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does liquid carbon actually do what it says or is it not worth the money?

xZaiox

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31 Mar 2022
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Maidstone, UK
It depends what you're after using it for. If you're using it as a carbon source, then yeah, it can be useful to plants, but it won't ever beat injection of CO2, it doesn't come close. It's pretty much a "better than nothing" option. CO2 can be somewhat expensive to initially set up, but the cost of the actual gas is generally quite low, so IMO if you're looking to provide carbon then you're best off just getting gaseous CO2.

To play devils advocate, CO2 can sometimes be difficult to dial in correctly and have it be stable throughout the photoperiod, liquid CO2 won't have this problem. Liquid CO2 has the added benefit of generally being used as an algecide, but really, it's a sterilising agent, so if anything, it's more of a 'biocide', it just happens that algae crumbles first. Based on this, I personally am not really comfortable of the idea of using it in a tank with fish, I've seen fish react first-hand as soon as it goes in the water, but there are also many people who use it in tanks with large amounts of fish and have no issues.
 

erwin123

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Singapore
One bottle doesn't cost the much, and you can use it as an algae spot treatment, so whats holding you back from getting a bottle? :)

Using it yourself being able to see the difference (or lack thereof) in your tank is far more impactful than reading a dozen internet posts.

In my low tech tank, I don't need, so I don't use it. The plants in my low tech grow fine without it. For my tank where I inject CO2, its totally unnecessary.
 

john6

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23 Mar 2022
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Scunthorpe
It depends what you're after using it for. If you're using it as a carbon source, then yeah, it can be useful to plants, but it won't ever beat injection of CO2, it doesn't come close. It's pretty much a "better than nothing" option. CO2 can be somewhat expensive to initially set up, but the cost of the actual gas is generally quite low, so IMO if you're looking to provide carbon then you're best off just getting gaseous CO2.

To play devils advocate, CO2 can sometimes be difficult to dial in correctly and have it be stable throughout the photoperiod, liquid CO2 won't have this problem. Liquid CO2 has the added benefit of generally being used as an algecide, but really, it's a sterilising agent, so if anything, it's more of a 'biocide', it just happens that algae crumbles first. Based on this, I personally am not really comfortable of the idea of using it in a tank with fish, I've seen fish react first-hand as soon as it goes in the water, but there are also many people who use it in tanks with large amounts of fish and have no issues.
I am just looking at improving my Discus tank as It is too big for me to use gas, I shall be using gas on my other tank when I get it started, but just reading all the manufacturers blurb just gives you a headache. I use diy ferts for the tank but just thinking if the LC would benefit my tank as the blurb says or just a waste of money.
 

xZaiox

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Maidstone, UK
I am just looking at improving my Discus tank as It is too big for me to use gas
What size is your tank? If you have easier plants in the tank then you could potentially convert it to a low-tech tank with reduced lighting, although if you have beautiful coloured discus fish I'm assuming you probably won't want reduced lighting, I wouldn't anyway :lol:

As erwin said above, you could just give it a go and see how you get on. Liquid CO2 will generally help plants grow, but I personally wouldn't try growing any harder/difficult plants with high CO2 needs if using liquid CO2.
 

John q

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but just reading all the manufacturers blurb just gives you a headache.
It would be great if the manufacturers stated on the bottle that glutaraldehyde is a very poor source of carbon but as an algaecide it's rather effective.

For a short term fix it has its uses, as a "long term" plan for improved plant growth, especially with a tank full of beautiful fish I'd personally steer well clear of it.

Others will have there own opinions on the above.

Cheers.
 

sparkyweasel

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30 Jun 2011
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You should be aware that some plants, under some conditions do not tolerate Glut.
Best known is Vallis, which dies after dosing with 'liquid carbon' for many people. A few have had it survive though, so perhaps it depends on water parameters of other factors.
People have also had various mosses die off, and ferns. I had all my Crinum calimistratum die overnight after dosing it, a beautiful tank devastated and £200 down the drain. :(
I wish the makers were more honest about what it is, what it does, and the dangers of using it.
 

Andy Pierce

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27 Nov 2020
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Cambridge, UK
In my CO2 injected tank I used to use 'liquid carbon' until I planted Vallis, and then I stopped. That was 6 months ago and if I'm honest, the liquid carbon hasn't been missed and although I keep it around in case spot algae treatment is needed, I haven't needed it for that either. My low tech (no CO2 injection) tank has been running for 3 months now and hasn't ever had 'liquid carbon' treatment. In short, I don't think it's necessary for either injected CO2 or non-injected CO2 tanks and you're probably better served figuring out how to manage without it. You could think about whether your discus tank really is too big for CO2 gas. As long as you have good flow in the tank, your plants are probably better served by even low levels (e.g. 5-10 ppm) of injected CO2 gas than they would be with 'liquid carbon' as a supplemental carbon source.
 

tigertim

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11 Jan 2015
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Hull
I use liquid carbon daily and my Crinum calimistratum is perfectly fine with it, so are all my other plants which mostly include more difficult species, my licorice gouramis are fine with it as well.
 

sparkyweasel

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I use liquid carbon daily and my Crinum calimistratum is perfectly fine with it, so are all my other plants which mostly include more difficult species, my licorice gouramis are fine with it as well.
Do you have low pH and low TDS for the Licorice Gouramis?
I wonder if that affects how the Crinum tolerate the Glut. Or it could be something else of course.
 

jaypeecee

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21 Jan 2015
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Bracknell
It would be great if the manufacturers stated on the bottle that glutaraldehyde is a very poor source of carbon but as an algaecide it's rather effective.

I wonder how the various companies' marketing departments would decide how to re-label these products?

Liquid CO2 will generally help plants grow...

Perhaps the marketeers could do away with the use of the 'Liquid CO2' terminology?!

JPC
 

Yugang

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13 Mar 2021
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Hong Kong
I had twice a very unfortunate incident, and while I have no proof I suspect it may be related to using Excel on algae.

Perhaps once every 6 weeks I spray my wood and slow growing epiphytes with Excel as an algae treatment when the water is low for WC. About 15-20 ml on my 200l tank. I had two incidents, after WC in the late afternoon and Excel treatment, that I found my fish and shrimp very uncomfortable next morning before light on. Once I had 80% of cherry shrimp die, especially the younger ones. Both incident where after a late afternoon maintenance, while I most often prefer the early morning for weekly maintenance.

I do not want to experiment with my lifestock, so am now very careful with late afternoon maintenance, and especially using glut. I am guessing, but potential explanations for my incidents:
  • Perhaps related to the tap water? CO2 I know is very low, but not sure about O2
  • Some chemical process going on while Glut attacked algae, that is especially harmfull at night when there is no O2 supply from plants?

As I have no idea what caused the trouble twice, yet both while using Glut before lights of, I prefer now to be on the safe side and only use Glut for algae removal before or during the photoperiod. An airstone sounds logical too, but again I do not want to experiment and repeat this crisis for my lifestock.
 

GreggZ

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4 Mar 2022
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Novi, MI 48374
It's funny this topic still comes up.

It's very well known and documented in the hobby that liquid carbon is a myth. When you do some research you will find that the tiny bit of carbon that is provided is basically the same as dosing nothing.

It's an algaecide. Really nothing more.

If you like it get some glut and save some money. But be careful. Some plants and livestock don't like it.

And whatever you do don't overdose it. It can kill quickly at the wrong concentration.
 

plantnoobdude

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17 Mar 2021
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uk
I dont have the calculations at hand, but If i recall correctly at the dose seachem recommends you get about ~1.5ppm co2 (assuming 100% efficiency in degradation) this is with a half life of 12 hours (again, If i remember correctly).
 

chrisfraser05

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12 Jun 2010
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I'd counter that from my experience using Easy Carbo made a marked improvement to the growth of most things in my last tank.

The system was running for about 4 months when I started dosing, daily with a dosing pump.
Within weeks there was a marked improvement in growth, my grassbed literally sprang to life.

The only other changes were increase of ferts, but that was after the introduction of liquid carbon.

I wondered myself if it was coincide. I reduced dosing slowly over 6 weeks. My nitrate level rose slowly, growth slowed then I started seeing a variety of algaes starting.

Maybe this was the liquid carbo's algicide effect but equally it could have been from the background levels of ferts rising.

I maintained 30% per week WC and all other things unchanged.

The only thing I did note, my vals were growing ok. But they took off a little more when I stopped dosing, then got BBA on them and I had to cut them down anyway.

Overall I felt it had a positive impact on the system.

I have a constant waterchage running, dose Easy Carbo over 12 hours, ferts over 12 hours and the tank just runs fine.

I do wonder if that's why I don't have issues, I don't do a single daily dose, or every second day, but it's watered down and dosed over a longer period.
 

Ria95

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11 Aug 2021
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DE
The only other changes were increase of ferts,...

I wondered myself if it was coincide.

That's the issue when observing just one tank that is set up as a normal tank. In reality there are lots of changing parameters even if we are not actively adjusting them (waste/nutrient accumulation, bacteria development, plants getting established etc ), hard to separate that from the one change we want . It's been around for some time so there are some tests with 'liquid carbon' done with controls and documented out there. Some better some worse but they all point to low/no plant improvement. On the other hand, I can't but ask myself, after all this time where are the documented tests and data from the sellers of these 'liquid carbon' solutions (biased as they may be )??? I imagine if the plants grow the tank out overnight they will be the first to post the videos ;)

Maybe this article published by an aquarium company ( be aware of marketing!ie not selling that stuff but marketing other stuff) provides john6 some more information
 

chrisfraser05

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12 Jun 2010
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That's the issue when observing just one tank that is set up as a normal tank. In reality there are lots of changing parameters even if we are not actively adjusting them (waste/nutrient accumulation, bacteria development, plants getting established etc ), hard to separate that from the one change we want . It's been around for some time so there are some tests with 'liquid carbon' done with controls and documented out there. Some better some worse but they all point to low/no plant improvement. On the other hand, I can't but ask myself, after all this time where are the documented tests and data from the sellers of these 'liquid carbon' solutions (biased as they may be )??? I imagine if the plants grow the tank out overnight they will be the first to post the videos ;)

Maybe this article published by an aquarium company ( be aware of marketing!ie not selling that stuff but marketing other stuff) provides john6 some more information
The ferts were changed about 4 weeks after starting to see the growth spurt, as a result in the increase demand.

But I do agree, often it's difficult to pinpoint one factor and separate the cause and effect
 

GreggZ

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4 Mar 2022
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Novi, MI 48374
I dont have the calculations at hand, but If i recall correctly at the dose seachem recommends you get about ~1.5ppm co2 (assuming 100% efficiency in degradation) this is with a half life of 12 hours (again, If i remember correctly).
Exactly. Your tank will have far more CO2 in it naturally. What it adds is roughly the same as adding nothing.
 
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