Let's talk air pumps, sponge filters, and diy co2...
I'm wanting to add diy co2 to my 5 gallon frog tank and 10 gallon tanks. One issue I love my air powered sponge filters. I really love the ability to add tanks so simply with a simple valve and decreasing bleed off. My plants are doing alright but I am getting algae in my tanks and I need carbon so the plants can out compete the algae for the nutrients. I've started using excel and getting good results thus far with the plants. Yet the geek in me wants to add a diy co2 to the tanks just to well pretty much do it. I know the air driven sponge filters will hurt the co2 o2 exchange. My question is would it still be beneficial to do this even though it wouldn't be optimal. I know the optimal thing would be to add power heads, but that would ruin the low current benefit of sponge and the easy addition of tanks to the system. I am willing to still dose the excel as a supplement to the diy co2, but would prefer to eliminate it. I was thinking I could cut back the dosing of excel if I combined the two. Thoughts, Advice, and Opinions are welcomed.
Wow, lots of stuff to combine in this post!
First, a disclaimer. I don't use DIY CO2. I am using pressurized CO2, I use Excel, and I have low-tech tanks also.
First problem, algae. What type of algae? Probably too much light, either in length of light or intensity. Reduce the light period to less than 8 hours. What type of lighting do you have and how long a photoperiod? Using a suitable light type and photoperiod, especially when using Excel, you should not have an algae issue.
Second question is can you use DIY CO2 and a sponge filter. Short answer is yes, but it obviously will decrease the level of CO2 dissolved in the tank. However, remember your fish benefit from some surface agitation to help O2 exchange (and CO2 exchange). I like messing with the tech also. I'd say give the DIY CO2 a shot on one tank and see what happens! It will certainly increase the CO2 level to some degree in your tank. Don't worry about the sponge filters, keep using them. Experimentation's part of the fun. You can use Excel with the DIY CO2, it won't hurt anything. You can cut the Excel dosing or keep as is, your choice.
Not sure how true this is, but it seems to me that agitation will also nullify Excel.
(My only basis for this is I've dosed two tanks with excel. One has a HOB filter with low return to prevent surface agitation, and nothing really happens when I add the excel. In another tank I added excel to a tank with an airstone- immediately after dosing, the tank started producing minute bubbles all over the tank. It only lasted a minute or two, but it seemed the CO2 was bubbling out of the tank.)
Why are you using carbon? Carbon will remove nutrients from the water, which will slowly starve algae and your plants. Plants will starve out algae all on their own. (Plus Excel will decrease algae.)
Finally, if you're willing, it wouldn't be too hard to set up an external water pump to provide the suction and return to all the sponge filters... Unfortunately, you'll have to also set up an overflow valve in each tank as well. Do a forum search for sump diagrams, and it should show you the parts you'd need.
Water current can impact CO2 and nutrient uptake. Too much current flow (according to Byron, I have not researched it) across plant leaves seems to reduce nutrient uptake, that could also impact Excel uptake, I suppose.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I under the impression that plants needed carbon to actually utilize the nutrients to their full potential? Also that algae doesn't need this carbon so it will out compete the plants in a tank with low co2/high nutrient content and high light situations. I know over the past couple days that I have been dosing excel the algae appears to be retreating and the faster growing plants are starting to show signs of growth.
Also according to a Seachem rep about agitation and excel being depleted:
"No, since it is an organic carbon chain, surface agitation will not interfere with Flourish Excel. Thanks for your question and have a great day"
My initial post was wordy and came across somewhat unclear sorry about that. The main concern was if it was a complete waste of time to do diy co2 and air powered sponge filters.
The reason algae is lessening may be due to the plants' increased photosynthesis. But with Excel it is sometimes also due to the effect of the chemical in Excel killing the algae. Seachem say they do not know how this occurs, and they do not recommend Excel as a means of killing algae, but it is often one effect of using Excel, at least on some forms of algae. Excel will also kill some plants, and at highder levels harm fish. Direct application (such as with a small brush or dropper) of Excel on brush algae will kill it.
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