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Scared of co2

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15 hours ago, Krakens_tanks said:

See I wonder if that's my problem is that I over research and I happen to hyper focus on what could go wrong or so says the wife lol but I mean I have the time I'm currently on short term disability so spend 18 hrs a day in front of my tank. 

I'm in the same boat. Been in short term disability since the first of the year. I started with the 2 bottle citric acid and baking soda. Saw my plants perk up quick but had 2 incidents of all my citric acid ending up in the soda bottle overnight. I just picked up a 5lb Co2 bottle yesterday. I didn't get the timer setup. I just cut the bottle on when I get up before my lights come on an turn it off before I go to bed. I really don't see that its gonna be that big of a hassle to me. Not much different than turning the lights on an off if I didn't have them set on a timer. 

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1 hour ago, Jungle Fan said:

The cylinder exploding is something I have never known anyone to have experienced in all my time of keeping fish, you would either have to leave a cylinder in the bright sun so that it warms and the CO2 expands until bursting, or store it sideways instead of standing up to make that happen, but then again I can understand because you won't catch me with a propane grill, I prefer charcoal over the thrill of messing with flammable gas.

Right. It's more a problem I've heard of with yeast DIY kits and unpredictable CO2 production combined with upcycled materials that can't handle the pressure spike. My partner had to already stop me from getting into distilling ("please no potentially exploding things that are also illegal"). I imagine his patience would be worn thin by exploding things that dump several dozen gallons of water, dying fish, and yeast all over the living room.

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1 hour ago, Kirsten said:

Yeah I'm in the same boat. For me, the risks (gassing your fish, tanks exploding, pH problems, algae problems, the arms race of co2 & lights & fert described above) aren't worth the reward (dwarf baby tears).

My java ferns, java moss, swords, crypts, apongetons, anacharis, and stem plants all seem to be doing fine getting co2 the old fashioned way: airstones and a billion endler babies. Would be amazing to find a way to grow carpeting plants in a low-tech tank, but yeah it's not worth the risks for me.

It would be amazing if someone could design a nice-looking but still inexpensive version of Ocean Aquarium's old-school method of going around and pumping co2 into overturned water bottles in tanks. That's about my limit, though.

In Germany a long time ago they used to have glass bells, with a small cork to float inside the bell so you could see the bell was empty once it reached the top of the bell.

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Drop checkers are a very good method, so long as you know your water's kH levels. This tells you how much of a buffer your water has available to absorb c02 without drastically changing your pH. The drop checkers are a pH monitor and are very accurate as long as you are using a known kH graded solution. The table below shows the ppm that c02 must be at to affect a pH drop of a certain degree... I.E.   If your kH is say 20 -30 it will have to absorb twice as much cO2 to reach a pH of 7 from say 7.8 ... So your c02 ppm can be higher or lower in the tank if you're drop checker isn't calibrated for an exact kH.

Most reference solutions are calibrated at 4 kH.


So if you're trying to hit a sweet spot... Say 30 ppm at  7 pH, you have to buffer your water to a kH of 10...

Drop checker kits that ask you to inject tank water can be dangerous for the following reasons...

 If you use a pre-calibrated reference solution which is at 4 kH.  It will give you an accurate reading of total dissolved c02 in your dropper so you know exactly which ppm gives you which color. As the dropper absorbs c02 and the dropper's pH hits 7.0 it would be 11.8 ppm. Your tanks water however can be any number outside of 4 kH. Which would mean if the dropper is saying 11.8 ppm and your tanks kH is actually 20, then your tanks c02 may be much lower ppm ( safe ). If you have a dropper kit that asks you to inject tank water ( !?!?! ) you need to know exactly your kH to calibrate the bromothymol blue solution you mix with your tank water. This lets you know where you stand in the chart above.... The other down sides of trying to push high c02 ( 30 ppm ) with low kH is that green and lime green can look very close in the dropper, and a few shades one way or another ( just 0.2 pH ) is actually a LOT MORE c02 than you intended!!!


Use a pre-calibrated drop checker solution from a reputable brand or buy a 4 kH buffer solution to mix with the bromo. Expect to have to raise your tanks pH to help buffer for the absorbed c02... There are other factors of course. Acidity vs Alkalinity can be effected by more than just carbonic acid. For the purpose of this explanation they need not apply. 


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