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Co2 dead spots but fish gasping... How to improve circulation?

Tom Delattre

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Joined
6 Oct 2020
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39
Location
France, Avignon
Hi guys,
This is my first "asking" post around here so please feel free to tell me if I missed something in the way you do things.
My question is about co2 and circulation which is a pretty well discussed topic, but each scape is different and I didn't find a solution for mine.
So: the scape is 3.5 months old, it's the one in picture (here just after a stem trim). It's a 80cm tank, 120L. It's the first time I tried "difficult" plants in a scape (mostly here, the Glossostigma carpet and Hydrocotyle verticillata) and I got a BBA+staghorn outbreak a month ago. Some friends and research concurred it was probably a co2 deficiency, so I increased it, changed my inline diffuser and changed my inline skimmer for the eheim to add both gazeous exchange and flow.
Now the algae tend to give up and the Glosso regrows in the left area (where the algae were the most at home). But I still have a "dead spot" on the front right corner (second picture) where the Glosso never grew (yellow leaves, scattered growth). When I put the drop checker there, near the bottom, it's dark green. On the back left it's yellow. The pH is 7.4 before co2, 6.8 at lights on (so not even the 1° drop), 6.6 at the end of the day. At that time the Guppies are gasping, the otto's are lethargic (but the neocaridinas seem ok).
All in all it seems like I have both too much and not enough co2, so I'm lost. My guess is it has to do with circulation, but I'm going textbook here (Superjet 600ex + eheim skimmer, all on the right side of the aquarium to get a nice circular flow).
So... I'm lost. I hope you'll spot something obvious that I'm missing. Thanks in advance for your advices!
Cheers,
Thomas
7c3b4497c8342c4580854e7371a75752.jpg
81f31bf73ce8e4e8a72b611f56a1cac1.jpg


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Andy Pierce

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27 Nov 2020
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Cambridge, UK
You could put in a powerhead. I like the VorTech MP10wQD VorTech MP10wQD | Fireplace aquarium. It's the smallest one they sell but it's plenty big enough for what you need. They can be costly but you can pick them up used from time to time on ebay etc. It's nice because it doesn't have any wires that need to be inside the tank.
 

ceg4048

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Chicago, USA
My guess is it has to do with circulation
Hello Thomas,
That's a beautiful tank, well done so far. Yes it is true that when your plants suffer CO2 deficiency and yet animals suffer hypercapnia then it's a safe bet that flow/distribution needs investigating.
I don't know what an inline skimmer does or how it works as I never use skimmers, but any water-handling device that is not a diffuser or a pump is immediately suspect as there is the possibility that they are de-gassing CO2. I'm not saying that it is the culprit, only that troubleshooting should involve disabling the device and monitoring the results. I'm also unfamiliar with the Super jet filter as regards it's rated flow output. Is it rated as 1200 LPH or thereabouts? If so, have you considered removing a majority of the filter media or experimenting with simple/light media, such as foam or activated carbon to reduce drag?

It probably doesn't fit with your scape but it might be worth temporarily moving the output to the back wall so that the flow has a shorter distance to travel. Moving flow along the long axis of the tank is less than ideal, but can work, obviously, as evidenced by the quality of growth so far, however, as the plant mass increases the need for CO2 increases and the plants themselves block flow/distribution.

As mentioned by Andy, the addition of supplemental pumps can also work, as well as supplemental addition of Excel type products.

Cheers,
 

Tom Delattre

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Thread starter
Joined
6 Oct 2020
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39
Location
France, Avignon
You could put in a powerhead. I like the VorTech MP10wQD VorTech MP10wQD | Fireplace aquarium. It's the smallest one they sell but it's plenty big enough for what you need. They can be costly but you can pick them up used from time to time on ebay etc. It's nice because it doesn't have any wires that need to be inside the tank.
Thanks, that may be a good idea. I was actually aiming at that with the eheim skimmer (thinking it would act as a power head too). Do you think it's not enough? I'll keep that in mind as a last resort though, as like you say it's costly.

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Tom Delattre

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6 Oct 2020
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39
Location
France, Avignon
Hello Thomas,
That's a beautiful tank, well done so far. Yes it is true that when your plants suffer CO2 deficiency and yet animals suffer hypercapnia then it's a safe bet that flow/distribution needs investigating.
I don't know what an inline skimmer does or how it works as I never use skimmers, but any water-handling device that is not a diffuser or a pump is immediately suspect as there is the possibility that they are de-gassing CO2. I'm not saying that it is the culprit, only that troubleshooting should involve disabling the device and monitoring the results. I'm also unfamiliar with the Super jet filter as regards it's rated flow output. Is it rated as 1200 LPH or thereabouts? If so, have you considered removing a majority of the filter media or experimenting with simple/light media, such as foam or activated carbon to reduce drag?

It probably doesn't fit with your scape but it might be worth temporarily moving the output to the back wall so that the flow has a shorter distance to travel. Moving flow along the long axis of the tank is less than ideal, but can work, obviously, as evidenced by the quality of growth so far, however, as the plant mass increases the need for CO2 increases and the plants themselves block flow/distribution.

As mentioned by Andy, the addition of supplemental pumps can also work, as well as supplemental addition of Excel type products.

Cheers,
Thanks !
About the "inline skimmer", I misspoke. It's a classic glass filter inflow with an included skimmer. I already replaced it for a normal inflow and added an eheim skimmer instead, because I thought it would be better for flow (added power head) and for bottom aspiration (with the inflow/skimmer combo, you have to trade bottom suction for skimming, it's hard to find the right trade off). Anyway, I did that change 3 weeks ago already, with no visible changes. I still keep some surface skimming, following Dennis Wong's advice (lots of co2, lots of surface exchange).

The Chihiros Superjet filter is rated 900LPH, which seems a bit low on paper but I find it actually more powerful and consistent than my previous Oase biomaster which was rated 1200LPH. I don't have many choice though, since it is the only filter that's quiet enough for my wife. But I dig your idea of ditching part of the filter media. I read some of your earlier posts on the topic, and it might also gain me some oxygen that would be used by the bacteria.

About moving the outflow to the back, I guess you mean the back left corner, directed towards the front? And keeping the inflow on the right front? I'm a bit confused here since putting both inflow and outflow directed towards the long side of the tank seems to be what ADA and Dennis Wong do. I'd be a bit worried that with your solution flow would be limited to the left part of the tank. But I don't know a thing about it Maybe you could explain how you think the flow will improve?

Also, what about the placement of the skimmer? Btw I'm running it 1/2 hour every hour, a bit less at co2 start, a bit more at night.

I don't think I would resort to glutaraldehyde, since my colleagues use it at work with a lot of precautions and consider it highly dangerous. If that's the only solution left I'll just go back to easier plants :)

Thanks a lot for your detailed answer


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X3NiTH

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I don't think I would resort to glutaraldehyde, since my colleagues use it at work with a lot of precautions and consider it highly dangerous. If that's the only solution left I'll just go back to easier plants :)

I’m with your colleagues on the caution!

There are alternatives that are safe to use and consist of blends of Humic and Fulvic Acids, I don’t know if ARKA products are available where you are but here in the UK ARKA supply Microbe-Lift BioCO2 in partnership with Maidenhead Aquatics in a liquid supplement. You can source the Humic and Fulvic crystals/powders and make it yourself, I have no handy source for the latter you would need to search for them.

Humic and Fulvic acids also have chelation properties so they can mop up free metal ions in the water column and can hold onto them until this extra tastier long carbon chain molecule is uptaken by the plants. The whole molecule is fully assimilatable.

Plants are quite happy eating the remains of other dead plants!

Nice looking tank btw, I’m impressed by the colour of your Nymphea!

:)
 

Driftless

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I may have missed it but where is your CO2 diffuser? I would think that if it is in the tank that its placement should be looked at it, I would suggest looking at an inline diffuser as well.

I have the ADA skimmer and I like skimmers if the inflow for the canister, which I prefer, does not have a skimmer. Skimmers are good for taking the oils, etc., off of the surface but do not add much in terms in terms of surface water agitation.

You have a nicely scaped tank with wonderful equipement!
 

Tom Delattre

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France, Avignon
I’m with your colleagues on the caution!

There are alternatives that are safe to use and consist of blends of Humic and Fulvic Acids, I don’t know if ARKA products are available where you are but here in the UK ARKA supply Microbe-Lift BioCO2 in partnership with Maidenhead Aquatics in a liquid supplement. You can source the Humic and Fulvic crystals/powders and make it yourself, I have no handy source for the latter you would need to search for them.

Humic and Fulvic acids also have chelation properties so they can mop up free metal ions in the water column and can hold onto them until this extra tastier long carbon chain molecule is uptaken by the plants. The whole molecule is fully assimilatable.

Plants are quite happy eating the remains of other dead plants!

Nice looking tank btw, I’m impressed by the colour of your Nymphea!

:)
That's really interesting! I didn't know a safe alternative existed. I'm going to have to look at the biochemistry of the thing to understand how it works :) Are you using it?
I checked and yes it's available in France, at least through Amazon. Hopefully a local/moral shop will soon too ^^.
And thanks for the compliment! The nympheas come from Tropica. I suspect the wrgb2 is responsible for at least part of that color, but yes it's a beautiful plant :)
Sadly I can't get my H'ra to go anywhere beyond brown though. If I try to go leaner on ferts, other plants struggle :bored:



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X3NiTH

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That's really interesting! I didn't know a safe alternative existed. I'm going to have to look at the biochemistry of the thing to understand how it works :) Are you using it?

Yes I’m using it.

0A562216-FAA4-4387-8239-EA3311432B8A.jpeg


It’s just another long chain carbon molecule, some carbon molecules have longer chains and thus more carbon than others, some carbon chains can carry more hydrogen to carbon and can alter pH greatly like acetic acid (Vinegar). You’ll have heard of Vodka dosing a tank, another long chain carbon molecule but this time an alcohol.

The science behind it is that it is Bio Available Carbon and as such can be plant assimilated where that Carbon can then end up as CO2 and either utilised during photosynthesis or lost via respiration.

:)
 

Tom Delattre

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I may have missed it but where is your CO2 diffuser? I would think that if it is in the tank that its placement should be looked at it, I would suggest looking at an inline diffuser as well.

I have the ADA skimmer and I like skimmers if the inflow for the canister, which I prefer, does not have a skimmer. Skimmers are good for taking the oils, etc., off of the surface but do not add much in terms in terms of surface water agitation.

You have a nicely scaped tank with wonderful equipement!
Yes, it's an inline diffuser. I had the jbl proflora initially but it seemed to had trouble diffusing, so I switched it for the co2art one. The bubbles are much finer, but now the water is almost cloudy with co2. I guess I can't have everything, right?
I didn't get your point about skimmers, sorry, probably my English is at fault

And thanks for the tank and the equipment too I got really lucky with the filter, I got it for 150€ with the lily pipes from a reseller who was closing doors. I would have preferred to have a local aquascaping shop though

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Tom Delattre

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Yes I’m using it.

View attachment 167125

It’s just another long chain carbon molecule, some carbon molecules have longer chains and thus more carbon than others, some carbon chains can carry more hydrogen to carbon and can alter pH greatly like acetic acid (Vinegar). You’ll have heard of Vodka dosing a tank, another long chain carbon molecule but this time an alcohol.

The science behind it is that it is Bio Available Carbon and as such can be plant assimilated where that Carbon can then end up as CO2 and either utilised during photosynthesis or lost via respiration.

:)
That's a... Very long valissneria!
Thanks for the info, that's really fascinating. Stupid me, I thought the liquid co2s had to be converted to co2 in the water before being assimilated.
I suppose as a biologist I should know some of that, but I specialized on animal behavior so I skipped a lot of plant biochemistry

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Tom Delattre

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Yes I’m using it.

View attachment 167125

It’s just another long chain carbon molecule, some carbon molecules have longer chains and thus more carbon than others, some carbon chains can carry more hydrogen to carbon and can alter pH greatly like acetic acid (Vinegar). You’ll have heard of Vodka dosing a tank, another long chain carbon molecule but this time an alcohol.

The science behind it is that it is Bio Available Carbon and as such can be plant assimilated where that Carbon can then end up as CO2 and either utilised during photosynthesis or lost via respiration.

:)
I just talked about it with a botanist colleague and he is surprised that "liquid co2" is something in aquariums. He says the scientific papers about mixotrophy in aquatic plants are fairly recent (like 2017). How long have aquarists been using liquid co2?

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