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Re: [APD] CO2 estimative index

Hi all,
This is my first note in a long time.  Been busy setting up my company.
Things have settled down and I do have something to contribute though I
don't know how important it may be. Its not on CO2 testing, which I will
leave to the experts, but on CO2.

I have had 30 gallon long tank with a 30 W fluorescent tube (Aquasun?) on it
for about two and a half years.  I do not fertilize this tank.  As careless
as I am the African Bolbitus, Java fern, Bronze Cryptocoryne (willissi) and
Rotala Indica grow fairly slowly but still fast enough that I have to do a
major pruning every two months or so.  For the past year there has been no
algae except for a slight cleaning of the top front of the glass about every
three months.  I run a smaller canister filter (Flluval 204) on it so there
is little agitation.  As it turns out, as much as I have always said I like
open top tanks, this tank has a glass lid and I have always used it.  So I
consider this an algae free tank (my only one until recently).  No CO2
injection, I have about 75 Edlers in this tank and that is all the
fertilizer power this tank has.  It is as mantenance free as it gets.

Every other tank I have had has always had "an algae problem".  Of course,
all these other tanks have/had been open top.  I even had a good CO2
injection system until about 6 months ago when I got tired of using it and
sold it to a friend.  Yes I did lower the PH with the Co2 but was using more
light.   After I stopped the CO2 injection, the state of the tanks didn't
change.  I was fertilizing with KNO3,/CSM+B, and KH2PO4 in all types of
concentrations and the plants grew so-so but the algae always grew a lot.
African Bolbitus, Java Fern, and my crytocoryne Becketti (San Marcos) barely
stayed alive.  Again, the CO2 did not make any difference, and neither did
the concentration of fertilizer.

Well I am down to one other tank now, which is a 125 gallon long, which I
dearly love.  I only have one 95 watt AHS light about 12 inches off the tank
and two MH pendants dimmed with two layers of screen about 20 inches off the
top of the tank.  I have tried to keep the light intensity the same as the
sucessful 30 gallon tank.  I consider this  a very low light tank.  The
above poor growing conditions and excessive algae growth conditions have
been typical of this tank until about one month ago.  It has about 150
Endlers in it, but I dose 10 g kno3, 5 g CSM_B, and .5 g KH2PO4, once per
week, which I consider a lot but it never affected the amount of algae so
what the heck.  I do one 50 to 80 percent water change per week depending on
when I remember to look at the tank during syphoning.  Someones I'll hear
the fish splashing on the gravel ;8).  Anyway,  the tank is now "almost
algae free" and all the plants are growing well now.  So what was the

Well two months ago I went to the local retailer and purchased a glass top
for the 125 gal tank.  I have been too lazy to seal the back edge by cutting
up the plastic strips but they are there and probably reduce the air
exchange somewhat.  That's all that has changed.  125 gallon tank now has a
glass top just like the 30 gallon tank.  And now it is starting to be algae
free and the plants are growing.

We know people have killed fish by tightly sealing up the top of their
tanks.  Its not CO2 poisoning, but the CO2 is displacing the O2 at the
surface of the water, and the oxygen in the water eventually depletes.  Open
up the glass cover and the fish recover.  When I added the glass cover I
think I decreased the loss of CO2.  Before, the plants had a good mature
substrate, fertilizer and light but no CO2.

So like Mr. Barr says, CO2 is important.  Reduce the light if you think the
plants are not getting enough CO2....and add a lot of Endlers ;,).  You
notice I don't use test kits anymore.  I think I can be criticised for that
but others have said once you "read" a tank and its plants often the test
kits are not necessary.  I'll leave the technical part of the CO2 discussion
to the rest of you.  

Steve Pituch

-----Original Message-----
From: aquatic-plants-bounces+spituch=ev1_net at actwin.com
[mailto:aquatic-plants-bounces+spituch=ev1_net at actwin.com] On Behalf Of
Thomas Barr
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 2:16 PM
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Subject: Re: [APD] CO2 estimative index

I agree with George here but while he feels strongly about adding too much
light, that is the real issue.  
The issue is one less so of adding more CO2, nutrients etc, but the folks
that add way too much light to achieve a desirable balance.

So and so claims you need high light, 4-5w gal/PC lighting etc to grow some
plant or have a nice rug of Gloss or HC.

With less light, you do not depend so greatly on CO2, nutrients, pruning and

With high light, you need to add even more CO2/NO3/PO4 etc. 

When dealing with CO2, folks really do not understand that light drives the
system faster. They go buy high light systems. 

You want safer tanks? Then to use the car analogy: drive slower and use less

If you reduce the light down fairly low, you no longer need any
CO2 at all, now is not that even safer for fish?

Ah! But many folks want to fast growing tank.
It really depends on your goal George.
There are many different expectations and desires at work here.
We do not all want ther same thing or type of planted tank.

Some folks are lazy, some are intense, some want the high light, some don't.

I dail things in with the pH/KH but if that does not work...........then you
go to other indirect methods.
I like the mist since it adds more CO2 for the plants with dissolving so
much as too harm the fish.

I also ONLY add CO2 during the day for plants only.
How many folks use pH controllers or add CO2 24/7?
Ain't that bad for fish?

At least they can breath with the high O2 levels from the plants rather than
some chronic long term CO2 stress.

And this is also what type of (O2 and CO2)patterns we see in natural systems
that these fish have evolved and lived in for millions that also have high
plant densities. 

There's nothing suggesting you need to stress the fish to have a nice
planted tank, some folks like high light, they will have that trade off.

A wiser approach to fish health is to have less light to start with.

Then none of this is an issue.

But if we take your argument to the other end, why add CO2 at all then?
Since fish health/tank balance is of primary concern? 
Why not have nothing but non CO2 planted tanks?
You can go both extremes and each has a trade off. 

But it revolved mostly around how much light you use and what type of
planted tank you want.

Tom Barr


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