Seconds Per Bubble Question? Need CO2 Regulator Advice!
Hi everyone I just set up my new CO2 system and I am using AquariumPlants.com Electronic CO2 Regulator. I have this setup in my 55 Gallon Aquarium and I was wondering what a good second per bubble rate would be. Right now I have it set at around 0.9 seconds per bubble. I need to not worry about PH falls due to my electronic PH regulator (Milwaukee SMS 122), this will turn off my CO2 if the PH falls below my set value. Right now I have my PH set at 7.0 and I probably will change it to 6.8. With my KH at 5 this should give me a CO2 level of around 23ppm ;-) So what do you think? Should I lower my seconds per bubble to say 0.5? Any advice on my situation whether it be on the seconds per bubble or PH/CO2 level will be MUCH appreciated! Thanks everyone!! :-D
Hey kkaso.... In spite of the fact that you probably spent a good chunk o' $ on the pH controller, it won't necessarily give you accurate CO2 levels. Those test the tank pH which has stuff (technical term) other than CO2 that affect pH readings, so they tend to leave you with less CO2 than you think. Drop checkers, while not perfect, are more accurate as they have the 4 dKH solution instead of tank water. Here's a good article about drop checkers and CO2. Drop Checkers/CO2 Indicators-Why and How - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report This is an excellent forum for all kinds of planted tank info, btw.
Personally I prefer the drop checker/timer setup so it shuts off at night when it's not needed and I can see the CO2 level at any given time.
As far as bubbles per second, it will vary greatly with setup, surface agitation, reactor efficiency, etc. I have a 92G with an external inline reactor and I run about 6 or 7 bubbles per second (sounds like alot, I know) and hold around 25 ppm. As a BALLPARK GUESS, I would expect around 3-4 bps in your 55G. Like I said, it varies. Pretty much you want to try to get the plants to pearl and at the same time have no fish gasping at the surface or showing other signs of oxygen shortage. Good luck!:-D
The best advice I can give is set it so that your CO2 levels stay right baout 35 ppm. This is a level where the plants will thrive but won't harm the fish. Your bubble rate will be determined by where the levels are. I also agree that a pH controller is not the only way to go. Make sure to check your levels regularly, 3-4 times a week at the start so you can tweek the regulator where it belongs. Over 30ppm will also help to keep any and all algae at bay as the plants will outcompete it for nutrients and won't let it get a foothold. This does NOT mean that lower levels won't work but over 30ppm is what the best plant keepers shoot for that I have had a lot of contact with. I shot for 35-40ppm when I did DIY and had awesome growth and no algae when I could keep it at steady levels.
My only other thing is you don't have to shut it off if you have the regulator. Plants do take up some CO2 at night and the regulator will prevent the pH from going too low and harming your fish. I know many planted tank keepers who leave it on 24/7 and have forests growing out of the top of their tanks with no ill effects to the fish.
Make sure you have a fertilizer routine ready because you very well could need it if you don't have a one already.
I have the exact same equiptment as mentioned in the post [ bought from Aquariumplants.com also ") ] and I have mine set to turn off at 6.5 PH. The purpose of the PH moniter os to keep PH in acceptable ranges, not for the ppm of CO2 to be based off of. you should get a test kit, or use a CO2 calc. like the one linked here :LittleFishTank.com - CO2 Saturation Level Calculator
This calc. uses German hardness and PH to calc. the CO2. I have only tested its accuracy once or twice, and it seems fairly reliable. Please tell me of anyone else disagrees. Hope that helps! ")
There is one thing to watch out for with pH controller is if the solenoid fails you could be in trouble, since you will generally set the bubble rate a bit higher than necessary (otherwise the controller doesn't really do anything). They can and do fail, generally in the open position, letting whatever bubble rate you have set run unchecked. Just something to be aware of.:-)
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