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Old 11-24-2005, 01:50 AM   #1
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Newby diving into pressurized C02, HELP!

I'm sick of mucking around, and I'm getting frustrated!
I had no idea that growing simple plants would be soooooo painful/hard.

I thnik I'm just going to go out and buy that C02 pressurized deal...
and phosphate and KH test kits.

I'll test the water then start injecting to C02.
I actually just bought a C02 diffuser and pump...but it barley fits in my tank!...and is high maintenence...I just want to skip over the messy DIY stuff and go straight to pressurized C02. That way I'll be set for the long run. What do you think?

I just did some water tests with:
ammonia 0ppm,
nitrite 0ppm,
nitrate 10ppm and
ph 7.4 ppm

...and here are some more stats...
20 gallon freshwater tank.
2 watts per gallon...lights are on for about 10hrs a day.
fish: 7 neon tetras, 1 cory (gett'n more), 2 plecos, 1 lonely danio and a dwarf blue ram.

I'm hoping like CRAZY that this pressurized C02 and new test kits will solve my plant problems! I Just want plants! I didn't think that that was much to ask for!?

Sorry for sounding so desperate...
Please help me out.
Ryland.
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:16 AM   #2
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Forgive me Ryland but I do get frustrated when I can't make people understand that there is nothing simple about growing aquarium plants. It's presented me with the greatest challenge since I've started keeping aquariums.

In this endeavor a little knowledge can be very expensive and frustrating. You've managed to grasp certain elements such as plants need CO2 but you haven't learned to tie all of the elements together. It's kind of like someone knows their car needs gasoline to run, but doesn't know they need oil in the crank case as well.

Adding CO2 without knowing the buffering capacity of your water is not a good thing. The water chemistry can be difficult to understand but it is really essential once you start adding high light and CO2. You need to know more about the biology of aquatic plants once you begin forcing them to photosynthesize.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for your honesty Brian, and sorry.

I actually went out and bought the pressurized system, and it's now set-up and fully functional.
My ph has droped from 7.4 (previous) to about 6.8 (after)..but I expected that...just not 100% sure on how to stop it falling lower...
I did get a Carbonate Hardness test kit (aqua sonic), however it seems my hardness is off the chart...I added over 50 drops of the second bottle and the test still wasn't turning gree or yellow!


Sorry. I certainly don't think plants are easy to grow (even if they are "easy" plants)...trust me on that one!

Your right. I need to know much more, I just can't seem to find digestable info...like step by step starer basics etc... ...and I apreciate that I NEED to know more...knowing I don't know enough make me want to know more...

I can sort of imagine your frustration. MAJOR MAJOR emphasis of "sort of" there...
My family never get off my back about how carful I am with my aqurium...and the thing is, I'm not carefull enough!
They are ALWAYS telling me to add billions more un-apropriate fish, not understanding why I need aqurium advive ( 8O ), do water changes and water tests etc...etc...
anyways...

I didn't think 2 watts per gallon was high lighting? I'm only adding a little C02 too...but they arn't exuces. I need to do even more homework. Don't have any recommended readings do you?
I feel i've got the baiscs covered, it's just this new CO2 stuff that has me stumped. I've read the stickys...perhaps reading them once again wouldn't hurt...

Thanks you.
Stay happy.
Ryland
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My tank:
20 gallon planted freash water (26*C) community. 30" long, 12" deep and 12" high. 40W lighting = 2 watts per gallon..
otb aqua clear filter
Pressurized C02
fish: 8 neon, 4 rosy barbs
, 2 brs. pleco
Shatered dreams of yesteryear, cloud horizons in shades of grey.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:25 AM   #4
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You have 2wpg, so you have decent lighting that you ought to be able to grow many plants. What specifically are the problems you are having with them, and what plants are we speaking of? Once we get a clear idea of your setup and your goals then we can get specific about managing the CO2.
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:52 AM   #5
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No need to apologize and I do understand where you're coming from as I began the exact same way.

Simply put, the more light you give your plants, the more you force photosynthesis. Plants can't grow adaquately without lifes building blocks. Macrunutrients being N, K, and C (in the form of CO2), and a host of trace nutrients. To some extent these macros will exist naturally in your aquarium but there will never be enough to satisfy the needs of the plants without supplemention. Low light tanks (which I consider to be around 1wpg), rarely encounter this because photosynthesis isn't being driven by lighting.

No matter how large a tank one has, it's still a closed eco-system and there in lies the challenge. Rarely will it stay balanced because whatever is living in the tank (plants, fish, bacteria), are constantly altering the chemistry just by living and dieing. Feeding your fish or fertilizing your plants compounds the change in chemistry and constant monitoring is required to keep everything as stable as possible.

What happens if things get too out of balance? Your tank will become a nightmare. Algae thrives when the nutrients are out of whack simply because they are much simpler plants. Or worse when it comes to CO2 and here is where even more chemistry comes into play. There is a relationship between how much CO2 is disolved in your tank and KH and pH of your water. Without knowing what your controls are, you can suffocate your fish or cause a massive pH crash.

Beginning to understand? It's like driving your car without knowing if you've oil in your crank case.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:02 PM   #6
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Hi tank girl...

Specific plant problems?....
ok, well my java fern has grown four leaves in four months and the others...um...melted... gone floppy, not grown, colected black algae, gone yellow/clear. That's about all i can think of.
"Others" meaning: lots of vallis (started tank with this), Ambulia and Bacopa.
I've JUST added some wisteria under high high recommendation from my lfs. So my hopes are high for the wisteria...

Many thanks in advance!
Ryland.

My Set-up?
ok...I'll try and make this as clear as possible, if I miss anything please tell me.
ok...it's a...
= 20 gallon freshwater community tank.
= 40 watt Floro light...2 watts per gallon
= lights on for about 10hrs a day
= fish: I have 7 neons, 1 danio, 1 dwarf blue ram, 2 bristle nose plecos and one cory cat fish (he's lonley!)
= 20g aqua clear over the back filter
= Heater set to 24*C
= Pressurized C02 set-up JUST instaled...bubble count at about 1 per second...turned off at night, when the tank light's off
= water stats as of tday:
ammonia 0ppm
nitrite 0 ppm
nitrate 10 ppm
ph down form 7.4 to 6.8 after the C02 today...
kH not sure. Did a test today (aquasonic) but couldn't get it green! added over 50 drops of the second bottle and still no end point! Something must be wrong there...

My goals? Well it's basically just to have a nice planted community tank. I've had trouble with plants form the get-go and the guys at my lfs think CO2 is/was my only option...saying that you can't go wrong with it. Looking around at all thier great planted tank i half believed them...silly me...
But since I've oly just taken the plunge into CO2 I'm hopnig it's not too late to stop myself going down the wrong path and to get this to work.
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My tank:
20 gallon planted freash water (26*C) community. 30" long, 12" deep and 12" high. 40W lighting = 2 watts per gallon..
otb aqua clear filter
Pressurized C02
fish: 8 neon, 4 rosy barbs
, 2 brs. pleco
Shatered dreams of yesteryear, cloud horizons in shades of grey.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:13 PM   #7
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Thanks alot for your understading Brian.
Your comments really are in-valuble and mean alot to me.
I missed your post because I was writting one back to tank girl! Seems the end of my post was cut short!

I re-read the sticky too and that helped a little more as well. I think I'm starting to graps it. I really understood what you were saying there. Know I just need to investigate this C02, Kh, ph relationship a little further...and how to control it...

How do i keep my Ph from crashing? Do you have to just keep adding natural Kh buffer like crushed coral all the time? In the sticky it said that with a steady bubble count your ph should be steady too (mines about 1 bubble per second) Though i'm not sure about that...
Sorry for the question! arr....habbit. I shall keep seeking knowledge!

Thank you thank you.
Ryland
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My tank:
20 gallon planted freash water (26*C) community. 30" long, 12" deep and 12" high. 40W lighting = 2 watts per gallon..
otb aqua clear filter
Pressurized C02
fish: 8 neon, 4 rosy barbs
, 2 brs. pleco
Shatered dreams of yesteryear, cloud horizons in shades of grey.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
How do i keep my Ph from crashing
Your pH won't crash until you add CO2 at a level that completely overwhelms the buffer provided by your KH. You're on the right track with your .6 drop. You have probably got good levels of CO2 right now but you need valid KH results to be sure. You might call your local water company and ask what KH usually runs locally so you have an idea what results to expect. Do not add anymore artificial buffer like CC as it shouldn't be necessary. Your pH should remain stable as long as your bubble count stays the same. What brand of KH test did you get anyway?
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Old 11-24-2005, 11:39 PM   #9
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Thanks Hoovercat.
Well I tested my ph before, just after, and one night after I added the C02...
before it was about 7.4ppm, just after it was about 6.8 ppm and one night after it was back uo to about 7.4 ppm again. Is that bad? I figure that some of the c02 was used at night (as it is) and thus pushing the ph back up. Should the ph vary that much from day to night?

You say I'm "..on the right track with your drop of .6" I'm guessing that's a bad track? I'll try another KH test (aquasonic) now. I think I'll get another KH test kit. This aquasonic one is VERY vague...
Oh, and I haven't added any atificial buffer...I didn't think it would be necessary either.

My bubble count is at just under one per second. It's stable...exept for when i turned it on this morning...it takes a few seconds to fine tune the rate to one bubble per second. This isn't a major problem is it? So my Ph SHOULD stay stable too? I'm sure the ph will drop, but once there I guss it will stay stable...

Well, I 've got another KH test to try!
Thank you.
Ry.
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My tank:
20 gallon planted freash water (26*C) community. 30" long, 12" deep and 12" high. 40W lighting = 2 watts per gallon..
otb aqua clear filter
Pressurized C02
fish: 8 neon, 4 rosy barbs
, 2 brs. pleco
Shatered dreams of yesteryear, cloud horizons in shades of grey.
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:35 AM   #10
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it really sounds like you need an easier Kh test kit. Preferably one that measures in degrees of hardness. My test kit uses 1 drop per degree kh. Very simple. It is unlikely your tap water is over 10deg Kh. Don't Aussies have soft water?

At 40 watts of normal florescents over a 20 gallon tank. That is 2wpg, but that is not neccesarily high lighting (see other discussion on this board about WPG and small tanks). I mention that because you can turn your CO2 down quite a bit (maybe 30 bubbles per minute, instead of the 60 your at now). Really you need to find out your Kh and then adjust your CO2 to shoot for about 20ppm of CO2.
After turning down the CO2 you can use off the shelf formulated fertilizers (like standard Flourish), and root tabs. And you should be able to grow many plants quite successfully. Anubis, Cryptocorynes, Java Fern, Java Moss, Moss Balls, Ludwigia, Rotala, Hygrophila, Pennywort, Watersprite, and Aponogetons to name a few that should work under those conditions.

This won't be the overdriven super plant grow zone that many of us have in our tanks. It will instead slow things down a bit while you learn. Then over time you can choose to go to component fertilizers, crank up the CO2, and add more lights (like a 65 watt CF bulb). But do that when you are ready.

I have a couple 10 gallon planted tanks that each have 30 watts of normal florescent lighting. At 3wpg, I do not add CO2, but I do dose with Flourish Excel (an alternative to CO2). These tank are relatively low maintenance compared to the bucking bronco that is my main tank (4.7 WPG of CF with CO2 injection). Really I just add a teaspoon of Flourish and a teaspoon of Excel each week with my PWC (50%). The plants thrive, the algae does not.
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