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Ecotank & Lotus Fish Tank Site

Welcome to my blog!

This weblog is my online journal. You'll find my opinions on fishkeeping and probably a few rants about idiots that kill their fish needlessly because they don't listen to others. When the spirit moves me, I may also include longer articles on DIY stuff as well as new fish stuff and general info.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Finally added the rams
Well I finally found a few seconds of time and added the German Blue Rams to the fish profiles section. About time I did something around here. Great fish, go check it out!
3:16 pm pdt

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

CO2 Article
Want a planted tank with fantastic growth? Aquatic plants require three main factors to not just survive, but to thrive. These three factors are light, nutrients-fertilizers, and CO2. Light and nutrients are typically the easiest of the three to provide. However, in order to allow for lush, rich plant growth, providing adequate CO2 is the key. In order to do so, some sort of CO2 injection system is required. Certainly, there are many aquarium hobbyists who do not give their plants any sort of special treatment and still end up with a fairly nice display. However, truly luxuriant growth, the sort that you see on the covers of aquarium magazines and in pictures of tanks created by Takashi Amano, can only be achieved by adding CO2.

During photosynthesis, plants use light energy to capture CO2. This CO2 is used to build the basic carbon structures from which all plant material is made. In a poorly lit aquarium, light is likely to be what limits the rate of plant growth. The amount of CO2 produced by fish- and bacterial respiration is more than enough to allow photosynthesis under these conditions. If on the other hand, you try to make your plants grow faster by adding more light, it is likely that there will not be enough CO2 in your aquarium. The plants simply can not grow as fast as they would like to, given the available light energy. Most tanks are poorly lit, however if you have upgraded your lighting for plants, CO2 may be your next investment. With nine tanks that are all moderate to heavily planted, I use each of the methods I will discuss here. My favorite is of course the most expensive of the options, the pressurized system.

A pressurized system consists of a CO2 tank, regulator, needle valve, bubble counter and some type of reactor. I also have a solenoid and automatic Ph monitor on mine which allows you to set the Ph to a specific value and the unit will disperse CO2 until that value is maintained. While most tanks, regulators, needle valves and bubble counters are pretty much the same, the reactor can be anything from a glass blown bell which traps the CO2 inside allowing it to dissipate into the water, to a powered reactor which uses a powerhead and a chamber to mix the CO2 into the water. The pressurized system can run about $300.00, however a 20 lb tank will run a large aquarium for about a year. This is the most effective system available.

A store bought mix system like the Hagen Natural Plant System is designed to supply any aquarium with a safe, economical, and efficient method of providing CO2. It uses a natural fermentation process for creating CO2 and allows quick, easy, and affordable refills of ingredients to provide continuous CO2 for a 3-4 week period. The fermentation canister was developed to support consistent carbon dioxide output. The ladder style counter/diffuser allows the CO2 gas to be dissolved into the water. This type of CO2 system is effective for aquariums up to 40 gallons per unit.

A Do It Yourself (DIY) system may not look as nice, but if you plan to keep the bottles under the cabinet, it won’t matter anyway. The DIY method uses simple materials (soda bottles, silicone tubing, check valves, fittings) to create and deliver a home brew of CO2 gas to your tank. You can use a reactor or simply place the end of the tubing in your filter intake, the bubbles will be churned by your filter, however this can be noisy.The most important step is the mixture that provides the CO2. For two-liter bottles, our favorite mix is:
6 oz pack of Jello (your choice of flavor)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
Dissolve the Jello in the boiling water, add 1 cup cold water and pour into 2 litter bottle, place in refrigerator overnight. Next day add the yeast to the lukewarm water to activate it, then pour into the 2 litter bottle and cap. This will start producing CO2 in a few hours, do not shake the bottle or you will get too much CO2. Each bottle will produce CO2 for about 3 weeks. There are also other formulas for CO2 production, the Jello mix has proven to be the most consistent we have tried so far.
Good Luck and Happy Plant Growth!
9:59 am pdt

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Shrimp Breeding
Well we are still waiting for our Amano shrimp to drop their eggs, the red cherry shrimp have already bred! Just found 2 little (the adults are small enough, but these ones are so small) red shrimp in the 10g Endler tank we put them in. The little ones are reall more clear than red, but I understand they get their color as they grow. The tank is densly planted, so there could be more, I'll have to keep checking.
9:48 am pdt

Friday, October 1, 2004

Long Time No Blog!
Wow, I had hoped I would never have this long a dry spell between posts, but with work sending me all over and the fish club getting into full swing I hardly have time for water changes lately. Hopefully things have settled down a bit and I can have some time to relax too...oh wouldn't that be nice?
One thing I did notice recently was a new marketing ploy at Petco in their betta section. They have a did you know... board posted that actually suggests that Betta's prefer living in a water volume the size of a cup because that is often the amount of water they are found in when plucked from rice patties. I guess it didn't occur to them that the water level rises and drops and the poor fish were simply stranded in that small patch of water? So if you ever find a Petco employee stuck in a small box, locker or other uncomfortable place, please leave them there, it certainly must be their prefered environment?
12:40 pm pdt

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All the postings and articles are the property of Ecotanks Fish Blog and are written by Bill Carpenter unless otherwise noted. No use of these posts or articles without the express written permission from Bill Carpenter is allowed.