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Can too much co2 be a bad thing?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by bsmith782, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    Not for plants, but for the entire tank or rather the biological systems and process that occur in our tanks.

    I have been dealing with cyanobacteria for some time now even after multiple Erythro treatments, copious amounts of manual removal and pretty much everything else short if calling an Arapaho rainmaker in to chant my bacteria problems away.

    Through many messages with another hobbiest I started thinking about the adverse effects longer exposure to high levels of co2 concentration could cause with the bio activity or as I have been thinking, the immune system of a planted tank. This was after she commented on how in the slides of bacteria she was looking through she found it odd that there was practically no presence of the gram- bacteria that inhabit our tanks and are responsible for pretty much keeping it healthy. Before anyone says 'well that's because you have Ben dosing antibiotics in the tank (erythromycin)'. These forms (pretty much all the gram- bacteria) are extremely resistant to erythro and that's why it's not a problem to use it in our tanks.

    Since the gram+/- bacteria that live in an aquatic system all need to be present in certain numbers to break down (for simplicity sake) ammonia into more useful/efficient complexes. In my mind it would stand to reason that if something (too much co2) disrupted the populations of these bacteria enough the tank could get sick (have a very stubborn and resilient cyanobacteria infection).

    I have always tried to put as much co2 into my tanks as the fauna could handle. This tank I'm having this cyano problem in has no fauna to limit my co2 injection. I'm certain though that no fish could live in this tank because if the co2 levels. Now this may be part me having lots of co2 in the tank part bad drop checker design but in this tank I still have a pretty yellow drop checker in the morning when I come to work. That is 13 hours after the gas is turned off the night before. I also have decent surface agitation in this and all my tanks (co2 or not) as I have seen/read/exoeriebced the benefits of good o2 exchange. Since this idea came to light I have the gas turning off two hours earlier (6pm) now and of course there is no scientific data here but to me there is less cyano in the tank. Before if I went 5 days with out sucking as much as I could out if the tank with my gravel vacuums siphon hose iTunes cyano was thick and very prominent. Now (after lessening co2 injection by 2 hours) I would say that the cyano has lessened by 20%-30%.

    I have lots of great pics taken through a microscope of the bacterias in my tank and if anyone wants to see them I'll post them up.

    So I thought I would let you guys ponder this and let me know what your thoughts are.
     
  2. pepetj

    pepetj Lifetime Members
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    Please post the cyanobacteria microscope pics. I would love to see them.

    Erythromycin works pretty well for ciano-bacteria control, at least in the tanks I've tried it. I wonder if too much CO2 (I have a couple of tanks with readings over 60ppm +/- 5ppm of dissolved CO2 [Hach CO2 test kit without reference solution so take the 60ppm with a grain of salt] with fish pretty well adapted in them). pH in my tanks with a range of 45 to 60 ppm of dissolved CO2 (as measured by Hach test one hour before lights off, shortly before CO2 turns off) are within 6.1 to 5.9 range.

    I wonder if acidic water may interfere with efficiency of Erythromycin pharmacodymamics and pharmacokinetics. Hopefully Tom, Gerry, Biollante will enlighten us here...

    Pepetj
    Santo Domingo
     
    #2 pepetj, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2012
  3. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    Intersting topic. I, too, inject about as much co2 as possible. Wonder how acidic conditions affect the aquarium enviornment, bacteria, and algae/plant growth. subscribed.
     
  4. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    I'll get the pics up when I get to work today, they are pretty wild looking!

    I agree with erythro being a good method to rid your tank of cyano. It killed all of it in my tank, problem is that it came back every time.
    Hopefully someone can either support my feelings or solidly prove them false. Either way it world be helpful.
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Streptococcus & Serious Eye Infections, Ok So Neon Tetra Disease

    Post Deleted, My Bad.

    No intention to offend, I find this stuff interesting is all...

    My heartfelt apologies.

    Biollente
     
    #5 Biollante, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2012
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I absolutely agree with the sentiment here. I cringe every time I hear erythromycin mentioned as a solution. Its essentially treating a symptom of a greater problem.
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not Trying to be a Smarty-pants, Just an Old-Gasbag…

    Post Deleted, My Bad.

    No intention to offend, I find this stuff interesting is all...

    My heartfelt apologies.

    Biollente
     
    #7 Biollante, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2012
  8. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    The tank that is suffering from the cyano us not a new tank in any way at all so I'm not sure why we're discussing it as if it were. Perhaps I didn't preface the situation enough or perhaps the membership here is not familiar with me as an aquarist but not only have I tried more things to stop this issue than some people could even comprehend (I guess My rainmaker comment in the first post went over some heads...) but I absolutely loath adding chemicals in any form for any reason to any of my tanks. But the comments about treating the symptoms and not the root and tisk tisk you used chemicals should have been foreseen as they always pop up in threads mentioning their use for some useless reason or another. Some people just must show the definition on their cerebellum when they flex their brain.

    Does anyone think there would have been micro pictures of the bacteria if I had simply jumped to Erythro? Really?

    Not usually this snarky but did anyone read the initial post?

    I'll post up the pix as soon as I get home, it's been a long day.
     
  9. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    This is an un identified type of Cyano
    [​IMG]

    I nice shot where you can see some purple sulfur bacteria (why it stinks so bad)
    [​IMG]

    Further out
    [​IMG]

    In this one you can see the heterocysts which are where the N fixation occurs
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Heterocyst are only formed when NEEDED as a rule. And it's VERY unlikely they are needed in most all planted tanks, there's a lot of N floating around.
    Heterocyst require a lot of energy and resources, BGA/cyano are not going to expend the resources for that until the bitter end. And the plants would die and not have enough N by the time you get down to that ranges.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No Intention to Offend, I Will Delete Offending Useless Post

    Hi B,

    I only know what I read, I have no magical powers, some is an attempt to get information out, my bad, it is an old-gasbag thing.

    I still do not understand Erythromycin, but I am not very bright in that way, it was the Erythromycin, three times no less, more than anything else that mislead me.

    My heartfelt apology,
    Biollante
     
  12. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    The strange thing is then, my plants were doing pretty good.
     
  13. Matt F.

    Matt F. Lifetime Charter Member
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    Side-tracked topic:

    erythro as a treatment of the symptom not the problem. What is the problem? Aside from deficiencies causing a lack of plant growth and a proliferation of algae, I don't think anyone knows for sure why BGA decides to show up in our aquariums. I've usally gotten it in super clean tanks with low N (think aquasoil after the initial ammonium level drops),but dosing N and other EI ferts does little to get rid of the BGA once it's established. The only way for me was erythromycin, which worked.

    On topic (I hope):
    I'm still curious as to the long term effect of higher levels of dissolved co2 in a planted tank. After all, this is an artifical enviornment we are creating. How does low ph affect bacterial growth? How does high co2/ highly acidic conditions affect plants//algae?

    I didn't get my degree in microbio. :)
     
    #13 Matt F., Jan 31, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2012
  14. jaafaman

    jaafaman Prolific Poster

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    I tend toward substrate enrichment rather than Tom's EI, keeping the tank parameters that favor the fish I breed rather than a "plant first" approach. Most of my tanks have very low TDS and alkalinity but are rich in humics and CO2, and unless I'm setting up a specific species for breeding conditions where I don't supplement then small doses of micros and regular doses of iron are all I add. This is because most of the biotopes I mimic are either relatively devoid of vegetation (the year-long stream bed itself) or are comprised of plants already established in a rich substrate that are merely deluged with the Spring floods of relatively "pure" water in a black water situation as opposed to white water. And like the situation they try to mimic, stability with the relatively weak buffering of humics is accomplished through regular, frequent water changes.

    They tend to stay in the pH 5-6 range until breeding time, where they can be dropped down to about 4 at times.

    It's been my anecdotal experience that these conditions tend to set up a bacteriostatic environment rather than antibacterial. That is to say, rather than "wiping out" the bacteria these conditions do not favor either an easy establishment of colonies or rapid growth of an established population.

    Sometimes, however, molds and fungii are a different story...
     
  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    To clarify, my post was merely intended to just agree with Biollante's post, not to chastise anyone for the use of erythromycin. You may be an experienced and knowledgeable aquarist, but some who read the thread may not be, so considering that, mentioning that it is not the best course of action is important for those people. This isn't a private discussion. If you are going to get so upset about such responses maybe it is best to try to message the individuals you are interested in hearing from.

    Yes I read the entire OP. Yes I understood you made a joke in regards to your "rain dance of BGA death" and that it was funny because it was an over exaggeration on the extensive means you have employed to get rid of the stuff. I think the question you raised was a good one, sorry I did not comment on that earlier. I did not have the information or knowledge to comment on the long term effects of CO2 injection on the biofiltration or stability of our systems nor if that would make the environment more suitable for cyanobacteria, so I did not comment on that.

    To be fair to Biollante (although I was not able to see his deleted post), it is best to not feel insulted when communicating over the internet. No one usually intends to insult anyone's qualifications or knowledge base, especially since none of us really know each other in person. Getting upset because you feel you have been talked down to and making comments like " I tried more things to stop this issue than some people could even comprehend" is a bit like flexing your own brain in the manner you complained of. I doubt anyone intended to insult you by failing to validate your capabilities.
     
  16. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    The reason for I responded the way I did was to help to keep this on topic. Unfortunately on these forums, more times than not the topic strays to things that are of no relevance to the thread. I do not want to discuss the implications of using Erythro on my tanks or the practice of treating symptoms instead of the root of the issue. If that was the case there would be no thread as a simple search would provide enough info to keep me busy for quite some time.

    Plain and simple, my feeling certainly are not hurt so please dont get yours when I try to keep things going the right direction and on track.
     
  17. DaBub

    DaBub Guru Class Expert

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    Then why didn't you say so

    Why did you mention the items you didn't want discussed?
    Seems like the way the terms were used, makes me question if you understood the terms you were using.
    seems erthro was a big part of your post.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've found this to be the case also in the past. With a lot of wood, my tanks can be like this for sometime.
    The non CO2 methods I use, do this.

    pH's of 4-6 are typical from the natural environments also.
     
  19. bsmith782

    bsmith782 Guru Class Expert

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    Its called background on the subject.
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think this overlooks a rather obvious point, I'm sure you are aware of it: plants take up NH4 directly.

    The gram -/+ issues is less important.

    Many tanks respond favorably to EM treatments.
    Same for Blackouts, but, re infestation is much faster.

    Still, BGA is common in natural ecosystems and non CO2 planted tanks also, even where no plants or dosing of ferts(inorganic at least) is present.
    You wipe them out, but they come back soon enough, just like the when folks cycle their tanks, in 1-2 months, that's all back to the normal populations.

    Main issue is focusing on the plants. Then none of these side issues occur. If they do, then you got a plant issue, not a BGA/bacterial issue.

    Think about it this way, the plant links the sediment and water column, adds O2 to the sediment which helps the plants and bacterial populations, so when the plant is growing well, there is ample O2, and the cycle goes smoothly.
    If you use the freeway analogy: if a semi truck wreaks on I-10 say at 9am in LA, things will not get back to normal for many hours, same sort of thing with the plants, takes them a long time to recover.

    Some plants recover faster than others. Some tanks drive/grow faster than others.

    CO2 might seem like it's too high in many cases, maxed out.
    But..............I've gone back and added this same amount and had great success to the same tank once I made some changes, mostly focusing more on the plants.
    Most look for other things and avoid the plant growth as their metric.

    I think that the plants are the best metric and ruler.
    They are the goal and focus here.

    Once those are doing really well.......then, and only then...can we go back and test these types of other factors, without such control and a reference, it's very tough to learn much.
     
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