Holy Bubble Count, Batman!

  1. BettaJazzHands

    BettaJazzHands Initiate Member

    Hi all! This is a little long winded, I'm sorry.

    I'm not new to planted tanks, but I am new to co2, and I'd love a few more sets of eyes if possible. I have three low tech 20 gallon community tanks running the finnex 24/7 cc on a custom day cycle (off from 12 - 6, ramp up to max brightness from 12 - 6pm, ramp down to 12am when the lights go off. These tanks are great, easy, and never give me a spot of trouble. They're stocked, but not overstocked
    - 20H: Bratty male betta who does not play well with others.
    - 20H: Male Betta, 4 elderly platies, 6 espie rasbora, 2 nerite snails, 4 Amano shrimp. 20% wc 2x weekly. No ferts.
    - 2oL: 6 rummynose tetras, a colony of thriving, breeding RCS, 6 panda corys.

    All tanks are between 6 months and 2 years old.
    All the above run aquaclear 30's with filter floss, purigen, bio balls. Betta tanks are baffled with a water bottle.

    The issue is with my 38 gallon community. It's been fully cycled for two months now, took about a month and a half to fishless cycle with ammonia and Dr. Tims, so it's been set up for 3.5 months total so far. No fish deaths. Everyone gets along and is happy - I did lose one oto the day I got him, but the other four are fat and happy and working on leaves and rocks.

    Lights: Finnex 24/7 cc running the same cycle as above. Finnex Ray 2 on a timer from 11am - 4pm
    Co2: Greenleaf Aquariums Gro system, on a timer, on at 9AM off at 4pm
    Ferts: NilocG Macro and Micro, alternating days, modified EI because the plants are new (half the dose)
    Filter: Marineland Penguin 200 with filter floss, bio balls, purigen.
    Stock: Male Betta, 5 Sterbai Cory, 4 Otos, 15 Cardinal Tetras.
    Plants: Alternathia Reiniki, Red Cabomba, Water Wisteria, Rotala indica, dwarf hairgrass, pennywort, staurogene repens, buce brownie ghost, buce purple mini, plants are obviously still growing in, had a small diatom bloom a week ago that is going away without any special treatment. I was actually hoping to grow a little algae for the otos but not a lot grew really - enough to keep them working.

    So I have a few questions

    First of all, I have 20-30 ppm of Nitrates with two water changes a week. I don't really get that. My other tanks run about 5ppm nitrates at my weekly tests, but this tank has nitrates present, which I've never seen before. None of my fish seem to be bothered by it. Even the cardinals, who seem to be sensitive. Is this something to worry about? I am a worrier by nature, and I need to have everything set before I leave for my honeymoon July 5th. They will have to go one week without a water change.

    I have a drop checker with 4dkh solution that sits at a nice light lime green. My glass diffuser is under my HOB, which pushes the co2 bubbles back down with the outflow. None of my fish appear stressed. Calm, relaxed swimming, otos are cleaning up the plants and glass, cories are snuffling around happily and rarely come up for air. Plants start to pearl nicely about halfway through the day - but I see people saying they run 1 to 3 bubbles per second and my bubble rate is off. the. charts. I can't even count how high the rate is, they're like a stream through the bubble counter above the needle valve. If I lower my co2 rate, my drop checker doesn't turn lime green and my plants don't pearl. Is this something I should be concerned about? My primary concern is the safety of my fish, but they don't seem bothered. Why do you think my bubble count is so much higher than other people's? Does anyone else run a lot of bubbles? This bubble amount has been running for about two weeks now.

    If you made it through this, thank you. I know it was a crazy wall of text, but I am worried I am doing something wrong and I really love my fish - the Betta in this tank is pretty much the most gorgeous Betta I've ever seen - my first import - so I did a lot of research before setting it up. The co2 is what is confusing me.
     
  2. Coradee

    Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

    Hi, hope our Co2 gurus can help you today
     
  3. D

    DutchAquarium Well Known Member Member

    Looks like your main question is weather your bubble count is off, correct if i'm wrong. Bubble count is actually extremley inaccurate and should never be used as a measure. Think of it more as something to start you off and then you need to change. bubble count doesn't work because it depends on what your plants are taking in, how big the aquarium is, surface disturbance, etc... There are many more factors. the best thing for you to use is that drop checker you have.