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Co2 Has Not Helped

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by i61164, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    Last year I built a regulator and have been injecting CO2 for many months now. At first I saw no improvement in my plant growth or algae control, but I was just bubbling the CO2 into the return pump of my sump. I decided that it was probably not a very efficient way to get the CO2 into the water so I built a Tom Barr style CO2 reactor with Venturi loop. And yet I still see no evidence that adding the CO2 has made any difference. Well, the one difference is that the CO2 reactor gurgles loudly all the time, but other than the noise pollution I've noticed no benefit. I decided to further investigate by getting a decent pH tester because I really couldn't see any measurable change on the test strips. So with the tester I now know my pH starts at 8.2 and goes down to 7.2 with the CO2 turned on. I would describe my CO2 injection rate as "too many bubbles to count." I have a 30 gallon tank which is drilled and has a small overflow box, a Herbie style drain into a 10 gallon sump with trickle filter. The trickle filter is duct taped to minimize CO2 loss. The reactor has it's own pump that sits in the sump. It sends CO2 enriched water directly to the intake of the return pump. I have only one fish, a bristle nose pleco that shows no sign of stress. I have a crypt, dwarf sag, and a couple other plants I can't remember the names. They look like crap and algae runs rampant. My substrate is aquasoil Amazonia. I haven't been fertilizing. The plants look to me like they are CO2 starved. I'm at a loss.
     
  2. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    You should probably consider a basic fertilizer regime. If you're not having much luck with your DIY reactor you could always get a Sera 1000 reactor, it sounds like your CO2 isn't making it into the water, or maybe the plants have CO2, but after months of no fertilization, nutrients became the limiting factor. You need to get those plants growing again, and you need all three things (moderate light, rich CO2, and fertilization) to make it happen. With a reactor you also need to make sure your pump is strong enough to dissolve the CO2, if it's too weak, the flow will be low and your gas won't get mixed in. Maybe try the Sera, get a good grasp on CO2 use, then if you felt like designing your own you could at a later date.

    I failed 3 times trying to designing my own reactors, they ended up being loud and annoying, so I ended up copying what another member did. I think if you have a strong enough pump a Sera 1000 alone will work just fine, but if you have a weaker pump, I use a ceramic inline diffuser and that feeds the Sera 1000. The diffuser breaks up the bubbles a little more, before they make it to the reactor.
     
    Allwissend likes this.
  3. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    So there is no CO2 line hooked up directly to your Sera reactor? You might be right that my reactor doesn’t work. I didn’t exactly design it myself, but tried to copy the design recommended by Tom Barr. I’m not sure if I screwed it up or if there is a way to get it working properly. I guess some co2 is dissolving or I wouldn’t see any pH drop. I have an oversized pump hooked up to it, I think 900 gph, but I slow it down with a ball valve. Maybe I slowed it down too much. When I have it cranked up too high, it blows the CO2 straight out of the bottom. I was reluctant to start fertilizing for fear of exacerbating the algae issue. I was thinking about maybe dosing some metricide 14 to help get some carbon to the plants and kill the algae. Seems a shame after all the work I did and money I spent on pressurized co2 to have to resort to glutaraldehyde. It seems that every step of this process with my tank has been super complicated. I wonder if I could run an in-line diffuser to my reactor. Not sure if it makes sense with the counter-current type reactor though.
     
  4. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    With that size of a pump you wouldn't need a diffuser, but the Sera 1000 reactor might help get you off the ground. Worth the $60 if it prevents your regulator from collecting dust.

    Here's a post with a sera 500 reactor https://barrreport.com/threads/20gl-shallow-tank-plant-farm.14880/page-2#post-148928
     
  5. NotASpammerDude

    NotASpammerDude New Member

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    No offense but if your ph drops from 8.2 to 7.2 how can you think that lacking Co2 is the issue? I would stay away from "perfecting" your Co2 until you've done some basic fert regime... not even to make it complicated just doing "something" before making a new reactor
     
  6. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    I would reconsider this train of thought.o_O
     
  7. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    Point taken. I guess I thought I would see some difference from adding co2 alone especially with respect to algae growth. My substrate is Aquasoil Amazonia, so what I have seen is Aquasoil + CO2 = dying plants and loads of algae. Except for the Dwarf Sagitaria which does grow, albeit slowly. I have bought $100 worth of plants online which are mostly dead now except for a few sickly looking ones. I have added some ferts at times, just not consistently because I thought it will just stimulate the algae even more. I was banking on CO2 to help reduce the algae before loading up on extra nutrients apart from what should already be in the soil. I wish I knew when I picked up this hobby that it would be one frustration and disappointment after another with endless time and money spent and nothing to show for it.
     
  8. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    If I could do it all over again, I would not have a sump or CO2. With my small tank, the aquasoil, a canister filter, decent lighting, and some ferts + excel/metricide I would probably have had nice results years ago and a lot less headaches. I guess we'll see because I'll probably try that for a tank I want to build for my office. Anyway, I ordered an automated dosing pump which should be here today or tomorrow. I'm going to start auto-dosing metricide (in hopes that will help control the algae) and I'll dose a liquid all-in-one fert. Right now I have a bottle of fertilizer called "Nilocg." I saw a youtube video about automatic dosing pumps and the guy on there had his own brand of all-in-one fertilizer and looked like he sells it by the gallon, so I'll probably shop around for the best deal. I just don't have the energy right now to get into the complexities of dosing ferts individually or starting with dry products. I'll try to update this thread after a few weeks in case anyone wants to find out if that was the issue. Pray for me...
     
  9. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Sorry to see the issues you are experiencing.

    As others have mentioned above, the answer may be more ferts not less.

    In my experience, too little ferts can cause algae. Basically if you are supplying ample CO2 and lighting, you are driving demand and plants may be starving.

    I've kept my tank in very rich nutrient conditions, and I've seen no correlation between higher fert dosing and increased algae.

    Besides ferts/lights/CO2, next most important factor is tank maintenance. An uber clean tank (well vacuumed, filters cleaned, water changes, plant trimming/pruning, etc.) is a great barrier to algae.

    Good luck and I hope you get it solved.
     
  10. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    Just to update this, I've been planning to add some ferts, but I was out of town for about 10 days and didn't get a chance yet. But before I left I set up my new dosing pump to add 2 ml of metricide each day to my 30 gallon tank. That's been running for around two weeks now. My plants are now much bigger and brighter. I'm still planning to start adding some liquid ferts and I also bought some root tabs, but this result has me thinking that the metricide has done more in two weeks than adding CO2 did in many months. Weird, huh?
     
  11. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Not strange @ all, it is basically an algaecide in a tank with CO2.
    Source of algae is most likely still there just being destroyed by metricide.
     
  12. i61164

    i61164 Junior Poster

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    I just meant that the improved plant growth challenges the idea the a lack of ferts was the primary problem. Are you saying that the metricide is an algaecide and the gaseous CO2 is not?
     
  13. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    CO2 isn’t an algaecide, at least in the concentrations you’re realistically going to have in your tank. Maybe at some extreme it is.

    CO2 can be a real challenge, but I think once you overcome that initial, and challenging learning curve it can really take a lot of headaches out of the tank. CO2 is only part of the puzzle though, if I ran my tank, and never cleaned the filters, substrate etc, I would get algae, even though I have co2. You need to look at the whole system. That’s why Tom always says focus on growing plants, give them all the nutrition they need, give them moderate light, and rich co2 and the algae just dont come around in very noticeable levels.
     
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