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[APD] CO2 and pH control
This is my first posting to a list I've used many times over the years.
I've searched the archives unsuccessfully for an answer.
My question has to do with the effectiveness of using CO2 injection for
pH control. I have a 29 gallon plant tank with 2 65 watt PC bulbs and a
remote trickle filter in the basement below. At that point I've set up
my CO2 injection using a 20 lb bottle and an in-line atomizer from
Automated Aquariums. Following injection (on the discharge side of the
pump) I have in effect a 10 foot long by 1 inch diameter reaction
chamber before the injected water enters my tank. Even with this long
chamber, I still get tiny bubbles at the discharge into the tank. My
"native" water, which comes from a limestone spring, measures pH 9.3 on
my Milwaukee SMS 122 controller. During initial setup, I was able to
drop the the pH to my target of 7.2 over several days only with massive
injection - to the point that a couple of "canary fish" went belly up
and my 5 lb bottle was emptied. Now I'm injecting at a rate of 1-3
bubbles per second and my fish seem happy but the pH has dropped to only
8.2 where it has stabilized after a week.
What I'm wondering is if I'm beating my head against the wall to use CO2
to lower my pH or do I need an RO/DI filter for my makeup water. Is
there a better means of injection which would be more effective, such as
a dedicated reaction chamber or membrane injectors? Also it appears
that, even if pH is lowered, if injection is interrupted (ie: to refill
the bottle) pH will rapidly rise to its "native" level causing wild
swings which would be detrimental to fish. Am I correct? Should I be
happy with pH 8.2 and be looking at CO2 primarily as a nutrient source?
Incidentally, my plants have lots of red growing tips and strings of
pearls and are blasting- they really love the CO2 and light. Any
insights the list can provide are greatly appreciated.
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