Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   soft water, CO2, carbonate questions (

mothrica 11-01-2008 02:32 PM

soft water, CO2, carbonate questions
Hi, folks. I'm relatively new to this sport and have a question. I've got a moderately planted 36 gallon tank with shrimps and fishies and whatnot. Out of anal-retention, I've got two AC 50 external filters on the back. Regular fine gravel bed. Currently 40 watts of full spectrum, but about to upgrade to 130. I haven't been fertilizing with anything other than fish waste until just recently. Nothing seems to be growing dramatically, so I'm in the process of upping the ante, plant-wise. More light. Fertilizer. And then of course, CO2. My standard tap water is awful and brown, so I use tap distilled H2O (science lab stuff), which is of course extremely soft. I just set up a DIY yeast CO2 generator/reactor. Two questions: 1) with so much water flow and surface agitation, am I going to vent off all my CO2 to the atmosphere, wasting all my efforts? 2) With such soft water, how badly will CO2 injection mess with my tank's pH? Will it do me any good to throw a bag of aragonite in a filter? My thinking is that it will slowly leach carbonate into the tank, particularly if pH drops (from its current 8.0) due to CO2 injection. After just one day with the reactor, pH is still right at 8.0.

Thanks for any and all thoughts...

fish_4_all 11-01-2008 04:41 PM

Crushed coral will work for the KH as well as argonite. I am not sure the differences but I used crushed coral and always had a KH and GH of at least 6 degrees and my tap water is super soft.

As for the CO2 gassing off, if you keep the water right at the outflow of the filters so there is no splashing it will help to keep from gassing off a lot of CO2. I would plumb the CO2 right into the intake of the HOB filter or use a really good diffusor and you should see some benefits from it if you keep the water levels high. I used DIY CO2 for a while with AC 20 and as long as I kept the water levels right at the outflow I could achieve levels of 30-60 ppm CO2. When the water level dropped I could only get levels of 10-20 ppm CO2 and had nasty algae problems because it would fluctuate too much.

mothrica 11-01-2008 04:50 PM

What I put in is "aragonite formula crushed coral". A lawyer must have named the product.

Wow, that's a huge difference you mention, just from an extra bit of splashing. I haven't measured my CO2 so will have to get with the program on that. The only way to do it is to extrapolate from KH and pH, right?


mothrica 11-01-2008 04:52 PM

Also, I'm using the Red Sea CO2 reactor, which seems to do its job as advertised.

mothrica 11-01-2008 04:54 PM

Off-topic, but all of a sudden, my male cherry barbs are chasing the females all over the place, through the plants. Does this mean she's in heat? Am I going to be a fish daddy?

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