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Old 03-08-2011, 04:10 PM   #1
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DIY CO2 monitoring?

I have a small planted mbuna cichlid tank (just a 29G with a couple of fish in it). I keep the cichlids well fed with multiple small feedings so theyve mostly been ignoring my plants. I have some vallisneria, some java fern and moss, and some anubias and I would like to give them a healthier environment. I'm building a DIY CO2 delivery system, but my question is how do I know when the CO2 hits about 25ppm? My pH is about 8 to 8.2 with my DKH at about 12 (before any CO2 injection) and I can't figure out how to extrapolate my CO2 measurement from these numbers. Also, would I need to fertilize in unison with the CO2 to notice any real growth, or would the CO2 alone provide an increase in growth? I have about 1.5ish WPG of t5 light, which should be enough for these low to low medium light plants. Thanks for any help.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:28 PM   #2
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Check out this thread:
1/4 DIY, 3/4 purchased co2 system
It will tell you all about how to build a DIY CO2 reactor, and on page 2 it explains how to measure CO2 in a planted tank.

Whether or not you need fertilizer depends on many factors... I can't tell you for sure if you do or do not need it... but for low light plants with lower lighting, it is usually not a requirement.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:18 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick answer, but the chart on page 2 only goes up to a pH of 8, and on that chart the ppm of CO2 never goes above 6 or so for a pH of 8. It has to be possible to inject enough CO2 to get the ppm up to 20 in such basic water, I just want to make sure I don't overshoot my target area. Is there any other way to monitor the CO2 levels, particularly for a tank with a high pH?
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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CO2 = 3 * KH * 10^(7-pH)

KH is in degrees. This will give you co2 in ppm.

If you have a bunch of co3 buffers coming from the tap, this formula will not work for your tank.

However if you get a drop checker and use a KH standard of 4d KH it will read accurately because it will remove your tank water with unknown buffers as a variable.
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:00 AM   #5
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^yes. a drop checker is the solution! I tried the pH kH thing and it just didn't work for me. I struggled. Drop checker just requires you to look and see blue/green/yellow. Much much easier, and only maybe $15 when it's all said and done.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate it. Is there a DIY method to building a drop checker or should I find one on eBay or somewhere?
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:49 PM   #7
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Green Leaf Drop Checker | Green Leaf Aquariums
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