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Old 05-24-2006, 09:11 PM   #21
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Chuck's calc is very conservative in his recommended CO2 levels. If you go down to 6.3 as Wolf suggests your CO2 levels will always be over 30 ppm. That way you have eliminated CO2 as a limiting factor in plant growth or as a cause of algae growth. It will not effect your fish as CO2 levels and O2 levels are independent of each other in water. Take it from a DIY CO2 person this is a wonderful thing.

Since you know your CO2 is good and light is easily measurable the only thing you have to worry about is you fertilizer dosing and trust me that will give you enough to think about.
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
Chuck's calc is very conservative in his recommended CO2 levels. If you go down to 6.3 as Wolf suggests your CO2 levels will always be over 30 ppm. That way you have eliminated CO2 as a limiting factor in plant growth or as a cause of algae growth. It will not effect your fish as CO2 levels and O2 levels are independent of each other in water. Take it from a DIY CO2 person this is a wonderful thing.

Since you know your CO2 is good and light is easily measurable the only thing you have to worry about is you fertilizer dosing and trust me that will give you enough to think about.
Very well said.......

If you want to hear about insane lighting, just ask me, lol, when I had a full 520W running on top of my 75G. Trying to dose nutrients was like trying to jump in a NASCAR during the middle of the race, lol.
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Old 05-26-2006, 05:39 PM   #23
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I just want to reiterate my position on bumping the KH up a bit to keep the pH closer to neutral (I see that you have already done this but for others just starting out with pressurize CO2 it might be worth reading this). You didn't mention (or I missed it) if you have tested the pH of the water in the middle of the night/morning before the lights come on. If the pH of 6.3 is during the time when the lights are on, your pH might be dropping below that level when the lights are off and the CO2 is building up to higher levels.

While a pH of 6.3 may not harm the fish, you are getting extremely close to affecting the metabolism of the nitrifying bacteria in your biological filter. This can cause problems ESPECIALLY if your plants ever run into problems or you do a heavy pruning (suddenly much more ammonia is available in the water and your biological filter may not be able to deal with the added level).

I think its a small very easy step to add a bit of baking soda to your PWC's to make sure the pH never drops too low. But its just my opinion.

justin
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Old 05-26-2006, 05:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7Enigma
I just want to reiterate my position on bumping the KH up a bit to keep the pH closer to neutral (I see that you have already done this but for others just starting out with pressurize CO2 it might be worth reading this). You didn't mention (or I missed it) if you have tested the pH of the water in the middle of the night/morning before the lights come on. If the pH of 6.3 is during the time when the lights are on, your pH might be dropping below that level when the lights are off and the CO2 is building up to higher levels.

While a pH of 6.3 may not harm the fish, you are getting extremely close to affecting the metabolism of the nitrifying bacteria in your biological filter. This can cause problems ESPECIALLY if your plants ever run into problems or you do a heavy pruning (suddenly much more ammonia is available in the water and your biological filter may not be able to deal with the added level).

That is what the ph controller is for. It drives my ph down to 6.3, then turns off. So it will not go lower. As the CO2 gasses off, the ph rises to 6.5, then the controller kicks in and turns the CO2 back on. Also, that's why when you don't use a controller, you have the solenoid hooked in with your lights, so when the lights turn off, so does the CO2, and if you have a bubbler, it will turn the bubbler on when the lights are off. So in my system, my minimum ph will never go below 6.3.

I think its a small very easy step to add a bit of baking soda to your PWC's to make sure the pH never drops too low. But its just my opinion.

justin
Another note as well. That's the reason for having a ph controller. With a controller, you set the absolute minimum ph level, mine is currently 6.3. When above 6.5, it kicks on and drives the ph down to 6.3, then turns off, day and night. When it turns off, the CO2 will then slowly gas off, and rise to 6.5, which is where the controller will kick back on and drive it back to 6.3, then turn off again. So with a controller, you set where you want your ph and CO2 levels.

As for ph, I don't believe in the "Get as close to 7.0 as possible" routine. I don't adjust gh or kh with chemicals or baking soda either. That only means you have to do more work and testing at water changes. I prefer more natural ways, such as driftwood for lowering ph, and adding crushed coral to my filter to slowly increase my kh levels. That way, no extra work at water changes. And also, with messing with baking soda, etc, it's so much easier to make a mistake. And if you do, then what happens to your fish? They will more than likely be temporarily stressed, and in worst case scinerios, death. I don't want to take those chances with my fish, so I will only go more natural means of making my adjustments as necessary. So you now have my position on the subject. It's good to get all points out there so the reader can make the proper decision for his particular setup. Not all water is the same. Wouldn't it be great if it was?
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Old 05-26-2006, 07:58 PM   #25
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Okay, just got on and saw my thread being highjacked, *LOL* Just kidding! Let me see if I am understanding this right, I would be better off, not adding the baking soda to my tank then and just using the crushed coral in my filter, is this correct? My KH is generally 50 and GH 40, it's been a while, I've been adding the baking soda now for well over a month maybe a month and a half, can I just stop adding the baking soda? I'd rather not have to add it if I really don't have to, I have enough to try to deal with figuring out the ferts and nutrient deficiencies in my plants.

I also heard that adding baking soda to the tank can give you false CO2 readings, is this true?

Lonewolf, I would love to get some of that crushed coral off of you, rather than buy some online, I'd be happy to pay you for it. I really don't want 15lbs. Let me know, I'd also need to know how much I would need for a 29 gallon tank.

Thanks!
Linda
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Old 05-26-2006, 09:58 PM   #26
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It's not whether using baking soda is right or not, but you individually. Some people don't mind mixing up the baking soda and adding it, and others don't feel comfortable with it. That's why some of us are posting our individual positions, such as my position, and also 7Enigma's position, to give others a choice. I don't feel one is better than the other. And I'm not saying baking soda is bad, it's not if done right. Just a preference. Also, crushed coral is much slower. It was 2 weeks before I noticed a small change in my kh. So it'snot going to be instant like baking soda. The preference is to the individual. And I'm sure others will post comments as well.

All you need is a handful, which will last 3 or 4 months I believe. I can send a few handfuls, so you will have some for a while. Just PM me with where to send it if you decide to go this route. No charge either. I don't mind helping others when I have excess, and others have also been really good to me.
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Old 05-26-2006, 11:19 PM   #27
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Both Baking Soda and Crushed Coral are viable options for raising KH. Baking Soda gives you more precise control but you have to dose it at every water change. Crushed Coral is less precise but only has to be periodically replenished every few months. Use whichever works better in your routine.

Baking Soda will not give you false readings. It adjusts KH and pH at the same time without breaking their relationship that allows you to determine CO2 levels.

You make be able to get some small coral pieces at your LFS. These are usually sold by weight instead of by the bag. I picked up a small handful and will have plenty for a long time to come at well under a $1.
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Old 05-27-2006, 12:19 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaC
I would be better off, not adding the baking soda to my tank then and just using the crushed coral in my filter, is this correct? My KH is generally 50 and GH 40, it's been a while, I've been adding the baking soda now for well over a month maybe a month and a half, can I just stop adding the baking soda? I'd rather not have to add it if I really don't have to, I have enough to try to deal with figuring out the ferts and nutrient deficiencies in my plants.
Linda
I think you should still continue to increase the KH, but it is up to you to decide which is the better method. Crushed coral has the benefit of increasing KH over a long period of time, and will slowly raise the KH and then maintain at a certain level, but it is NOT an accurate way to get to a specific level. I prefer adding baking soda to the tank (personally I use potassium bicarbonate to dose some K as well as increase the KH) because I know that adding 1/4 teaspoon to a 5 gallon water change will buffer that water to ~5 degrees KH which is where I keep my tank. I personally don't find it takes any more time than not adding it, since I'll be dosing Prime, KNO3, K2SO4, K2PO4, and CSM+B 2 stock. Adding in 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda is the easy part!

I would set your pH regulator to 0.1-0.3 higher before turning on for 2 reasons:

1. If you bump the KH up to around 5-6 you'll have above 30ppm CO2 before getting down to 6.3

2. As already mentioned you are getting close to the nitrifying bacteria's pH limit at which metabolism slows/stops

Here's a very good link to a page I reference frequently when trying to decide on an issue where there appears to be 2 viable options:

http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html"?
Quote:
"The optimum pH range for Nitrosomonas is between 7.8-8.0.

The optimum pH range for Nitrobacter is between 7.3-7.5

Nitrobacter will grow more slowly at the high pH levels typical of marine aquaria and preferred by African Rift Lake Cichlids. Initial high nitrite concentrations may exist. At pH levels below 7.0, Nitrosomonas will grow more slowly and increases in ammonia may become evident. Nitrosomonas growth is inhibited at a pH of 6.5. All nitrification is inhibited if the pH drops to 6.0 or less. Care must be taken to monitor ammonia if the pH begins to drop close to 6.5. At this pH almost all of the ammonia present in the water will be in the mildly toxic, ionized NH3+ state."
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:30 AM   #29
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7Enigma, I think your getting me confused with another poster, I do not have a PH controller on my system, mine is on a timer with my lights and I have already been adding the baking soda to my tank for a couple of months now.

I think I'm going to continue adding the baking soda, it's pretty easy to do and I like being able to control where my KH and PH are going. I just tested this morning, the lights and CO2 have been running for a little over an hour; my KH is 70 ppms or 3.9 degrees an my PH is 6.8, which is a little high, is should be at 6.5 or 6.6 in order for me to get over 30 ppms of CO2. Should I turn it up or wait, seeing that it's only been on for a short period of time. I know that if I test later this afternoon, my PH will be lower. Is it supposed be injecting 30 ppms right out of the gate?

Lonewolfblue, thanks for the offer of the crushed coral but think I'm going to stick with the baking soda now tht I know that it doesn't give false reading for the CO2.

Thank you!
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Old 05-27-2006, 10:35 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaC
7Enigma, I think your getting me confused with another poster, I do not have a PH controller on my system, mine is on a timer with my lights and I have already been adding the baking soda to my tank for a couple of months now.

I think I'm going to continue adding the baking soda, it's pretty easy to do and I like being able to control where my KH and PH are going. I just tested this morning, the lights and CO2 have been running for a little over an hour; my KH is 70 ppms or 3.9 degrees an my PH is 6.8, which is a little high, is should be at 6.5 or 6.6 in order for me to get over 30 ppms of CO2. Should I turn it up or wait, seeing that it's only been on for a short period of time. I know that if I test later this afternoon, my PH will be lower. Is it supposed be injecting 30 ppms right out of the gate?

Thank you!
Sorry, must have been another post! Anyways I'm glad you have decided to continue to bump the KH with baking soda. As to whether to bump the level up or wait, I'd wait. Remember your injecting a CONSTANT stream of CO2 into the tank, not a ppm amount like fertilizers. That 30ppm goal just means that you want to be injecting the CO2 fast enough so that there is at least 30ppm in the tank at all times (during lighted periods). Unlike DIY where the yeast may produce different rates of CO2 based on alcohol or lack of sugar in the water, you will always have a constant amount until the tank goes close to empty. The change in pH (and thus CO2) is due to the rate at which the CO2 gasses out of the water and is taken up by the plants. The more efficient mixing the higher the tank level will be (and lower pH), and more importantly the less surface agitation of the water the higher the level will be as well. I would give it a good 24hours before adjusting levels.

One thing I would think about is to get a separate timer just for the CO2. Have it come on 60-90min or so before the lights go ON, but still go off at the same time as your lights. This will give you a period of time before the plants can actively use the CO2 where you can build up close/above to that 30ppm level. After trying this out for a couple days you can fine tune exactly when the best time to start injecting the CO2 is.

HTH,

justin
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