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CO2 in a Closed System

Dave Gomberg wrote:  "This represents a CO2 dump at night in your covered
tank.   In less than an hour the fish will be gasping at the surface.   To
rescue it, remove the plastic wrap, and replace the CO2 injection with
regular air from an air pump.   The fish will soon recover.   The second
setup resembles your closed top tank with a CO2 dump at night.  In the AM
your fish will likely be dead.  BTW, this event is not real tough on the

Dave is making an important point here with which I agree:  Allowing excess
CO2 to bubble into a closed system is flirting with disaster, perhaps for
two reasons: excess CO2 levels and lack of replacement air (O2).  The tank I
was experimenting with was completely open at the top.  The excess CO2
simply bubbled off into a 31' by 15' room with open windows and half shut
doors!  Surely not a problem.  In my new upstairs tank I suspect I would
also be safe.  The CO2 is bubbled into a trickle filter sump in the cabinet
underneath the aquarium.  The sump is not tightly closed and has at least 30
square inches of open space and the cabinet itself is open-backed.  So I
imagine the excess CO2 would escape to the air and that there would be
plenty of O2 in contact with the water column.  Of course I was not
advocating dumping excess CO2 into any aquarium system, but only looking for
ways to prevent disaster should the CO2 system malfunction.  

Regards, Steve Dixon in San Francisco