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Re: CO2

> It is a 125 gal plant tank.  In it are five large sword plants, about 20
> crypts, and I am looking to add plants.  Its fish population includes 20
> Ottos, 4 SAEs, 2 Panda cats, 2 Clown loaches. 12 Serpae Tetras, 3 SpikeTail
> Gouramis, and an Emperor Tetra--all of which get along great!
> To provide enough CO2, I use a CO2 tank, with an Ultralife PH Controller and
> Probe to keep the PH at 6.9.
> To light the tank I am using 3 five foot Aquasun VHO lamps from URI which
> are on a timer set for 12 hours a day.  The tank has a glass top.
> The aquarium is a twin corner overflow from All Glass Tank.  I use a Quiet
> One pump and an Ocean Clear Consister filter with a foam insert (I found
> these work a lot better than the cartidge or the polybeads).
> Where I live is hard and barely drinkable, so I use only RO/DI water in
> which I put the appropriate amount of Amquel and Electro-Light so that it is
> ready for plant and fish.

Wow, you do a lot to keep the plants a happy and are willing to set aside a
big chuck of money for it.

> To mix the CO2 with the water, I use a wooden airstone which creates a fine
> mist.  It is placed in the bottom of the corner overflow filter.

Well ... here's yer problem. Lose the airstone. Get a reactor or add
directly into the intake of your return pump. What happens to the bubbles
that get sucked into the intake? They get ground up then sent to? The filter
box etc and finally to your spray bar(try placing this on the bottom of your
tank along the back wall-don't forget the anti siphon hole at/near the top
to prevent back flows or you can have the spray bar point downward or at a
45 degree angle etc but I think the bottom represents the best placement).
Now where do you think the CO2 bubbles will have the most contact time, the
overflow or the entire length of your return system, foam core, and a
downward pointed spray bar? Where do you want this rich CO2 water put into
your tank? At the top where it can escape fast or down at the bottom forced
to slowly creep up through all the plants?
This method assumes you have a soliniod for your particular set up.
If you do not have one I would suggest that you add the CO2 to the intake of
a small powerhead placed at the bottom of your tank and plug this device
into the controller/timer etc. I believe the Ultra life has a soliniod with
it, correct? Typically, it had a reactor that came with it but that may be
missing? I would add the CO2 to the intake in the case of the soliniod. This
may bother you(the sound of poor little bubbles getting killed and hacked to
bits) so a reactor may be more to your liking due to no venturi noise. Try
it and see. It will not cost you anything to try this method. Don't add too
much CO2 though! It may catch you off guard setting it up since your use to
wasting/using so much gas.
> When I set the tank up I used 2 bags of Flourite and 14.1 kg of Sera's
> Floredepot.  I used the latter before in a plant tank and it worked well as
> an undergravel fertilizer for about 2 years before breaking down the tank.
> Right now I am consuming about 1.5 -2.0 lbs of CO2 per week--so my 20 lb
> tank last10-12 weeks.  So I am wondering "how many pounds a week of CO2
> should I expect that the tank will consume?"  Also, any reactions or
> thoughts about the set-up would be appreciated.

I'd say a lot less than that. Maybe every six months-year or (likely)more at
3 bubbles a second and you have a soliniod also.
> Also, I have checked for leaks around the regulator fittings and there are
> none.
Just a hint:
Try using soapy water(swab a bunch of it on the fittings ...and wash off
afterwards) and look for bubbles=leaks.
Tom Barr