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Monday, 22 April 2013

ProFlora Bio 160 one month in… and a general update

CO2 Injection

I originally set the ProFlora Bio 160 up on my tropical aquarium around 1 month ago, and 40 days is the given time by the JBL instructions where the substances in the reactor canister should be replaced.

While i am convinced the Bio 160 system has been giving off CO2, it has barely registered in the tank for plant growth and on the CO2 Checker nor have i seen a great deal of (out the ordinary) movement in the pH readings, which would suggest an absence of carbonic acid.

While i do have another refill pack for the Bio 160, i have decided to make a minor alteration to the system to test something else out.

This test involves trying a pressurised system on a small scale for now, to see if any improvement is made through such a system.

I originally had a TMC pressurised CO2 system running on the tank that utilised the common 88g disposable CO2 cylinders. This kit was only partially successful due to it lacking in quality a bit. This was mostly due to inconsistent canisters, where some lasted a day or two before running out(!), and a general lack of control over the system, which i was forever adjusting, trying to keep a reasonably constant bubble count.

It also used one of the glass and ceramic mini diffusers, which seemed to waste more gas that make use of it.

So, recently i acquired another 88g cylinder as i retained the regulator from the TMC system, of course the cylinders are just a generic item labelled up by different brands, in which case i found a Fluval branded one in one of my LFS’

Fluval TMC 88g CO2 Cylinder.58

Just a word of advice for these regulators and the use of 88g cylinders. ALWAY make sure the puncture pin and the seal is seated correctly in the regulator before you try to screw one in!

I made the mistake once and just ended up discharging the cylinder into the living room!

Ensure the pin is located in the counter bore at the bottom and the seal is sat flat and level…

Fluval TMC 88g CO2 Cylinder.08

Of course, make sure the valve is also close! And the cylinder should screw in without any issues…

Fluval TMC 88g CO2 Cylinder.57

I hooked this up to the existing system in place of the reactor from the existing Bio 160 kit, and so far set it to run around a bubble every 3 seconds through the Taifun diffuser, i will increase this gradually to try and get a good balance in the tank, for a start the pH appears to have been a little lower than usual, although as i write this i am working away from home so relying on the information provided by the Apex controller running then system! Hopefully i can return soon and hope to see a bit of difference and/or improvement.

On a second note, during maintenance day, i noted the Taifun diffuser had become infused with green slime and felt it would be a great idea to give it a good clean out, although i have no idea if this is genuinely detrimental to how the diffuser works, it certainly looked grim if anything…

JBL Taifun Diffuser.13

The Taifun comes apart very easily, just by gently pulling the similar sections apart from each other…

JBL Taifun Diffuser.52

I gave it all a thorough (but gentle) scrub down with a small bottle brush and it look substantially better again, when complete and reassembled…

JBL Taifun Diffuser.17

Carbon Dosing

This is one thing i felt has been a reasonable success on my tank, and felt it really contributed to the jungle effect and rapid growth of plants up until the whole thing suddenly crashed.

I have a feeling that swapping from Seachem Flourish Excel and going for the cheaper option of EasyLife EasyCarbo, may have been a bad move, as the decline in the tank roughly started around the same time i made the switch.

As a result, i have recently purchased a new bottle of Flourish Excel and have returned to its usage. As i also now have some algae issues, i am hoping it will once again step in with its “secret property” of being quite a potent algaecide. It definitely worked wonders on my tank in the previous months when i had a nasty outbreak of black tuft algae, and green algae had stayed at bay almost indefinitely.

It will certainly be an interesting experiment.

CO2 Checker

A month in using the checker, all fine, its not made a bid for freedom and constantly depressed me showing the CO2 levels being too low!

Either way it’s at the recommended point (by JBL instruction) to switch out the regent. So i whipped it out and gave it a good clean down before reloading with fresh fluid. It had got a little grubby during its first stint so it was nice to get it out and ensure it remains as easy as ever to read.

Testing

My nitrates remain around the 10ppm mark, KH is registering at 5deg and my GH comes in at 8deg. Both hardness levels appear to have crept up a little, but i have resorted to adding the recommend dose of Seachem Equilibrium on every water change after a drop in KH uptake may not have helped with the Vallis going pear shaped.

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