Naturally add co2?

oliverar

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I am just wondering if there are any things you can put into your tank that will introduce co2 naturally? Like if you put in chalk for calcium, would that work, if it is calcium carbonate, what happens to the carbon and oxygen? Also I don't see why people are all so crazed about using ugly expensive Co2 input's, if it is a smallish tank and there are not too many plant's why not just try and fill the tank with as much wildlife as possible, like how it works on Earth for us!
 

chilled84

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There are so many other factors other than just filling the tank with huge amounts of wildlife. Yes we are creating a slice of nature, But nature is still much better than we can similate.
 

GreenNeedle

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I am just wondering if there are any things you can put into your tank that will introduce co2 naturally? Like if you put in chalk for calcium, would that work, if it is calcium carbonate, what happens to the carbon and oxygen?
In a non CO2/low tech tank there is no need to introduce more CO2 naturally. That is the whole point. The CO2 is already there naturally. The substrate provides some from organics rotting down. The fish add some. Most importantly the 'natural' way CO2 enters the water at the surface to reach a 'natural' level.

What we are doing is using sufficient light that won't push the plants to the rates where the natural CO2 is depleted.

We can add carbon sources in the substrate such as Leonardite after all the plants aren't wanting CO2 they are wanting Carbon which they extract from the CO2.

Also I don't see why people are all so crazed about using ugly expensive Co2 input's, if it is a smallish tank and there are not too many plant's why not just try and fill the tank with as much wildlife as possible, like how it works on Earth for us!
If there are not too many plants then there would be absolutely no need to add CO2. If you were to try and produce a hi tec tank with not many plants it would almost always end in disaster. The reason people use the CO2 inputs is not from obsession. It is a necessity to produce the result they want. They want their scape to grow quickly. Without the CO2 growth is much much (could put 100 x 'much' here :) )slower and therefore nutrient and CO2 demand is much much lower.

Hence we can let the natural CO2 stay as it is without thinking of addition and either ditch the nutrients entirely or at least make it a minimal thing.

We do however have to use sensible lighting otherwise the plants will want to grow faster and fail due to there not being enough CO2 or nutrient.

That doesn't mean in a low light plant we can't add CO2. Light indeed is the driver but under a lower light system CO2 can be added and still achieve faster results. If the CO2 is plentiful then the plant can put more effort into using the light available. CO2 in low light tanks can often mean a lot less problems but then that isn't really the aim in this section.

For El natural/low tech we want (all or some of the following) slower growth, less effort, less expense, less or no water changes, less equipment etc.

AC
 

oliverar

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Ok, sure, I am looking at having a fairly heavily planted tank and although I don't want to go for the whole high-tech idea I am not going as basic as El natural, so I am after a little bit of a compromise, I disagree with what you say about all the other factor's involved with the animals because if you look at the eco-sphere experiment, that work's! I also disagree with what you mention, and lots of people talk about, that if you raise the light too much, it will make to plant run out of other nutrients, If you look at building a car and you have 5 car bodies but only 4 set's of wheel's then you can only make 4 car's, if you raise the light, the co2 or water become the limiting factor's so although having a really bright aquarium with no co2 is pointless because co2 is the limiting factor, it still won't harm the plant's, directly.
 

bigmatt

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It will! Or rather it will hurt the system and result in a shed load of algae. PLants without enough nutrients release all kinds of nasties - including ammonia into the water column. There's TONS of experience and millions (or thereabouts :) ) of posts on here from people who have made the same mistake including me!) of putting a lot of light over not enough nutrients (inc. CO2) and then have to spends weeks/months trying to overcome the algae thence generated!
If you're trying to generate a "true" ecosystem you're on a bit of a hiding to nothing - unless youcan find a biotope that is a small volume puddle inside with loads of plants! We try our hardest but guys like SuperColey1 really have it nailed - you can disagree all you want but it doesn't make him wrong. If you compare his comments with all the info on this site you'll soon see that he's bang on the money!
Hope this helps and is taken in the right spirit!
Matt
 
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it still won't harm the plant's, directly.
I think if the lights are bright the metabolism speeds up in the plants and they will try for more carbon too grow, failing to do so it will try and take it from the column bio-genic calcification.
El natural over loading with live stock will not only increase the co2 but all the other pollutants ammonia etc thus requiring lots of water changes even daily which would drive off the co2 the fish added.

Plants probably would get by without the co2 but not thrive, algae on the other hand would love a tank like this, excess pollutants, high lighting and the plants struggling to out compete it. The biggest stock answer for any problems I've seen so far algae/co2 related issues has been to reduce lighting if you can't provide the others.
 

GreenNeedle

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oliverar said:
Ok, sure, I am looking at having a fairly heavily planted tank and although I don't want to go for the whole high-tech idea I am not going as basic as El natural, so I am after a little bit of a compromise, I disagree with what you say about all the other factor's involved with the animals because if you look at the eco-sphere experiment, that work's! I also disagree with what you mention, and lots of people talk about, that if you raise the light too much, it will make to plant run out of other nutrients, If you look at building a car and you have 5 car bodies but only 4 set's of wheel's then you can only make 4 car's, if you raise the light, the co2 or water become the limiting factor's so although having a really bright aquarium with no co2 is pointless because co2 is the limiting factor, it still won't harm the plant's, directly.
The car analogy is a good one that we often use but you are looking at a more physical parts way of thinking. stay with cars but think more of putting enough petrol to drive 100miles at 50mph. Thats great. However if you suddenly decide to drive at 100mph You get most of the way and then run out of petrol.

Think of light as the driver of the car. The level of light says to the plants grow at X speed. To grow at X speed you need to supply the fuel for the plants to grow at X speed for the length of the journey (the journey being the light duration)

Of course this analogy can easily be pulled apart when we get into the realms of low light because you could argue that if the plants are now growing at a lower rate how could I say that with CO2 addition under low light they would grow faster.

This is quite simple to explain really. If you have a hundred jobs on you struggle to keep on top of them. If you provide low light and natural CO2 then the plants have to use energy to get the best out of the CO2 and light. If you then supply CO2 there is an excess just like the nutrients. The plant doesn't have to fight for CO2 anymore and instead uses the energy on light consumption. Sort of like concentrating. I can't explain in scientific terms on this as I am no scientist, far from it, but it is true :)

A bit like trying to juggle 3 balls. If you suddenly only need to juggle with 2 balls it is very easy in comparison.

On the eco-sphere (If I am thinking about the same thing as you) then you have to remember something. Yes it is sealed so it needs nothing but daylight. CO2 addition is impossible but what should be remembered is that it is a sealed unit. Nothing gets in but also nothing gets out. The cycle can complete just as we do. CO2 is produced by the creatures, plants etc but none is lost. It is then used by the plants and returned to oxygen which the plants use at night and the creatures use all the time and so the cycle runs on. Exactly the same process as an unsealed unit but with no contaminants. The eco-sphere probably has more CO2 than a non CO2 aquarium due to it being sealed and no gaseous escape. No idea really on that.

At the end of the day light is the KEY thing really. It is what controls the system and is the deciding factor on nutrient and CO2 needs. It is non negotiable and unmoveable. It is stubborn and therefore the CO2 and other nutrients are attributable to the light. 4WPG with no CO2 and no nutrient will fail, 1WPG with no CO2 can fail but shouldn't. In some cases it will but just as with a hitec tank it is nearly always the user rather than the method that fails.

AC
 

oliverar

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OOO, now I get what you mean, I just thought you meant it in a different way, yep, It just mean's that you have to remember that if you are going to supplement one aspect then you have to supplement all of them or it is a waste of time! OK, I kinda get it with the eco-sphere, I think you have got the same thing that I am talking about! Ok, well that all makes sense, I just mis-interpreted what you said last time! But in the wild the way co2 get's into the atmosphere is by decomposition and burning so I suppose decomposition will have to do. Does activated carbon help?
 

GreenNeedle

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no idea on activated carbon. I am not sure that it 'leeches' any carbon into the water. Nothing to really worry about though.

You get it with the supplementation.

However in the wild there is much more than decomposition taking place. The water even in a lake is moving everything around It isn't a small system like ours. There will be carbon being drawn in off the riverbank/lake side from the soil/sand and what is mixed in with it. Things drop in naturally from above or from the banks to aid the system etc. However whilst there are some lovely clear lakes around there are also many more that are just bowls of green water.

Not sure I agree on the point above r.e. overstocking though. We tend to accept that going planted means we can 'stretch' the stocking limits more due to the fact that the plants act as filters. I generally like to have 2+inch per gallon in my tanks compared to the 1" per gallon suggested for a non planted tank and that always involves lots of larger fish. I like Corys and therefore half the number of my fish will be Corys/small catfish the other half small fish like Rasbora/Tetras and the Corys would account for 80%+ of the actual body mass of fish stocking. Still no water changes though.

Apart from the food addition/heater/filter my setup basically runs naturally.

AC
 

ceg4048

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You cannot produce CO2 from carbon unless you oxidize it by burning it. You can introduce more CO2 gas into the water column by overstocking and the resultant exhalation of the fish, but then you have to deal with the issues that arise with overstocking.

If you wish to run a non-enriched CO2 tank then there is no point thinking of ways to enrich the CO2, because these are two different regimes of operating. If you want a car analogy then this is like buying a Reliant Robin for the purpose of putting a fourth wheel on it.

There is no relationship whatsoever between a tank and any natural system on Earth, so it's a self-delusion to compare them at a system wide level. Natural processes do occur of course but there is no correlation with natural vs man-made systems. Brand labelling any technique as "Natural" is mostly propaganda.

In a non enriched environment the plant changes it's physiology to adapt to the low CO2 regime. The plant behaves differently under a high CO2 regime. Growth rates and nutrient uptake differ drastically between the two regimes.

A compromise between the two would be the addition of liquid carbon products such as Excel or EasyCarbo. This adds CO2 at a higher level than non-CO2 but adds much less than gas injection. This also avoids the travails of having to deal with the so-called "ugly expensive CO2 inputs".

Cheers,
 

oliverar

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Ok, thanks I get it all now, but I am sorry you cannot mock me for calling co2 ugly and expensive, they are not cheap I don't think you can argue that? And I can't see anything that would be aesthetically pleasing in a CO2 injection kit? I think that I will try the yeast bottle for a bit to see how that affects the growth!
 

GreenNeedle

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Ok, thanks I get it all now, but I am sorry you cannot mock me for calling co2 ugly and expensive, they are not cheap I don't think you can argue that? And I can't see anything that would be aesthetically pleasing in a CO2 injection kit? I think that I will try the yeast bottle for a bit to see how that affects the growth!
This is part of the problem really. cheap or expensive is a relative term really. A CO2 system may look expensive but it will last for a long long time. You have to compare the expense of a CO2 system with the continual purchase of liquid carbon products. Over time the pressurised system will normally win.

Then we come to the 'ugly' aspect. This is pretty similar to the argument of filter in/out pipes/hoses and heaters. We use glassware as it looks better or we try to hide the bright green plastic etc. We position heaters where they are hidden or use externals.

Same with the CO2. We hide the bottle and reg etc in or behind the cabinet and the only visible part is the diffuser. You can use glass/ceramic or ladders or multiple other methods. With yeast or with pressurised you will have a piece of equipment within the tank unless of course you go for an external diffuser or reactor.

So with filters we hide the cannister and all you see is the inlet outlet. Same with the CO2 we hide the cannister and all you see is the diffuser.

Cheap Expensive is pretty relative term really. They can only be used as comparisons on like for like items. Items where they last the same length of time, give the same result etc.

Uglyness (and beauty) is in the eye of the beholder ;) I always like the glass diffusers. I thought they were aesthetically pleasing and a nice addition in the tank, quite pretty in fact. don't have one now though as there is no point with a non CO2 tank. lol

AC
 
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oliverar said:
Ok, thanks I get it all now, but I am sorry you cannot mock me for calling co2 ugly and expensive, they are not cheap I don't think you can argue that? And I can't see anything that would be aesthetically pleasing in a CO2 injection kit? I think that I will try the yeast bottle for a bit to see how that affects the growth!
how is he mocking you???!

and yes you can argue they are not expensive, i have a 2nd hand regulator and a fire extinguisher. £40 total plus a bit extra for diffuser and tubing.

don't bother with a filter either they are sometimes pretty expensive and hardly can be said to be pretty! :crazy:

id use easy carbo over a yeast bottle easier to keep stable and consistent.
 

oliverar

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Ok, well I have not used co2 before so I can't properly weigh up the pro's! I am getting off topic and I don't like arguing! And yes I do agree that some glass ware is very elegant I love that ADA thermometer and the drop checkers etc. Is easy carbo a liquid supplement?
 

Brenmuk

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I think it would be fair to say that getting CO2 delivery right in any form of planted tank is the challenging bit even in low tech with no pressurised CO2 added, you still have to get a balance between light/CO2/and plant demand.

There are ways to make the most of what CO2 is available in a low tech tank such as encouraging floating plants and plants that cover the surface as these can take advantage of aerial CO2 and provide some shade. Also rooted plants that reach the surface and grow partly emmersed can oxygenate the substrate better at their roots - this in turn promotes more efficient breakdown of organic matter and releases more CO2.

There is also the idea of preserving what CO2 you have by not having excess ripples/disturbance at the surface which can drive off CO2 - (this statement might promote some debate but I have had better results avoiding excess surface turbulence).

Livestock is very important in a low tech tank for supplying CO2. Too little and you may not be able to support enough plant growth without having to supplement the tank with extra CO2 and ferts. Too much livestock can lead to all sorts of well documented problems. So I think its fair to say that you need to get right level of stocking and the right kind of livestock. A tank full of dying plants, loads of fish waste, uneaten food and low O2 levels is a recipe for an ugly algae filled tank. I think having shrimps and snails which count as live stock is important, these produce CO2 but also help break down detritus and can to some extent help in keeping the surface of the substrate mixed. These combined with good filtration can quickly convert fish food into CO2 and ferts needed for healthy plant growth.
But don't expect your shrimps to solve your algae problems and excessive numbers of snails can be a sign of overfeeding.
 

plantbrain

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oliverar said:
OK, thanks that was a very helpful answer.
You might try both methods and then see what you prefer for a given goal.

This "goal" is 100% yours, it is not mine, or anyone else.
If you see a tank you like, do that.

There are many locations in nature where CO2 is high, 30ppm etc, Bonita springs, in the Mato Grosso Brasil, perhaps 100 or more springs in Florida USA, Pupu springs in NZ, 100's in China, Thailand etc. Anywhere there are limestone fed springs and warmer temps.

Most have had plants continuously for 1000 years or more.
Ponce de Leon looked for the fountain of Youth in Florida in the 1500's, they found many such springs full of plants. These same springs are still full of rich lush plant growth, lots of happy fish etc.

So there are examples of each case for aquariums as well.

So it's not "unnatural".

Say

Low light/no enriched CO2= 2% growth per week
Medium light/no CO2 = 4%
High light /no CO2 say 6%

low light/medium CO2(say 6ppm) = 5%
med light/med CO2 = 9%
high light/medium = 12%

Low light/high cO2(say 35ppm) = 6%
medium light/high CO2 =10%
high light/high CO2 = 20%

Plants still grow in each case, but it is the rate of growth that changes.
We also have issues with some plants being very aggressive with rates of growth compared to other plants, this means they will strip the water of CO2 much faster than other species.

So plant- plant competition for CO2 is intense and becomes more so as light is increased.
Enriching CO2 allows us to grow a wide range of plant species together, where we have fewer choices with out CO2.

Excel/Easy carbon is another way to add CO2.
As far as ugly CO2........well, out of sight, it's not ugly since you cannot see it.
One of the aesthetics for dutch scaping is not seeing equipment etc.

So this could be stated for a dozen things aquarist keep out in the open(heaters, pipes, etc).

The best arguments for CO2 are a wider range of species to be kept, good healthy growth, pruning options, higher light use efficiency, less light needed to achieve the same level of growth, and a speed of growth that keeps the aquarist more interested than non CO2.

I tried to weasel my way around CO2 and gas tank systems for years.
I still do :D

But it's a very useful tool.

Learn to use it and then see.
You can always go back to non Co2.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

plantbrain

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oliverar said:
Ok, well I have not used co2 before so I can't properly weigh up the pro's! I am getting off topic and I don't like arguing! And yes I do agree that some glass ware is very elegant I love that ADA thermometer and the drop checkers etc. Is easy carbo a liquid supplement?
Now suggesting that high CO2 is not natural, I can assure you, Easy Carbo Excel is not found in nature!!!!
It's highly toxic as well. But for some reason, people seem willing to dose this. This is not just you, it's most aquarist.
I do not understand this contradiction.

CO2 and Excel/Easy Carbo are the two most common ways aquarist kill fish in aquariums.
Nutrients? Never met one yet. Light, maybe a fish sunburn if they went too high. Algae etc.

But Excel is a general biocide, 5-8ppm will kill most shrimp and some fish.
2ppm is the typical dose. It does not last long though, maybe 10-14 hours, 100% is gone in less than 24 hours.

CO2 can stress some species at 45ppm or higher, some can handle much more.
since folks cannot measure either of these easily, it ends up being a guessing game for many impatience hobbyists= dead fish.

Care and focus on these can lead to good benefits, like taking medication from a doctor, take too little= does not cure the disease...........too much, kills the patient. Just right= good results.

Same type of dose thing here.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

a1Matt

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plantbrain said:
I can assure you, Easy Carbo Excel is not found in nature!!!!
It's highly toxic as well. But for some reason, people seem willing to dose this. This is not just you, it's most aquarist.
I do not understand this contradiction.
I think many people (wrongly) assume that because it is being sold to them with no warnings to say otherwise then it must be safe.
 
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