re:First time with CO2
To: Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com (Aquatic-Plants)
Subject: re:First time with CO2
From: "David W. Webb" <dwebb at ti_com>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 11:09:22 -0800
Conversation-Id: <BMSMTP8231995841a0206807 at dlep1_itg.ti.com>
>I have not had good luck with Live Plants in the past, and assumed
>that it was always due to poor CO2 content in the water. I had them
>in a 29 gallon tank with one GRO-LUX and one Cool white ligh.
>Ammonia and Nitrites were not even trace. I was told by the pet
>store that I frequent not to be concerned with nitrates as the plants
>would 'eat' it for food.
I've learned over the years that aquarium store employees are usually very weak
on aquatic plant-keeping and will often give people advice that is actually bad
for plants if carried out.
One such piece of advice is that nitrates don't affect plants. If your
nitrates are above about 25 ppm, you can expect for your plants to not do as
well. Another piece of erroneous advice (when applied to all aquatic plants)
is that they consume nitrates. Some do, some don't. All of them would much
rather consume ammonium than nitrates or nitrites because it takes less energy
to consume ammonium than to convert nitrates back to ammonium for consumption.
Does this make it sound like your bacterial filter is working against your
plants? It should.
This isn't to say that having a bacterial filter is a bad idea. In some
circumstances, it is necessary. If your fish load (ammonium production) is too
high for the plants to keep up with, you need a way of getting rid of excess
ammonium/ammonia. I have no bacterial filters on any of my tanks anymore.
Some of my tanks would be considered impossible by the average aquarium store
employee, but they are actually not only possible, but they require almost no
maintenance once they've balanced (about 2 months with zero nutrient input).
You also mentioned that you have one Gro-lux and one cool white tube. I'm
going to assume that they are 24" (20W) tubes. Your cool white tube, while
providing extra light in the visual range, doesn't provide much light in the
photosynthetic range according to research done by aqaurists here and on the
aquarium newsgroups. This leaves you with effectively a single light for your
plants. I'd recommend low light plants until you can increase your lighting.
I will make a note here: If you grow your plants partially emersed (some will,
some won't) in a paludarium-type setup, you need only about half the light that
is necessary to grow them submersed. This is primarily due to reflection at
the surface of the water.
I prefer to minimize evaporation in my tanks (after running open tanks for a
year or so) to keep from having to add water. I don't have an RO unit, so I
basically just add tap water (I used to carbon filter it when I had to add a
lot frequently, but right now I don't and haven't had any problems). If you
add less stuff to your tank, either in the form of food for the fish or in the
form of minerals imported in the top-off water, you will have to do fewer water
changes. You will also tend to build up a higher level of chemicals that the
plants release to modify their environment. Some of these chemicals are
antibiotics which help you combat disease and algae. Some of these chemicals
are antibiotics that may injure other plants, so be aware that some plants may
not do well together.
Mmmm, I've been rambling. Oh well, you may find some of this useful now and
you may also use some later.
>Yeterday I constructed a CO2 generator out of a 20oz soda bottle,
>some airline tubing, and a small bottle. I am using yeast and sugar
>to generate the CO2. I moved all of my plants to a small desktop
>aquarium (5 gallons) and added the CO2 rig to it.
>My concern is to water quality. Should I stop doing water changes to
>the tank? Should I add the Flora Pride? Will my Ammonia, Nitrates,
>Nitrites, PH, etx. be affected by the CO2?
How is this new tank set up and what are the water parameters for each of the
measurements listed above. Also, what is your general hardness reading and
your alkalinity (carbonate hardness) reading?
Your pH will be affected by the CO2. If your tank has a balanced load, your
ammonium, nitrites, and nitrates should remain at zero. If you are using an
air-pump driven filter, you will drive off CO2 at close to the same rate you
I hope some of this helps,
David W. Webb in brrrr-chilly Plano, TX where freezing rain and sleet are in