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Re: CO2.

> Tom Barr wrote:
> Don't try the DIY method on anything over a 40-55gal at most.
> --------------------------------------------------
> Ahem. Well I agree a cylinder system would be much better. But with DIY on a
> 125 gallon I don't feel the bite financially. I've never figured the cost and
> don't doubt the other would be cheaper in the long run. I just can't spring
> for the chunk right now.

If you don't have the $ you don't have it.
I did it on a 90 gallon with 350 watts of MH's. My hindsight is pretty darn
clear. I can assure you that the CO2 issue will be a much easier thing,
better stability etc if you do use the gas set ups.
I've done the DIY for a decade. I've done it on large tanks also and driven
it at high growth rates and good nutrients and I'm telling ya, you need to
really keep up on it. You slip up and you get algae. I rationalized about
the cost, my labor and hassle in dealing with it etc. I looked and picked up
some good deals on gas tanks and took the plunge.
> I consistently measure over 20ppm with 5 2l bottles of DIY. Fed into the
> intakes of 3 Magnum HOTs (Walmart poly fill as the only media) and one Magnum
> 350 (no media--used to power a UV I haven't needed to use in a couple of years
> now).
> Each bottle produces CO2 for 3 weeks or better sometimes. It's not that big a
> chore as I stagger them.

you say later:
> At lights on I move the outflow tubes below
> surface. At lights off I pull them up to break water surface. If I don't I
> wake up to dead or gasping fish due to either lack of oxygen or too much CO2.

This is a good method you recommend? I have even higher CO2 levels and I
don't get this. How are you testing the CO2 and pH? Why do you think your
fish are gasping at the surface? It's lack of O2, very unlikely CO2.
Why is there a lack of O2? O2 is often used as a measure of primary
production(plant growth and algae growth). This means that there's poor
plant growth(or high decomposition rates-=> these CAN use up a fair amount
of O2, they may not in your tank).

> At any rate I have 3 easy to maintain canister filters that also do double
> duty as CO2 producers.
> Of course this all falls under DIY on a 125 gallon.

Why not do a DIY sump wet dry and save the 150+$ it cost for all these
canister filters? You also will have no fish at the surface. DIY filters for
a tank this size can be done for the cost of a single filter canister. You
might consider selling the UV(I'd personally keep it), a canister or two for
a CO2 gas system. That would provide the funds for much of it. Seems odd to
get a UV but not a gas CO2 system. I understand from your perspective when
you bought it(I did the same thing myself, way back then).
Many ardent DIY CO2 users feel much like you do and I was one. I also dealt
with client's tanks that had Gas. I finally changed over and would never
ever go back knowing what I now know.
I would buy the CO2 gas from the start. Cheap lighting, nutrients etc are
not nearly as big a problem on the wallet.

Folks growing plants often do this backwards, they get the nice lighting and
add the nutrients then balk on the CO2 part.

> Seems my plecs (various
> rare ones) love it.
> Moderate to heavy fish load. Big severums and chocolate cichlids, clown
> loaches, pearl gouramis, etc. etc.

All nice fish.

> This is ALL the bio filtration I use now.
> Enough plant species and growth to be pleasing but not where I wish it was.
> Don't know if it is macros or fish bites.
> This list is AWESOME!
> It is pure Love. 
> I grow some plants like crazy and then they slow down. I don't know why. Don't
> know if I will ever know why. But I believe I will find out why eventually if
> I really want to.

Ahem! Brother Bill!

>And this is THE place I will find out.

You'll figure it out in your own tank when the time is right for you. You
may not believe me now, and that's fine. But if you make the switch someday,
you will be a much happier plant grower free from many of the questions.
Your problems then will be: What to do with all these damn weeds?
Tom Barr