for CO2) but rather some other gas.[/QUOTE said:
Start looking at other changes that you have made since introducing Co2,something else is killing your fish.
There have been no other changes prior to adding CO2 or since I disconnected the CO2.
Inflate a ballon with that gas. If it floats it is helium.
I just read your post and didn't you say a friend sold you this set-up? Have you tried asking them what the heck was going on?
It has been suggested to me that it may NOT be CO2 in the bottle (marked bottle for CO2) but rather some other gas.
Cylinders for most gasses, most especially volatile, flammable or otherwise dangerous ones, are made in such a way that it's impossible to fill them with the wrong gas or hook them up to the wrong fittings. This is done so that there is NO chance someone could hook up something like oxygen to his soda fountain, unknowingly using some sort of petroleum based grease to help the fittings spin easier, and blow up the restaurant (O2 doesn't like some petroleum based things). While I don't have enough experience with different gasses to say empirically that it would never, ever, ever be possible to have something else in that CO2 cylinder than CO2, I'd say it's HIGHLY unlikely ~ extremely highly unlikely.

And for the record, it's just plain flat out impossible to have something dangerous like propane in there ~ since it's such a flammable gas, there are multiple failsafes to ensure that doesn't happen, starting with it being just plain impossible to hook up propane filling equipment to a CO2 cylinder. I know ~ I used to work at a propane filling station AND at restaurants where I've changed out CO2 cylinders. The connections will not, in any way, match up even remotely close enough to get ANY propane in a CO2 cylinder.

I don't know much about CO2 systems never having had one yet, so I can't offer any advice on that, but just wanted to let you know that it's highly unlikely it's not CO2. There are so many other things that could kill your fish that I'd not go borrowing trouble thinking it's not CO2 in there.
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To add to Camps post, when I hooked up my CO2 last week I had wayyyyyyyy to much going into the tank, I lost a bolivian ram within an hour and I turned it off but the damage was done, within the next 2 days I lost a clown pleco, a red flame gourami, and a clown loach.

Now that I took the advice of ppl in this thread and started slowly the tank is safe, but it seems more likely that your bubble counter or counting skills were off and just added way to much CO2
I've accidentally OD'd CO2 on occasion, but never lost any fish. Maybe I've just been lucky & caught it early enough that the damage was reversible.The best remedy I've found is do a large H2O chage ASAP. That usually snaps the little buggers right back.

Tommy <9))>>{
How long does CO2 need to be running in a tank before the pH starts to drop?
How long does CO2 need to be running in a tank before the pH starts to drop?
I usually see results within a few hours when I make adjustments. My KH is 3, if it matters, I've never really thought to see if alkalinity makes it take longer to see results. Either way, I don't think it would take very long, especially in a small container.

Can I ask a dumb Q, what's an F.R.O.G?

Edit: Ok, Flow Regulated Orifice Gauge. I guess what I'm on to is, do these things have any issues? Is it before a needle valve or working as one? I seem to be digging up some questionable info but haven't really read anything about spontaneous dumping or anything else that I'm skeptical about in this situation. Sorry if I'm barking up the wrong tree here, just trying to think of a cause.
The most I'm finding is that fluctuation of bubble rate can happen in a can>frog>needle valve application. Maybe this happened when you weren't looking?

F.R.O.G. link

F.R.O.G. link

Though, I guess this wouldn't mesh with your parameters not drastically changing.
The F.R.O.G. is actually what screws into the CO2 tank valve. The airline hose comes out from that to my needle valve and bubble counter, through a couple check valves and into the reactor.

TANK=F.R.O.G.======>Needle Valve/Bubble Counter=====Checkvalve====Checkvalve======Reactor
I tested one of my bottles last night on a separate bowl of water, and thought it did take overnight, the pH from my small bottle did drop eventually.
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