To CO2 or not to CO2 - that is the question
I am getting back into aquariums after a 25 year hiatus and after researching ad nauseam I have reached the point of analysis paralysis. In the past my aquariums were successful in spite of my efforts, rather than because of them, but being older (and hopefully wiser) I want to do it right this time around.
I have the basics of a 45 gallon tank assembled that eventually I want to put together as a planted tank for Tetras, Rasbora Hets, Corydoras, etc. Currently sitting in a pile in the man-cave are:
45 gallon tank (36x12x24) on stand
Fluval 306 filter
60 lb Eco-Complete
20 lb Carib Sea black sand
2 x 100w Aqueon heaters
36" Finnex Ray2 LED 7K lights
24" "Full Spectrum" T8 hood (came with aquarium)
36" Aqueon "Versatop"
Few other odds and ends but this is the major stuff.
Notably missing is a CO2 system that I would need if I truly want a happy, healthy planted tank (which I do). While I could afford one now I don't know if that is the best route for me to go because I don't want to over-complicate things while getting started. The concept of cycling a tank makes a lot of sense, but the reality of it is not something I have dealt with yet; I suspect it is akin to being told about a swift kick in the butt, and then getting kicked.
Do you have any recommendations about plants that would be happy without a CO2 fertilization system, or am I better off going with plastic/silk in the short term while I get comfortable with the rest of the mechanics of running my system.
While I HAVE the Ray2 I don't necessarily have to USE the Ray2 until it makes sense. I want both happy fish and happy plants - I don't want an algae farm. On the other hand if I *could* have a planted tank now without Co2 injection...