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Old 08-27-2008, 07:09 AM   #1
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Strange CO2 and KH/PH relationship question

Hey this is not the typical question about how the KH/PH relationship works as I kinda understand that.

Here's the thing, my plants are not doing that great and I'm having some algae. Now I think the algae got kick started by ammonia, and prob low nitrates.

Now my PH in my tap water is ~7.5 best I can tell from both high and low range PH test. And after sitting out the PH is 8.0. Now I had talked about this before and someone told me the reason this happens is that there is likely CO2 in the water in the pipes and it off gasses.

I have a GH/KH test kit but for the life of me cannot locate it. I tested once right when I got it and both GH/KH were ~20 IIRC and if I did it correct(the 1st drop counts also correct?)

I know that CO2 fluctuations can occur from tap water from what I've read and there is info that says lower tech/non CO2 injected tanks may be better to not do as many water changes due to this.
Measuring CO2 levels in a Planted Tank

Now the reason I'm asking is because my plants seem OK some days I thought and other days look bad(like I'm going crazy). Now Like I said I'm getting algae.

Last couple days notes: 55G tank(lets talk about Rotala rotundifolia mainly)
8/22: plants not looking great, rotala leaning sideways, so after lights out, cleaned algae that I could get off driftwood and did a WC, think it was 10G
8/23: Algae coming back, rotala leaning, see small new growths on it, like new plants shooting up, while the main plant leans.
8/24:24hr blackout
8/25: Cleaned algae, Did a 12G WC 4hrs before lights come on to give time to off gass(I thought). At the end of light period Rotala sticking straight up and pink on ends more then ever before and pearling more than ever. I was amazed at how much changed in 8hrs of lighting and a 24hr blackout the day before. No algae pearling on driftwood, thinking I have got it going.
8/26: Plants not looking great, rotala sideways again after lighting and algae started appearing on driftwood again, it is pearling so I see lots of bubbles on the wood then if left for a couple days it will be covered.

Looking at the charts for PH/KH, it seems that assuming my KH is the same in the tank than I should have ~4ppm CO2.

Is is possible for me to have 10ppm(or more) of CO2 in the water straight from my tap??

Also if I do a water change I have crazy bubbles all over even with lights out and after hours. SO is this whats going on or am I crazy?

I also know that phosphates can throw off the KH/PH chart for CO2, I ordered a test kit for this so hopefully that will shed more light.

Just had to vent
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:29 AM   #2
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that plant needs med. to high light doesnt it?
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:34 AM   #3
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medium from what I've read
http://plantgeek.net/plantguide_view...d=186&filter=3
http://www.fishprofiles.com/files/profiles/p75017.htm
http://www.myfishtank.net/reviews/sh...1/cat/21/page/
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:41 AM   #4
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so you have good light but not enough co2?
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:44 AM   #5
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Well I deff dont have enough CO2 b/c I'm not injecting any, lol(yes I'm a rebel). I dont expect the plants to love it or flourish like an injected tank. I have ~2wpg of average lighting

I'm more asking if its actually possible to have 10ppm CO2 in tap water straight out of the pipe because that is what I believe I have by the chart, how my PH changes while sitting out/in tank and what I am seeing from my plants.

I can repeat the test but I dont think the CO2 fluctuations are going to help my algae situation any, lol. I'm pretty sure this is exactly whats happening as because more than one day I have seen the plants perk up, then 1 day later they are looking not good. At this point I guess I need to stop doing WC's and I'm sure I have enough ferts at this point. I want to just going to leave it alone, but this algae is going to kick my butt if I dont do something about it, also I really want to do a water change when removing the algae b/c its slimy and falls apart so its going to float around w/o a water change. I'm very frustrated at the moment.



The only plant that has made good improvements through this has been Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan'. It seems to not care about the CO2 fluctuations. The other plants are greatly affected b it(also the algae).
http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_viewer.php?id=274
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:49 AM   #6
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yeah not sure but could be higher right out of the tap but will drop once in the tank . why not put diy co2 in there?
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:06 AM   #7
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Well at this point I'm getting just as much fluctuation as I would prob have with DIY CO2 so it wouldn't matter, lol. But I prob would be better off with the CO2. I'm going to not do any WC's for awhile and see what happens.

I read people say its harder to dissolve CO2 in harder water, but after looking at the charts that seems just the opposite.

I dont have any yeast, and I was planning this to be a lower tech/maintenance tank(less dosing, slower growth, ect..). At this point its deff Not


OK lights have been on for ~1hr, the driftwood algae is starting to pearl already, this stuff is nuts!!!
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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if theres fish in the tank and no co2 you might not even need to dose fertz
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:22 AM   #9
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there was only 1 male Endler and No nitrates. I now have only a few fish in there 4 Male Endlers, 2 Oto's, and 3 RCS. They are in there to hopefully eat some of the algae, I'm not feeding them or planning to so the Endlers will have to learn to like algae.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:22 AM   #10
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the water changes are helping you ..the co2 rises plants do better ..the next day low co2 med light high nutrients the algae is happy and bubbling. yeah good fish for algae eating should help get under control
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:32 AM   #11
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Its not helping b/c I'm not going to do 12gallon WC's everyday just to raise the CO2 for a day.

I need to just let the plants adapt to the low CO2 levels, which can take ~6weeks from what I've read. Its just I had some issues and now have algae.

Plants grow cells that take up CO2, in injected tanks they spend energy growing these cells, because it will help them grow plants better because they can uptake the CO2 faster. They will get used to low CO2 but have to convert those cells to slightly different ones. Then will spend most of the energy growing stems instead of upkeep on those CO2 specific cells.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:34 AM   #12
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i did a big water change in the winter once 50 % same thing bubbles all over glass plants and fish lost a few. but had to was emergency
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:43 AM   #13
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then i dont think rotala the right plant because it grows fast needs light and does better with fertz.you want slow growers low light no fertz.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:47 AM   #14
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Yes, it's possible for there to be 10ppm or more CO2 in your water right out of the tap. The CO2 helps to prevent the pipes from corroding. There are also higher levels of O2 in the water fresh out of the tap, this combination is why it's so common to see false pearling right after a water change.

Since you're sticking to medium light, you may want to cut back on your water change to once a month as long as they are still sufficient to keep your Nitrates in check. If you're having to dose Nitrates and/or they are staying under 20ppm, you shouldn't have any issues lightening up on the water changes.

Also many stem plants react to light pressure by growing sideways. It's not at all uncommon for Rotala rotundifolia to react this way. Just means it's growing close enough to a good enough light to push it side ways. Planting more densely can help to overcome this tendancy.

And I have to say that having your algae pearl is one of the most insulting things that we encounter in planted aquariums!

My recommendation would be to try backing off the water changes some and to make sure that you've got your Nutrient dosing in line with your aquarium's needs.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:12 AM   #15
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brutus no offense, but your just not getting it. I'm using ferts. And all my plants are affected and not doing well except for WC days

Thanks Joy! I also had read about the CO2 and corrosion but forgot.

I understand false pearling and this is not what I'm talking about.

My tank is now OK as far as the ammonia/nitrite issues(reason I was doing WC's). I guess its is my bad for not letting the water sit out. I just dont have the buckets for that, but if I have to do a WC I will let the water sit out for as long as I can. I think it took more than 8hrs for my PH to get to 8.0 w.o air stones as I dont have any(I'll have to retest).

The issue now at hand is I now have algae and thought I should be doing WC's during/after manual removal to help, which in this case is actually hurting me.

The Rotala is not growing sideways really. It is leaning sideways(except for the day after a WC) and then new long shoots are growing vertical, while the main stem is parallel to the tank stand.

It is very insulting. Its like I'm chasing my tail here. Now since this algae is in spots all around the tank, there are small bubles coming up from all over.

The thing that gets me also is I have huge bubbles come up from the substrate once in awhile from where the plants are planted. What is this about?

So is it recommended to do a WC after trying to remove the algae?

For the record I'm going to let the water sit out for many hours before putting back in. Also I now have an extra HOB filter that I will put in the bucket to off gas it faster. I just have to be much more careful when doing WC's, I was at 1st but knew the PH change didnt matter much due to CO2. But now I know its not good at all for my situation. I deff cannot ever use a python with my tap water CO2 levels and non injected tanks.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:14 AM   #16
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yeah i thought you wanted higher co2 i see you dont... good luck with the algae and a pic of tank would help not the car lol
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:19 AM   #17
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So now that I know this what should I do about the algae issue?

Excel should hopefully be here by the end of the week(do aquariumguys ship fast? b/c I have not seen a tracking # for my order pop up yet).

I'm hoping this will be my miracle cure for the time being, then I should be able to wean off of it if I want. As long as I take precautions w/ WC's.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:32 AM   #18
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like purrbox said balancing nutrients lighting and fertz for your aquarium...but hard to tell when cant see it
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:05 AM   #19
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So you think it will just go away on its own?
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:22 AM   #20
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i looked your other thread is the tank only still planted like that? they say that excell works if you dose it right i think it dies ....still have to remove it and clean it up i think
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