FAQ together with EI


Junior Poster
Mar 25, 2005
I have been thinking.
There is a chance that you consider some strategies Tom as granted I will explain what I mean from the side of the end user.

Let me give you my example
I have been dosing CO2 to 0.7 Ph lower than the degaussed water this after my increase of CO2 now seems low and I have observed indeed great increase in health and growth in the plants (I know you were telling me all along but what if you were not around?) and the tank overall after increasing that to 1 degree lower than the degaussed aquarium water Ph value.

Maybe a troubleshooting section in a FAQ form should be added on the EI article (which by the way as I told you I think must be written in a more "high end" way, better charts, not looking like a forum post e.t.c).

Let me give a rough example surely not complete and probably wrong at some points on the CO2 question of this sort of FAQ.

Question: Is your CO2 enough?

Let the Water of your tank degauss in a glass outside your tank for 12 hours, measure it with the same Ph meter you use in your tank write down the value now measure your CO2 1 hour after your lights turn on, and an hour before turning off in your tank, on average your CO2 in water in the tank should be lower than the degaussed tank water by 0.8-1.1 degrees (loved this one by the way).

Question: Do you turn your lights off at night?

If not do, fish plants don't need CO2 during the night and CO2 will be stressful for fish. Ph fluctuations won't affect your fish, plants. Actually big Ph fluctuations in a 24 hour circle are a very common phenomenon in natural water ecosystems.

Question: Do you plants exhibit bubbling after an hour or so of turning your light on?

They should (some at least, fast growers probably first) if not check the following.
What is the response (time it takes to bring the ph down to the desired value) of you diffuser, mist system after the CO2 is turned on? Response should be pretty fast in an hour ph should down in the desired value.
That means that you should use an efficient diffusion system (big diffuser lots of flow, better if it is independent from your filtering system that is affected by clogging), lots of bubbles through your needle valve in your ph controlled system if that is your case, beware that this poses a risk of having complete mortality of your fish faster if you electric valve gets stuck. (Here info on mist systems could be placed as well.)

Do you pump a ton of CO2 and still have problems then check the following

Are you sure you don't have a leak? Make a mixture of 1 part water 1 part dishes shop. Use a brush to wet all connections in your CO2 system if bubbles appear you have a problem.

What are some of the visual signs I need to see to recognise that I have enough CO2 in my tank?

Tank must start bubbling within an hour, at some time during the day continuous stream of bubbles must be observed at least from some plants, wallichi must have big bubbles on it's tips, mayaca must be completely covered with bubbles, same for macrandra, big bubbles on the underleaves of plants like stellatas, aromaticas, tiny bubbles coming all the time from hairgrass fields, (more can be written here) all this within the first 3-4 hours should be obvious. Please bear in mind that visual observation may not be enough sometimes, always use some instrument to check your Ph as well.

Is your Ph meter, Ph controller calibrated properly?

See the following articles for proper calibration:
(More can be written here.)

Is your diffuser, mist stones cleaned properly?

Open and clean your diffuser, pump from detritus once every 2 months at least. Immerse and clean you mist stones in a solution of bleach-water or hydrochloric acid-water when you y6ou see a decrease in water, CO2 flow.

Ok where can I find some links for DIY designs, info on mist, diffuser designs?

Links, drawing should follow.

My fish come to surface gasping after I decreased the CO2?

Make sure you have enough ripple on the surface of your tank.
This can be achieved by either using the output of you unclogged filter or an additional pump placed in the appropriate position. .......

And the list goes on.

Same thing should apply to all other things including: different algae appearance, specific EI topics, circulation, automatic dosing, dosing tactics, plus lots of other things.

Also the low light, speed EI approach could be a part of your article as well

We could all contribute to the FAQ everyone with his own experiences lessons, and you Tom could edit and help on the final cut :). This way EI could become a communal experience (you can keep the copyrights Tom ;)) and it could come to the masses in a much more understandable form (I think people get lost in the details).

My 3 cents :)


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: FAQ together with EI

Good idea....main focus is still and should be CO2 imo/ime when it is being used. Cranking it up till fish respond and then back off might work well for folks that have CO2 systems that are responsive (0.0-0.2 variations in pH during the photoperiod) whereas it is bad for those that are less responsive. EI basically rules out nutrient issues and all that is left is just CO2. (Good use and proper use should be addressed. Response times haven't been discussed alot or in fact very rare.)

Peter Gwee

Tom Barr

Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: FAQ together with EI

I think that is really the main point with eI, it rules things out and then you can focus more on the CO2.

But Freeman is sort of suggesting a step wise approach to deal with the testing errors associated with CO2, again, a generalized principle of EI with nutrients.

I'm not ready to toss out the test kits yet for CO2.

But I've considered some changes and there are subtle visual cues I use to eye ball CO2.

So while I can do it with a test kit and due to experience, not everyone can.

But we can get much closer and I think Freemann's idea of a FAQ is good here.

I'm going to make an EI for dummies and then a CO2 FAQ's section I think.

Tom Barr


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 23, 2005
Re: FAQ together with EI

I would definitely want to see ways of improving response time for CO2. More flow seems to be the advice but Amano's tank doesn't have torrent flow...Other thing is I sure don't like to see my fish fighting against a strong current just to hit a good CO2 range within an hour.

Peter Gwee