DIY it right for me? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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DIY it right for me?

I've really been thinking about CO2 on this tank.....but fully automatic and even semi-auto sound really.......expensive.

My tank is 46 gallons.

So, I know a lot of you guys are big on DIY CO2, and I have read the articles and threads around here on it. It seems like a great idea though. A few questions though.

Do you think I need it with only 1.8 wpg? If not, would it at least be beneficial? What about it I upgrade to 2.7 or 3.6 wpg like I will likely be doing later on? DIY still a practical option. I don't want to get the CO2 that high. Maybe 15ppm at the most.

And what about the kH and pH? Should I buffer the water change water or just leave it and not worry too much about kH?

Last one, what about turning the CO2 off at night? Is it needed?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 06:45 PM
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Don't need it. with that much light, the plants won't consume enough CO2 to use what gets replaced by surface agitation. It may be borderline, but I wouldn't feel confident if I were to say that you need it, that's for sure.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 06:52 PM
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To the OP: It appears you have some reading to do. This is an awesome website to get some info about Co2, and why you need it.

Co2 will boost growth at any light level. Often, once you exceed about two watts per gallon, you will need additional Co2, or else you'll be growing more algae than plants.

DIY Co2 is good for "medium" light conditions, and as long as you stay from 2-3 WPG it will suffice as long as you stay regular on changing mixtures. When you get into higher light applications, the steadiness of pressurized CO2 is a must. You can build an entire 10lb Co2 system for 200 USD. It's something good to start saving for.

Finally, never buffer your water. The added chemicals will do more harm than any pH swing. Also, 30 ppm of CO2 will not harm fish, so there is no reason to be scared to exceed 15 ppm. Most fish can handle much higher Co2 concentrations, let the fish and plants be your guide.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 07:34 PM
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If your plants are healthy and you don't have an algae problem, then I don't think you need to add CO2. It is true that it could help your plants grow more, but if everything is ok that just means you will have to prune them more often.

At 2.7 wpg or more, you will probably need some form of CO2. For a 46 gallon tank, you can connect 2 or 3 2L bottles of yeast mixture depending on how high you want your CO2, and swap one out every week.

For buffering, it depends on what the pH of your tank is normally. My fish need "soft and slightly acidic" water so I used distilled water mixed with a little tap water.

And as for turning your CO2 off at night, with a DIY system that is not advised but can be done with a pressurized system. I use a DIY system so I do not turn it off, but even if I could I would not since I never see my fish at the surface gasping for air before the lights come on.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-08-2008, 07:47 PM
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I'll say it simple, it never hurts to experiment with DIY CO2, even if it's just for personal knowledge more than it's effectiveness. Just be sure to take into account the scenario that plantbrain has mentioned, about inconsistent CO2 levels fooling plants into destroying the Rubisco enzyme, before you decide what to do. If you're trying for a long term, easy to deal with tank, I would personally leave it be and let it balance itself.

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