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I’ve been battling a big algae outbreak. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I’ve turned the corner on the algae.

Early in process of dealing with the algae I read that fluctuating levels of CO2 were thought to be a cause of algae. I switched my CO2 from on during the lighting period only to on 24 hours a day. Previously my Ph fluctuated from 7.6 to 6.6 with the lighting schedule on a daily basis. Now I am keeping my Ph at a steady 6.8.

Which is better? What level of fluctuation causes Algae? It seems a waste of CO2 to me. Plus I noticed last night that some of my fish (dwarf praecox) were at the top of the tank looking like they were taking breathes. I raised my Ph slightly from 6.8 to 6.9 in response. I never noticed this behavior during the day.


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So I'm not really going to talk about algae, because what you really need is to consistent CO2 to grow healthy plants and they will stop algae from growing.

There might also be some confusion about what "consistent" CO2 levels are. When we talk about a houseplant needing consistent light levels, that doesn't mean it needs 24 hours of medium light. It just means it needs to be in the same window, or under the same lamp, day after day. Plants maximize their ability to photosynthesize based on local conditions, it's why a plant will often stunt or melt back when you bring it to a new tank. Those conditions (light, CO2, etc.) can change between day and night no problem, but they should be consistent day over day.

Some things that might cause inconsistent/ fluctuating CO2 levels are something like DIY CO2 where the output changes over time, or not having your CO2 on a timer. If you have a pH controller, have the controller come on two hours before lights come on, and turn off an hour before lights go off. This will make sure you don't accidentally gas your fish by injecting CO2 that isn't being used by plants at night.
 
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