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New CO2 setup questions

Discussion in 'Lighting, CO2, Ferts & Flow' started by crawfordw81, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. crawfordw81

    crawfordw81 New Member

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    So I decided after years of non-planted tanks that I was going to make the jump to a planted tank. So I decided to sorta go all in minus the CO2 at this point. However I am looking to start the CO2[​IMG]. Anyways on to my current setup:


    75g w/ glass tops
    Fluval 406 (BioFoam in bottom, matrix in middle 2, purigen and peat in top)
    2 Sponge Filters running off 1 60 air pump
    Finnex Planted+ 48"
    250w Aqueon Pro Heater
    Spray Bar
    2 Power Heads (1- 250 1-500)
    Substrate is a mix of Black Diamond Fine and Medium Grit from TSC
    Flourish Tabs in Substrate
    Currently running Phosphiltrum in 406 due to Diatom build up from new tank


    Fishes:
    4x Blue Rams
    4x Pictus
    4x Sterbai's
    5x Green Tigers
    2x Tigers
    4x Long Fin Rosy Barbs
    1x Powder Blue Gourami
    2x Siamese Algea Eaters
    6X Glofish Tetra (Children demanded it... [​IMG])
    1x Ghost Shrimp that was feeder with 4 others but this one escaped [​IMG]


    Assorted plants




    General Water Parameters out of tap:
    KH 80
    PH 7.8 (after sitting 7.0 before sitting)
    Nitrates 5 to 10
    Nitrite 0
    Ammonia 0


    In Tank:
    KH 80
    PH 7.6
    Nitrates 10 to 20
    Nitrite 0
    Ammonia 0


    I have been using Peat to try and bring down the hardness of the water to make it more in line with the desires of the fish and plants. However I have been told this isn't needed by some people, others have said that the German Blue Rams will love it. I have noticed much better colors on some fish since the peat was added with minimal impact on water parameters yet.


    Currently I am using Excel and Flourish and just running the sponge filters 24/7 the flow of my tank goes across the top right to left and down and back across bottom. The setup is working well but the plants aren't doing as well as I was hoping with the Excel alone. They were having issue really getting going before the phosphiltrum addition, I know that isn't ideal to have currently but the diatoms were taking over lol.


    Anyways on to what I am looking to do:


    I want to add compressed CO2 to the tank and help it grow. I was going to go with:
    -10lbs tank
    -Regulator w/ Solonoid Valve and Bubble Counter
    -Mr. Aqua Turbo Diffuser
    -Drop checker
    -CO2 Tubing w/ Stainless Check Valve


    My Plan was to run the CO2 on the same timer as the light at 10 hours a day, with the diffuser under either the spray bar or the 500gph powerhead on the opposite side of tank.
    I was going to put the sponge filters on a timer opposite schedule for 14 hours a day.


    -My questions come into the effectiveness of the drop checker while I am using peat in my filter. Is it going to work or will it be inaccurate?


    -Should I continue to use Excel but at a slightly lower dosing?


    -Is there a "safe" rate that I can add some CO2 without running risk if the peat will not let drop checker work? *Given that I will be running air 14 hours a day


    -Given that multiples of fish enjoy the peat addition I'd like to keep it but not if there is severe risk.


    -General comments about my setup welcome


    Thanks [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

     
  2. StevenF

    StevenF Member

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    Peat doesn't do anything to water hardness (GH) The GH test only measures calcium and magnesium in the water. If you want to reduce that you need to physically remove the calcium and magnesium from the water. Peat will also do nothing to affect KH or a drop checker. The only way to do that is to use softer water such as Distilled or RO water. But that said if you get the GH number too low then plants will not grow due to no calcium or magnesium in the water. Also very soft water can also be harmful to shrimp and snails. You want to keep the GH level at at least 2 degrees harness or 35ppm. You can use a product such as SeaChem Equilibrium to increase harness and RO or Distilled water to decrease it. Actively growing plants will also decrease GH but it is a very slow process.

    the biggest thing you can do to help your plants grow is not the use of CO2. The most important thing is to verify your fertilizer has all the macro and micro nutrients they need. If they don't they either will not grow, die, or grow very slowly and adding CO2 or liquid carbon will not help. This article lists all the macro and micro nutrients:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_nutrition
    Verify all are listed on your fertilizer bottle. if the bottle doesn't have all of them don't buy it. I use Sachem Flourish comprehensive.

    Many people have good luck with plants with nothing more than good water aeration and a good fertilizer and have not installed a CO2 system. After all fish create CO2 and air contains CO2. Aeration is probably adequate for plants if you can see the pump outflow dragging air bubbles just below the water surface of the tank.

    Putting a CO2 system on a timer is a good idea. Ideally you want the CO 2to turn on at the same time as the lights and turn off a couple of hours before the lights turn off. That way CO2 levels will drops just before the lights turn off and if your plants are growing very well O2 levels will quickly rise to safe level for the night. Having a drop checker or a separate CO2 test kit is critical to insure you CO2 levels are correct .
     
  3. crawfordw81

    crawfordw81 New Member

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    I have been using Flourish and Excel. Is Flourish Comprehensive a different thing? I also use flourish tabs. That's why the co2 step lol. Is there any reason that I need to have it shut off before the lights if the air turns on at the same time? Or could I turn the air on an hour before the lights turn off?

    Thanks for the help. So the peat won't effect any of the stuff people say it does? What does it do then? Should I remove it?

    Should I remove the phosphiltrum and just try to stay on top of diatoms manually until the plants take over?
     
  4. TheGov

    TheGov New Member

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    if you have a diatom problem, i think that means you have a plenty of nitrate and phosphates in your water, i wouldn't add flourish or excel - nor would i be using c02 yet. Light is the most important thing for your plants right now, a two bulb 6500k - 10k t5 would do great. Keep up on water changes to suppress the diatoms from taking over.
     
  5. crawfordw81

    crawfordw81 New Member

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    I have been removing phos with phosfiltrum to try and control it along with 25% water changes 3 times a week to keep nitrates at or below 10, I have 7 out of tap lab tested. It is just cause it's a new tank my 2 older tanks went through it.

    I use a finnex planted+ do you think that is inadequate? I have a fluval ecoled I could run with the finnex if the planted+ is not enough..
     
  6. TheGov

    TheGov New Member

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    I'm not familiar with the finnex light and i don't think the fluval ecoled will be much help, i use a red and a blue 54w t5 ho bulb in my setups - red flowers blue grows....
     
  7. StandbySetting

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    Removing phosphate is probably why your plants aren't doing well, it is a macro nutrient essential for plant growth and doesn't cause algae. What lighting is over the tank and what is the tank volume?
     
  8. flchamp89

    flchamp89 Fish Crazy

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    75g with planted plus

    Also tank looks newer (diatoms). As standby said phos removers not helping plants. Tank is newer plants need time to settle as well.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  9. StevenF

    StevenF Member

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    Flourish is a sachem product line. FlourishExcel is a toxic liquid carbon supplement. Plants normally get carbon from CO2 but many plants can also get it from the Chemical in Excel. However some plant will be damaged or killed by excel.

    Flourish Comprehensive contains small amounts of the Macro Elements:
    N/P/K/Ca/S/Mg
    It also has all the Micro Elements:
    B/Cl/Co/CuFe/Mn/Mo/Na/Zn/
    It does not contain carbon.

    If you are short just one of the above elements at best your plants will grow slowly. At worst your plants will die. Also if you have all of the above and phosphate levels are higher than normal your plants will consume much of the phosphate in a few days. In my experience the macro and micro nutrients are more important than CO2 / liquid carbon and light.



    Also how do you know you have high phosphates? If you suspect you have high phosphates get a phosphate test kit. and test your tap and aquarium. Many people believe phosphate cause algae but Tom Barr did extensive testing and found phosphate doesn't cause algae. Rather than guessing test for it. Otherwise you will be spending a lot of money on a phosphate remover for no reason. Currently my aquarium is maintaining phosphate levels at less than 0.4PPM based on my Hanna phosphate meter. Note if your phosphates get too low you might start finding hard great spot algae on your aquarium glass. Many people add phosphate fertilizer to remove green spot algae.
     
    #9 StevenF, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  10. crawfordw81

    crawfordw81 New Member

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    Thats what I thought I have hard water, so I had diatoms in my other tanks. This is a new setup. Been running without plants for 1 month after cycle. Plants were added 2 weeks ago. I added the phosphiltrum because it worked in my other non-planted tanks to wipe diatoms.

    So I will remove the phosphiltrum and leave it alone. I will just wipe the diatoms weekly by hand. I assume the light is fine or above need since it is designed specifically for plants and has red,blue, and white. I will keep dosing the excel and the flourish then.

    About the CO2 questions however. I will add a drop checker, sounds like people had bad information on some other sites about that and water parameters. The water in the tank has no effect on the readings other than evaporating CO2 correct?

    I will keep going with the peat since the fish seem a lot happier with it in the filter.

    As far as the CO2, should I start at 1bps or lower with a 75 gallon tank?

    To limit the number of timers needed, I will run the CO2 when the lights are on and then I will run the air that goes through sponge filters for 1 hour before the lights/co2 goes out and until they turn on.

    Is the lights on 10 hours a day good or should it be more or less?

    Any other advice on the setup? Should I dose Iron or Flourish Micro as well or is the standard Flourish Comprehensive enough with hard well water which has a lot of minerals?


    @stephenF I will test the phosphates and report it here. People on Fishlore had said that testing phosphates was pointless. Anyways I will check tomorrow, my LFS sells the kit for 7 bucks.

    I have already been using Flourish and Excel. What plants does the Excel kill? Is there a list somewhere?
     
  11. flchamp89

    flchamp89 Fish Crazy

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    Can damage/kill vals, and anarchis. Those are two most widely reported. One technique is to slowly increase to recommended dose to allow aclimation.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  12. StandbySetting

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    CO2 is always trial and error, I currently use 10BPS (ish) on my 200l tank, but I have a lot of surface agitation.

    Always make any adjustments slowly as it is usually a few hours before a drop checker registers any changes in CO2 concentration.

    Personally I would start with 7 hours of lighting, CO2 coming on 90 minutes prior to the lights and same again for CO2 off/lights off.

    Typically CO2 is used in high energy set ups, where additional macro nutrients will be required, Flourish comprehensive has no meaningful quantities of nitrogen or phosphate, personally I'd choose an all in one fertiliser such as Tropica - though If you're in the UK I'd recommend aqua essentials neutro plus.

    I'd continue dosing excel- or switch to a cheaper alternative, at standard dosing I've never had plants die, it's only when I've gone above to meet plant demand that I've run into issues with true aquatic plants. For me the combination of CO2 and gluturaldehyde has very good results.

    One final point - just ensure your drop checker solution is made up of 4dkh water and bromothymol blue - some suggest adding tank water which doesn't work.
     
  13. crawfordw81

    crawfordw81 New Member

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    can you send me a link for the fertilizer i should use?
     

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