Low light - with C02 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Low light - with C02

Don't know if this is the right place for this thread because pressurized CO2 is not "low tech"

I'm starting a 90'ish gallon tank and want it to be low maintenance in the sense that I want:
  • thriving plant growth but want to keep my hands out of the tank
  • not be over concerned about keeping to a rigid dosing schedule
  • having some time to react to algae growth or if things go unbalanced
Hope you all get what I mean.



I've read these articles:


How to Setup a Low-tech Planted Tank: Planted Aquarium Guide ? Welcome to Sudeep Mandal's spot on the net


Non CO2 methods - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report


I've also searched this site and read past post about this. Just posting here to see if anyone is currently doing this, what your experience is and looking for any sage words of advice.


My tank:


LxWxH (36x21x28)

Lighting: Finnex Ray2 (7,000K) to start and will supplement it if need be.
Substrate: Seachem Black Sand
Eheim pro3 filter


Flora: Swords, Crypts, Anubias, Vals for the most part. To start I plan on packing every inch with cheap nutrient sucking plants.


Fauna: I want this to be a Angel species tank......with cories and algae eaters


Sorry for the long post, looking forward to your replies.

Last edited by K1963158; 08-16-2016 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Poor spelling
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 06:01 PM
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Don't see why you'd want/need CO2 unless you're gonna do high intensity lights and high ferts.
I think you can have an awesome tank with just medium light, root tabs and (very) modest ferts.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:45 PM
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CO2 and low/moderate light works great; many of Amano's scapes were essentially this. Growth isn't as fast as in high tech but is very green and lush.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 07:47 PM
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CO2 can be beneficial for plant growth even in a low/medium light set up. I'm currently using DIY CO2 in my medium light set up. It's been set up for just under a week and I'm already seeing positive effects. Plants are more perky, and seem to have taken in more rich colors, I've increased my photoperiod from 6 hrs to 7 hrs (which is a benefit in itself in that I can enjoy the tank for longer). You obviously don't need 30 ppm (maximum) but even at 10 ppm, I'm seeing the positives.

I do use the EI method of dosing and supplement with Excel as another carbon source and to keep algae at bay. So far, so good.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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@Axelrodi202: That's the goal, not an Amano tank, my skills are nowhere near that but I want healthy plants that make a good environment for my fish.


@SwissCheeseHead: For sure not planning to go for high C02, just want to raise it a bit but most importantly keep it at a consistent level to curb algae growth.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 09:22 PM
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You can use a drop checker to make using CO2 for the first time much less threatening. If you use low to medium light intensity you don't gain that much from using the magic 30 ppm of CO2. But, using around 10 ppm or less still gives you a big improvement in plant growth and health. To achieve this, just use 1 dKH water in the drop checker instead of the usual 4 dKH water. That makes the drop checker color be green at about 10 ppm of CO2, and yellow at about 30 ppm. So, all you have to do is keep the color between green and yellow, very easy to do. If you do this with DIY CO2 you can avoid most of the BBA problems that often come with DIY CO2 by also dosing "Metricide 14 day"(very cheap) at about 1 ml per 10 gallons of tank water. Now, your CO2 will last much longer, your costs will still be low, and your plants will do much better.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Don't see why you'd want/need CO2 unless you're gonna do high intensity lights and high ferts.
I think you can have an awesome tank with just medium light, root tabs and (very) modest ferts.

To keep a consistent level of CO2. In Tom Barr's article (follow da link) he writes how water changes create an inconsistent supply of CO2 and could encourage algae growth. He advises against water changes and just do top ups. I like doing my weekly (or more) water changes so to keep CO2 consistent I plan on supplementing this tank with pressurized CO2.

I'm not going to argue with TB
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:10 PM
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http://www.bio-web.dk/ole_pedersen/p..._2001_2_22.pdf
good read...........
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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@jeffkrol: "Damn it Jim, I'm an accountant not a scientist!" Said in mock Dr. McKoy voice. LOL Putting aside my attempt at some humour it was a good read and what I got from it is that adding CO2 to a low light environment plants use less energy to obtain CO2 and can use that energy to optimize their light utilization.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-16-2016, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1963158 View Post
@Axelrodi202: That's the goal, not an Amano tank, my skills are nowhere near that but I want healthy plants that make a good environment for my fish.
In terms of plant growth I think this is an attainable goal. If you don't have it already, I'd suggest getting Nature Aquarium: Complete Works 1985-2009. You'll see that many of Amano's scapes consisted entirely of hardy, lower-light plants, like moss, Anubias, and ferns. The primary challenges to replicating his work are access to sufficient plants at the beginning and the artistic vision of combining plant and hardscape. It's important to plant heavily from the start, but some of these plants (like Bolbitis for example) aren't always readily available in large quantities due to their slow rate of growth.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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As much as I glean stuff from the internet nothing beats having a great book like that for a reference.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K1963158 View Post
To keep a consistent level of CO2. In Tom Barr's article (follow da link) he writes how water changes create an inconsistent supply of CO2 and could encourage algae growth. He advises against water changes and just do top ups. I like doing my weekly (or more) water changes so to keep CO2 consistent I plan on supplementing this tank with pressurized CO2.

I'm not going to argue with TB
Tom also wrote "CO2 is a bit like a drug addiction that hobbyists get hooked on."
Well, not really arguing, but I don't have CO2 (or Excel), do weekly water changes, and in addition to two filters circulating water, I even have a bubble bar streaming bubbles 24/7...I use root tabs but dose very little ferts and the plants are doing really well.
But then I pre-filter my water for water changes and it sits in 5g pails for days or even weeks sometimes so CO2 is likely negated....and/or the bubble bar would likely quickly equalize and balance O2 and CO2.
But it's just been 3 months so who knows.

footnote: The jungle val in the rear was set back after I followed some bad advice and cut it back to 2" supposedly for it to come in thicker - big mistake, but I planted more and it's coming along.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Tom also wrote "CO2 is a bit like a drug addiction that hobbyists get hooked on."
Well, not really arguing, but I don't have CO2 (or Excel), do weekly water changes, and in addition to two filters circulating water, I even have a bubble bar streaming bubbles 24/7...I use root tabs but dose very little ferts and the plants are doing really well.
But then I pre-filter my water for water changes and it sits in 5g pails for days or even weeks sometimes so CO2 is likely negated....and/or the bubble bar would likely quickly equalize and balance O2 and CO2.
But it's just been 3 months so who knows.

footnote: The jungle val in the rear was set back after I followed some bad advice and cut it back to 2" supposedly for it to come in thicker - big mistake, but I planted more and it's coming along.
Your tank looks very nice.

Nobody is saying CO2 is necessary for a low light tank with non demanding plants. But there's no debating that CO2 is a huge help to such a tank.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 06:53 AM Thread Starter
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Tom also wrote "CO2 is a bit like a drug addiction that hobbyists get hooked on."
LOL about that cuz I had that addiction...started off with DIY then to full blown pressurized high light tank.

I have all the stuff I need to set up a pressurized CO2 system so it's not a big deal for me to do.

Nice tank btw. your Angelfish look very happy

Last edited by K1963158; 08-17-2016 at 06:55 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-17-2016, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
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LOL about that cuz I had that addiction...started off with DIY then to full blown pressurized high light tank.

I have all the stuff I need to set up a pressurized CO2 system so it's not a big deal for me to do.

Nice tank btw. your Angelfish look very happy
Thanks.
It seems that CO2 will make your plants grow faster (mine seem to grow fast enough!) and I can see how initially that would help achieve the necessary bio-mass quicker for balance and ward off evil algae....and since you already have the equipment, why not use it? I'd think after a time you might want to cut back the amount unless you want to do weekly trimming and replanting.

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