Frequently-Asked Questions

We HIGHLY recommend using Green Base XR with Black Earth Premium simply because Green Base XR helps make your substrate more fertile for longer periods of time.   This results in prolonged healthy plant growth with reduced fertilizer addition.   This is because it contains extended-release nutrient granules that is capable of actively releasing both macro- and micronutrients to the substrate.  This extends the fertility of the substrate compared to a setup without Green Base XR.

High light, CO2 injected setups with fast-growing or demanding plants require external fertilization due to the rapid uptake of nutrients by the growing plants.   We suggest that you start off with the best possible substrate system and only provide external fertilization when necessary.   This can be done by observing your plants.  If the new growth is pale or stunted, then start adding CHROME along with SHINE.   This combination will supply Potassium, Iron, and trace elements that plants need to sustain rapid growth rates.   If the stem plants appear to lack the punchy coloration despite intense lighting, add RED to help bring out the colors.  Lastly, If you noticed that the older leaves turning abnormally yellow, begin adding GREEN to provide additional macronutrients to your aquarium.


Low light, slow growth tanks usual requires little to no extra fertilization.  The rate of nutrient uptake by plants are quite low, and fish waste usually provide sufficient nutrients for this kind of setup.  However, if you noticed that your plants are no longer healthy green, or the old leaves are turning abnormally yellow, we recommend slowly adding our GREEN fertilizer.  GREEN is a concentrated mix of macronutrients which supplies plants with needed Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous.

No.  Green Base XR does not contain any peat nor pumice.  Instead, Green Base XR uses hardened montmorillonite clay which has a very high capacity for holding micronutrients in the form that is available to plants. It also contains nutrient granules with extended-release technology which actively releases a complete balance of macro and micronutrients into the substrate.   Both components work together to supply your substrate with prolonged nutrients for lush, healthy plant growth.


How long the nutrients in Black Earth Premium last depends on the rate of plant growth inside your aquarium.  If you have a low-light, no CO2 tank where plant growth is relatively slow, the nutrients within the substrate can last a year or more.  However, if you run a high-light tank with demanding plants and CO2 injection, nutrient release from the substrate may not keep up with the demand.  As a result, additional fertilizers may be required after several months of plant growth.   Because of this, we highly recommend using Green Base XR, Substrex, and Multi-R below the soil layer to maximize substrate nutrients from the beginning.


Converting the high-flow bubble rate to the normal-flow bubble rate can be done by doing the following:
1) Measure the rate in normal-flow mode. (A bubbles per second)
2) At the same CO2 rate, measure the rate in high-flow mode: (B bubbles per second)
3) Divide A by B

1) In the normal-flow mode, the rate is 2 bubbles per second = A
2) In the high-flow mode, the rate is 1 bubble every 2 seconds (or 0.5 bubbles per second = B)
3) A/B = 2/0.5 = 4 So 1 bubble in the high-flow mode = 4 bubbles in the normal flow mode.

Therefore, if you count 2 bubbles per second in the high-flow mode, the normal-flow bubble rate is 4×2 = 8 bubbles per second.

Determining the appropriate amount of CO2 based solely on the bubble rate is not recommended. This is because there are numerous factors that eventually determine how much CO2 gas actually gets dissolved inside your aquarium. It is recommended that the counter be used to monitor the rate of CO2 injection into the tank, while a CO2 checker be used to determine the appropriate amount of CO2.

At high CO2 flow rates, you may see irregular bubble rates with the normal-flow configuration. To solve this, switch to the high-flow configuration.

Bubble counters are used to monitor the CO2 injection rate into your aquarium. When installed within the CO2 line, the CO2 emerges as a series of bubbles raising up the device, allowing easy monitoring of the CO2 rate. It also gives you a visual observation to help you make fine adjustments in your CO2 rate.

Our CO2 indicator solution is highly accurate and takes into account all the factors affecting the final solution properties.  While you can use other 4dKH solutions with our CO2 checkers, the accuracy and color shade may not be consistent and therefor not recommended.

To best prolong the life of the solutions, cap unused solutions tightly and keep in refrigerator. Do no freeze.

The diffusers can be cleaned by soaking in 1:1 mixture of bleach:water for 24 hours. Depending on the amount of build up on the glass surface, longer immersion times may be needed. After that, rinse thoroughly with clean water.  Do not scrub the diffuser disc or it may damage the fine pores.

Similar to other diffusers, the inline diffuser disperses CO2 gas into a fine mist of bubbles. The turbulent flow around the diffuser disc acts to actively dissolve CO2 into the outflow stream. However, there still may be a fine mist of bubbles entering the aquarium depending on the CO2 and filter flow rate.

Certain funnel designs are easier in creating a surface vortex than others.   In contrary to some beliefs, we found that vortices generated by certain outflow designs are not effective in eliminating surface film. Because of this, we focused our outflow design on improving circulation to lower parts of the aquarium. To eliminate surface film or aerate, simply raise the outflow funnel halfway above the water line.

Occasionally, people report that their baby shrimps get through the pipes. That is something to consider.  Adult cherry shrimps will not pass through the slits. However, baby shrimps that are less than 2-3 millimeters can slip through.

The primary goal of our inflow/outflow design was to help improve circulation by the following:
Outflow: The outflow funnel was intentionally pointed slightly downwards. This improves water circulation to lower parts of the aquarium, where stagnation points often occur. The funnel, when completely submerged, creates less surface agitation to reduce CO2 loss to the atmosphere. At the same time, if turbulent surface aeration is desired, it can be done by raising the funnel halfway above the water line.

Inflow: CAL’s inflow contains narrow slits throughout the stem spanning from near the bottom end, to quite high up. The placement of the slits were intentionally designed to cover more vertical area than existing designs. To us, there really isn’t a good reason to place the slits just at the bottom. In fact, while they are much easier to manufacture, we found that having slit(s) just at the bottom strains the circulation, as water can only enter at the bottom. Since our outflow moves water across the depth of the tank, we needed an inflow that can take water in at various depth of the column, not just the bottom. Our flowfield tests also shows that they create a more uniform circulation pattern.

The slits on our inflow are also slightly wider and more in number. We want to make sure that enough water can pass through to the pump, and small blockages due to leaves or debris will not choke the pump.

Our glassware can be cleaned by soaking in 1:1 mixture of bleach:water for 24 hours. Depending on the amount of build up on the glass surface, longer immersion times may be needed. After that, rinse thoroughly with clean water. Soft plastic brushes may be used to clean our Fluxus pipes. For diffusers, only soak in bleach:water solutions and never clean the diffuser disc with brushes or hard objects. Do not use acid to clean glassware.

Only use soft tubing with our glassware. To soften the ends of the tubing, dip tubing in hot water for several minutes. Always wet glass surface before fitting tubing and/or suction cups. Wetting the glass surface will make fitting significantly easier.