Help Me Not Be Afraid Of Co2.

Cyclsnipas
  • #1
My 65 gallon was originally a low tech planted tank. But after a re-scape, I'm looking to grow a carpet and increase my plants growth and health in general.

I was gifted an ISTA .5 liter Co2 kit. I figured being a kit, it could use some upgrades, so I went to a LFS to pick up a different bubble counter, diffuser, extra tubing and drop checker.

I'll admit I know very little about using C02 so I got into a conversation with a clerk about it. He proceeded to give me a heart attack about using it. Telling me those kits suck (I kinda knew that already hence shopping for upgrades) and that I will inevitably kill my fish unless I use a Ph Controller and a regulator with a solenoid valve.

I never even heard of a Ph controller until this guy mentioned it. He wasn't trying to sell me one either, suggested looking online for one, and now I'm debating even going the C02 route as he has me freaking out that I'll kill my fish without one, as they are quite pricey.

Do I need one of these Ph controller things??? Will I kill my fish without one??? Would I be testing fate even using the Co2 kit??? I'm really worried and on the fence with this.
 
dinosaur act
  • #2
What do you mean by ph controller? I don't know what one is. I have been looking in to co2 also haven't came across this tho.
 
aniroc
  • #3
You do need a regulator. Ideally, with a solenoid valve so you inject when lights are on and plants need CO2, not at night when plants themselves breath out CO2. A pH controller would be nice as well but not necessarily. A drop checker can warn you when too much CO2 is injected. With a bit of a delay (compared to pH controller) but still safe for fish.
 
Lorekeeper
  • #4
I never used a PH controller, but I used a DIY system.

As long as you don't run the CO2 at night, you shouldn't have any significant PH swings.

Just take it slow in getting use to using the kit. If I can inject my tiny 2.5 gallon tank with a diy system, I'd think a kit would be pretty easy on a larger tank.
 
shiv234
  • #5
amm.....I don't think so. If I remember correctly if the pH is acidic then the ammonia turns to ammonium which is less harmful for fish.
And no. you will need to find a balance when dosing CO2 but it will never be in harmful levels since you have a filter that creates surface agitation which removes CO2. The only way CO2 will be present in harmful levels is if the filter shuts off and the CO2 regulator allows loads of CO2 into the tank
 
aniroc
  • #6
What do you mean by ph controller? I don't know what one is. I have been looking in to co2 also haven't came across this tho.
Instead of a solenoid that is based on a timer, a pH controller will start and stop CO2 injection based on pH. You set the limits: say....start when pH is above 7.5 and stop when is 6.5.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thank you for all of the replies folks! It seemed excessive to me as well. I look on This forum, Youtube etc, to learn about Co2 basics and not once was a Ph controller ever mentioned. After talking to that guy, I went to a different store to talk to someone I know is very knowledgeable about plants. He said start with 1 bubble per second and I should be fine. But I can't shake that fear of possibly killing my fish.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I've been looking online for equipment to possibly build my own Co2 setup after the kit runs out. The kits bottle is refillable but I think I want to go bigger if I can figure this whole thing out.
 
psalm18.2
  • #9
I feel for you. I bought a great kit and spent hundreds of dollars just to let it go for half the price. I too was scared to use the CO2.
 
Dave125g
  • #10
This may help.
Capture%2B_2018-03-01-18-34-49-1.png as long as you know your KH and baseline ph this will let you know how much CO2 is in your tank. After some experimenting you will learn how many BPS you need to keep the CO2 levels perfect.
 
-Mak-
  • #11
People do high tech tanks without being ph controllers all the time, with just solenoids on timers.

You’ll need a drop checker with a 4 dkh solution, which will tell you if your CO2 levels are safe or not.

The amount of CO2 you can safely inject also depends on your oxygen levels. Check out Dennis Wong’s videos on YouTube on optimizaing CO2 and surface agitation. The more surface agitation and oxygen there is, the more CO2 will escape, but it also means higher overall levels can be tolerated.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I really appreciate all of your replies folks. You've definitely helped quell my fears of using Co2. I'm passing on even considering a Ph controller. Seems excessive and unnecessary at this point.

I'm looking to start ordering parts for a Co2 build soon and one thing I'm trying to decide on is diffuser type. Originally I was going to use a 2" glass/ceramic in-tank diffuser, but after doing some research I'm thinking an in-line unit would be better for my tank size.
 
TexasGuppy
  • #13
I'm running this one, and pretty happy with it.

Possible problem with diffuser apporaches is if they will get clogged up over time and start to back up and build up co2 pressure. I've read reports of them 'exploding' off the co2 lines breaking the glass tanks. With in-line, reactors, you don't have this problem.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I'm running this one, and pretty happy with it.

Possible problem with diffuser apporaches is if they will get clogged up over time and start to back up and build up co2 pressure. I've read reports of them 'exploding' off the co2 lines breaking the glass tanks. With in-line, reactors, you don't have this problem.

I don't know how to upload a link but I'm considering the Green Leaf Aquatics Atomic In-line Diffuser. It gets very good reviews and seems like a solid product.

However, given the cons you listed, a reactor may be a better option. I often don't have the time to play with tank related issues so a clogged diffuser possibly exploding or blowing off a line can become a real issue.

Aren't reactors prone to leaks? I feel like that's something I've read frequently.
 
Dave125g
  • #15
Diffusers make the water appear cloudy with the micro bubbles. A reactor is a good way to go.

I have had a diffuser disk get clogged all that happened is the hose popped off the diffuser. It's a rubber hose. It's not going to crack a glass aquarium.
 
TexasGuppy
  • #16
Depends on how the air-line attaches to the diffuser. I had to actually cut the line off it was so tight. If all the connections on the line are that tight, a buildup of pressure will have explosive release somewhere. The are definitely people that have lost tanks. Probably rare, but still. Some reactors connection fittings are not really good. I'm getting ready to add a screw clamp to mine, but for the moment, it's ok.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I'm running this one, and pretty happy with it.

With this unit did you find any issues or weaknesses that you had to address? I noticed one complaint with reactors is where the CO2 line connects tends to be brittle and break easily. Also what size tank are you using this on?
 
Dave125g
  • #18
Depends on how the air-line attaches to the diffuser. I had to actually cut the line off it was so tight. If all the connections on the line are that tight, a buildup of pressure will have explosive release somewhere. The are definitely people that have lost tanks. Probably rare, but still. Some reactors connection fittings are not really good. I'm getting ready to add a screw clamp to mine, but for the moment, it's ok.
There's also valves that can be installed if you worry about that. A pressure release valve designed to open and relieve pressure when it builds up to a certain PSI.
 
TexasGuppy
  • #19
I haven't had an issue with the CO2 attachment on it. The main line attachment isn't very good which is why I'm about t install the metal clamp. I don't like the micro-bubbles of a diffuser, plus, anything that makes it to the surface is wasted CO2. I'm running on a 55G tank at around 3 bps (bubbles/sec) and my drop-indicator is a nice green, so I should be around 30ppm. Plants seem to be doing good and fish seem fine. I still need to balance/up my ferts because every time I measure my phosphates are 0 and my nitrates are always around 5.
 
Dave125g
  • #20
I haven't had an issue with the CO2 attachment on it. The main line attachment isn't very good which is why I'm about t install the metal clamp. I don't like the micro-bubbles of a diffuser, plus, anything that makes it to the surface is wasted CO2. I'm running on a 55G tank at around 3 bps (bubbles/sec) and my drop-indicator is a nice green, so I should be around 30ppm. Plants seem to be doing good and fish seem fine. I still need to balance/up my ferts because every time I measure my phosphates are 0 and my nitrates are always around 5.
With the phosphates at 0 and nitrates at 5 I'm gonna guess you have a lot of column feeding plants?

My 10 gallon is my only CO2 tank. I wanna get a reactor for my 125. I agree on both points on diffusers. Micro bubbles suck and too much CO2 is wasted.
 
Kingofnon
  • #21
no reason to be scared of C02. you can get a KH API kit, and use the chart above to get into the safe zone. simply just adjust accordingly until you hit that green zone. drop checkers are worthless, or so I have been told, as it will change depending where you put it, the depth etc. I heard some put their CO2 by their output to spreadI t evenly.

I only turned mine on 3 days ago, ad it only took a day to get it in the green, with little tweaks, test, wait an hour, tweak, test, repeat.

I started with so much CO2 I couldnt count the bubbles, now I can and it runs at 45 b.p.s this keeps me in the green zone.

be warned though it will lower your PH. mine tanked within a few hours after it being on. it was always 7.6 now with CO2 its steady at 7.0
 
TexasGuppy
  • #22
45bps seem high, but it sounds like you aren't using a reactor. With reactor, it's fully diffused into the water.
My drop checker seems fine, but again, with a reactor, placement isn't as important I would guess.
Half my plants are swords, but I read they will consume from column if they don't get what they need in the substrate.
 
aniroc
  • #23
The pressure in between the cylinder and the regulator is about 1000 psi. Things can get ugly there if not properly sealed. But the regulator drops that 1000 psI to a more manageable of 20-40 psi. Nothing will explode and no pressure will build up past that "working pressure" that you set up.
I have atomic diffusers that need at least 30 psI to produce bubbles. If I dial only 20 psi, nothing will happen: no bubbles and no explosion. The entire line: needle valve, bubble counter and tubes holds 20 psI for days.

You don't need surface aggitation to bring in oxygen if you have healthy plants. They will provide more oxygen than air can bring.

If used properly, a drop checker is quite useful. It is an ingenious application of the pH/KH/CO2 chart without the flaws and limitation of the chart.

Don't be afraid of CO2! Sure there are risks and accidents happen, just like driving a car. Don't focus on mishap. Do your research, stay safe and you and your fish will be fine.
 
Kingofnon
  • #24
45bps seem high, but it sounds like you aren't using a reactor. With reactor, it's fully diffused into the water.
My drop checker seems fine, but again, with a reactor, placement isn't as important I would guess.
Half my plants are swords, but I read they will consume from column if they don't get what they need in the substrate.
I can't count 45 bps that was supposed to be 45 bubbles a minute
 
TexasGuppy
  • #25
That assumes one is using a proper regulator. There are many simple valves (Chinese regulators) out there that will allow a build up to tank pressure if blocked and solenoid is open.
 
Dave125g
  • #26
I can't count 45 bps that was supposed to be 45 bubbles a minute
Lol that makes more sense. I use 3 BPS to have my CO2 levels in the green. That's 180 BPS? Your a bit low or your diffuser is far more efficient then mine.
 
Cyclsnipas
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Well that's it. You convinced me to go with a reactor. Thanks for the advice. I've probably added and removed items from my Amazon cart a dozen times lol. Still looking locally as well. Unfortunately I missed out on a great deal for second hand 5lb Co2 canister with a solenoid regulator. But I'm in no rush, wanna do this right and carefully.
 
Dave125g
  • #28
Well that's it. You convinced me to go with a reactor. Thanks for the advice. I've probably added and removed items from my Amazon cart a dozen times lol. Still looking locally as well. Unfortunately I missed out on a great deal for second hand 5lb Co2 canister with a solenoid regulator. But I'm in no rush, wanna do this right and carefully.
Good luck. And your plants will definitely appreciate it.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
Replies
33
Views
847
Chanyi
  • Locked
  • Poll
Replies
30
Views
2K
Letsfish
  • Locked
2
Replies
44
Views
2K
RelaxingBettas
  • Locked
  • Poll
Replies
8
Views
660
Nick72
  • Locked
Replies
7
Views
725
aniroc
Top Bottom