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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
CO2 help!
So with my 'Fall Bluffs Naturescape' I ended up adding the disposable fluval mini Pressurized 20g-CO2 Kit- 0.7 ounces. I opened it up just EVER so slightly (lowest it will go) and keep it on 24/7 as it doesnt have a timer, etc.



What is my next step?
Im reading till my eyes are bleeding!!!


What im looking for is: Medium light setting, CO2 at minimum. I just dont want to learn the hard way... again (low tech i have down to a science- now im adding in more variables to this specific tank). So I assume I need to figure out PAR with my LED's- but I dont even have a lighting schedule set as my lamp has so many settings and just got done cycling..



Please help- I will be forever grateful.


Tank journal:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...ta-waterfall-decorah-shale-photo-heavy-2.html
 

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What is my next step?
Im reading till my eyes are bleeding!!!
This is always a good first step (though maybe without the eyes bleeding ;))


In terms of lighting, you may be able to find someone that already has taken PAR measurements for the Chihiro light.


For CO2, what you are doing is fine for now. If you want to (roughly) estimate your CO2 levels, you can always invest or DIY a drop checker and fill it with 4 dkH reference solution. The indicator (bromothymol blue) will turn an emerald green when you are in the ballpark of 30 ppm of CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
What is my next step?
Im reading till my eyes are bleeding!!!
This is always a good first step (though maybe without the eyes bleeding ;))
In terms of lighting, you may be able to find someone that already has taken PAR measurements for the Chihiro light.
For CO2, what you are doing is fine for now. If you want to (roughly) estimate your CO2 levels, you can always invest or DIY a drop checker and fill it with 4 dkH reference solution. The indicator (bromothymol blue) will turn an emerald green when you are in the ballpark of 30 ppm of CO2.
Ok, so I read oodles of material. Head is spinning a bit....
I purchased a drop checker, ill install today.
So is it always 30ppm roughly?
I dont have a drop checker, just the diffuser (it says it counts bubbles, but it doesnt unless im doing it wrong... thanks Amazon, pff.)


Many things I read told me to purchase a PAR sensor, and that would determine my 'drops' and my ppm requirements. They are expensive... and I dont know if I would be able to decipher all the information without getting another university degree. HA



The calculator I found said: .2ppm dissolved, 35ppm recommended, .4-.7 bps (I also found other calculators that said similar https://aquariuminfo.org/co2calculator.html).


  • I guess if I get it to 30ppm- then do I really need to measure PAR?
  • Its manual... so I leave it on day and night as unscrewing the top part is a chore... I read somewhere that I should turn CO2 on 1 hour before my lights come on, and if I leave it on 24/7 then it could kill my fish? (I may be a aquascaper- but my fish are very rare and mean a lot to me... I breed hybrid endlers- im trying to perfect my 'Blue Dragon' endlers- so all my fry are like my children at this point).
  • Is it better to upgrade my system so I dont kill my fish by having in on at night?
 

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To be safe I would take the diffuser out of the tank at night, at least for a while until you get a handle on things. As mentioned by @Darkblade48 the drop checker will give you a good visual reference that the co2 isn't at crazy levels by noting the color which should be green, not yellow. Many diffusers double as bubble counters. You can also just see how many bubbles are coming out by removing the diffuser from the tubing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To be safe I would take the diffuser out of the tank at night, at least for a while until you get a handle on things. As mentioned by @Darkblade48 the drop checker will give you a good visual reference that the co2 isn't at crazy levels by noting the color which should be green, not yellow. Many diffusers double as bubble counters. You can also just see how many bubbles are coming out by removing the diffuser from the tubing.
Thanks! I went back and read more info.... my Diffuser counts bubbles it says on Amazon 'JARDLI POLLEN GLASS DIFFUSER WITH BUBBLE COUNTER' I tried counting bubbles... but I dont see a single bubble after waiting 3 minutes. I took a video of how much is coming out:



Remove the difuser entirely? thats harder than just turning it off (I dont like to disturb my aquascape as much as possible).


This is the one I purchased:
Fluval Mini pressurized: (quoted) This Mini Pressurized CO2 Kit is ideal for small planted aquariums up to 15 gallons.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N36MAO4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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You are getting things mixed up a Par meter is used to see how strong the lights are in a tank.
Watch George on how to set up an run a Co2 system.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You are getting things mixed up a Par meter is used to see how strong the lights are in a tank.
Watch George on how to set up an run a Co2 system.
https://youtu.be/JZV73ojfQ_s
I understand what a PAR meter is... I had one many many years ago.

But isnt the amount of CO2 based on your lights?

More lights = more CO2 = more ferts? all dependent on plant demands?


That is the way I understood it.
Edit: That video doesnt answer my question... If I wanted a full large CO2 system, then OK. But im using what I have, and trying to ensure it works the way I want before I upgrade.
 

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...

Remove the difuser entirely? thats harder than just turning it off (I dont like to disturb my aquascape as much as possible).
I don't mean take it off the tubing. I just mean remove the diffuser from the tank and let it run outside of the tank. With those small disposable systems it's very hard to find the same output once you turn it on/off.

Also, easy way to get tubing off the diffuser is to push the tubing straight up toward the glass stem and then pull straight down. Don't twist or bend it because you will probably break the glass stem.
 

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Using the recommendation from the above video of 1 bubble per second per 100 liters and doing a little converting, you would want about 1 bubble every 2 seconds.

From what I understand (I don't run CO2 yet) is that the disposable systems aren't terribly reliable or cost effective.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
The indicator (bromothymol blue) will turn an emerald green when you are in the ballpark of 30 ppm of CO2.
Ok... so drop checker is in with liquid.


The CO2 is on the lowest setting possible... getting that lowest setting is quite the feat as its less than 1mm of a turn. That doesnt do anything to the indicator (dark blue after 4 hours). But the plants are COVERED in bubbles.




  • Could it be because I have a higher pH in my tank? I read the below on a website.
  • Should I increase the CO2 till its green? to get to the amount I need is very hard with this manual turning system... very difficult for those of us with arthritis (a fraction of a milliliter at a time with a itty bitty metal dial). I thihnk this will become a nightmare turning it on and off each day and waiting 2 hours between fraction turns. Will any solenoid valve and timer work with this small system so I can turn it off at night?or should I just upgrade to a bigger one?


'Drop checkers don’t actually monitor CO2, they monitor pH. When you add CO2 (an acidic gas) into your tank, it reduces the pH. When your drop checker is showing blue, it’s telling you the pH is around 8 (far too high for plants). As you inject CO2 your drop checker will change colour (assuming you’re injecting enough CO2). The solution will begin to look a bit more green. When it hits a nice shade of green it means your pH is about 6.8 and your CO2 levels are 30ppm (parts per million). Green is the ideal colour to aim for and what you need to strive for.'
 

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Ok... so drop checker is in with liquid.


The CO2 is on the lowest setting possible... getting that lowest setting is quite the feat as its less than 1mm of a turn. That doesnt do anything to the indicator (dark blue after 4 hours). But the plants are COVERED in bubbles.




  • Could it be because I have a higher pH in my tank? I read the below on a website.
  • Should I increase the CO2 till its green? to get to the amount I need is very hard with this manual turning system... very difficult for those of us with arthritis (a fraction of a milliliter at a time with a itty bitty metal dial). I thihnk this will become a nightmare turning it on and off each day and waiting 2 hours between fraction turns. Will any solenoid valve and timer work with this small system so I can turn it off at night?or should I just upgrade to a bigger one?


'Drop checkers don’t actually monitor CO2, they monitor pH. When you add CO2 (an acidic gas) into your tank, it reduces the pH. When your drop checker is showing blue, it’s telling you the pH is around 8 (far too high for plants). As you inject CO2 your drop checker will change colour (assuming you’re injecting enough CO2). The solution will begin to look a bit more green. When it hits a nice shade of green it means your pH is about 6.8 and your CO2 levels are 30ppm (parts per million). Green is the ideal colour to aim for and what you need to strive for.'

Are you running local tap water? What is your normal pH and kH? If it is anything like mine, you will want to shoot for a pH of 7.3-7.4.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Are you running local tap water? What is your normal pH and kH? If it is anything like mine, you will want to shoot for a pH of 7.3-7.4.

The tank uses tap, and my stone is the decorah shale from outside. I was OK with the pH being 7.6- 7.8 (I tested my tap, and the decorah shale in the water prior to designing the tank. I could use a ph down... but I would rather not get into that drama. hmmm


I definitely have melted plants (AR mini especially) and some brown even edges on some leaves with some brown algae on plants (especially water sprite). Never had that before... My other tanks are all low tech, heavily planted...
Here Parameters:
pH: 7.6
GH: 6
KH 5
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 20ppm
Phosphate .25-.5 (I cant tell)
 

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This calculator will tell you how low you need your PH to drop with co2 to achieve 30ppm.

https://rotalabutterfly.com/co2-ph-calculator.php

You don't have to get 30ppm, if your worried about your fish, shoot for something less, like 20-25ppm. If your PH is 7.6 generally you need a 1 point drop to 6.6 If your PH is still 7.6 and 7.6-7.8 out of the tap then your not getting really any co2 at the moment.
 

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Ok, your pH and KH are much lower than mine. If you are being conservative on CO2, I think you'd want to add it until your pH drops down to the 6.8 to 7.0 range.

My tap in Inver Grove Heights is 8.2 to 8.4 for pH and 15 to 17 for KH.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Ok, your pH and KH are much lower than mine. If you are being conservative on CO2, I think you'd want to add it until your pH drops down to the 6.8 to 7.0 range.

My tap in Inver Grove Heights is 8.2 to 8.4 for pH and 15 to 17 for KH.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

We have a water softener/filtration- so that's prolly why. I keep forgetting my hubby spent a fortune hooking it all up when we built the new house.


note: I take back the melting plants I think it am just being OCD... now I see my tissue cultures are about 3 times the size! but the plants in back (the larger AR mini and bolbis, and the watersprite) seems to have the most issue. The outlet was blowing on them, so I moved it slightly.


QUESTION: so do I leave it on 24/7?

I hear very conflicting reviews that the swings are not good and then contrary that the CO2 at night will choke the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok... I’m at emerald gree. But you can barely see it from the bubbles! How many bubbles are normal. Things looked like Christmas came early on all the plants.

My endler macaroni looks stressed as he is swimming into the current (cheese is fine... she can care less if it doesn’t involve food).

Thoughts?
 

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We have a water softener/filtration- so that's prolly why. I keep forgetting my hubby spent a fortune hooking it all up when we built the new house.





note: I take back the melting plants I think it am just being OCD... now I see my tissue cultures are about 3 times the size! but the plants in back (the larger AR mini and bolbis, and the watersprite) seems to have the most issue. The outlet was blowing on them, so I moved it slightly.





QUESTION: so do I leave it on 24/7?



I hear very conflicting reviews that the swings are not good and then contrary that the CO2 at night will choke the fish.
You use softened water? I have heard that the extra sodium isn't good for the plants long term. I actually ran new plumbing at my house to avoid it actually.

I hear that most often that people turn off CO2 and sometimes run an airstone at night. You could always run an airstone, but you'd be wasting CO2.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You use softened water? I have heard that the extra sodium isn't good for the plants long term. I actually ran new plumbing at my house to avoid it actually.

I hear that most often that people turn off CO2 and sometimes run an airstone at night. You could always run an airstone, but you'd be wasting CO2.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
My water has gh/kh of 3 and pH of 7.4-7.6 out of the water softener....

Straight out of the hose is kh 4, gh 7 and ph 8.4.



Its on a very low setting. My concern is that the Calcium/Magnesium is replaced with Salt Ions. So I am careful to add back in magnesium and calcium. I did it DIY before, but after further research I will be using Equilibrium. I could use our RO water, but its a huge pain in the arse as it is meant only for drinking, so filling my buckets in the kitchen would be nearly impossible.

I guess I could use the spicket in the garage to fill buckets... but it comes out ice cold, so then I would need to heat it, etc. Maybe ill do 50/50 mix in the future.



I now use mini pliers to turn on the CO2.... it didnt blow up this AM when I turned it on and my tester is still emerald :)

Happy mothers day
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Out of curiosity, how are you liking this setup so far?

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
I like that it was easy to originally set up, and inexpensive to give it a try (20 bucks).

However; The silver knob on the top needs to be set to the bare minimum. Its far too easy to turn it too far (fraction of a mm). This may be less of an issue if you had a larger tank that eequired more CO2- as then you could just mark off the notche.The difuser that came with it was HUGE. I think around 4x3x1.5 inches! I found a different disfuser online with next day delivery for 12.00/ so its nice I can actually swap out parts.

I do worry that I will forget to turn it on or off one day (as life always throws you a curve ball) and it could potentially hurt my fish, or I will run out of CO2 (no way to see how much is left).... I have not noticed a decrease in algae at this time. Im going to keep this going for 2 more weeks, and will then potentially upgrade to something with a timer or better controls.
 
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