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Old 02-01-2010, 07:32 PM   #1
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CO2 for dummies

I've got a pretty heavily planted tank (2 crypts, tiger lotus, 2 swords, anubias, and mossy log), and I've got a CO2 system that I've been running for awhile, but truth be told I really don't know what I'm doing. Previously I was using a KH/pH comparison to get an idea of how much CO2 was in my tank. I don't use phosphate buffers or anything like that, which I've heard might mess with that test, and the readings I'm getting indicate dreadfully low CO2. I've been getting consistent readings of pH 7.2-7.4, KH in the 5 degree range. By the table I've been using, that puts CO2 in the ~7ppm range.

Is there a better/more accurate way to see how much CO2 I've got in the tank? Also, my CO2 system is a yeast fermentation system, is there any way to regulate the amount I'm putting in the tank? I've included an inside/outside pic of my CO2 system. Thanks guys!
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:20 PM   #2
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what kind of filter do you have? how big is the tank?
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:38 PM   #3
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AquaClear 50 and a GreenMachine 50 UV filter, it's a 25 tall
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:17 PM   #4
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aqua clears will create surface agitation which gasses it out. what you need to do is keep the water as high in the tank as possible. another thing some people do is get a water bottle and cut 1/3 of the side off. then you poke holes in it. this will let the water out with out disrupting the surface. you put it up right by the output.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:04 AM   #5
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Sounds like a plan. Thanks! Is there a way to test and determine how much CO2 is in the tank that's more effective than KH/pH, or is that the best?
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #6
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what about a drop checker?
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:23 PM   #7
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Yeah, a drop checker with 4dKH solution would be about your only other option.

You can do the old fashion method, if your plants pearl, you are about right. If your fish are gasping in the mornings, turn it down some.

I personally do the kh/ph comparison and the old method. All my plants, except for my Red Ludwiga, are pearling after an hour of CO2 and lights.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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Cool, thnx. So, with that being said, what's the reasoning behind bubble counters?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
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It is to give you a quick visual indication of how much CO2 is actually going into your tank. Without the bubble counter it would be hard to fine tune your bubble per second rate.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:42 AM   #10
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Gotcha
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:10 PM   #11
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I second the drop checker... but if you go that route, make sure you are using a standard reference solution (4dKH) to get accurate readings. You can pick up the ADA look-alike drop checkers on ebay for very cheap. As far as regulating your CO2, you are not going to be able to do that with a DIY system... so the drop checker is more just an FYI for you. At 7ppm CO2, the DIY system really isn't getting much into the tank at all. It is a little hard to tell, but it looks like you are using a mini ceramic/glass diffuser to get the co2 into the tank. Are you observing CO2 permeating the ceramic disk of the diffuser?
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:33 AM   #12
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No, I'm not, actually. I've got a powerhead hooked up on the opposing wall to help disperse any bubbles that come out, but thus far I haven't seen any permeate the diffuser into the tank. I've seen bubbles enter the diffuser though
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:28 AM   #13
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Yeah I was afraid of that. Often times even the commercially bought diy systems dont seal up tight enough to get co2 diffused thru the ceramic. I would see leak check your system or use a different method of difusion such as an airstone or a bubble ladder.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:58 AM   #14
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I'll do that. Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:13 AM   #15
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Are there any big advantages to using an actual CO2 system, versus a 2L bottle and bread yeast, at least in terms of plant growth?
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