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C02 and large tanks with trickle filters

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Gerryd, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    Thanks in advance for any help. If I can return the favor, please ask! Am new to forums, but am computer literate!

    I would like to hear from others on their fish, plants, and experiences!

    I have a few questions on c02 and large tanks with trickle filters. I have a 180 gallon with a large trickle filter as my only filter. My water ph is 7.9 out of the tap. Using various diffusers and methods to introduce the c02 to the water, I can get the ph to drop to 7.0, but this is by introducing c02 at such a rate that bps or bpm are irrelevant. I would go thru a 5 gal c02 bottle in about 4 weeks to give you an idea.

    Questions:

    1. What should the expectation be in this type of setup for the ph to stay at 7.0? It takes several hours for the ph to drop from 7.9 to 7.0. Do others experience the same time frames, or does your ph drop faster?
    2. Does anyone else have this type of setup? Every thread I have ever read on the net seems to indicate the a few to 10 bps is fine for their setups, but I see that by and large they use canitster filters and their tanks are smaller.
    3. I feel that my kelvin rating is too high for freshwater. Plants all do very well, but I notice a bluish tint. Any reccommendations? I feel that I should be using about a 6500k bulb instead but am unsure.

    Unrelated:

    1. Any idea where I can purchase some laetacara curviceps or dorsigeri? Wonderful fish that I cannot get locally.

    Tank details (I apologize for the amount od detail, but analysis is impossible without data):

    180 gallon tank 72 x 24 x 24 inches 684 litres
    Dual corner overflow with 220 gallon Sealife model 200 trickle filter powered by twin Mag drive 500 gph pumps.
    Head height is 52 inches from bottom of sump to top of tank. only 250 gph at that height.

    Water measurements
    GH 140-160 MG/l CaC03 moderately hard
    KH 90-100 mg/L Excellent buffer capacity
    Temp 79.8-80.2 F
    Ammonia 0 mg/L
    Nitrate 105 mg/l
    Nitrite 0 mg/l


    C02
    PH 7.3 via SMS 122 meter. New calibrated sensor as well!
    C02 via MA 957 regulator with 5 or 10 lb bottle
    Reactor 200 with RIO 50 diffuser (Plantguild)
    No surface ripple
    Currently experimenting with flow rates, but am about 20-25 bps at present. If I crank up the pbs, I get a drop in ph, I can get it to 7.0 but the pbs is irrelevant as the agitation in the bubble counter is too great to count.

    Lighting
    3 150 watt 14,000k HQI Current Sunpod suspended 11.5 inches above the surface.
    Lights and C02 attached to timer on the following schedule:

    On: 9:00 am
    Off: 3:00 pm
    On: 6:00 pm
    Off: 12:00 midnight
    Total Photoperiod: 12.5 hours
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    We did test about 10 years ago about tickle filters.

    Seal the wet/dry chamber( duct tape etc).
    The overflow is one of the biggest issues with CO2 lost however.
    Raise the level inside there, add a duro or stockman style standpipe(search google and DIY etc).

    This will reduce noise as well as reduce the gas exchange.

    Add the Co2 reactor output directly to the impeller side of the return pump.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Tom,

    Many thanks or the quick reply!

    1. The trickle sump area is open at the top, do you mean to cover this area as much as possible? This area is where the return pumps are located. The trickle area is well covered but the sump area is wide open at the top.
    2. I have tried placing the c02 directly into one of the return pumps and saw no real difference than with other diffusion methods that I have tried. I currently have the diffusor inside the tank as close to the bottom as possible. When the c02 bubbles escape they flow upward directly into the outflow of one of the pumps, so at least some of it is again spread into the tank. Do you still feel to direct this flow back thru the pumps in the sump?
    3. Thanks for the tip on the overflows. I will do some research on this. The noise is not so bad (or I am used to it lol), but I can see where c02 is just flying out of there as these overflows are oxygen enriched on the way down the pipe.
    4. Are my expectations unrealistic in regards to ph drop? The fish seem in no way distressed by the amount of c02 to get to 7.0 and I can afford to replace it monthly, but is this an ideal scenario? Tank is very healthy and I don't want to overload it with c02 in a single minded desire to get to a lower ph.

    Again, many thanks for the help and your prompt reply. I am investigating your site now, thanks for sponsoring it. I am sure I will learn a lot here.

    Gerry.
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Tom,

    Research on the stockman and durso standpipes indicate that many folks have a large water drop . My setup came with a large sponge filter and a floating type insert that keeps the level in the overflow within 3 inches of the overflow teeth.

    Do you reccommend getting it closer?

    Thanks,
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gerry,
    I don't have a lot of experience with trickle filters but from what I have read it seems that you'll need to seal any open areas in the sump otherwise the gas simply escapes.

    As far as your pH, it seems there is a little bit of "cart before the horse" from what I read of your post. A target pH is not what one ought to focus on. Instead, it's better to think about a target CO2 concentration level. The pH associated with that level of gas concentration is a "means to an end" so to speak. Ideally, 30 ppm CO2 is a decent target since this is shown to give good growth while not being stressful to the fauna. Additionally, the consensus is to avoid using the tanks water as the meter by which we determine the gas concentration. It's agreed that a drop checker with 4 kH water is the best way to monitor CO2 concentration levels. Check this recent thread: http://www.barrreport.com/general-plant-topics/3410-once-again-i-fail-co2.html?highlight=CO2

    For a large tank such as you have it might be better to start thinking "Industrial", otherwise you'll spend your life taking trips to the bottle exchange. I have a 150 USG tank and I use a 20-25 kilogram bottle. I'd like to get the next size higher but I can't fit it in the car. This size bottle will last 6 months or more depending on my target level, diffusion efficiency, leaks etc. It sounds that you have 180G tank + 220G sump (was that a typo or have I misread the size of the sump??) so that's around 400 USG so you can just scale from my numbers.

    Cheers,
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Another huge issue here, a tiny little PG reactor, good for about a 40-50 gallon tank.

    See DIY external CO2 reactors, PVC etc.

    Make a DIY version and use a 400gph pump to drive it, feed the CO2 into the pump, and have the return from the reactor right next to the return pump for the tank.

    About 4 bubbles per second ought to do it.

    The PVC can be 2" Dia, and about 18" long.

    Inlet about 3/4" and bottom outlet at 1".

    Cost: about 10$.

    This will help a great deal.
    Also, you need to do lots of water changes if that 105ppm of NO3 reading correct(it might not be, but still, doing so will help and you can always add more KNO3).

    Stop the degassing and also switch reactors.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Thanks for the responses and advice.

    1. I have sealed the sump area as of this morning and will see if this change alone makes any difference. I have left all else the same to see if this makes any visible difference, until I can implement some of the other suggestions.

    2. As an FYI, I have used other reactors such as the Aquamedic reactor 1000 driven by a 400 gph pump. The output was sent directly to the sump where it was picked up immediately by the two sump pumps and redirected back to the tank. I have also introduced my c02 directly into one of the 500 gph pumps in the sump whose output is then directed down and across the tank. Neither of these methods seemed to make much difference in the amount of c02 needed.

    That being said, I will take your advice and build a new reactor. A little time and effort is worth it. I already see some designs on the web that I can use.

    3. I do about a 20-25% water change about every 3 weeks. I will increase the frequency and lower the amount changed (40 gallons is a lot of water :)) since frequency is increased.

    4. I will purchase a c02 test kit. I had bought one from Ehiem years ago, but since the directions were in German, I missed the part that you can't use tank water and needed a water sample with specific requirements.

    Overall, I feel I am on the right track, as my Bosemani rainbows and my dwarf buterfly cichilds have both produced eggs and fry in this large community tank. Plants do very well and all seems healthy. However, in comparison with many of the beautiful tanks out there, I feel that I can do better.

    I appreciate all of your thoughts and advice and will keep all updated on my progress.
     
  8. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    For doing water changes, use a DIY "python" brand set up.

    Never touch a bucket.

    Just slap a hose to drain in 5 minutes(say 1" ID) and a refill for 30-45 min using 3/4".
    During the 30 min time, clean glass, prune, clean filter, etc.

    So during the week, you can do 50% weekly change, clean and prune everything, never have to fret over testing again and feed healthy.

    Fish health is dramatically improved with frequent water changes.
    They are easy and make working on the tank much easier as well.

    I spend no more than 90-120 min a week on a 350 gallon:

    resized350Aug07.jpg

    redone350aug07.jpg

    If you are real smart, you can hard plumb the drain and fill valves, then all you do is turn a knob to drain, turn another to refill.

    If you are very smart, using a solenoid and gravity overflow for continuous or float valve for daily 2 hour water changes etc, you do not even need to bother with that.

    Water changes are something you can automate, you cannot automate NO3, PO4 test kits/controls, mainly just gas(CO2 and O2), pH, EC temp etc.




    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jeff,

    Thanks for the link/info on the drop checker. This is what I had referred to in an earlier post... I will try again thanks.....

    Tom,

    Re: water changes.

    I already use a spare pump that I place inside the tank to drain to a pre-set level, so the draining is pretty simple. Takes about 1-15 minutes to drain 35 gallons or so. :)

    My BIG concern with using an automated fill technique is that I am afraid of using straight tap water, as I can smell the chlorine in our city water and it just tastes different than some bottled water (or water when I was a kid). Replacing 80-90 gallons of this weekly makes me a little nervous. However, testing of this water shows no ammonia, nitrite, and ph, kh values within my normal tank paramters, with the exception that the ph is 7.8-7.9 where the tank (with the co2) is more 7.1-7.3 range. I just don't trust the government, I guess.

    If you or others have done this with no ill effects, than I don't mind doing this weekly. I live in S. FL. I placed one of those quick connectors on my tap so that I can connect a regular brass type fitting to it. This can then go to a 1.2 or 3/4 output as you advise for a quick fill up. Doubt I'm smart enough to make it automatic, but it is a display tank after all, and I want it to look nice.

    Re c02 diffuser:

    I have re-used my reactor 1000 and hooked it up to the 500 gph pump I use to perform water changes. The output of the pump is 3/4 which is then funneled to a 5/8 input to the reactor chamber. The chamber is filled with bio-balls and the c02 input is released at the bottom of the chamber and flows upward. The output of the reactor is directed into my trickle sump directly under the two sump pumps, so it should go right into the main tank.

    I have reduced my bps to 4-5 bps and while the ph is 7.6, I see that the QUANTITY of pearling is the same with a LESSER amount of c02 than I used previously.

    I can't wait until I can measure the c02 ppm concentration correctly.

    A bit of advice back if I may. At one point in time I was struggling with a nasty smelly slimy type algae that spread like wildfire. I could easily remove it manually, but it grew back in a day. Long story short, I traced it to too much c02 input. I had to go away for 3-4 days and reduced the c02 bps while I was gone, as a precaution. When I returned, the algae was gone and has not returned. Not sure if it is a direct relation, but maybe it will help someone.


    Thanks to all again,

    I have put up some pics of my tank over the years, under my user name (Gerryd). Please feel free to critique or offer advice!

    I keep mainly small SA tetras and corydoras, along with some dwarf cichlids. Mostly cardinals (> 90?), rummy nose, glo-lights, head-tail lights, pencils, etc.

    The top is covered with duckweed to reduce the light and make the fish feel more at home. The cardinals especially are not thrilled with my light choice, but with the cover, they are out all of the time.

    Thanks again to all, and I apologize for running on. Nice to find others with the same interest.
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the link/info on the drop checker. This is what I had referred to in an earlier post... I will try again thanks.....

    Hi Tom,

    Re: water changes.

    I already use a spare pump that I place inside the tank to drain to a pre-set level, so the draining is pretty simple. Takes about 1-15 minutes to drain 35 gallons or so. :)

    My BIG concern with using an automated fill technique is that I am afraid of using straight tap water, as I can smell the chlorine in our city water and it just tastes different than some bottled water (or water when I was a kid). Replacing 80-90 gallons of this weekly makes me a little nervous. However, testing of this water shows no ammonia, nitrite, and ph, kh values within my normal tank paramters, with the exception that the ph is 7.8-7.9 where the tank (with the co2) is more 7.1-7.3 range. I just don't trust the government, I guess.

    If you or others have done this with no ill effects, than I don't mind doing this weekly. I live in S. FL. I placed one of those quick connectors on my tap so that I can connect a regular brass type fitting to it. This can then go to a 1.2 or 3/4 output as you advise for a quick fill up. Doubt I'm smart enough to make it automatic, but it is a display tank after all, and I want it to look nice.

    Re c02 diffuser:

    I have re-used my reactor 1000 and hooked it up to the 500 gph pump I use to perform water changes. The output of the pump is 3/4 which is then funneled to a 5/8 input to the reactor chamber. The chamber is filled with bio-balls and the c02 input is released at the bottom of the chamber and flows upward. The output of the reactor is directed into my trickle sump directly under the two sump pumps, so it should go right into the main tank. Reactor chamber is 11 inches long and at least 2.5 inches in diameter. I think this comes closer to your previous post until I can build my own.

    I have reduced my bps to 4-5 bps and while the ph is 7.6, I see that the QUANTITY of pearling is the same with a LESSER amount of c02 than I used previously. It looks like these changes are making an impact...... :)

    I can't wait until I can measure the c02 ppm concentration correctly.


    Thanks to all again,

    I have put up some pics of my tank over the years, under my user name (Gerryd). Please feel free to critique or offer advice! I like to try different plants and setups, as some plants do not do well for me, but most do. Only have crypts, Jave moss and Jave fern at this time......

    I keep mainly small SA tetras and corydoras, along with some dwarf cichlids. Mostly cardinals (> 90?), rummy nose, glo-lights, head-tail lights, pencils, etc.

    The top is covered with duckweed to reduce the light and make the fish feel more at home. The cardinals especially are not thrilled with my light choice considering their natural environment, but with the cover, they are out all of the time.

    Thanks again to all, and I apologize for running on. Nice to find others with the same interest.
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I use Seachem Prime when I do large water changes. The advantage of Prime is that it is concentrated, so that it takes very little to treat the water, compared to cheaper brands. You just dump the dosage appropriate for the tank size into the tank as you start to add the fill water. Nothing at all difficult about it.
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you add a in line carbon prefilter to the fill, then there's no need or issues with Cl.
    Not a bad idea for many things in the home:)
    Like you.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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