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How high can CO2 in tap water be, not what you think

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by SpeedEuphoria, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    Hey I'm having this dilemma

    Now my PH in my tap water is ~7.5 best I can tell from both high and low range PH test. And after sitting out the PH is 8.0. Now I had talked about this before and someone told me the reason this happens is that there is likely CO2 in the water in the pipes and it off gasses.

    I have a GH/KH test kit but for the life of me cannot locate it. I tested once right when I got it and both GH/KH were ~20 IIRC and if I did it correct(the 1st drop counts also correct?) Never tested in the tank or after off gassed.

    I know that CO2 fluctuations can occur from tap water from what I've read and there is info that says lower tech/non CO2 injected tanks may be better to not do as many water changes due to this.
    Measuring CO2 levels in a Planted Tank

    I also know about the phosphate throwing that chart out the window. I have a phosphate test kit on order, never tested.

    Now my question is, can my CO2 in my tap water be like 10ppm straight out of the tap?

    The reason I ask is this:
    I have a 55G, was planning to go w/ the non CO2 methods of dosing that I found here in an article.

    I had some issues so I had to do some water changes, I do them at least 4hrs before the lights come on or right after they go out. TO help CO2 fluctuations. But I think the CO2 levels linger for much longer.

    Also I have green algae, hair/thread/fuzz and I try doing manual removal but I thought it was best to also do a vac/WC right after to remove the floating stuff as this stuff dissolves easily and not easy to remove(mostly wipe off). This is actually hurting my situation I believe.

    My plants came from a CO2 injected higher light tank. I have a 55G with a great shoplight(best one I have seen, has a solid reflector) and I have 2x 32w T8 bulbs that I ODNO 2x them to get more out of.

    I was thinking I was going crazy b/c some days the plants seemed to be catching on, then would be looking poor. I believe that this is due to CO2 from PWC's.

    As I did a 12G WC the other day(2 days ago) and then the plants(lets talk about Rotala rotundifolia) were the best I have ever seen, pearling and standing up straight. This plant has been leaning over since I got it. The algae was not showing up on the driftwood either. Then one day later and no WC it is back to leaning over and I see bubbles on the wood and algae starting to grow.

    This algae is nuts, it pearls everyday, all day. Like today after ~1hr of lights on I see pearling on the driftwood and its starting to take off again.

    The only plant that has had good growth is the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan', it seems not to care as much about the CO2 fluctuations. I'm sure w/ CO2 it would shoot even faster towards the surface and grow new sprouts faster.

    Am I going crazy or what? I know plants take like 6weeks to adapt to low CO2 environments, and I plan to not do any WC's but I have algae so its like I'm chasing my tail here.

    I do have Excel on order so hopefully this will be a cure for the short term.

    Also does anyone(Tom) have any input on a split lighting period(siesta) and if that is good for plants and bad for algae or just hogwash?

    Help me!!

    Thanks in advance. I have more to add, but I'm sure this will be long already
     
  2. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    I think I have this figured out, I deff have HIGH CO2 levels in my tap water and I'm not crazy, lol. I also was reminded that CO2 in pipes helps fight corrosion in them.

    I know it takes a long time for my PH to raise to its normal 8.0 from the 7.4-7.6 out of the tap(8hrs IIRC).

    So now after knowing all of this I just need to let my WC water sit out for a long time if I do a WC(no reason to now). Also I have an extra HOB filter that I will use to aerate the water. I deff cannot every use a python on these non injected tanks.


    Also after all this, I have algae, how should I god about dealing with it?

    I have Excel coming and hope it will be a miracle, but in leau of that should I do a WC after manual removal of the algae?(with the correct procedure now)

    Thanks again everyone, this is deff a learning experience and I think I may have higher than 10ppm CO2 in my tap water
     
  3. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    there is a great article going on the forum regarding co2 concentration by Tom. He suggests that exposing the plants to the air and then submerging them again can show better pearling (i forget exactly why but its explained in the article.) With a ph of 8 i would assume the exact opposite since co2 lowers ph. Alge pearls because it reacts to light and co2 levels faster then most plants. Splitting the light period is not advisable IMO since the alge reacts faster you are actually aiding the alge and not the plants, go with a shorter less intense light period to delay the growth of alge while the plants grow in.

    to combat alge you need to do manual cleaning and or buy some alge eaters. Also excel is really only good for controlling bba from what i have read, however it will promote plant growth which should = less alge.


    as far as co2 levels in the pipes, i would assume you would have to use a drop checker or something in a bowl of tap water to be sure, just assuming it fights corrosion thus must be high is not very trustworthy.

    one other thing i am reminded of time and time again is the patients it takes to do this. You almost have to stop trying to adjust everything on a day to day basis and make small changes over weekly periods to get a good sense of what is going on, (i still struggle with this

    here is a link to the post
    http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquatic-plant-fertilization/4601-co2-situ-meter-measurements-real-time-data-localized-co2-ppm-readings.html
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you go with the non CO2 methods, water changes are not an issue............

    ...because you are not suppose to do them with that method:)

    So the tap will not matter.
    If you go with water changes, then Excel and CO2 are options, then high CO2 in the tap is good.

    So either way, you are fine.
    No need to let it sit out.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I don't quite understand what is meant by this statement, but you are correct in your assumption that after offgassing, the pH would rise if co2 was released from the water. I never had issues with my tap water, but I recently switched to using water from an artesian well (copper issues in my tap) and my plants pearl like CRAZY when I do a water change now. I haven't tried testing to see what the pH is of the water before and after offgassing, but I think I can safely assume that there is a lot more dissolved co2 in this water than was in my tap. At any rate it makes no difference in my co2 or non-co2 tank, I haven't noticed any particular changes with algae etc. due to using this new water.
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2 in the tap water doesn't fight corrosion. CO2 lowers the pH, so if it does anything it causes corrosion of pipes. Water companies add phosphates to the water to raise the pH so it never drops below 7, otherwise the water corrodes copper plumbing. CO2 is in the tap water by "accident" not by plan.
     
  7. ccLansman

    ccLansman Guru Class Expert

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    I was going for the idea that more co2 would = less ph not more. And less ph would = more corrosion as vaughn said.
     
  8. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    Thats correct, you misread.

    From the tap its 7.4-7.6PH after it sits out or is in the tank for awhile then it normalizes to 8.0PH. The reason that my PH changes is due to CO2 off gassing.

    Its my normal tap water in MI.

    Anyway I had crazy high ammonia in my tank w/o any fish. I did not even think to test my water for this before I added plants. I also added 1 male Endler. So I was worried about where the ammonia came from(I believe its these little blue capsules in my Schultz Aquatic Soil that must be a time release normal fert?) Anyway so I did a couple WC because of this and added seed material from my other tank. Well then my Nitrite shot through the roof. Both at one time pegged the API test kit. This is the reason I did some WC's.

    In the mean time since I have high CO2 in my tap and I'm not injecting any CO2 these fluctuations as well as the ammonia are what I believe cause algae to start. Also the plants I got were from a CO2 injected/higher light tank. So I was fighting a losing battle from the start as well as me not understanding that I had high CO2 in the tap so I did not let it off gas before putting it in.


    So here I am, I know about these issues but now have algae and the plants have been getting high CO2 occasionally and very low the rest of the time.

    I understand the Low tech method, I had other freak circumstances that lead me in this direction. I got off to a very bad start and now understand what I think is going on/has transpired.

    Thanks for the info Hoppy
    So I may have high phosphates in my tap aslo? Have to wait to test. I'm assuming I do and that makes the KH/PH chart useless.

    Also I thought I read that high phosphates dont lead to algae or is that incorrect? Could that be my issue, too much phosphate? Since I have prop over dosed phosphates now also.

    I'm still assuming that I have High CO2 in my tap b/c if/when I add new water straight from the tap to the tank. I have bubbles(I know this is normal) but these bubbles linger for a long time in the tank, on the heater/ect.. Lights on or off they linger. When I 1st setup the tank w/o plants and filled it, the bubbles lingered for more than 1 day.

    Now I'm asking what to do about the algae. I will be doing manual removal, but like I said this is slimy and kinda dissolves its not firm at all. So if I scrub it off of leaves and the driftwood/glass most of it floats in the tank(well moves w/ the current till it lands. I also have green dust algae or similar(grows long enough to wave in the current) on the glass.

    So should I do WC or not after trying my best to rid this algae? (using the water that has fully off gassed)


    I have some fish in my 55G now, have 4 male endlers, 2 Oto's, and 4 RCS. I'm not feeding at all and the Endlers will have to learn to eat algae or die.

    Should I do a blackout?

    I'm getting excel, hopefully by the end of the week and I hope it helps at least slightly. I assume that if it helps fight algae then after awhile if I chose I can wean off of it.

    Please advise

    BTW the reason I came hear is b/c there is much experience here with higher thinking so I appreciate all of the knowledge so far
     
  9. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    According to charts this means my CO2 levels are very high in the pipes/tap. I need to find my darn KH test kit so I can retest the tank and tap. Also I dont yet know if my tap has phosphates so that chart may be meaning less to me but I assume I have higher then 10ppm CO2 from the tap.

    Edit: Just read the info Hoppy
    So I may have high phosphates in my tap? Have to wait to test.

    I thought I read that high phosphates dont lead to algae or is that incorrect? Could that be my issue, too much phosphate?

    BTW the reason I came hear is b/c there is much experience hear with higher thinking so I appreciate all of the knowledge so far
     
  10. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I think your algae problem has a lot more to do with the fact that you took plants from a high co2 environment and put them into a low co2 environment, than that you are doing water changes that add co2. As you already noted, it takes a long time for plants to adapt to lower co2 levels. During that adaptation period you will see algae as the plants are brought to a virtual stand-still in their growth.

    Doing water changes is good, it removes algae and ammonia. I don't think the small amount of co2 that you end up adding back in will stop your plants from adapting (unless you are doing this every single day). At the most it may slow down their adaptation, but also make it more manageable.

    Another thing you could try to see if it helps, is reduce lighting. Right now you are providing much more light than your crippled plants can probably use, and if they don't use it, you know what will. You're pretty close to 2wpg, not a crazy amount of light, if your plants were all well adapted. But since they're not, slacking back may cut down on the algae for a while until your plants can start using the light. The Rotala may be giving you a clue - when the co2 levels were high, it was growing towards the light. When they are low, it's leaning away. It probably can't use that much light because it's carbon limited, so it's not trying to reach it in the first place. If there's an easy way to remove the reflector, that may be enough of a difference. Just a thought, maybe it's worth a shot so you don't go out of your mind cleaning up algae.
     
  11. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the reply. I just have a shoplight for a fixture but it has an actual reflector that is kinda parabolic. Never seen one like this before. If had an internal ballast that had a decent ballast factor but in my haste in listening to others I decided that I need to ODNO the fixture which since the built in ballast was not like a normal ballast I had to remove it, so I cannot go back now, well if I really wanted to.

    So I have glass tops, that I should prob use in the mean time and 6hr light period, also hang the fixture a couple inches higher over the tank to help reduce intensity.

    I'm allready getting flack from others, that say "good luck w/ all of your algae" or why not CO2, ect..

    I have faith that this method will work in the long run, but I'm new to this so I made some mistakes, then the plant adapting factor.

    So again it comes to patience. I will be doing the reduced lighting the best I can, and stick with it. Also since I have barely any fish, I'm going to get 5 small BN pleco's and later on trade some back. I will also be getting Excel as I feel that this may help w/ the transition and keep algae at bay(actually just got a tracking number that said it will be here tomorrow).

    Thanks again for the input, I'm sticking with it. If I fail, I will try again.

    I was just frustrated, I know I have made some mistakes so far, but I'm learning and hopefully everything will work out.
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    As long as you choose plants that do well under low/moderate light, there's no reason why a non-co2 tank can't work. People who can't keep a non-co2 tank or think it's impossible, lack either the patience or knowledge required and shouldn't be taken all that seriously. :)

    Your big issue here is your plants are in a crippled state to start off with. This will take a lot of patience, pruning, work etc. to overcome. Stick with it and you'll get there.
     
  13. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    Well after doing more rereading I'm pretty positive I have Rhizoclonium algae. I was thinking it was some kind of GBA but its deff not. I have a couple small spots of BBA which came from my 10G plants, and a slight green thread in my moss.

    I am now dosing Excel, I know it works on BBA as in the 10G it has already turned red, it also may work on staghorn as I believe that its turning white.

    I've read that Excel "should" help with this Rhizoclonium algae, so I hope so. So far I started with 2x the daily dose, so 10ml for 55G(prob 50G of water). I did ~3x on the 2nd day just to kick start. From now on I'm doing 2x daily in a syringe for spot treatment w/ the filter off for 15min. I believe this should work(fingers crossed). I am thinking that since I'm a newb and had only 1 fish in the tank, I did not dose enough nitrate and I had high ammonia to start so this is the cause. I also tested my tap for phosphate and have 1.0 according to API test kit(I know it may not be accurate). Also I do notice slight algae that is similar or GBA on one of the same plants that I bought that I put into my 10G, so it is possible that this is the source and I just gave it optimal conditions to thrive?

    I can tell you that the Rotala is doing much better. It seemed to be doing the worst at 1st. It is starting to straighten out and has some new branches/growth.

    The plants that have been doing OK through all of this have been the Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' and Cabomba.

    As of now I have raised the fixture up ~3" and it is on for 6hrs a day. If it doesn't seem much better here in 2weeks of using the Excel I may do a blackout as long as the plants are looking strong enough to live through it.
     
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