CO2 and lighting balance - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 and lighting balance

Hi All!

Looks like I'm having trouble to understand the balance between CO2 level and my lighting. I'm not sure if I should add CO2 at all for my set up or not. I have lightly planted tank, 80 gal bowfront, just 2 java fern, 2 amazon swords and 2 moss balls. As a CO2 supplement I'm using Florish Excel, dose: 1.5 cap every day. Lights: 2 T5HO (1 life-glo, 1 super-glo, 54w each) running for 6 hours. Filters: 2 Fluval 305, also used for surface aeration. Water changes: 1/3 of the tank weekly. PH 7.6, 0 ammonia.

Now I started to get some murky water and a bit of on-glass algae, I'm afraid it's because of excess of CO2 and lack of oxygen in my tank.

Could someone please help me with the right balance?

Last edited by dgrinb; 06-07-2011 at 05:13 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 07:49 PM
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Well your lighting is low but your plants are undemading and you could just add some root tabs to the substrate and be ok, I don't think you need CO2 or excel and your problem may the water changes. Try running the lights for 8 hrs or 10 even, stop dosing the excel, do your water changes every other month, and find some root tabs and put one under each sword and your good to go.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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150HE, thank you very much for the reply! I just forgot to mention the live stock I have, rather overstock ). So, is it OK to have water changes just every other month? Everybody mentions that weekly change is a MUST. And, woudn't I grow a large amount of algae with 10 hours of light?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 05:27 PM
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If you have an overstocked tank that should cover most of your needs for fertilizers in a lightly planted tank, the swords are heavy root feeders and that's why I suggested the root tabs for them only (12 root tabs would last you 2 years adding one under each sword every 4 months), if you stop dosing the excel and change the water every two months your tank should grow good but slowly with no algea problems. The weekly water changes are for heavily planted tanks, that get ferts dosed daily (EI method) and have pressurized CO2. Be patient and try my suggestion and you can still clean your tank glass, etc. and let your filter clean it up.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 05:29 PM
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Most tanks will get a little algea on the glass, I clean my glass weekly with a scraper and magfloat.


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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 08:37 PM
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I'm not sure I would call 108 watts of T5 HO over an 80gal low light, medium maybe. Also you cannot have too much CO2 because you are not adding CO2. I don't think every other month water changes are a good idea especially if overstocked.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 09:43 PM
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If your tank is overstocked then the poop might provide enough nitrogen and phosphorus but the plants still need potassium and micros. Feed the plants!

If the glass algae is in small round hard spots then you might be better off with more phosphate.

Now that I have a python and water changes are easy I would never not do a weekly change but I understand some low tech tanks are better if water changes aren't done often. With all that light you aren't in the low tech realm and even DIY CO2 might not provide enough carbon let alone the Excel's carbon.

I would shade the lights [put a layer or two of window screen between the lights and the tank] or raise them, feed the plants potassium and micros and research the water change thing. If you have green spot algae then the plants probably do need phosphorus, check the nitrate level to see if you need to add that as well, I doubt it if your tank is heavily stocked.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 09:57 PM
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You add CO2 in water changes, read any low tech tank setup guide, hence the pearling, then you don't have ant to the next water change and the plants don't respond well to this on again off again practice.


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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 03:51 AM
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At most that 80 gallon bowfront tank is 24 inches high. At 24 inches a 2 T5HO bulb light should give you about 90 mms of PAR, possibly a bit less if the reflector(s) isn't very good. So, you have too much light to do without CO2 successfully. Excel is better than nothing, but not with that much light. I agree with Kathyy - even one layer of Home Depot fiberglass "insect screen" would drop the light level enough to at least give you a better chance for success.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150EH View Post
You add CO2 in water changes, read any low tech tank setup guide, hence the pearling, then you don't have ant to the next water change and the plants don't respond well to this on again off again practice.
I have to disagree that added water to the tank causes pearling due to adding CO2. I think it is actually due to saturation of O2 in the water. When I add water to my tank my pH climbs up (less CO2 concentration than in the tank water) and I still get excessive pearling for a day or so.

If you learn anything from this forum it is that you should always (might be some exceptions but I've never seen them) follow the advice from Hoppy.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 04:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the advices. I'm also using Flourish Supplement for the Planted Aquarium 0.07-0.01-0.37 (1.5 cap once a week) and Flourish Potassium 0-0-5 (2.5 caps twice a week) as I was advised in Big Al's. Should I continue to use them?
BTW, my lights are raised about 5 inches from the aquarium surface covered with glass lid (because of the balas), so as my bowfront is 24" height, it's in total about 27" from the substrate. The reflector is double Hagen.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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I thought maybe I should add another filter, I have two Fluval 305, is it enough for my set up? I have the possibility to add another Eheim 2026.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 03:27 PM
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I assume the light is the Hagen Glo light, which I believe I recall someone posting PAR numbers on, indicating that the reflector isn't particularly good. With the light 27 inches from the substrate you probably have medium light intensity. But, your plants don't need that much light, so you could afford to use a layer of screen to reduce that down to low light.

Your algae may be about what is typical, even for a very well "balanced" aquarium. You do have to do weekly cleaning of the glass to avoid a slow buildup of biofilm and/or algae. And, you need to keep dead or dying leaves removed, and don't over feed, to avoid possible green water problems. I don't think you are far from having it set up just right for the plants you have.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

Last edited by dgrinb; 06-09-2011 at 03:08 PM.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2011, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, the water is almost clear now!! I raised the lights, now they're 5" over the lid, changed the bulbs to Life-Glo instead of Super-Glo and running them for 3 hours a day. I fed the fish just once a day instead of twice, so the cloudiness almost got away!!
For now I stopped dosing Excel, potassium and micro, trying to keep it low tech.
Thanks a lot guys for the help!!!
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