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[APD] CO2 measurement accuracy: why it matters

I strongly believe that very accurate CO2 ppm measurement test
methods are a worthwhile endevor for this hobby.

Can you do a nice tank with out them? Probably.
So do I believe this is a good item to use?

Well, for one, it's more accurate and makes every one on the
same page. Bob in the UK and Marlinissa in Italy, Qui in China
may all have various PO4 additives that influence their KH's.

These folks might be new to the hobby and having trouble with
various algae. You know the routine and the sad story.

A method such as this can help such folks and how many folks on
various boards report 120-200ppm of CO2 with no fish stress?
Quite a few.

Stressing fish to find a good CO2 ppm? I find that method
unethical personally, your ethics might not be raised to that
same bar:)

This simple 8-12$ slip on device can resolve many CO2 related

Do you even need to measure CO2 concentration at all?
You could very well argue against it based on the same premise.

When problems do occur and we go to help those poor newbies or
sometimes seasoned folks, I tell them to **slowly** add CO2,
invariably one guy adds too much and gases their fish.

But a simple 10$ device would make the ability to add CO2 and
find what is a real toxic level of CO2 relative to O2 in our

I'm interested for scientific as well.
Here's some cool things you can measure and do with such a tool:

1.Impress your plant friends, okay besides that....
2. See how different plants using smaller nano or 10 gal tanks
remove CO2.
3. See how more subtle variations  in CO2 at the upper ranges
influence specific plant species.
4. See how long it takes for the CO2 diffuser or reactor tanks
to respond with a lot more accuracy.
5. Measure subtle differences between different regions of the
tank, or slower movign areas, near leaf surfaces etc (CO2 hot
6. In the quest to show folks that the CO2 mist notion is
correct and is a discernable feature, I required a more accurate
method to measure CO2, I alrerady can see the CO2 mist effect
with a DO meter, I had on avaerage, 20-40% more O2 production
using it, and had an error of about 4+-, ppm of CO2.
I want +-1 ppm.
Maybe that error range is enough to drive plant growth to
produce 20-40% higher, I doubt it, but I want to be sure and
want very strong data to support my notion as very few folks on
the list and hobbyists boards are going to measure and test it.
7.It also has applications in the aquatic sciences so I have
other ideas/applications for this as well.

8. Then I and other folks can make better controlled studies and
advance the hobby from a research persepective.

9.We have a much higher confidence level of the data, it's
accuracy, it's assumptions, and so do other hobbyists when
comparisons are made(and they are often times).

There are at least 10 more things I cannot think of at the

To toss the research end of the hobby out the window and go with
just watching the plants and using observation without testing
and verification/falsification is a very bad idea.

The hobby has enough myth based observations like the Fe trace
thing monkey business.

I've heard this for years and to date I've never been able to
induce any algae of any sort using trace elements.

And I've run some very very high levels, much higher than
anything anyone has posted on this or other boards/forums I've
seen to date after 10 years of poking around.

It does not mean it could not happen, but the likely hood is
extremely low and each time this claim pops up I find that the
person messed something else up and that is why they had the

Correlation does not imply causation.
Cause is a very very difficult thing to prove.
Generally we try and rule out/falsify other hypothesis till we
are left with one or two.
That takes work, creativity(dare I say a vision? Now I sound
like an artist), time.

BBA and CO2 seem like a a very strong relationship indeed, but
even the best confidence stats will never give 100%, there's
always a chance that 10001 time it might not.
If I rolled the dice I'd still bet on it though.

While a lot of folks associate me with EI and not testing, I do
test, but to answer questions and to check to make sure things
are running smoothly.

I know what plants do when they are slightly CO2 stressed, most
folks have no clue, so how to help those without that skill?

You can get around the nutrient test monkey buisiness with water
changes or going non CO2, but CO2 is lethal to fish and has some
issues, you might not have them personally, but many other folks

And it's those folks that I am trying to help and to make the
evolution of measurement better for this hobby.

My nagging about calibration of test kits goes back about 10
years, this is not a new area for me.

Tom Barr


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