is Co2 a must??? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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what if i just add additives??
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-02-2002, 03:03 PM
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Adding CO2 is definately not a must. Many people have sucesfully kept plants without adding CO2 or any additives at all.

What kind of additives were you thinking of adding?

How much lighting do you currently have on your tank??

Generally if you have low lighting and don't inject CO2 it isn't recommended that you add additives.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-05-2002, 12:23 AM
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A lot will depend on your lights - how many watts per gallon do you have?

What growth rate do you want? ;fast , moderate or slow?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2002, 05:33 AM
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i use seachem's flourish. does anyone have experience with this? it seems to be doing a good job so far, although my ludwigia repens isn't fairing too well. but this is partly due to the insistance of my plec diging it up every night!

90 gallon tank
48" 65 X 4 CF lighting
injected CO2
flourite and river rock substrate
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2002, 04:12 PM
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CO2 is an absolute must! Plants must have CO2 in order to perform photosynthesis. Adding CO2 above equilibrium is not a must though.

However, injecting CO2 will increase the vitality and health of plants regardless of the amount of light. While additional CO2 under low light conditions won't cause a big increase in growth rates, it does positively effect the health and vitality of the plants. Aquatic plants dry weight is over 40% carbon, it stands to reason then that carbon is the most important element to add.

But, returning to your question, yes it is possible to have a beautiful healthy planted tank without injecting CO2. It is more difficult to keep algaes at bay and to grow certain species of plants without injecting CO2. Balance is the critical issue in a planted tank, the relationship between light, CO2, and nutrients is much easier to maintain if you supply CO2 and lighting at certain rates. (Lighting 2-4wpg, CO2 15-30ppm) Having those two balanced, then it's simply a matter of balancing the nutrients.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-08-2002, 02:21 PM
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I have heard of people using Seachems Flourish Excel in non CO2 injected tanks with success.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-08-2002, 09:10 PM
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I'm keeping two planted tanks. One has CO2 injection, one does not. The one with CO2, the plants grow, in the one without CO2 injection, the plants survive.

You can keep plants without CO2, but I wouldn't bother.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-09-2002, 02:42 AM
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I agree with Gulf coast. I tried keeping plants without co2 injection for a while and the results were less than satisfactory. If you want lush plants that actually grow I think that 3 watts per gallon and c02 in the neighborhood of 20ppm are a good start. Then carefully monitor your waters ph, kh, nitrates. I shoot for a ph of 7, kh of 3 and nitrates around 10ppm. Iron is also very important, but so far I haven't found a good iron test kit. The ph and kh are pretty stable at the above figures but my nitrates often go down to zero. So i've been using jobes spikes to supplement the substrate. I usualy insert them into the gravel close to the roots of my heavy feeders. then I'll monitor the nitrates. Trying to keep it in the 10 ppm range. As discussed elsewhere its important not to disturb the substrate as that can kick up the fertilizer into the water column and really increase the nitrate readings. I also use flourish and flourish iron, 50/50. My plants are doing great.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-10-2002, 10:36 PM
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I have absolutely no CO2 injected into any of my tanks.

My plants are growing, rapidly, and I have very little "Die off" accept with finely leaved ferns (Indian Fern/water sprite). So While I do aggree that injecting CO2 into a tank will improve the growth rate of the plants, I do not agree that it is necessary.

The trick for me has been keeping the CO2 that is naturally produced in the water. I've been able to achieve this by using reduced flow rates in my tanks. My 22 Gallon planted tank is using an aquaclear mini, and thats it. There is not much surface agitation but there is more then enough area for biological and mechanic filtration to occur. The plants themselves are doing much of the filtration already, the Filter is just keeping the water moving.

In my 45 Gallon tank it is completely overrun with Wysteria, Java Fern and Java Moss. Addmittadly these are easy to grow, however I see growth rates of 1-2 inches ever few days on the wysteria. I am pruning the stuff back every week. This tank is using an Aquaclear 500 (overkill for this tank, but it works). The Wysteria has grown a canopy around the surface of the water keeping it relatively calm, keeping much of the CO2 where it is needed.

You can grow plants in a tank without CO2, but you need to find the plants that work for you tank conditions. Just be patient, experiment and things will work for you.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2002, 03:39 AM
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I think GDominy is right - you can have high light, CO2 injection and added nutrients or patience.

With the latter you can miss a day or 10 and not have a problem you also don't need to prune on a weekly basis.

With the former you get rapid growth.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-06-2002, 06:14 PM
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Gdominy, what is your KH/DH in your tap water? Hard water will have lower incidental CO2 levels that soft water. Without CO2 injection, plants simply would not grow in my tanks. I have very hard and alkaline tap water, though (8.0 ph and 6-8 KH). Plants would just wither and die no matter how much light (over 3.8wpg) or nutrients were present.

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