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Old 08-13-2004, 06:05 PM   #1
pglenn
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question on CO2 needs


I have a 25g setup, about 2months old now with the current stock. I currently have 5 rainbow (~3" each), 3 dwarf puffers, 1 chinese (ugh) algae eater (~2"), 3 (female) fiddler crabs, and anywhere between 12-20 ghost shrimp creeping around. For plants, I have 3 medium (~4") java fern plants, 4 (~8-12") Acorus plants, and about 20 separated stalks of anacharius (~4" to ~15" ranges) scattered about. I currently have the one 20w flourescant that came with the hood and will be upgrading to 2 (at least) over the weekend (yeah, probably still underpowered w/2).

I have been adding an iron-rich liquid additive to the tank once a week. I have been looking at possibly adding CO2 as well. Initially I was planning for just a few plants, but as I added more than intended, and will be adding more plants this may become necessary real soon if not already. As I initially planned just a few plants I assumed with the bio-load of the animals enough CO2 would be produced to keep the plants happy. question is, is there such thing as too-much CO2 if I choose to artificially add (bad for the animals I assume?), and is there a "guestimate limit" where one can say that the bio-load of the animals can no longer support the need of the plants - kinda a #-of-plant vs #-of-animal number? I am just wondering when one should consider adding CO2.

BTW - my plan is to build a "DIY CO2" as described elsewhere on this site soon.

Patrick
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Old 08-13-2004, 07:16 PM   #2
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A few things: Acorus is not a true aquatic plant. don't be surprised if it starts to rot and foul up your water.

Until you add the second 20watts, CO2 isn't gonna be worth your time. Considering the plants you're keeping, even with another 20 watts, CO2 isn't gonna make a dramatic change.

Now, onto your question: yes, you can definitely inject too much CO2 into a tank, and kill all the animals inside. anything over 25ppm of CO2 is going beyond the needs of the plants, and starts to impose on the health of fish/snails/shrimp/crabs.
Also, you never 'guesstimate' with CO2, since it can be lethal. The following link will explain all you need to know: http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_co2chart.htm
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Old 08-13-2004, 08:13 PM   #3
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I wasnt planning to "guess" the level of CO2 in the tank, certainly if I were to add CO2 I would be checking levels. I was just wondering if there were a rough way to say, if I have this-many-plants in the tank, and only this-many-animals, at what point would I want to add CO2 into the tank as the output from the fish would not be sufficient for the plants?

Also I am still learning and reading on planted tanks, but I am aware that higher light levels will require higher CO2 levels which is why I am considering increasing both at the same time.

Patrick
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Old 08-13-2004, 08:43 PM   #4
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First, welcome to the forum!

One important thing to consider is the kind of bulbs you are going to add. Are they full spectrum/plants bulbs?
Right now if only 20w of light you do not need to inject CO2. If you add 2 more plant bulbs, them you might consider adding CO2. I say might because although having 60W may seem like 2.4 wpg but they are NO fluorescents bulbs and not PC bulbs.
Another important factor is that when you change or add lights, you will have algae problems, not just because of the increase of lights but also plants take a while to adapt to new lights.

You can have too much CO2 to the point that is harmful to the fish. Above 25 ppm of CO2 it can be stressful for the fish.
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Old 08-14-2004, 01:54 AM   #5
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OK, so then no pre-determined time as to when to add CO2 to the tank? Perhaps just at the time the plants appear to need it? I would consider adding the DIY-CO2 from this site at any time if not for the fish already in the tank.

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Old 08-14-2004, 01:58 AM   #6
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oh, and for the Acorus, I was not aware of that. Any special care that it may need? or as a substitute, is there some similar looking plant, or perhaps vallisneria or hairgrass, that may be better suited? I am using this currently to fill the center of the tank, with kinda a horseshoe effect around it to the sides/back of the tank with the remaining decor and plants...

Patrick
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:38 PM   #7
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The only special care the Acorus needs is to be removed from the tank and put on the compost heap. There is nothing you can do to keep it alive submerged.
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Old 08-14-2004, 06:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pglenn
OK, so then no pre-determined time as to when to add CO2 to the tank?
Malkore (above) pointed you to a link with a CO2 chart that will tell you when you need to add CO2. You need to measure your ph and kh in order to calculate it.

CO2 on its own isn't going to make a huge difference to your plants, though. CO2 has to go hand-in-hand with lighting in order for the plants to be able to utilize it. So as long as you've only got 20w, there's really no point adding it. Even if you add another 20w bulb, you'll still be under 2wpg, which is still considered low light.

If you've decided you really want to go the planted tank route (and it sounds like you have), you should look into upgrading your lighting to a 55w or 65w compact flourescent. If your lights are fixed in a canopy, you can get a retrofit kit from ahsupply, among other places. Otherwise, you could check lights and prices at big al's.

For more information, Rex (who posted above) has a good information section on his website. It explains this and many other things you will need to know.

Oh, and for a replacement for the acorus, it's really up to you. Check out here and here. You can choose a plant to match your layout and your light.

Keep us posted.
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Old 08-16-2004, 04:55 AM   #9
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So it seems that the Acorus is the freshwater version of the marine Flowerpot Coral - sold to unsuspected newbies like me, while knowing full well it wont survive. Anyways I have decided to remove it soon when I do get a replacement, which will "probably" be a Hairgrass as that is the look I want in the middle. I am also looking to upgrade the lighting most likely with a retrofit, as the tank shape is a oddball (30" x 12" octagonal) and a canopy upgrade isnt really an option other than a DIY. So I will probably end up with between 35w and 65w depending on the option and cost. of course the more the better as I would like to have some red in the tank eventually and I know red takes more light. and for CO2, I dont need to worry too much as long as my light is under 3wpg and my plants therefore are low-light plants?

Patrick
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:01 AM   #10
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I would say you wouldn't need to worry about CO2 if your light is under 2wpg, over 2wpg I would consider to be medium light.

I would also say go for the 65w light. It'll give you a lot more options for plants. Oh, and by the way, hairgrass needs quite a bit of light. 65w would be good for hairgrass. Of course, then you would want to start adding CO2. DIY should be fine for a 25g.
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Old 08-16-2004, 03:16 PM   #11
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so this is an octagonal tank. How tall is it? distance from bulb to substrate does matter, and hex/octagonal tanks are usually tall and skinny...thus requiring MORE watts to have equivalent lighting ot a standard rectangular tank.

Also, MPB...the 'watts per gallon rule' is based on Normal Output fluorescents...in which case if you hit 2wpg with NO's, I recommend DIY CO2 if your plants are 'fast growers'. If you had 2wpg of PC's, I'd say CO2 was mandatory. Just wanted to clear that up.
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Old 08-16-2004, 05:52 PM   #12
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The hairgrass may or may not be what I will get but it is the "style" that I am looking for and thought I had with the acorus. At this point I wont be replacing the acorus until I get the lights figured, then I can decide what I want and can support. I actually did know from the start the lights would need to be upgraded at some point. but again with the odd-shape tank replacement is difficult so I have been constantly researching that, trying to find a "pre-made" replacement in lieue of a DIY solution.

The tank is 30" long by 12" wide and either 14" or 16" deep, I dont have the numbers in front of me. It is octagon shaped in that each of the 4 corners is "cut off" so to speak, up to 6" in, to form a stretched octagon. It is not a deep tank, and it is not my favorite shape but the tank/stand/canopy was all free, so...
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