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Keeping CO2 Constant

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by shane, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    How important is it to have a constant CO2 amount in a planted tank? I have read that BBA can come about from non-constant CO2 quantities in a planted tank? Is this true?

    I would think that doing water changes and turning the CO2 on and off (before and after lights turn on) would make keeping constant CO2 harder to achieve.

    I do (2) water changes per week plus turn the CO2 on and off once a day. How can a constant CO2 be achieved?
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    Constant CO2 is not the goal. Stability of CO2 is the goal. This means that when the plant requires a certain CO2 level for the level of lighting present it is available. CO2 is less important in the dark because the plants are typically using oxygen but when the lights go on then there is an immediate need for CO2 at that time. If the lighting is high then there is the need for a high level of CO2.

    The plant also becomes "accustomed" to a certain CO2 level if it is regulated properly. If the level changes under that lighting level the plant suffers and this can cause algae.

    Turn you CO2 ON an hour or so before the light comes on to give the tank time to get saturated with CO2. When the lights come ON the plants will then be able to use the available CO2.

    Changing the water is OK, especially if you use tap water since tap is high in CO2 so this is fine.

    Try not to fiddle with the injection rate during the time that the lights are on. Keep the rate steady and this will help stabilize the CO2. If you are frequently opening and closing the needle valve this de−stabilizes the CO2 level. If you must make changes then do so gradually.

    Cheers,
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    With DIY CO2 like I have, I've seen this happen repeatedly when my co2 levels start slacking off. As soon as I see my drop checker start heading towards dark green, I have to change a bottle or add more yeast. If I ignore it for several days, bba suddenly starts taking off, and gsa appears on the front glass. Then it's back to the bleaching and scraping.
     
  4. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    So it sound slike it is all about making sure enough CO2 is always available during light periods. Not necessarily that the CO2 needs to be a constant quantity.
     
  5. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I find that I need to keep co2 levels at or above approximately 15-20ppm while the lights are on. Variation over that level does not seem to matter much, but dropping below it, does. My drop checker does not need to turn blue for bba to start, it just has to sit at about dark green for a few days.
     
  6. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Carissa,

    Interesting that all you need is a dark green to start to see BBA. I have my DC at a light green and I still have some BBA. Albeit, this BBA may have been from 4-6 weeks back. At that time I did a rescape, added some new ADA AS, switch over from using ADA ferts to dry ferts, and did some hardware changes to my CO2 system.

    I have a feeling all of the above change cause the BBA to start to appear (perhaps a ammonia spike, etc).

    Trying to dial in the CO2, dry ferts, etc. for this tank.

    The tank is a 60 gallon discus tank and has very little if any pearling.
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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  8. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gerryd,

    Thanks for the post. I just read that post you linked. I think I had a bit of the same "expectations" as you had.
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    My experience with bba is that once it appears, it's there permanently until you remove/kill it. So each time my co2 levels drop, the new crop of bba has to be harvested manually even when I fix it.

    And yes it's very true, any instability in water parameters will lead to plant/algae problems, even when the changes are for the better. The best thing I ever did for my tank was leave it alone for a couple of months. :) Well, other than light water changes and ferts. It seems like the good thing to do is figure out what to change to get things in a balanced state, change it, and then hands off for at least a month.
     
  10. Henry Hatch

    Henry Hatch Guru Class Expert

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    I agree with Carissa's comment on co2 levels. I don't know what light levels she has but I have a couple of tanks with diy co2. One has one t5 ho 24 watt bulb on a 20 gallon and I have a 30 gallon with 60 watts of no flourescent. I think it is correct that if a tank has sufficient co2 for a given amount of light that variation above that level is generally not a problem. I do pay attention to currents and pruning.

    In my case I replace the co2 mixture as soon as I see the bubble rate go down. Co2 output with bread yeast can fall precipitously. I use wine yeast and get about 2 weeks out of a batch. I still don't trust my drop checker even with a reference kh solution.

    I was running a 50 gallon with pressurized co2 and 2.4 watts of no floursescents and found that to maintain 30 ppm of co2 I went through one 10 lb tank in about 3 months. It costs me $26 to fill my tank. I think that is high but it's not like these places are on every street corner.

    While I have had problems with my tanks I've had no BBA in over a year. I've had traces of GSA and that has been it.


    Henry
     
  11. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I have the equivalent of about 60 watts of T8 over my 32g. It's not much, because it's a deep tank. Much of my co2 ends up as little tiny bubbles rather than getting absorbed, my diy reactor really chops them up and they go shooting around the tank.
     
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