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[APD] So what are my CO2 levels really?

I tested my pH last night and this morning and it is around 6.2-6.6 (I think?), KH 4.5-5, so CO2 is around 35-90ppm. This just can't be right, can it? If levels were that high then I would expect to see the fish stuggling to breathe, but they all look just fine. Plants are always pearling, so oxygen levels are high.

Tank is 48x14x18" 50gal, 42gal (160L) water column, 2.4wpg T8 FL, nitrate 5-10ppm, phosphate 0.5-1ppm, KH 5, GH 8, CO2 1 bubble/second 24/7, DIY external reactor powered by 375 LPH powerhead, filtration fluval 204, CO2 and filter outlets below water level, moderate fish load, 50% weekly water changes.

The kit is an old AP kit (bromothymol blue indicator), I think it still should be okay. Am I just reading it incorrectly as the colours aren't very distinguishable IMO. It looks a yellowy-green colour to me.

Is the pH correct, but some other acid is throwing off the CO2 charts? Could PVC cement be leaching from the reactor and lowering pH?

I thought maybe I might just get a proper CO2 test kit. Do these work okay? Or am I better off with a more accurate pH kit or pH probe (probably don't want to spend that much though).

Anyway, the plants are happy, the fish are happy, it's just me who is stressed ;-). I'd really like to know what my CO2 levels ACTUALLY are!

Clint Brearley
Melbourne, Australia

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