Help beginner with co2 advice

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FloydtheBetta

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Hi everyone,

I’m seriously considering adding co2 to my 10 gallon tank but it’s really confusing so I’m looking for some answers here.


1) would this kit (Here) be good for me if I run a HOB filter, I heard HOBs tend to make you lose co2 or something like that because of the surface agitation? (Also I want a kit because it’s confusing enough not trying to buy a million different pieces, and I also don’t mind paying up for quality/peace of mind)

2) would I be able to safely do this? Both in terms of my fish since I already have them in the tank and in terms of me? All this talk of them being bombs and blowing myself up is a big turn off for me, my cat is most definitely going to be able to knock over the canister no matter where I put it, so I don’t need a disaster.

3) what’s all this talk about ph drops? My ph is 7 right now and I don’t test for kh, what would I need to do to ensure I’m not killing my fish after starting co2 in terms of ph/kh?

Thanks for any and all advice in advance!
 

Chanyi

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Yes that kit will work well for your 10 gallon. What size tank are you planning on hooking up to the regulator?

Surface agitation is good, too much can off-gas a lot of CO2, but treat CO2 as if it's free. Don't be afraid to crank it up if the tank is off-gassing a lot of it. Good gas exchange is key to keep O2 levels and CO2 levels high.

Yes it is safe, you can buy or build a bracket to keep the bottle from falling over.

pH drop is a better way at determining your tanks CO2 levels. Drop checkers are for reference only at best, and are slow (2 hour delay) at determining CO2 levels. pH drop occurs when dissolved CO2 forms carboxylic acid in the water, thus lowering pH. This is completely safe for livestock because you aren't changing TDS, osmotic pressure or mineral contents.

I would buy a gH / kH test kit combo... good to know these values.

How are you testing pH right now? A good rule to follow is to allow the tank's pH to drop a full 1.0 from using CO2. You'll want the tank's pH to drop that much by the time (or shortly after) the lights come on for the day. You can slowly over the course of a week / couple of weeks get to these levels. Once you get it there, it should hold steady, but periodic pH testing both with the CO2 on and off will ensure it is running where it should.
 
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FloydtheBetta

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Chanyi said:
Yes that kit will work well for your 10 gallon. What size tank are you planning on hooking up to the regulator?

Surface agitation is good, too much can off-gas a lot of CO2, but treat CO2 as if it's free. Don't be afraid to crank it up if the tank is off-gassing a lot of it. Good gas exchange is key to keep O2 levels and CO2 levels high.

Yes it is safe, you can buy or build a bracket to keep the bottle from falling over.

pH drop is a better way at determining your tanks CO2 levels. Drop checkers are for reference only at best, and are slow (2 hour delay) at determining CO2 levels. pH drop occurs when dissolved CO2 forms carboxylic acid in the water, thus lowering pH. This is completely safe for livestock because you aren't changing TDS, osmotic pressure or mineral contents.

I would buy a gH / kH test kit combo... good to know these values.

How are you testing pH right now? A good rule to follow is to allow the tank's pH to drop a full 1.0 from using CO2. You'll want the tank's pH to drop that much by the time (or shortly after) the lights come on for the day. You can slowly over the course of a week / couple of weeks get to these levels. Once you get it there, it should hold steady, but periodic pH testing both with the CO2 on and off will ensure it is running where it should.
Wow thank you so much for a response I finally understand!

I was planning on using the smallest tank possible (but not paintball) so probably a 5lb one. I’m in Chicago so I should be able to find reasonable prices somewhere.

Also right now I’m using the api master test kit to check ph, and it comes up 6.8-7 (hard to tell which for sure).

oh and one more question. I’m currently turning lights on/off manually. What would I need to get in order for the lights and solenoid (I think the solenoid somehow makes the co2 start with the lights right?) to be able to turn off/on at the right times?
 

Chanyi

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FloydtheBetta said:
oh and one more question. I’m currently turning lights on/off manually. What would I need to get in order for the lights and solenoid (I think the solenoid somehow makes the co2 start with the lights right?) to be able to turn off/on at the right times?
Solenoid is an electronic valve that only opens when power is supplied to the valve. Hopefully your kit comes with one. If not, you can buy in-line solenoids for CO2 use.

When power is cut, the valve closes, so in case of a power outage the valve will be shut. To control CO2 with the lights, you can use simple plug-in timers, smart outlets, smart power strips, or aquarium controllers.

Easiest way is to buy 2 timers, set the CO2 to come on 1 - 2 hours before the lights are set to come on. Then have the CO2 shut off 30 minutes or right when the lights shut off.
 
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FloydtheBetta

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Chanyi said:
Solenoid is an electronic valve that only opens when power is supplied to the valve. Hopefully your kit comes with one. If not, you can buy in-line solenoids for CO2 use.

When power is cut, the valve closes, so in case of a power outage the valve will be shut. To control CO2 with the lights, you can use simple plug-in timers, smart outlets, smart power strips, or aquarium controllers.

Easiest way is to buy 2 timers, set the CO2 to come on 1 - 2 hours before the lights are set to come on. Then have the CO2 shut off 30 minutes or right when the lights shut off.
thank you! I think I actually feel comfortable enough to do this now!
 

Chanyi

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Test pH before the CO2 comes on. Should be 6.8 - 7.0 like you mentioned.

Start CO2 off at 2 bubbles per second, and continue to test pH every 2 hours or so, and note any pH drop.

Carefully watch fish. If you see them gasping at the surface, you are likely at a 1.3 or 1.4 drop in pH which is pushing the limits. Gently back off the CO2 if you see this happening.

Each tank is different, for some a 1.1 drop is the max, for others, 1.4 is the max. For people without livestock, they can get 1.6 or beyond.

"generally" a 1.0 drop is roughly 30ppm of CO2.
 
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