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re: DIY CO2 and dead fish
I absolutely agree that it was the pH swing that did the fish in. But if
the KH was zero to begin with, then there is a possibility, if there were a
lot of plants, that there was insufficient oxygen during the night in the
absence of surface turbulence or an air stone.
When I started the CO2 injection on my 120 gallon tank, my KH was close to
zero. I had a pinpoint pH monitor in the tank and was up numerous times
during the night monitoring the pH. I managed to add Baking soda often
enough to keep the pH at between 6.8 and 7.0 all night. (And no, I didn't
get much in the way of sleep....sort of like having a new baby+ACE-) By the
morning my KH was about 2.5 and during that day I brought it up to 3. Since
then I've had a maximum pH swing of only 6.6 to 6.9 daily. I do a 25+ACU-
water change weekly and the KH has stayed at between 3 and 3.5 since.
I am using a tank plus regulator etc. because my nerves just could not
handle a DIY set up. I know that there are a lot of people who can't afford
the 'bells and whistles' or who manage to control their DIYs really well.
I don't think I could and I know I'd never forgive myself if I would screw
up and kill my 'pack' of clown loaches or anything else living in there.
Having the CO2 injection going properly has turned my tank into a relaxing
joy to behold. Trimming the plants once a week and doing the water changes
is all the work now. The cuttings are either traded at the store or given
away to others who need them. The fish are also in spectacular form+ACE- I
think they love this situation also.