Co2 newbie

IamAHill

Member
Joined
12 Jun 2020
Messages
32
Location
UK
Hi so after a bit of an debate I decided to go for Co2 on my Aquascaper 600. The set up was really easy I got a Co2 Art SE reg and its attached to a 2kg fire extinguisher and I have a drop checker that hangs over the side. The Co2 was set up on Sunday so running for 4 days now. Plants have grown a decent amount in a couple of days so happy so far, but I have had a little bit of algae pop up and I want to get a grip on it before its an issue. I've been doing water changes every other day, the filter was part cycled so has not been too much of an issue so far.

I have a couple of questions that after trawling through some threads I could do with a bit of confirmation on what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.

1st, the drop checker does not really change between night and day its always green - will this start to change between blue and green as the plants grow more and use the Co2?

2nd, my ph has dropped to I think about 6, usually it is 7.2. My water is very hard and usually very stable so this is the first time I've had a fluctuation. Is this ok? I dont have any fish yet but how does a fluctuating ph affect them? In other tanks this would give me a heart attack so could do with some reasurance this is normal?

3rd, my decor seems to be blocking my flow (pic below as example) flow does not look like it is fully going round the stump on the left but the plants in that corner are growing really well? The algae I had was like a green slime (not BGA) on top of that stump at the back too only a little patch though. Should I get a little powerhead for the back right corner to try and get more flow round the back of the stump? I was looking at this, what do you think? http://www.hygger-online.com/produc...ED-Display-Controller-for-Saltwater-Tank.html - its for marine but I like that it is small and minimal and figure we spend a stupid amount on equipment too :p

thanks Andy


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JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
440
Location
Canada
Hi!

1st, the drop checker does not really change between night and day its always green - will this start to change between blue and green as the plants grow more and use the Co2?
During the photoperiod, you want that drop checker to be green (it measures your CO2 ppm). If it turns blue, that would mean that your CO2 concentration went down. After lights are off, plants stop consuming CO2 (instead they make it) and during that time you are going to want to "off-gas" your CO2. The way to do this is through surface agitation. Have more agitation on the surface will have side effects, however. Those include:

1) a requirement to increase your CO2 injection rate during photo-period as more surface agitation will off-gas CO2 during the photo period.
2) higher oxygen levels (this is good for everything from bacteria to your fish).
3) some kind of way to increase the agitation (increase the height of your output, add a power head, etc)

Or, if you are home regularly, you can overcome this by "lifting up" your output during the night. Personally, I do like high surface agitation during the photoperiod. I have tried both and the oxygen is great.


2nd, my ph has dropped to I think about 6, usually it is 7.2. My water is very hard and usually very stable so this is the first time I've had a fluctuation. Is this ok? I dont have any fish yet but how does a fluctuating ph affect them? In other tanks this would give me a heart attack so could do with some reasurance this is normal?
That sounds like an effective drop! The plant growth and your tank will tell you. As you elude to it below, the distribution of your water will dictate the efficiency of your CO2 injection.

As far as I have read, pH drops from gas will not affect fish negatively. In my experience, they "look" good - the problem with our hobby is that there is not a particularly good middle ground: it is either the fish is healthy or the fish is dead. But, keep a look on your fish, with time, you will be able to identify lethargy as a sign of too much CO2 - this could be that middle ground.


3rd, my decor seems to be blocking my flow (pic below as example) flow does not look like it is fully going round the stump on the left but the plants in that corner are growing really well? The algae I had was like a green slime (not BGA) on top of that stump at the back too only a little patch though. Should I get a little powerhead for the back right corner to try and get more flow round the back of the stump? I was looking at this, what do you think? http://www.hygger-online.com/produc...ED-Display-Controller-for-Saltwater-Tank.html - its for marine but I like that it is small and minimal and figure we spend a stupid amount on equipment too :p

thanks Andy
You will have to play with that flow. Watch the CO2 bubbles. Maybe try to diffuser pushing the bubbles into your intake. The CO2 mist (in conjunction with plant growth) will tell you where it is going. It may also be a good idea (if you get the power head) to put it near your output - you may get a whirlpool effect though.

Cheers,
Josh
 

IamAHill

Member
Joined
12 Jun 2020
Messages
32
Location
UK
Hi josh thanks for that exactly what I needed!

Looked at the ph test from last night again in better light and it’s actually 6.6 down from 7.2 so not as big. I was going to try and keep equipment minimal but I think it’s going to be worth getting an airstone see if I can find that power head in the uk too. Might get to the point where I am more experienced with Co2 and don’t need the back up - or is the lesson that this is what to do?

When I checked the drop checker this morning it was blue/green so noticeably different from a few other nights, I’ve added a few more plants through the week so could be the plants are taking it up. Going to have a shorter photo period today see if that helps with the algae.

Thanks Andy
 

JoshP12

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
440
Location
Canada
Hi Andy!

Looked at the ph test from last night again in better light and it’s actually 6.6 down from 7.2 so not as big. I was going to try and keep equipment minimal but I think it’s going to be worth getting an airstone see if I can find that power head in the uk too. Might get to the point where I am more experienced with Co2 and don’t need the back up - or is the lesson that this is what to do?

When I checked the drop checker this morning it was blue/green so noticeably different from a few other nights, I’ve added a few more plants through the week so could be the plants are taking it up. Going to have a shorter photo period today see if that helps with the algae.
In terms of a power head/air stone, it is actually nice to have this stuff around (and is easier to accumulate it slowly); running the air stone on a timer would give rise to more oxygen levels in the night - which is what you want. Those plants are consuming oxygen at night, so we need to make sure (for the sake of our fish and bacteria) that we keep oxygen levels high at night (during the photoperiod, the plants will saturate your water column).

You will likely need more CO2. Aim to get the drop checker at green/lime green at 2 hours after lights on (the lights on color is not so important - it is possible to blue at lights on and lime green at 2 hours). There are two ways to do this:

1) Take pH readings every 30 minutes and record the pH and the time in a chart (post it in this thread and we will help you): this is called a pH profile. The profile below is not ideal for a planted tank and that tank may have several issues (though it could be worked around with other things).
7:00 / 7.2 Gas on
7:30 / 7.1
8:00 / 7.0 lights on
8:30 6.9
and so on

From this point, we search for stability of your CO2 from the start to the end of the photoperiod, then adjust your CO2 ramp time.

2) Simply continue turning it up every 2 hours until the DC gets to lime green and let it ramp by an arbitrary 2 hours. The issue with this method is that you will kill all fish etc if you do not have ample surface agitation.

You can also look into adjusting the intensity of your lights. The intensity will drive CO2 demand and nutrient demand. The length of the photoperiod will dictate how long the plant will create sugar at the given intensity.

Cheers,
Josh
 

IamAHill

Member
Joined
12 Jun 2020
Messages
32
Location
UK
Hi sorry I've not replied to this for a while but hoping I can get some help with this as I dont understand what is going on. I've not been able to do the half hour test system - we have a new born so that kind of commitment isnt possible haha... I have been testing more regularly now as there are some Amano shrimp in there and I am getting results I dont understand.

My tap water is ph 7, kh 8, gh 18. When lights are on with Co2 set at 1bpm my drop checker is a dark green and ph is at 6.6. When the lights are off and air stone is on, drop checker goes blue but the ph is raising to 7.6!

Why is the ph rising so much at night? I was expecting it to rise back to the original 7 but not higher? Is this connected to the Co2 or is it something else?

Many thanks,
Andy
 

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