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switch from CO2 to non CO2

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Koen_v_V, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    Hi all,

    Just an update from my side.

    Over the last year several recommendations really did pay off:
    - increasing flow
    - stable CO2

    I had beautiful growth I never had before. Nice plants, lots of pearling, really getting into scaping more and more.

    But last months BBA is showing up again, steadily and slow spreading out more and more. Also BGA is accompanying BBA, just like earlier breakouts. I find my 180 gal tank too much time and money consumptive related to what I have available for the upcoming year.

    So the idea is to switch back to non CO2, as my 8 gal shrimps tank is actually more healthier in terms of plant health.

    In the past I switched back to non CO2 before without success. I think that had to do with lack of flow and CO2. Too less CO2 as I measured pH increased during the day when not adding CO2, so CO2 was practically 0. No need to say what happens when flow and CO2 is down. Plant growth is bad and produces no oxygen. Total oxygen level is bad as well.

    Lots of surface Flow and air stones can solved that part. Upside is a very good oxygen management as well.

    So I want to switch to non CO2 and lots of airing the tank by air stones (concealing the bubble flow in a big 2.5 inch pipe.) But I can imagine doing that by a single switch in a day, I might face issues because metabolism is completely interrupted due the lack of CO2.

    Do you guys have any ideas how to manage the switch over a period of time?
    - WC a lot or none?
    - 50% nutrients dosing? less, more?
    - How big should the time frame be?
    - less light (currently 100% of 200 watts of T5 for 4 hours and 50% output for 6 hours)?
     
  2. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Koen,

    I would make the changes very gradually, let's say over a period of three weeks, slowly reducing CO2 ppms so plants can adapt their enzymes to get their C-source from the KH. To suspress algae growth and support the plants I'd use easycarbo in this time. The same for waterchanges, gradually less.

    Without CO2 I'd use some flow but not a lot, just enough to keep the water surface moving a bit and no forced aeration.

    Nutrients could eventually go down to 25% compared to using CO2.

    Lights: 200 watts on a 180 gallon is not that much to begin with. I'd keep it for now, but slowly reduce the photoperiod to 8 hours.

    Most important thing overall: slow changes and focus on keeping your plants growing. Sudden changes will only grow algae.

    This is a good related article: http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2817-Non-CO2-methods
     
    #2 dutchy, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2011
  3. ArnieArnie

    ArnieArnie Prolific Poster

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    Reading Diana W. articles over and over there is also one other thing that could help... floating plants. They will dim the light and as they can use air outside of the tank it will help control algae by taking up nutrients faster.
     
    #3 ArnieArnie, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2011
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    10-20% Floating plants = no needs for CO2 and high light, since they have plenty of both.
     
  5. tmaciak

    tmaciak Lifetime Members
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    I did successful transformation from CO2 to non-CO2 tank last year.

    What is needed? Remove CO2, lower light to 0,3-0,4 W/L and have patience, because plants needs accomodate to new conditions about month.

    As a note, in non-CO2 tanks I use fertilization derived from Tom's article, it means 15ppm K, ~3,5ppm Mg, 5ppm NO3, 0,5ppm PO4 and TPN to level of ~0,1ppm Fe. As I'm doing regular water changes in such tanks, I use EasyCarbo as supplementary C source.

    Regards, Tomek
     
    #5 tmaciak, Jul 21, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2011
  6. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    I can't see why I should need a high uptake of nutrients by floating plants...

    I'm not going EasyCarbo in the long run, way too costly I think. I think the suggested nutrient levels seems okay. Dosing with 3 monthly WC will be trickier, but I'll copy my 8 gal weekly dosing regime for the 180 gal, as the 8 gal packed with plants runs perfectly fine with it.

    Let's see how non CO2 in the new style (for me) goes.
     
  7. ArnieArnie

    ArnieArnie Prolific Poster

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    Easy... due to slower growth of your submerged plants (no CO2), floating plants will protect them by because the overall respiratory ability of your tank is still high enough to counter algae. Plus roots of floating plants are hosts to lots of bacteria that take care of nutrient cycles. And last but not least it will provide oxygen into the tank.
     
  8. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    I didn't know that floating plants release (partly?) their oxygen to the water column. I always assume they used oxygen in the air, so useless as oxygen provider.

    I'll start reading about this topic, thanks!
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    In many cases, if the tank is well managed, you do not.

    Still, floating plants offer some buffer in case you add too much or if things get off balanced, and reduces the light a bit, which is rarely limiting a great deal.
    We also do not NEED algae eating shrimp or fish, but they help a little.

    Also depends on the stocking load in the non CO2 tank, this is a non issue for CO2 enriched tanks where the uptake is 10-20X faster and where many do frequent water changes.

    I agree, I'd work on going without any additions of Easy Carbo.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, they will not add O2 to the water(floating plants), their stomata are on the top of the water and release both O2 and take up CO2 from there.
    They block light and take up any left over nutrients and have a very high rate of uptake compared to the other plants below........but do not take up any CO2.

    So they provide nutrient removal without CO2 competition.

    Still, they are not required.

    In general, if the current is low....they will also reduce O2 exchange with the surface, which if they cover a lot of the surface, can be very bad.
    I generally have flow very high and this pushes the plants to one side or in the middle of the tank. I also prune floating plants about once a week or two.

    They are easy to prune and pull out sitting on the surface and are not rooted in the sediment.
    I'm glad you decided to do this method without the CO2.
     
  11. tmaciak

    tmaciak Lifetime Members
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    For my 72L tank I add 2ml EC daily, so monthy costs are equivalent of 1$ :)

    As I wrote, I do regular water change in this tank and in fact, I do not differentiate between CO2 and non-CO2 in relation to water changes - I exchange 1/3 of the tank each week. I tested empirically, that such changes and EC gives the best results.

    But of course, if we consider much bigger tanks, cost of additional C supply can be higher, but in bigger tanks as their ecosystem is much more stable, it's probably not so needed.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If you use CO2 or EC/Excel, then the water changes can be done and likely will help.
    If you do not add any carbon supplements, then it is preferred, but not mandatory(it is for me, because this is part of the goal for myself) to not do any water changes except after the rare trimming and grdening, maybe once every 3-12 months.
     
  13. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    So, floating plants (, except some Riccia which is actually not a real floater.) will not be part of the setup as my light setup is not very strong and will not give any extra benefit in my view.

    I already have flow with three Koralias and three eheims. So that's decent flow in my opinion.

    So for now I will do the following approach:
    - Do a very thorough trimming so overall CO2 demand will be low as possible.
    - start adding EC/excel for backup Carbon source and algae control
    - decrease CO2 by 1/4 per week.
    - after three weeks start forced airing using 2 300L/H air pumps.
    - After a month total CO2 shutdown.
    - After two months stop adding EC/Excel.

    Best guess is that the Ammanias and Pogostemon erectus won't survive, the rest (Vesicularia dubyana, Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Bolbitis heudelotii, Potamogeton wrightii, Bacopa monnieri, Nymphaea lotus var. Rubra, Taxiphyllum sp. - flame moss, Rotala rotundifolia, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Vallisneria gigantae, Microsorium pteroptus ‘narrow leaf’ and echinodorus parviflorus 'tropica") should do okay when the switch to the new carbon source.

    Lets see what happens...
     
  14. ArnieArnie

    ArnieArnie Prolific Poster

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    Must have misread the oxygen part. Sounds logical about the water movement. Sorry for the wrong info. Learned something myself :p
     
  15. jonny_ftm

    jonny_ftm Guru Class Expert

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    This last one is giving me again the temptation to try a non CO2 on my nano (30L). I'd really like a lower water change approach. Last trial was a fail, but I tried a mixed approach: low CO2 and less of every thing. BBA killed my days and took a few months to completely go away. Maybe non CO2 is easier

    Will post once I'm ready. Just invested in new CO2 diffusers and changed my canister last week :-(
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You have ample current, no need for the air pumps at all, just increase surface movement with the filter/powerheads)


    Yes, those will not make it over time, the Bolbitus might not either.Rotalas also...if these are allowed to grow and top out on the surface, then they may make it.........so there's an idea.

    The others should be okay.
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    One area that really has not been addressed with the non CO2 method: since many non CO2 aquarium plant keepers rarely tend their tanks, (this is part of the benefit/goals often times), few of them bother to trim routinely.
    This leads to a ratty looking aquarium, a jungle of weeds.........which has it's own aesthetics, but is not a manicured garden by any means. The point here is you trim aggressively the weedy dominate species routinely, you might be able to reduce plant-plant competition a good deal.

    However, few using this method bother to do this.
     
  18. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    The bolbitus is growing for 2 years in my nano tank without CO2. It grows very very slow, but it extremely healthy. The leaves on the piece I started with, are still present and looking nice.

    My former experience with Rotala rotundifolia is that it is a lot stronger than other rotalas and I kept it more than 10 years ago without CO2 when I first began with aquariums.

    We'll see what happens.

    I still try to maintain a good looking setup, and trimming will still be done. I have to use easier plant species... too bad I don't know any ochre coloured species which do good without CO2 supplements.
     
  19. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A reineckii did very well for me in a non CO2 tank.

    I think one of the keys to remember is that most plants will do well in a non CO2 tank, just slow, but.....if you have one species growign faster or taking over, make sure to trim that plant/s back more agressively, otherwise you have a harder time keeping the less competitive species.

    I have some Bolbitus in my non CO2 and some Anubias, they both grow well, but slow, if you add a lot of different species and have higher biomass, some will really dominate in a non CO2 tank, this makes it hard for the less competitive species for CO2.

    The community and the % of each species matters a lot in a non CO2, when we add CO2/Excel/Easycarbo, then this issue goes away for the most part unless we do not add enough etc.

    Just be mindful of trimming the faster growing weeds, stems lie the Rotala, allow to hit the water's surface, they will do very well then.
     
  20. Koen_v_V

    Koen_v_V Prolific Poster

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    time for an update

    Hi Guys,

    3 months has passed now, so it's time for an update:
    [​IMG]

    The tank is doing pretty good, but not fully non-co2 ;-)
    I'll continue with EasyCarbo, because all except one are surviving. Even the Ammannia isn't dying on me.
    I'm giving via dosing computer twice the standard dose daily, for me 20mls.

    I've limited the light as well, around 50% of maximum intensity and extended that to 13 hours, so I can enjoy it longer throughout the day. I'm very glad I've done the switch, as I'm not trimming and WC weekly anymore. I'm actually enjoying the tank more and more, no more weekly stress for me.

    I'm doing some adjustments, introducing A. reinekki and Limnophila and some regrouping, we'll see. I'll give an update around half a year from now.

    I'm not racing anymore, just cruising.

    Cheers, Koen.

    2011-11-05 (Small).JPG
     
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