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Co2 misting period

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by hbosman, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    I'm wanting a few opinions on a Co2 misting period. Lately, I've been fighting this long thread algae. In my efforts to establish a consistent CO2 level, I've reduced my lighting period to 6 hours and started misting co2, 2 hours before the lights come on and stopping the misting 1 hour prior to lights shutting off. The thread algae isn't completely gone but slowing down noticeably in its growth. I'm wondering if it would make sense to start misting co2 3 hours prior to lights coming on and shutting it off 2 hours prior to lights shutting off. My lighting period is from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM and I wouldn't mind seeing the aquarium at night without the mist everywhere. I'm typically watching TV and my aquarium at about 8:00 PM.

    Background info:
    46 gallon bowfront with a 4x39 watt T5HO fixture running only 1 6500K and 1 Pink Current bulbs. I used to use Giesmann's but the fixture is only 5 inches above the water and Giesmann's might have to much PAR for that distance.

    Pressurized CO2 with UPAqua inline mister, indicating yellow with slight green in 4 dkh drop checker in the evening. Drop checker still indicates lime green at 7:00 AM. Water flow provided by Rena XP2 filter in left rear aimed at right rear corner and Koralia style water pump in right rear corner aimed at front middle glass.

    KNO3 dosed to 10.5 ppm every other day, kh2po4 dosed to 3.23 ppm every other day, k2so4 every other day 2.4 ppm and micros dosed to .3 ppm Fe every other day. 50 % water changes at least once per week.

    Front one third of aquarium covered with Stauro 049, middle third is crypts, Bolbitus and Fava Fern. Rear third is Rotala Macandra, H. Macromoides and Hygro Tiger.

    Since the drop checker still "indicates" green CO2 levels in the morning, I was wondering if shutting off CO2 2 hours before lights out would cause a fluctuation noticed by algae. The fish might appreciate the shorter CO2 period as well.


    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
     
    #1 hbosman, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2011
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I would try and raise your fixture if possible. Even 2x39w t5ho is pretty bright....this will help reduce the demand for c02...

    If you are turning on c02 2 hours before the lights come on, I would say that perhaps your c02 diffusion method is not performing as well as you need it to.

    30-45 minutes to achieve decent c02 levels should be your target. This will help reduce the stress to fish/critters as well.

    Don't be afraid to add some extra 02 while c02 is on...

    Remember too that c02 demand will increase as plants grow and prosper. Have you been increase c02 to account for the increase in bio-mass and the subsequent increased demand?
     
  3. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    What height would you suggest for the 2x39 watt bulbs?
     
  4. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    No other opinions?
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I would start with 6-8" and go from there. It really is an experiment w/o a PAR meter :)

    So, you need to observe for several weeks to see the impact of each light change...

    There could be two reasons for no further responses:

    1) Your post is recent and many folks have not had time to respond

    or

    2) Folks may agree with me re: too much light and insufficient c02 despite what your drop checker says...this is not normally a +1 type site with folks just agreeing....

    I personally would opt for option #1....:)
     
  6. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    Gerry,

    I will work on raising the light. I will increase surface turbulence and CO2 output as well. How do you adjust your CO2 schedule? Do you do the typical one hour lead time prior to lights cutting on or, do you just set the CO2 on the same timer as the lights?
     
    #6 hbosman, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2011
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Remember that these are my opinions only, it is your tank and I am not there:) It seems that c02 may be an issue though...lowering the light will reduce the demand for c02 w/o adjusting c02 at all...it is worth a shot, no?

    Mounting the fixture provides for more flexibility is all. Plus it eases maintenance as they can be raised and still provide light in the tank for trimming...

    My c02 comes on 30-40 (I play with it) minutes PRIOR to lights on but I have a 180. Co2 is OFF 30 minutes PRIOR to lights off. I also use only 1 fixture for the first 45 minutes of 'day'....both fixtures are then on together, but only 1 fixture is on for the last 30 of the photoperiod.

    So c02 is on for most of the photoperiod and is lower light for another little bit before high noon!

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    When trying to eradicate thread algae manual removal plays a big role. Even in very good CO2 levels, the algae might remain. Even well established algae can be very persistent, but after a good manual cleaning, it won't come back if CO2 levels are ok.

    If you can't reach desired CO2 levels within one hour, your CO2 system might be underperforming and suffer from lag. This will stil lead to inconsistent CO2 levels.


    regards,
    dutchy?
     
  9. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    I've been keeping a toothbrush handy although, I hate the taste that evening! ;-)

    Hmmm, it sounds like I need to crank up the CO2 then and increase surface turbulence for the fishes sake. I can visually see the very fine mist spread over the entire water volume but, maybe I still need more. My drop checker is still green in the morning so, maybe my surface turbulence is not ideal as well.

    Thanks guys!
     
  10. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    I totally agree! I've read of setups where CO2 is coming on 3 (or more!) hours before the lights. This is crazy.

    Personally I have my CO2 coming on when the lights come on now. The plants take a good hour or so to ramp up, this gives me time to get the CO2 levels up. I don't use a drop checker, I just know from the growth of the plants that it must be ok. I have good surface turbulence too, to keep the O2 levels in check.

    So yeah, as the other guys have mentioned, I "concur" that you need to reduce the light *intensity*, increase CO2 and hopefully shorten the CO2 ramp up (i.e. make the system more responsive).

    Above all, keep a close eye on your tank when making any changes - make sure your home for the entire period while it's on so you can keep an eye on your fishies.

    Scott.
     
  11. 1077

    1077 Guru Class Expert

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    I was happily able to set up low tech,low light,nonCO2 80 gallon tank with no algae to speak of during the first six months other than diatoms and a bit of green spot algae which was erradicated with addition of Dry ferts once a week or two.
    Sadly, as the leopard vals reached the surface,,I began to see thread algae on the tips closest to the surface which happened to coincide with the increase in light from 72 watts of CFL to 96 watts of T8.
    I lowered lighting period from ten to eight hours, and growth slowed over two weeks.I then cut the tips of the vals back approx three inches and observed for another two weeks but although growth slowed considerably,it was still spreading but only among the taller vals.
    I was determined to use the triple tube T8 fixture so I went to hardware store and bought a piece of four foot black aluminum window screen and cut a piece to fit between glass top and light fixture.After another two weeks,,the threaqd algae has all but disappeared.
    My conclusion was... too much light for my application.
    I agree with others,reduce lighting period,raise light fixture,or perhaps try something similar to what I resorted to.
    I noticed that the only vals that weren't affected were those directly under floating pennywort but could not cover the surface with this lest i deprive plant's underneath near the substrate.
    hope some of this helps.
     
  12. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    How do you know this? By drop-checker? I start my CO2 2 hrs before lights on and 2hrs before lights off, for a period of 8 hrs. Photoperiod is also 8 hrs. Are you implying that the DC should be lime green in an hour max?. If that's the case. I (and probably many others) have a lot to improve with their CO2.

    Thanks
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Fred,

    IMO, this is not a good idea to have a 2 hour period of light with no c02 esp at the END of the photoperiod when plants may be 'sleeping' but some others may still be in assimilation mode...the c02 in-situ will be gone long before then, and the plants will have light but no c02. why would you do this?????

    Remember that many tropical plants get more than 8 hours of photoperiod.

    I have only 30 minutes of lower light after c02 turns off.

    I don't know that a DC can change in an hour, but in GENERAL if you are turning c02 on > 1 hours PRIOR to lights off, to me the assumption would be that c02 is not optimal, so they turn it on earlier to assist.

    Hope this makes sense...
     
  14. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    To answer part 1. I had a little logic (not that it isn't wrong), sunlight comes in during the early morning hours, so the plants open up kinda early even with lights off. Its not much light really, but the stem plants are clearly open and pointing toward it, therefore, I thought maybe the machinery starts up with this ambient room light, so I turn the CO2 on because my thought is the plants are already awake, so I get the CO2 going early before lights on, which this light is hitting the tank. My thought related to the end of the day was just because CO2 is turned off doesn't mean its instantly gone, Its still in the water albeit a lower and lower concentrations.

    As part 2 goes But how do you know? I used to think its pearling, but as you said, you can make gravel pearl. If not the drop checker, I guess the plants themselves tell you. CO2 can be a fickle partner.

    That said, moving the CO2 up an hour is easy. Perhaps it might make sense to run it until lights out. As long as my surface ripple remains that should not have any measureable adverse consequences on the fish and the extra hour of CO2 could only help the plants

    Thanks
     
    #14 fjf888, Feb 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2011
  15. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    I still use the drop checker to monitor levels over all but, I am using an AP ph test kit more often now. I am aware that ph tests aren't reliable for measuring co2 in ppm but, they do indicate changes in CO2 levels much more quickly than a drop checker. Just so you know, the dkh of my tap and aquarium water is closer to 5 kdh while the drop checker is 4 kdh. I have noticed that the drop checker in my aquarium is probably at least two hours too slow to indicate changes in co2 ppm when the co2 is running and even slower to indicate a change when the co2 is off. For example, at night when the co2 shuts off, the drop checker is almost completely yellow and the AP test kit indicates yellow as well in the 5 kdh(tongue in cheek) aquarium water. In the morning, the drop checker is still lime green while the AP ph test indicates more blue (6.5 dkh). Also, I did check with the ph kit after the co2 was turned on for two hours and it did change from 6.5 dkh to lime green (under 6 dkh). So, I am happy with what the UpAqua inline diffuser is doing for me.

    I have increased surface turbulence again and was happy to notice only a very slight reduction in co2 diffusion response as indicated by the AP test kit. Again, I am looking at response (color change), not so much at ppm. With the increased surface turbulence, the Cardinal Tetras gills are calmer while being pretty close to the same co2 ppm as before. The Hengels Rasboras gills never seem bothered by my CO2 increases.

    So the next thing that I did was, run only one 39 watt bulb on the timer with the co2 solenoid for two hours before the second 39 watt bulb turns on for 6 hours. The co2 and first bulb shut off at 9 PM and the second bulb stays on until 10:00 PM.

    Odd, the Rotala Macandra green still bends in the middle as if avoiding the light, the Staurogyne Repens is still growing like gang busters, the thread algae is slower to take over and the Tiger Hygro well, that can grow under a flashlight.

    Is it possible that just one 39 watt T5HO bulb 5 inches over the water is enough to grow my plants in my 46 Gallon bowfront? But, I'm happy now with running the two bulbs for 5 hours and twirl my toothbrush in the thread algae on water change days.

    Hey I'll gladly deal with thread algae over BBA any day. I used to have to BBA badly when I used to run 4x39 watt lighting. I kind of light the look of reduced lighting too. I think the fish are happy with having shadows as well. Raising the lights would have fixed this issue a long time ago but I resisted because I didn't want the light spillage and perhaps, I was too lazy to move the tank so I could attach conduit tubes on the back.
     
  16. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    [attachment=785:name]
    PARforVariousBulbs.jpg
     
  17. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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  18. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    Looking at the chart you attached, I could indeed get away with one bulb if I wanted to eliminate the algae. I just noticed that using two bulbs, you have to multiply the resultant PAR by two. duh!!

    I must have been out of my mind when I used to run 4 bulbs! :-O
     
  19. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    Yep medium with one bulb. Join the club. I used to run 4 over my tank as well. I'm largely reformed from this now :)
     
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