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Sandy Davis asked:
> OK, I'm a newbie. What do you mean about the plants producing bubbles?
Plants produce oxygen as a waste product from photosynthesis. If they
produce it quickly enough then bubbles can form, usually first on the
undersides of leaves in areas with little water movement. Bubbles can also
cling to the leaf surfaces, and can be emitted as a stream (usually very
tiny bubbles) from small tears or holes in the leaves. In a good current
the bubbles break off from the leaves while the bubbles are still very
small and when things really get cooking there can be so many tiny bubbles
floating around that the water appears cloudy.
The lights have to be on for several hours before the bubbles appear.
Not everyone gets bubbles - there's a few different factors that go into
creating them. I do get bubbles and I use them to help tell me if I've
got enough CO2 in the tank. When my DIY CO2 supply slows down, so does
the bubble production from the plants. I also count the CO2 bubbles that
I'm putting into the tank. If the plants stop bubbling and the CO2 is
still coming in at a normal rate then I go looking for other problems.
The situation is different in sunlit tanks, and maybe in tanks with very
bright artificial light. I get bubbles forming in sunlit tanks without
adding CO2. In that case the bubbles are accompanied by a big increase
in pH (I've measured it well over 9) that's caused when plants consume all
available CO2 and start "digesting" bicarbonate. Many aquarium plants
will not thrive in those conditions.