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Co2 Generator Disaster

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Offline pbax58

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co2 Generator Disaster
« on: February 21, 2016, 11:44:12 AM »
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I have a 20 Gallon tank I am playing with it had 2 x Kribs  and 2 x yoyo loachs plus 3 small albino bandit corys .
I bought a co2 Generator to try out in the tank, following all instructions to the letter I added the Citric Acid and water to bottle A and the sodium Bicarb and water to bottle B connected as shown in diagrams and yes great got small co2 bubbles coming out of the diffuser did not appear to be any problems left running slowly over night and when I got up all fish were dead and bottle B was empty !!! what did I do wrong? 

Offline Sue

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 12:18:52 PM »
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I'm sorry to hear that  :(

You probably know how these generators work but for anyone else reading the reaction is -
citric acid + sodium bicarbonate -> sodium citrate + CO2 + water


I haven't used one of these generators myself and the one on here in the articles uses sugar and yeast to generate the CO2 so I've googled the acid/bicarb type and found this. Is this what you did?

All I can think of is that somehow too much acid got into the bicarb bottle and the reaction went so fast that all the contents of bottle B ended up in the tank. Have you tested the pH of the tank water? If too much CO2 got in there, the pH will be very low. If the bicarb got in the tank it will be very high.



All I can suggest is to start again. If you want more fish, do a 100% water change to remove anything in the water that killed the fish. Then add enough ammonia to give a reading of 3ppm. Test the following day for ammonia and nitrite and if they are both zero, or at least a lot lower than 3ppm ammonia, your bacteria colonies are still OK. If not, you'll need to recycle the tank before replacing the fish.
And in the meantime, test your CO2 generator on a bucket of water. That way no more fish will be at risk till you work out what happened.

Offline pbax58

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 03:34:39 PM »
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Thanks Sue I measured the ph as soon as I saw what had happened with tetra strips and the results appear exactly the same as my other 5 tanks all ok even the ph was the same can the ph change so quickly up and back down? :wave: I will try it in a bucket tomorrow and test regally throughout the day.
I am unsure as to whether or not all the contents of bottle B should have disappeared into Bottle A or if any feed back into the tank.

Offline Sue

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 03:53:58 PM »
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I'll be honest and say something happened but I don't know what. If a lot of CO2 had been pumped into the tank, it could have gassed off by the time you found things, but the damage would have been done.

Reading up quickly on this type of set up, you put water with an acid dissolved in it (citric acid, vinegar etc) into one bottle, and water with bicarbonate dissolved in it into the other. You mentioned that the bicarb bottle was empty the following morning, but how much liquid was in bottle A compared to the amount you added yesterday? If there was a lot more liquid (the contents of bottle A + bottle B all in bottle A), that is where it went. But if there was the same amount of liquid in bottle A as you started with, the contents of bottle B have to have gone somewhere and the obvious place is the tank.

Did either of the bottles fall over during the night?


Many years ago (longer than I like to remember) I studied chemistry and did post graduate research for a couple of years. The department I was in wouldn't pay for cylinders of pure nitrogen, just almost pure nitrogen, so we had to purify it between the cylinder and our experiments. The apparatus consisted of about 9 Dreschel bottles clamped to a stand and connected with rubber tubing, and some of them were left empty to prevent the contents of one bottle getting into the next one. Would it be possible to modify your kit by having a small bottle between bottles A and B and between them and the tank?



Playing with the kit and a bucket of water is the safest thing to do. If you get it to work well in there, it should be safe to use on a tank of fish.

Offline pbax58

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 10:45:49 AM »
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thanks for your comments I ran my set up in a bucket overnight and the PH which is normally quite high had plummeted in the morning the quick change may have been the problem I think I will invest in some silk plants cheaper and a lot safer than adding co2 when you don't know what you are doing.
 ;D

Offline Sue

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2016, 10:53:47 AM »
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I have been reading up on CO2 since your first post and see that a lot of people turn the generator off overnight. Plants use CO2 during the day but not in the dark so the concentration can build up in the water.

Do you have hard or soft water? You can find this information somewhere on your water company's website. If it is soft, your KH (carbonate hardness) will also most likely be low. Carbonate buffers against changes in pH. If KH is low there is not much buffer and the pH can significantly.



Offline Richard W

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 12:08:01 PM »
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It's perfectly possible to grow live plants without adding CO2. I do it and so do many others, in fact I would suggest it is a small minority who do add it. Remember, fish produce it and if you have enough fish, they will make plenty enough to keep plants growing strongly.

Offline Fiona

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 12:30:47 PM »
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I don't use CO2 and my tank is crammed with plants. I just use liquid carbon every day which seems to do the trick. Simon doesnt use CO2 either in his tank is lovely, have a look in the gallery.

Plants like anubias, java ferns and crypts are all very easy to grow. 

Offline Extreme_One

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 04:45:09 PM »
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It really depends on the type of plants.
There are some plants which will only do well with high light and injected CO², so I avoid those.

I don't use injected CO², stick with easy-to-grow plants, use liquid fertilisers and liquid carbon and am perfectly happy with my plants.

#Invalid YouTube Link include https#

I even had a flower for a few weeks!

Offline Fiona

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2016, 07:23:45 PM »
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Simon, I contacted Dan btw. Can you let me know what else you use apart from the liquid carbon please?

Offline Extreme_One

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2016, 07:44:35 PM »
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I use 4ml EasyLife Profito Daily and twice a week (day after a water change) I use 10ml TNC Complete.

I hope that helps :)

Offline Anne

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 11:04:09 PM »
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Hi

I also don't use CO2, like Simon I chose easy to care plants mainly as I was a complete novice at the time and it has paid off.

Having had fish die from an unknown cause myself I can understand how upsetting it is especially when you don't know the exact cause.  I know this won't necessarily be much consolation to you at the moment but it might be worth thinking about and maybe changing some of your more demanding plants before you restock your tank.

Anne

Offline Fiona

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Re: co2 Generator Disaster
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2016, 07:57:46 AM »
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Thanks Simon

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