To CO2 or not to CO2 - that is the question
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Old 10-26-2013, 02:52 AM   #1
Troglodyte
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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...
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:02 AM   #2
Shawn123
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Swords, crypts, java fern, annubias, some hygrophila and ludwigia are good plants for non co2. You can still havea great tank with no pressurized co2.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:08 AM   #3
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You do not need CO2 to have a full happy tank... here's my tank no CO2 root tabs and excel every other day. Its 20L 2 x 23watt cfl's 6500k. Its not the best looking but if I changed the scape and trimmed better it would look nicer. Also this is my first planted tank and I think its going well.
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Old 10-26-2013, 03:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn123 View Post
Swords, crypts, java fern, annubias, some hygrophila and ludwigia are good plants for non co2. You can still havea great tank with no pressurized co2.
Thank you - do they need a lot of light or would they be happy with a decent T8 (don't know if the "Full-Spectrum" I have would be a good choice).

Quote:
Originally Posted by flukekiller View Post
You do not need CO2 to have a full happy tank... here's my tank no CO2 root tabs and excel every other day. Its 20L 2 x 23watt cfl's 6500k. Its not the best looking but if I changed the scape and trimmed better it would look nicer. Also this is my first planted tank and I think its going well.
Awesome tank and kind of what I am shooting for. I guess the most important thing is to just do it and not over-think it. Thank you.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-27-2013 at 07:47 AM.. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
Urkevitz
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Buy the Co2 equipment, after the initial cost its cheap to refill.

Last edited by Urkevitz; 10-26-2013 at 07:15 PM.. Reason: Misspell
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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@Flukekiller, that's an awesome setup! Especially with no CO2.

Just like anything else in nature, CO2 needs a balance. There has to be some CO2 present for photosynthesis, but not so much it kills fish by dropping pH. People with CO2 setups spend more but generally have more success and faster growth. Excel is an option but be warned.. it is known to harm shrimp, especially if the algae killing high dose is used.

My philosophy is.. if you're going to invest a tremendous amount of money and time in something, why not spend more and do it right the first time?
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #7
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So not using co2 is doing it wrong?
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakz20 View Post

Just like anything else in nature, CO2 needs a balance. There has to be some CO2 present for photosynthesis, but not so much it kills fish by dropping pH.
FYI. Acidifiying water (Ph drop) by adding co2 does not affect fish at all. Change Ph by adding or subtracting minerals will.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:30 PM   #9
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Another point to consider if you're into aquascaping is that CO2 tanks grow much faster compared to soil/excel etc, about 5-8X as fast. This allows you to complete aquascapes much more quickly; grow full gloss/HC carpets in 2 months, you can change layout often, move plants around and have them grown in faster etc. However, it requires more maintenance work in terms of pruning, fertilization.

CO2 not only allows you to keep more species, but some species grow denser, fatter in CO2 enriched waters. The downside is alot more effort to manage plant nutrition, algae etc.
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