There are two types of hardness, GH-general hardness, and KH-carbonate hardness. KH is what you want for determining how much CO2 you have. Get them to test your KH, they should be able to. Once you know your KH and pH you can use the chart to determine your CO2 content. I use Hagen test kits. They use color charts so you cant get it perfect, but I can get pretty close. They are pretty cheap too.
I do not have the test kit for KH yet, but my Ph is rising!! I measured it this morning (which supposedly since there is no light at night should be the lowest number of the day) at 7.2 (using color charts, aquarium farmaceuticals kit) what is happening!?
If you do decide to airate your tank overnight, make sure you test your PH first thing in the morning prior to the turning off the air pump. In many tanks, plant uptake contributes to a small percentage of overall CO2 loss/consumption. Gas exchange actually accounts for most of the CO2 loss in a tank. Therefore, not everyone needs to aerate at night, actually for many, this would cause a bigger PH swing than leaving the CO2 running all the time.
My tank woke up to a 6.7-6.8 ph at 7:00 this morning, right before turning on the lights.
Good thing you touched on the Ph swing subject as that was going to be my next question.
I have read a lot that fish do not like Ph swings, but how much is too much... unless you have aPh controller (and maybe even then) there will be Ph swings... photosintesis ocurrs at daytime only, hence my CO2 concentration is bound to be higher at night...
What is the general concensus on leaving CO2 on at night or not? Other than CO2 how can one reduce Ph swings to a minimmum or at least to a level when it will not affect fish?
The pH swing is of no issue...it occurs in nature as well and more rapidly then what we experience in our tanks. The issue here is whether there is a need to aerate in the first place? When plants are growing well, they saturate the entire water column with loads of O2 far more than any number of airpumps or powerheads can get in. Unless you are seeing fish discomfort in the morning due to lack of O2 (too much critters), you are just wasting away the O2 buildup by plants.
I've never required air pumps for O2 levels and feel surface agitation is enough for most setups. The reason why some use pumps during the night is to avoid CO2 levels from becoming too high and possibly becoming dangerous. Although PH in nature will vary from rainfalls and changes in seasons, we are comparing it to a daily change from day to night, this may not be as "healthy" as nature's way of doing things. If your PH changes more than 0.4 between day and night, you could do a little better. If your fish don't seem bothered by your current setup, then don't change anything, they are probably used to it by now.
Due to the high CO2 levels I keep and low surface agitation, I have my CO2 powered diffuser connected to the light timer, this has proven to be the most stable in this tank, if it had more surface agitation I'd probably leave it on 24/7 but wouldn't be able to bring CO2 levels as high as I do now during the day.
It's all about balancing CO2 loss and diffusion rate, plant uptake plays a small part for tanks with moderate surface agitation/gas exchange levels.
I have had co2 levels much higher than that and never had a problem. At time when I was fiddling wihtt he CO2 setup, or for other reasons, and the fish never seemed to mind. I at one point had had 11 neons, 2 golden barbs, and 2 otos in a 10 gal wiht tons of plants. I accidently hit 90ppm of co2 a couple of times. I know this lasted for several hours and the fish were not gasping or even acting funny. I do not recomend trying this and mine was an accident dut I generally have it int he 35ppm range adn no one cares. I only have 7 neons in there now, not because of deaths though My plants seem fine adn this is an easy number to stay at based on my water and co2 setup. I believe that part of hte reason mine can get so high wihtout any ill effects is the fact that my plants (and I have a lot) producea lot of o2 during the day. I am sure that even witht e high co2 levels that there is planty of o2 in the water, even after all night. For instance this morning I had 60ppm of co2 because I just changed my mix and it was not fine tuned yet. My fish are fine but my plants also produce fairly steady streams of o2 through out the day. One thing to remember is that co2 saturation in the water does not force out o2. At he end of the day, if your plants are growing well, your water will be highly saturated with both CO2 and O2.
Hasan, the placement of your diffuser near the bottom of the tank is best.
You want the CO2 bubbles to be in contact with the water as long as possible. The bubble will dissolve into the water as it floats up. Placing the diffuser at the bottom will keep the CO2 bubble in contact with the water longer for maximum CO2 dissolution.
I have made my own diffuser from an old music cassete case. Im using the part that looks like a U shape. When turned upside down, the CO2 fills in it. CO2 being stable in the diffuser, does it still diffuse at maximum?
If the big bubble is staying inside the cassette area, and not releasing any gas to the surface, Then you have a great diffusion method, and the rate it diffuses at is the same as the output. You are getting good co2 diffusion.
Test your pH and KH to see how much CO2 diffusion you are actually getting in ppms, compare it to the charts in the Fert section. You'll be looking for a drop in pH when adding CO2 compared to straight from the sink.
Well, it seems Im not getting any diffusion.. I had to turn off the CO2 supply off, (becuse of a technical problem but it will be back working tomorrow) I realised that the CO2 in my diffuser isnt decreasing, it seems that its staying in the water and not diffusing.
Also, my pH seems to rise...that is odd, my tap water is 6.8 whereas my tank water which is from the tap, yesterday was 7.2, today 7.3. This rise may be of the CO2 supply turned off.