quenton said:Interesting -- and interesting also is that the various descriptions (how to do it, why its needed, what occurs) is considerably more accurate than many much more recent things I have read.
The text from the September 1962 TFH article:
Aeration with Carbon Dioxide
The authors claim that plants, which need carbon dioxide to prosper, are greatly benefited when carbon dioxide is pumped into the water. Photo by Van Raam.
BY SVEND A. OBESEN AND BENT HANSEN, The Aquarium Club of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Today, many Danish aquarists have replaced aeration by air with aeration by carbon dioxide. Higher plant life in tanks aerated by bubbles of carbon dioxide seems to do very well, and the new method has proved instrumental in cutting down on the "melting" of plant leaves, especially in Cryptocorynes. Also (no doubt as a consequence of its aid in stimulating desired plant growth) carbon dioxide aeration helps to eliminate algae.
The value of using carbon dioxide in the aquarium is based on the plants' capacity for assimilating, under the influence of good lighting, the carbon dioxide in a body of water and turning it into organic plant substances. For our purposes we considered 12 hours of lighting per day to be sufficient, the wattage to be used depending on the size of the tank. Although the method has not been under study long enough to allow any positive statements regarding the total effect of carbon dioxide aeration on a fish tank over an extended period, we have been gratified by the results obtained so far. The plant physiology department of the University of Copenhagen is interested in the experiments, and it is believed that there is every likelihood that the new method will be a valuable contribution to the hobby. For the benefit of TFH readers who would like to try the new method for themselves, we are outlining below the equipment needed for the experiment, plus a few do's and dont's for general guidance in application.
A mixture of yeast, sugar, and water (one level teaspoonful of yeast, 31 ounces of sugar, 1 quart of water) is placed into a 2-quart glass bottle equipped with a one-hole rubber stopper through which a glass tube has been inserted. A length of plastic tubing is used, one end attached to the protruding end of the glass tube, the other end attached to an airstone. Fermentation will have begun between 12 and 24 hours after the mixture has been placed into the bottle, and the carbon dioxide, under pressure, will be forced from the bottle through the tubing and into the tank into which the airstone has been placed. Temperature plays a large part in the speed at which the process is accomplished; at lower temperatures the gas will be produced slowly, but at higher temperatures production will be very rapid. Since the method, to be of any value, should go at a slow but regular pace, it is best to keep the temperature down. 77¡F. provides a good steady flow. First experiments with the system used hydrochloric acid and marble as the source of gas production, but this gave off too much gas too quickly, and was therefore unsuitable. The yeast-sugar-water combination is much better; if set up properly, a single mixture should run a stone day and night for a full month.
General recommendations for the experiment:
DO watch the tank carefully, especially during the first few days. If the fishes show the least discomfort, stop the process.
DO use a large tank; very small tanks are unsuitable, because the fluctuations in the chemical makeup of the water could be too severe.
DO use strong lighting. Without strong light, the plants will be unable to assimilate the carbon dioxide no matter how much is in the tank.
DON'T choose as a test tank an aquarium which is crowded or near the crowded point. The animal life in such a tank will have already provided plenty of CO2, and more could be disastrous.
DON'T, DON'T, DON'T shake the bottle containing the yeast-sugarwater mixture.
We here in Denmark like to plant our tanks very densely. Perhaps this is because our far northern location creates in us an appreciation for things exotic and tropical, or perhaps it is simply because we feel that plants are just as much a part of the hobby as fishes. Anyway, we like our plants and are constantly on the lookout for things that will help them to grow better. If the carbon dioxide aeration system proves to be of real and lasting value, we'll be grateful for its welcome advancement of the hobby. For our part, we are going to keep experimenting, and we hope that hobbyists elsewhere will do likewise.
EDITOR'S NOTE: One thing that worried us when we first read this article was, wouldn't the fermentation in the bottle containing the yeast-sugar-water combination make the room smell like a brewery ? We asked Mr. Olesen about it, and he assures us that this is not the case.
I was browsing in a used book and junk shop in the little town of Allen ("The Antique Capitol of Michigan") and I decided to check out the aquarium section. I've picked up a few old aquarium books which are quite delightful, but I'd never seen any old aquarium magazines in the junk trade before. Lots of old National Geographics (yawn) and Model Railroad Craftsman (not my thing anymore) and Mechanics Illustrated (some of which are pretty good), but no fish mags, which I thought was rather odd.
I had gone to Allen mostly in search of vinyl records of the “Space Age Pop” era - especially the subset known as “Exotica.” This music represents the way Eisenhower and Kennedy era Americans thought music from Polynesia and other faraway places ought to sound - think Tiki bar. It has nothing to do with the authentic music of these cultures, and a lot to do with Hollywood film score composers and session musicians and record company executives who knew a fad when they heard one. This music set the mood for many living-room cocktail parties and backyard luaus in the late 50s and early 60s. It still makes a great background for (among other things) aquarium watching. Doubtless many of my fellow aquatic plant nerds share this enthusiasm.
The day was disappointing record-wise, but I was surprised to see dozens of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazines stuffed on a shelf with a meager selection of aquarium books. There were also several copies of Innes’ “The Aquarium” magazine. All were obviously originally the property of one individual, a Mr. Torrance of Altoona, Pennsylvania, according to the address labels. They covered a period from about 1960 to 1963.
TFH was a small-format magazine in those days. The cover scans will appear about life-size on your monitor.
I picked up perhaps a dozen of the magazines, at one dollar each. I just took the ones with the most interesting covers. As with books, this is a good way of judging magazines.
After I got them home and started reading, I was surprised at the number of plant-related articles and ads. I was just starting in the hobby at about the time these issues were published, and I didn't become interested in aquatic plants until perhaps ten years later, but even then I remember feeling quite alone when it came to having an interest in live plants.
The most interesting thing I’ve found in these old magazines is, of course, the article on “carbon dioxide aeration.” Maybe it’s common knowledge that Scandinavian hobbyists were using this technique at that time, but it was news to me.
If anyone has information about the history of the use of CO2 in planted aquariums, or knows of a earlier reference than this one, I’d certainly like to know about it. Please email me at [email protected]