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I have bad gas :(

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by nmullens, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. nmullens

    nmullens Prolific Poster

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    Well this might sounds bad, but I think my worm castings gave me a gas problem. I followed the instructions in the sticky above on preparing them and so far they have been great for the plants. The other day my girlfriend was looking at my tank and she asked me if I had meant to put a mound in my front of my hc bead. I told her no it was a mistake and I hadn't noticed it before? After a day of looking at it I decided to try and get under it and pull out some of the substrate so I could level it out. Well F%$# soon as I poke my tweezers in the substrate a tone of gas came pouring out up into my armpit (24" deep tank and I was using my tiny HC tweezers). I almost hit the roof, I just wasn't expecting it. Now I have noticed gas bubbling out all over my tank, I don't see this a tone but I have seen it a few times. If I am planting I almost always get some gas coming out. I have noticed a couple more large gas bubbles from the soil raising up, but because I know what it is now I released them right away. Any suggestions. Could I use Malaysian Trumpet Snails to help release the gas or would then mess up my HC when the pop through?
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sounds like you didn't cure the MS well enough, it's probably NO3 or H2SO4 bubbles from having high levels of organic waste. Odds are it'll come in along side some NH4, which may give you some algae problems. Personally I'd start hunting around for explanations more hopeful than mine, because I'm sure you'd rather do that than haul up all of your substrate.

    If you've got a nice HC mat that you can lift off, I'd opt for a change in substrate rather than risking its sacrifice. Odds are the HC mat will cost you as much to replace as the substrate, and the snails are iffy. They make for rather interesting infestations.

    -Philosophos
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Rolaids?

    Sorry to hear about the gas build-up.:(

    Just to review and for my clarification:
    • Which method did you use?
    • Did you start with pure worm castings from a reliable source?
    • Did anything seem wonky or funky about the worm poop?
    • Did you boil the worm poop and any other organics, prior to use.
    • What kind of mineral, sand, clay whatever?
    • Are the roots of your plants rotting?

    Not trying to be a pain, just how I am, without trying.:eek:

    Just off the top, it sounds as though some raw or undercooked poop or other organic material got included in the substrate.

    I do recommend poking around and releasing the gas.

    I got this same sort of thing a couple of years ago experimenting with some potting soil I bought and mixed with sand. It included some worm castings and some vegetable material, supposedly composted, but at the time, I thought it was kind of wonky, but being, well, me I went ahead and used it, not a good idea as it turned out. A real mess, though the plants did quite well. I think I ended up evacuating most of the fish for a time. When I broke the tank down, oh it was disgusting. :eek: Since then nothing un-boiled or un-sanitized goes in my substrate.

    I bought pure worm castings from that place Gerry recommended, 100% Pure Earthworm Castings an excellent experience with these folk, thanks Gerry. I am using the formulas given in the sticky in several tanks and I just checked, poked around and don’t seem to have any problems at least at the moment. I am very happy with the results so far, plants look great and water quality has not suffered.

    I have also used a similar substrate, though I tend to add a layer of peat underneath, it is a commercial mix, I usually use the ‘Desert Mix’ and sometimes the ‘Violet Mix’ both contains worm castings. I boil the mix hard for a good 20 minutes stirring pretty much all the time; I have found it important to get the ‘floaters’ out. Generally, I mix in silt, though recently I’ve been working with Akadama clay, fired and unfired, truthfully I think I prefer the silt I get at Home Depot, though it is still early days.

    Don’t know if any of this helped more details, I think we’ll figure it out.;)

    Biollante
     
  4. nmullens

    nmullens Prolific Poster

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    The method I used to prepare my casting was the following. I used castings from Art Knapps a local plant store. The bag just says worm castings on it, and 80% biological matter. I rinsed the castings in a large bucket of water so they were dispersed through out it. I then scooped all the floaters off the top of the water. I took the mud mixture and boiled it for 15-20 min. I then would let the pot of boiling mud water sit till the soil would settle to the bottom, then drain off water on the top. Then filled pot to the top with water, let soil settle and drain. I did the last step about a dozen times. I took the muddy casting spread them in the bottom of my tank and put my lights on over them till they were dry (two days). I then mixed about the same amount of play sand that was from an old tank so I had a 50/50 mixture. Then i spread it and caped with eco in the back for stems and black fluorite in the front for a HC bed.

    The only thing fishy I saw about the castings was a couple small worms in the mixture, I picked the two I found out of the boiling mixture.

    As far as anything rotting, not from what I can see, everything is rooting very well and looking and growing better then it ever has.

    I have over a hundred Endlers and other small fish that are also doing great.

    Thanks Nic.
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    This Too Shall Pass

    Hi Nic,

    Sounds to me as though you did everything right, the boiling is really the key element, the rinsing and clarifying is important but mainly it just keeps a lot of garbage out of the water column.

    My guess is that the castings you started with weren’t of high quality. Finding dead worms among the castings I would say is a good indication of the lack of purity and for that matter ‘good practices’.

    The ‘80% biological matter’ throws up a red flag as well. I just check the bag I have from Gardens Alive, 100% Pure Earthworm Castings, and it says 100% worm castings. I was looking at my Black Gold Desert mix and Violet mix I get from Tru Value Hardware and it lists pretty much everything, I guess the least identifiable is the ‘forest humus’.

    My judgment is that as long as you boiled and clarified it is unlikely anything dangerous to plants or fish. I think poking around to release the gas, which contrary to some popular and prevalent mythology, is generally harmless, though it may be rude and distasteful.

    I think I would be inclined to give Art Knapps’ worm poop a pass in the future.

    As to the Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Melanoides tuberculata my inclination would be to hold off on these guys until things are a bit better established and by then the gas will likely have, well, er, passed.

    Biollante
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Having grown up in the part of BC that has Art Knapp's, I'd be shocked if they had pure anything. I looked through their store numerous times, and they like to use mixed mediums and fertilizers even more than places like home depot. They stock very good, lesser know products for terrestrial plants, but a lot of what's added in doesn't go so well in a planted tank.

    It's a great place to pick up a x-mass tree, I'll give them that much.

    -Philosophos
     
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