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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago I converted a "low tech" 50g planted tank to "hi tech" by adding pressurized co2 and a drop checker. At the same time I did a major replant/ rescape. I did not have a bubble counter and I had the end of the co2 tubing suspended right below the intake of the canister filter.

For a bubble counter I basically just eyeballed it as I could see the bubbles for a split second as they exited the tubing and got sucked up into the intake. I adjusted the needle valve so it appeared to be running at about 3 bps.

The co2 comes on with the lights and I got the needle valve tweeked a little more to where the drop checker was blue-green in the morning and yellow-green in the evening right before lights-out.

The tank seemed to start out very well. I have seen some great plant growth in the first month and the fish and shrimp seemed to be thriving. Then, Sunday morning I was doing routine maint. and I noticed some BBA on a couple of plants. After reading some tips on treating this algae I decided to bump up the co2 a little (I don't have any excel).

Again, Just eyeballing the end of the tubing I set it to what looked like about 4 to 5 bps. I then promptly finished up my tank maint. and spent the rest of the day and evening watching football. I also did not look at my tank before heading off to work Monday morning.

As many of you probably have figured out when I returned home from work Monday evening every fish in the tank that had any life and energy left was gasping at the surface. I gassed them big time. My drop checker was yellow btw with no hint of green at all. I have enough general aquarium experience that I knew right away what had happened. I unplugged the co2 solenoid and threw in an airstone connected to the biggest air pump I had laying around.

The next thing I did was make a DIY bubble counter using an empty gatorade bottle and connected it all up. I turned the co2 back on just long enough to see what my new bubble counter would have to show. I was sick to my stomach to see about 15 or more bps flying through. I turned the co2 back off.

Here's the damage to the fauna:

2 albino bristlenose - 1 dead 1 looking pretty bad

7 neon tetras - 3 dead, 1 looking horrible, 3 look OK

15 or so guppies - can't really tell if any are missing and they all look fine

50 to 60 RCS ranging in size from about 1/2" to 1" - hard to count them but I think they're OK
 

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had the same thing happen a few weeks back, but sounds like you got lucky on the shrimp C02 i guess likes to sit low in the tank at high levels.

i lost 15+rcs and 6 amanos, with my disaster. the ones that lived pulled them selves completely out of the water and were lined up on my heater wire just out of the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well it turns out I wasn't so lucky with the RCS. I have recounted them as well as I can and I think I lost about a quarter to a third of them. The co2 is back to normal and all of the fish that survived through Monday night seem fine now. I have been trying to avoid the expense of a PH controller but I'm thinking long and hard about it now. I don't like killing my pets like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That sucks... do you have your Co2 on a timer?
Yes, My co2 comes on with some of the lights. I have a total of 5 NO t8 bulbs for 160w. Two bulbs come on with the co2 about an hour before the other 3 and go off about 30 minutes before them. So the co2 has an hour to build up and 30 minutes to disipate before the high light then darkness.

I have learned a lot from this experience. I think I understand why many planted tank folks do not keep fish. It's a matter of finding that balance. I lost both albino BN plecos and 4 of my 7 neons.

However I love keeping fish and in the meantime I have added a small internal filter near the top of the tank for some surface turbulence. At the same time I dropped my co2 to about 1 to 1.5 bps. I also got a shipment of a breeding pair of calico BN plecos. They are beautiful and I really want to take good care of them.
 
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