Citric acid and citrate as liquid carbon source?

siavash

Junior Poster
Feb 12, 2017
11
1
3
Hi,
I've been searching for a liquid carbon, other than glut based products, and I found other liquid carbon sources based on citrate and citric acid. I tryed to confirm that would they really work as a carbon source or not?
On the internet there is no clear answer to this question, atleast I couldn't find any.
My primery reason for not using excel is that I can't dose every day and the toxicity of the product.
So main questions are,
-do citrates and citric acid really act as a carbone source? (I haven't found a clear answer to this so far )


-like the comparison provided by seachem(if co2 is 10 then excel is 6-7) is there any suggestion for citric acid based liquild carbon?

-finally is it true that plants uptake this form of carbon source as they require? Is it possibe to dose enough for one week and not daily?

Thanks in advance
 

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
3,011
94
48
85
Sacramento, CA
There is no "liquid carbon" that can substitute for CO2 dissolved in the tank water. Excel, and other similar products, are compounds that provide a small amount of bioavailable carbon to plants. For low light tanks those products are helpful, but they do not provide enough carbon to the plants to be of much benefit with higher light tanks. Glutaraldehyde is also effective for killing algae. But, it only lasts for about a day in an aquarium, so it has to be dosed daily to be effective at retarding algae. As far as I know there is no other compound that can substitute for glutaraldehyde as a source of carbon for aquatic plants.

If you want to use CO2 for your plants, but can't afford a pressurized CO2 system, try DIY CO2. I use high medium light, about 50 PAR, with DIY CO2, with good results. I also dose Metricide (glutaraldehyde) daily to avoid BBA, because DIY CO2 does not provide the same concentration of CO2 in the water every photoperiod, and that will usually cause BBA to start growing. It works very well for me. See http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/general-aquarium-plants-discussions/133058-diy-co2.html for more information about what I am doing.
 

siavash

Junior Poster
Feb 12, 2017
11
1
3
Thanks for the reply.
You are right about that, so called liquid carbon products are not really carbon dioxide, but they compensate for co2 injection to some extent. I wanted to know that if citric acid addition produces same effect of excel or not. I have been searching around and I found a really intresting paper on the exsact topic. This is the link
https://encrypted.google.com/patents/WO2017140557A1?cl=en
The title of the patent is "carbon fertilizer for aquatic plants" , apparently the study was performed by Tetra company. Really intrestingly says that citric acid decomposition by the beneficial bacteria produces enough co2 in the aquarium. I appreciate if you and others take a look at this article and share your thoughts about it.
It would be really hepful if Tom specificly shared his opinion about this article.
Thanks
 

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
3,011
94
48
85
Sacramento, CA
Interesting article, primarily because it repeats 2 or 3 statements over and over, padding the document so it looks like a long, thorough discussion of the subject. I'm not at all familiar with what documentation is used to get a patent, but I find it ludicrous that this document would justify any patent for anything.

What would be interesting would be some test data, using identical planted aquariums, with some dosed with whatever this product is, some dosed with glutaraldehyde, and some dosed with CO2. If this product, whatever it is, is effective, such a test would show that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: siavash

tiger15

Member
Aug 12, 2017
238
82
28
68
NJ
There is a diy co2 generator by mixing citric acid with baking soda. It’s a chemical reaction, not biological as Different from fermentation co2 using sugar with yeast.

I’ve heard that salt water folks introduce citric acid as a carbon source to promote denitification. But It’s my first time to hear adding citric acid directly to tank water to generate co2. Any organic carbon can be metabolize into co2. How about just add sugar to water, The question is what are the side effects, such as acidification or alcohol production.
 
  • Like
Reactions: siavash

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
3,011
94
48
85
Sacramento, CA
Some of the metallic trace elements are chelated with EDTA (C10H16N2O8) which is an organic compound that would produce CO2 if it were oxidized by some biological process. So, we who dose trace mix for micro nutrients already have an organic compound in our tank water that might produce CO2 under the right circumstances. I suspect the processes that might do that wouldn't produce nearly enough CO2 to be of any benefit.

As I understand it, glutaraldehyde works because it is a compound that plants produce from CO2, so glut is a shortcut to CO2 for the plants. But, it also isn't nearly enough to substitute for CO2 except for low light tanks.
 

siavash

Junior Poster
Feb 12, 2017
11
1
3
Some of the metallic trace elements are chelated with EDTA (C10H16N2O8) which is an organic compound that would produce CO2 if it were oxidized by some biological process. So, we who dose trace mix for micro nutrients already have an organic compound in our tank water that might produce CO2 under the right circumstances. I suspect the processes that might do that wouldn't produce nearly enough CO2 to be of any benefit.

But in the article it was clearly said that it can produce 2mg/day/litr of co2 which is enough for the plants.
I am really confused , bacause I think of the same points you mentioned. I think I shoud use it in a small tank to see if it works. However, only point I think we can experiment on is to measure co2 levels in the water, because it was claimed that citric acid by oxidization produces CO2. What do you think? Is it a feasible way to test it?
 

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
3,011
94
48
85
Sacramento, CA
According to Diana Walstad we get a lot of CO2 from the substrate, generated by biological activity in the substrate. If we tried dosing citric acid, and checking for CO2 in the water, we would have to first get a "baseline" by doing the test without the citric acid, then comparing the CO2 readings to the baseline results. This can be done without a big cost by using a drop checker with low KH solution in it. See:
DropCheckerColorChart_zpst3g8eon6.jpg

Using 0.5 KH solution we should be able to get a good feel for how much additional CO2 the citric acid adds to the water. The much maligned drop checker can be very useful for hobbyist experimenting! Maybe some day I will set up a 10-20 gallon tank and play around with this. (Then I will write a dissertation about my discoveries and win a Nobel Prize for my contribution!!!)
 
  • Like
Reactions: siavash

siavash

Junior Poster
Feb 12, 2017
11
1
3
That was a very smart solution. The drop-checker. I have a JBL direct co2 measurment kit. I thought my "baseline" would be the water co2 content just before the lights turn on and at night I would add the solution and again in the morning just before lights turn on I would measure again. This kit measures co2 directly, not by measuring PH.
If it works, it would be very helpful, as the dosing can be done once a week instead of every day, and it actually adds CO2 to the water.
FYI, I searched and found out that the Fluval and Dennerle companies also use this as their carbon source solution. Considering, they are reputable producers, do you think they sell something which won't work?
I'm just trying to covince my self and don't do the hard experiment.I like to leave the Nobel prise for you.
 

VaughnH

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 24, 2005
3,011
94
48
85
Sacramento, CA
I tend to trust Seachem a lot, but other companies not so much. When I get the Nobel Prize I will get a ticket to the awards ceremony for you!