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14 ppm CO2 proven detrimental for freshwater tropical fish

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Ragnarok, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok Junior Poster

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    In my study, I stumbled upon an interesting article that examined the effect of elevated CO2 concentration (14 ppm) on freshwater tropical fish Mozambique tilapia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambique_tilapia).


    The study's highlights:


    1) Elevated CO2 (as well as temperature) levels have a negative effect on hematological parameters.


    "As a result of elevated carbon dioxide concentration in the water, hypercapnia is observed due to abnormally high level carbon dioxide in the blood. The increase in blood partial carbon dioxide pressure can cause a respiratory acidosis in fish. Because increased carbon dioxide concentrations cause acidification in the blood and tissue respiratory pigment, it causes a reduction in oxygen intake and delivery. In cases where acidification occur and blood pH fall, fish can compensate the reduced red blood cell pH with Na+/H+ ion exchange by catecholamine proteins. Althought the fish in our experiment exposed to elevated CO2 levels were able to solve the above mentioned problems (with the help of adaptive mechanisms), and the hematological parameters returned to the normal values at the end of trial, it should not be inferred that the fish health is not adversely affected."


    2) At elevated levels of CO2 there was an inhibition of activity of enzymes that control the transmission of sodium-potassium ions in cells (i.e. sodium-potassium pump aka Na+/K+ ATPase) within two weeks.


    3) For the fish to survive it was trying to cope with these adverse conditions using a variety of adaptive mechanisms.


    In the study, any death case was observed neither in control nor in test group fish. Furthermore, no change was observed in feeding and behaviors of fish in any group.


    Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1382668916300965


    For discussion: It's interesting that although no fish died at an elevated level of 14 ppm CO2, and all the fish seem to have behaved quite normally, hidden from our eyes a certain negative internal changes occurred in the fish. And although the fish managed to overcome it, it does not mean that the elevated CO2 levels would be a "cakewalk" for the fish (as the study shows). Even under only 14 ppm CO2 the adaptation mechanisms had to have a pretty hard time to be able to eliminate the excess CO2 in the blood. There was used a total of 144 pcs of fish in the experiment weighing 13-15 g each, which should correspond to a length of about 3.5 to 3.7 inches (these were probably a relatively young fish).


    Often I here an argument saying that "my fish are not dying on any carbon dioxide poisoning, and are behaving perfectly normally and are breeding ... which apparently proves that the elevated CO2 levels have no negative effect on aquarium fish." However, this study highlights the negative consequences that are not even visible to the naked eye, so many aquarist often do not notice them (even if they are watching their fish very carefully). So is it really necessary and considerate to fish to use such a high levels of CO2 in planted tanks? I liked one article, in this context, that I had come across in one old magazine where the author says, "The optimal amount of [CO2], which is beneficial to plants and is not detrimental to fish, is in the range of 5-10 ppm" (B. Huschina, Mysterious carbon dioxide, Aquarium terrarium, 1984, Vol. 27, No. 3). And now one heretical question: Would not be better to reject the everywhere-recommended-level of 30 ppm CO2 (or even more), and return back to these values?
     
  2. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thanks for posting this, unfortunately the article doesn't load for me right now. I use elevated amounts of Co2 and I'd like to be able to lower it, but if I do, my plants start suffering. So... how would you suggest coping with that? And I am not using high light... I have about 50-60 PAR at the substrate (medium light?)


    The only negative affects I have seen on my livestock by using high Co2 levels, are snails having problems building their shell (in particular trumpet snails). I also add a lot of oxygen via a wet-dry filter and surface agitation, but of course I am not a scientist and I haven't made any experiment on the matter to either confirm or contest what's written on that article (but I'd love to read it!)
     
  3. rajkm

    rajkm Article Editor
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    I also cannot agree with this. I pump just as much CO2 as fablau and have not had a single death or disease. I also have seen the same issues in plants and growth of algae if my CO2 is lower.


    The only time I had such deaths was when I accidently shifted my PH (CO2 induced) from 6.8 after water change to 5.2, and that was because I forgot to turn off the diffuser in my sump and CO2 was building up for the hour that I was cleaning, trimming and changing water.


    I usually have a lot of surface agitation so O2 levels are high enough to not cause stress.


    I believe what you are trying to do is search for reasons why not to use higher CO2 or go looking for studies which would back up your specific theory. Information overload due to internet has allowed people to draw their own conclusions by searching exactly what you are looking for.


    Also no one has ever claimed that you cannot grow plants in lower CO2, lower nutrients etc. You will eventually find balance in lean levels. I have my shrimp tank where I do just flourish and GH Booster after water change with Glut and I am growing a decent amount of plants, very slow, different leaf structure and color, has algae here and there, but grows.


    There are too many variables in planted tank, Light, CO2, NO3, NH4, PO4, K+, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Mo, B, S, Na, DOC in water, ORP of water, etc......... The permutations of this is quite high, and any of that can go wrong and if you want to perfect each one, they you can chase that.


    Or you can pick Light, CO2, Non-limiting (but going overboard) Nutrients and you reduce the items you really have to chase.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A 2-3 lb fish that's over a foot long is far more sensitive to CO2 than say a a tetra. Same deal with Discus vs a tetra.


    We can easily spot Discus behavioral changes. They turn dark, act different, don't eat near as much. This is right at about 45 ppm CO2 with temp at 84F and O2 at 7 ppm.


    More and they start acting weird. Maybe someone can higher than this? Perhaps, I could be proven wrong on the upper range....... but I think for practical purposes, that's an upper limit for large fish and CO2.


    I've been breeding discus in a non planted non CO2 enriched tank for a few years, same for an enriched tank.


    Both cases, they breed. A 350 Gallon, and 1200 gallon CO2. 800 Gallon non planted. Know anyone that keeps 12+ inch cichlids in planted tanks?


    I don't either.


    It's not as bad as the old anti NO3 crowd that used Salmon fry studies as NO3 toxicity fear mongering vs say warm water tropical fish we might keep.


    I would go after the shrimp if I were you on this topic.


    Their brood production drops off specific to CO2(and NOT nutrients) enrichment. High grade CRS in particular.


    RCS, not so much but even here too, the brood production drops off by at least 50-70%.


    We also do not add CO2 all day long, just for generally 8-10 hours or 1/3 to 5/12ths of the day.


    So the CO2 is not chronic.


    We also find CO2 changes daily in natural systems, so the fish might be in poor shape if you do this in a lab, and do not account for the diurnal changes or things like co increases in O2 from algae and plant releases. Fish and invertebrates seem to do very well in Florida springs which high both rich CO2 and O2. So the claim that high CO2 is not always unnatural is also false, most lakes also have a higher partial pressure than the air in Florida as well. I've measure 25-40 ppm CO2 ranges in Ichnetucknee Springs state park. Such springs also do not get depleted in CO2 due to the massive volume, so the CO2 ppm is very stable due to high flow and volume.


    ADA often made 15ppm claims, but I've measured a dozen ADA vendor's tanks that were doing well, light was low and the CO2 was quite high, at least 30-40 ppm.


    Their numbers never matched to KH and the pH claims.


    SFBAAPS folks are the ones that really did a lot of the higher ppm CO2 ranges.


    I did more or less due to my MH lights and high % of stem plants at the time.


    Germans according to Kasslemann and Karen Randall also had higher ppm's in the 1990's, 40ppm was often cited by them.


    The Dutch plant club had a huge debate over CO2 in the 1970's.


    Around 1995-2000, power compact lights were becoming pretty popular and the light intensity shot up 2-4x more.


    So more CO2 was added. More light is not better. But few address that topic curiously.


    If they are breeding, growing at fast rates, looking good and good behavior, that is enough for me.


    Poor feeding, poor general care, few water changes, POOR usage of CO2 etc............those are more detrimental than good rich CO2.


    Back tracking on the CO2 issues by conceding the plant health aspect? Now going after the fish health aspect?


    They did this already in the 1990's. NO3 being toxic was the first claim. I addressed the CO2 issue and many followed up with similar observations.


    Many with canister filters had poorer luck adding MORE CO2 than those with sumps.


    Robert Hudson, the old owner of Aquabotanica web site I met in person and helped fix his CO2 due to this issue, his O2 was about 4ppm. Got up to about 7ppm.


    After wards, he had little issue adding CO2. Fish respiration is more than just CO2 alone. You need to address the other factors(O2, species, size, temp, other plant factors) and fish can vary a great deal in response to CO2.


    But if you go with "less is better", why go ONLY 1/2 way?


    Go full non CO2. Why accept "some poison" when you can provide an even better environment for the fish and still have a nice planted tank?


    I've been down this path 101 times. Maybe more. No "new" argument for support here.


    Adding little CO2 will still increase plant growth. But you get better results if you add CO2 good and it is less fuss. Fish still breed. Plants grow better, larger and with fewer issues.


    Are you doing this because of the fish's health? Or you are doing this because you have not mastered the gas use yet? Or you are okay with lower O2 levels?


    If it's REALLY about fish health, then you'd add no CO2 enrichment. This is less about the method, more reflective upon the user. Let's be honest about this point.


    I have several methods and they exist over a wide range, that way most everything else falls somewhere in between. Which is how most growth or toxicity studies are set up.


    Plants, fish, shrimp, algae etc.
     
  5. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok Junior Poster

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    Let me address your objections one by one:

    The fish in the study were about 3.5" long.

    Citation from the paper: "In the study, ... no change was observed in feeding and behaviors of fish in any group."


    My comment in the previous post: "This study highlights the negative consequences that are not even visible to the naked eye, so many aquarist often do not notice them (even if they are watching their fish very carefully)".


    So, if Discus starts acting weird (= visible negative symptomps), then its adaptive mechanisms are already failing to eliminate high CO2 levels in its blood. This is a clear proof that the invisible (inner) negative effects occur under much lower CO2 levels than 45 ppm. At 45 ppm the negative effects are so serious already that they already affect the outer behaviour. The whole study is about the inner negative effects (that you can't see or notice). BTW, as I recall, you have mentioned elsewhere that you are using 50-70 ppm CO2 in your main tank, aren't you?

    That's a good note. This can help in some situations ... if the degassing is effective enough overnight. But you should also note that many folks add CO2 24/7.

    According to my experiences, many folks don't manage CO2 very well, so it's not uncommon their CO2 levels are increasing during the photoperiod from say 30 ppm up to about 80 (even more) CO2. There was one article about CO2 behaviour during the day, but it's not available anymore. It showed how easily CO2 increases to very dangerous levels if you don't use enough aeration in your tank to level it up. But in case you use 50-70 ppm in your tank (although for only about 1/3 of a day) ... that's 4-5x higher than the level investigated in the study. I think some fish species may have a really hard time adapting to these levels. Some of them may even have a lower breeding rate or higher egg mortality, maybe a shorter lifespan also ... who knows. There may be a lot of invisible negative effects going on with some of your fish/shrimps.

    Again, they may seem to do very well, but this does not mean their adaptive mechanisms are not having hard time to eliminate high CO2 levels in their blood. As you probably know not all negative effects may have a visible manifestation. I have read about nephrocalcinosis with the respect of elevated levels of CO2 also, which can be found only by autopsy.

    I can't comment on this finding as I don't know any details. Were there any fish living? Were they studied? ... and what parameters were investigated? What was the results? Is there any paper available about this research/experiment that will show the effects of such an elevated CO2 levels on fish?

    Again, I can't comment on this, but even if ADA claims prove to be wrong, this does not mean that the study's conclusions are wrong as well, does it?

    How should I understand this argument? Do you want to say that if there is a huge band of people using elevated CO2 levels it proves it is not detrimental? In 1970's or 1990's some studies were not available, so the people could hardly know about any invisible negative impact of elevated CO2 levels on their fish. Again, we speak here about the invisible negative effects that can't be seen by a naked eye.

    In nature, the light intensity is about 1500-2000 µmol PAR under the direct sunlight. Still, the average CO2 level in the Amazonia river and its tributaries is 6-8* ppm CO2.


    * see MCCLAIN, Michael E, Jeffrey Edward RICHEY a Reynaldo L VICTORIA. The biogeochemistry of the Amazon Basin. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-511431-0.


    According to Dr. Ole Pedersen from University of Copenhagen, "Natural waters vary tremendously in CO2 concentration but contrary to what most people think, most water bodies are supersaturated with CO2, i.e. concentrations above air equilibrium which is typically around 10-20 µM (0.4-0.8 ppm) depending on temperature and salinity. Nevertheless, lakes in general have lower CO2 concentrations than streams, and the smaller the stream, the higher the CO2. Groundwater can have anything between 1000 and 2000 µM (40-80 ppm), streams from 1000 (4.4 ppm) to below 10 (0.4 ppm) (the latter would be the lower reaches of Donau or Rhine) and lakes between 200 (8.8 ppm) and below 1 (0.04 ppm) ...".


    So, levels above 40 ppm are common for groundwaters rather than streams. So, in nature most of the aquatic plants grow under much lower levels of CO2 than we often recommend (30 ppm), and this furthermore often under full sunlight (~1500 µmol PAR). Even under an undirect light the irradiation can reach 500-600 µmol PAR. In short, much lower CO2 levels vs. much higher light intensity (much more than PCL or MHL) in nature.

    Before someone shows/proves me how detrimental elevated CO2 levels can be, I would be probably also fine with my subjective observation. But once I found that there are any negative effects going probably on in my fish, I would like to adjust my attitude accordingly. I don't want to ignore the risks.

    Agree, fish can vary in their response to elevated CO2 levels. The same applies to plants. Different plant species have different demands to nutrients, different threshold for toxicity, use different physiological/adaptive mechanisms. But it is a good and reasonable habit to adjust our methods according to the most demanding/sensitive species.

    I have a planted tank with fish. I like the plants, but I want to be considerate of my fish also. With respect to my plants I would like to supply them with a reasonable deal of nutrients (incl. CO2), but with respect to fish I would like to keep it as low as possible. So the result must be some kind of compromise (with respect to plants as well as critters). I think you should understand this approach.

    You should differenciate between plants preferences vs fish preferences here. Of course, under higher CO2 levels the plant growth will increase also (and the overall condition may be even better, because under higher growth rates less algae can probably attach to their leaves, etc.). But first, I don't want to have a plant farm in my tank. I don't sell plants as you, so I don't need nor want to trim them each couple of weeks, nor have always enough time for demanding maintenance (one that is needed when you go full-speed). Second, I focus not only on the plants, but on my fish also, and I want they have the best possible conditions in my planted tank. You repeat your argument about "fish still breed" over and over. The whole point of the above study is to point out that there are some negative effects going on inside our fish ... unnoticed to hobbyists, not visible to our naked eyes. Still, they are there and are real. I don't want to persude you to pay attention to it. You have chosed to ignore it, I have chosen to pay attention to it, and adjust my method accordingly. No need to fight over it.

    There should not be any "plants vs fish" approach IMO. As I said, I have a planted tank (not for any contest reasons, but just for my joy and education) with fish inside. Thus, my main concern is to provide the plants as well as fish the best environment (conditions) I can. When I found that plants have some demands (like strong light, enough levels of essential nutrients, flow, temperature, absence of toxic elements/compounds, etc.), I will do my best to ensure they have all they need for a good growth. In the same way, when I found that fish have some demands (like lower light, clear water with minimum level of impurities [incl. low CO2], flow, temperature, absence of foxic elements/compounds, etc.), I will do my best to ensure they have all they need for a good living. If some of these demands go against each other (i.e. plants want more CO2 vs. fish want less CO2), I will try to find out some reasonable compromise. In the respect of CO2, ~10 ppm seems to me as a good compromise. Under this level most plants should grow exceptionally well, while most fish should be probably fine (with low and well-manageable level of negative effects).
     
    #5 Ragnarok, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2017
  6. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    This kind of debates remind me of Marcel Golias, exactly the same way of debating... is that you in disguise? Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, but that'd be funny.


    Just discussing of practicality of what exposed above, I'd love to be able to grow all plants I have right now with less than 10 ppm Co2. For sure it's just me that after 35 years of planted tanks haven't learned yet how to do it the right way, but the way I am doing now it has been the easiest (high Co2). I have tried to lower Co2 several times, but then string or fuzz algae appeared... I then tried to lower light to cope with that, but then some plants suffered because light was too low and started to melt... then I tried to lower other nutrients such as P or N to "limit" their growth in some way and be more in line with the lower Co2, but then deficiencies started to appear here and there, and managing the tank was much harder than before, always close to the cliff of the "deficiency". Of course, I could have avoided those fantastic red plants wanting higher light, or to pack so many different plants inside the tank without worrying about algae here and there... is a "method" choice driven but a "goal".


    I have a low tech tank without Co2 and low light, but I cannot grow most of the red plants or even just Rotala Rotundifolia well. Yes, that tank is probably too much packed of plants, or I am dosing ferts well, and it is not free of algae... but that's ok for me for that tank. The "goal" for that tank is fulfilled anyway: have a easy tank where I can put any kind of fish or snail my 10 years old son love. For my high-tech 75? No. In that tank I'd like to be able to grow most of the plants I like (AR, Rotalas, etc), dutch style. I haven't' found a way to accomplish that with lower Co2, but if you know a way, please, let me know!
     
  7. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok Junior Poster

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    ad 1) No, my name is Jiri N.


    ad 2) In a similar way I can describe my failures with trying to grow plants under EI. Would you conclude from this that EI is not working? Each method will work under some circumstances. As you probably noticed, basically I agree that under higher CO2 levels (higher that the suggested 10 ppm) the plants will grow probably a little better. The higher growth rate may function as one of the factors protecting plants from algae attachment, and more acidic water can inhibit the growth of some kinds of algae. I do not question the plant health or growth rate under higher CO2 levels (10+ ppm). I just share my doubts about the health of our fish under elevated CO2 levels based on the recent (2016) research. As I have already pointed out plants demands may sometimes go against the fish demands (especially in water quality, incl. CO2 concentration). So I understand how higher CO2 levels may be beneficial to plants, but in the same way we should understand how higher CO2 levels may be detrimental to fish, shouldn't we?


    ad 3) I see a difference between low tech tank withouth CO2 and low light vs. high tech tank with 10 ppm CO2 and high light. I am working on a good documentation for these kind of tanks, because I know that you probably won't believe me anyway if I would just tell you that "it works". I was using EI for many years, and was able to grow successfully many plants (incl. Alternanthera reineckii), but I am aware of its limits. It can work, but only under some circumstances. That's why I have no problem to believe Tom is growing many plants just fine in his EI tank. But it has some limits. Under different circumstances, it can be a disaster (for whatever reason). I think it is good to know these limits.


    Fablau, what's wrong on sharing one scientific article with others? I think it presents quite interesting findings. Should we just ignore it only because it does not fit into our concept? Also, I don't persuade anyone to change his method. You can use whatever CO2 levels in your tank. It seems like if one presents here an information that seems to be somehow in conflict with EI, he is immediately treated as if he was trying to put Tom or EI down. But such an attitude is just paranoic. I think that it is good and desirable to adjust our concepts in the light of recent research, experiences or knowledge.
     
  8. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thank you for taking the time for clarifying, appreciated and sorry if I felt (and still feel) having a deja vu here. Being paranoid is not in my nature, but I can't lie saying I feel uncomfortable right now. What written above are strong statements that can easily be misunderstood, and in my opinion out of context.


    Anyhow, I am sorry, but I don't think to have ever expressed anything against sharing your article, instead, I'd love to read it, but as today, I still can't access it from your provided link above. And, as I usually do, I thank you one more time for sharing your knowledge and research with us.
     
    #8 fablau, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2017
  9. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    I could finally access that article (go figure!), but I just read the abstract because $41 for the full article is a little steep for me. But from what I read, nothing really surprises me. It is popular belief that too much Co2 can cause issues such as suffocation, etc... mostly in the lack of O2.


    I'd be curious to know if inside the full article they also mention the amount of O2 present in their sampled tanks, and if so, what's that amount.
     
  10. Ragnarok

    Ragnarok Junior Poster

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    ~7 ppm O2 under 25°C


    1) Using Google you would find a link to the fulltext on ResearchGate (you need to be registered there for access, but it's for free): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301829296_The_effects_of_elevated_carbon_dioxide_and_temperature_levels_on_tilapia_Oreochromis_mossambicus_Respiratory_enzymes_blood_pH_and_hematological_parameters


    2) Using an online "oxygen saturation calculator" (http://www.hbuehrer.ch/Rechner/O2satur.html) you would find that ~7 ppm O2 under 25°C means about 90% saturation (which is quite high).
     
  11. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Thank you very much.
     
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