How to Measure Carbon Dioxide Levels in Planted Tanks
Many aquariums contain numerous plants in order to provide a ready source of oxygen as well as to increase the overall aesthetic appeal. One of the most crucial concerns within these environments involves the ability to proactively monitor levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in the water.
Extremely low concentrations can cause issues with the plants while very high readings will suffocate any fish. This is why it is a good idea to take a look at a handful of methods as well as when each should be employed.
Graph-Based Measuring Techniques
This method is arguably the most popular due to its straightforward nature. Two value will first be determined:
- The pH level of the water.
- The associated KH (carbonate hardness) reading.
Once these variables have been obtained, you will refer to a carbon dioxide graphical chart. By following the values located on the X and Y axes, you will be able to discover the approximate levels of carbon dioxide.
However, we need to also point out that this test can be inaccurate if additional acids (besides carbonic acid) are dissolved in the water.
The CO2 Indicator Method
This method will provide much more accurate results, as it contains a colour-sensitive solution. A glass bubble normally containing a liquid called Bromothymol blue will be submerged within the tank for 24 hours. If there is an excessive level of carbon dioxide, the solution will turn yellow.
Green indicates a well-balanced tank and blue signifies that carbon dioxide levels are too low. The only factor to highlight is that bacteria from the tank can enter into the bubble and have an effect upon the solution.
In this case, the apparatus will simply need to be removed and new Bromthymol blue can thereafter be added.
Determining the levels of carbon dioxide within your tank is very important and this practice should be carried out on a regular basis.
If you have additional questions concerning this topic or to appreciate our bespoke line of custom-built aquariums, please contact Oceanlife Aquatics for further details.