DIY CO2 for the Newbie setup - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-18-2013, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by danaj11 View Post
if i wanted to start a 55g tank how many diy co2 you think for it 3? Since I have only 1 diy on my 10g
I have the understanding that more than 30 gallons, DIY Co2 is not efficient.
I use 2 2L bottles for 20 gallons.... just do maths but that is a lot of bottles to renew every 2 weeks..
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post #32 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 01:06 AM
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Hey Anthony, your pic links are broken!

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- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

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post #33 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 12:38 PM
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Sorry to revive this old thread but frankly, this and your pressurized CO2 thread, are the two absolute best primers out there.

On topic, I was very interested in your explanation about how the WPG has fallen apart (not to mention LED being a completely different bag). Simple question: How does the single 13watt CP over my Fluval Flora (basically a 12" cube) rate? I'm guessing "low light". Would a second one take me up to "Medium", or would that be getting towards what would be considered "high"?
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post #34 of 37 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 07:42 PM
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i second that!

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post #35 of 37 (permalink) Old 09-07-2016, 11:34 PM
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One problem we all have when we write up a primer on a planted tank subject is that over time the "facts" are found to not be facts. Some "facts" go from "you can swear on it" to "well perhaps under some circumstances" facts. CO2 is just one more such subject.

Years ago, the old timers learned that they could improve their aquatic plant growth if they could just get more CO2 into the water. Yeast/sugar DIY CO2 soon followed, and that method is still in use because it worked for so many different people. This encouraged people to try for still better/faster plant growth by using still more light. But, that caused severe algae problems to erupt.

Then the old timers started looking for a better way to get more CO2 into the water to help avoid the algae problem. One way that was tried was dry ice - never did work well. Another (tried by Amano) was pouring carbonated water into the tank. That worked but was super expensive and a lot of extra work.

Finally pressurized CO2, using bottles of liquid CO2 as the source, was developed into the ultimate, best of all methods for using CO2. And, that opened the door to using a lot more light, making a lot more species of plants growable in our tanks. It was soon found that if you kept about 30 ppm of CO2 in the water you had an acceptable risk of killing fish, good growth of most plants, and the CO2 usage was low enough to keep the costs and labor down. So the "holy grail" of using CO2 became 30 ppm.

But, we forgot something: DIY CO2 did work, and was very effective for a lot of people, using not just 10-20 gallon tanks, but even bigger ones.

In 2002 Ole Pedersen and others, in Denmark, wrote a scientific paper about Liebig's Rule of the Minimum, including CO2 and light, which contained a lot of useful data that explained why DIY CO2 worked so well it is still in use. In 1999 and later Diana Walstad wrote her book about her method for keeping a very low tech aquarium. In that book she included some information about the role of CO2 in a natural tank. That also was a good clue about why DIY CO2 had been so successful when first tried. But, we planted tank people were still concentrating on growing ever more light demanding, CO2 demanding plants, and we ignored what all of that information should have taught us. So, the "fact" that "you can't use DIY CO2 successfully on big tanks without multiple big bottles of yeast/sugar solutions" became unquestioned, and continues to be today.

The data in the Pedersen paper was a compilation of growth rates versus light intensity and CO2 concentration, for one plant - Riccia. That data can be plotted to show that for light intensity between about 25 PAR (very low) to about 90 PAR (very high), for Riccia, it only takes about 10 ppm to get the maximum growth rate for Riccia. More than 10 ppm does not increase the growth rate!

Diana Walstad was able to improve her plant growth by the simple method of having a long dark, resting period in the middle of the photoperiod. That allowed the natural production of CO2, by the substrate, to restore the concentration of CO2 in the water, after the growing plants had depleted it. She was dealing with less than 10 ppm of CO2 maximum.

I have found that Hydrophila cormybosa simensis, a low light, fast growing plant (unlike the slow growing Riccia) will grow very much faster with DIY CO2 at a concentration of less than 10 ppm. This was done with a 65 gallon tank, with about a one bubble per second production of CO2. Other plants in the tank, including Bacopa, crypts, vals, etc. also grew much healthier and faster with that small addition of CO2. So, my experience backs up the data from Pedersen and the method used by Diana Walstad.

It is time to stop telling people that DIY CO2 is useless on big tanks. For low light tanks, 30-40 PAR light intensity, if not more, DIY CO2 from a one bottle system can be very useful on tanks at least as big as 65 gallons. There is no reason why it would not be useful on much bigger tanks.

Today we can use a citric acid/baking soda DIY system, which is controllable, unlike yeast systems, and have a very cheap, very beneficial addition for our big, low to low medium light planted tanks.

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post #36 of 37 (permalink) Old 08-22-2017, 10:43 PM
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What about an LED light? I bought a new aquarium with lights and filters incorporated into the hood. It has an LED light.

Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Lighting is an important factor in a planted aquarium. It can be analogized as follows: light is like the accelerator of a car. The more light you have, the faster you are pushing down the accelerator. The less light you have, the less you are pushing down the accelerator. When you are driving faster, you must maintain your car more often, i.e. oil changes, checking your tires, and so forth.

Similarly, in higher lighting conditions, you will be "driving" your plants faster, and they will require more maintenance (i.e. carbon dioxide, nutrients, etc).

A guideline that can be used when describing lighting is the "Watt per gallon" (WPG) guideline. This is not a rule per se, but only a guideline (for reasons that will be explained below).

Lighting can be divided into 3 general categories:

1) Low lighting (~ 1 - 1.5 WPG)
2) Medium lighting (2 WPG)
3) High lighting (3+ WPG)

Correspondingly, plants can also be divided into these 3 categories, with "low light" plants being able to tolerate low lighting conditions, and "high light" plants requiring higher lighting conditions. This does not mean that "low light" plants cannot grow in higher lighting, however.

To explain why the WPG is only a guideline, one must consider the origins of it. WPG was originally designed for T12 fluorescent bulbs (i.e. bulbs that are 1.5 inches in diameter, the number after the T indicates the diameter in eighths of an inch). However, with the advent of various types of bulbs, i.e. T8, T5, power compact (PC) lighting, this guideline has become less accurate. In addition, this guideline cannot be applied in very small (10 gallons or less) or very large (maybe 55 gallons or more (ballpark figure)).

For instance, in my 2.5 gallon aquarium, I have two 13W compact fluorescents. This gives a total of 26 watts, corresponding to just over 10 WPG. This might seem suicidal at first (remember, the amount of light drives the amount of plant growth), however, because the WPG guideline is not accurate at small tanks, it turns out my 2.5g nano may fall under the "high light" conditions only (as opposed to "suicidally high light"). If I were to follow the WPG guideline strictly, and have 3 WPG over my 2.5g nano (i.e. 7.5 watts of light), then the tank would be poorly lit, and could only fall under a "low light" setup.

Not only is the amount of lighting critical to a planted tank, but the type of lighting is also important. As mentioned, there are several types of lighting available to the aquarist today (T12, T8, T5, PC, etc). Such bulbs can sometimes be confusing the novice planted aquarist. As a general rule, T8 and T5 are newer and more efficient than the older T12 bulbs. There are two camps of thought, one which prefers PC lighting while the other prefers T5 lighting, but to argue the points of these two types would be beyond the scope of this article.

One must remember that in general, fluorescent bulbs are all subject to a phenomenon called "restrike". In restrike, light that is emitted from the bulb will "restrike" the bulb, reducing the output of effective light. In general, straight fluorescent tubes are less prone to restrike than (say) the spiral power compact bulbs that can be purchased.

For some, the "colour temperature" of the bulb will also be a consideration. Plants in general are not too picky regarding the colour temperature, and some may argue that this point is not necessary, however, I have decided to briefly touch upon this.

In "normal" daylight, the sun is 5500 Kelvin (the unit of measure for colour temperature). Higher colour temperatures will appear bluer, while lower colour temperatures will appear redder. Here are some typical colour temperatures that can be found:

2700K "warm white"
3500K "cool white"
6500K "daylight"

Do keep in mind that light is but one important factor in keeping a successful planted aquarium
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post #37 of 37 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
For a planted tank, I have written an article (on another forums) regarding some of the things you have to consider. I will simply copy and paste it here.

Edit: Comments/criticisms/replies are most welcome; I've noticed this thread has 30+ views and not one response from anyone else!

So you decided you wanted to start a planted tank, after seeing a beautiful aquascape in the AGA contests, or perhaps in one of Takashi Amano’s Nature World Aquarium books. Hopefully the guide I’m writing here will serve as a primer to jumpstart you into the world of planted aquaria.

Before starting a planted tank, you first must ask yourself: How much work (and subsequently time and money) do I want to invest into a planted tank? Beginners sometimes forget that many tanks that they see in the AGA contests or Takashi Amano's books are high maintenance tanks (i.e. require weekly pruning).

In essence, planted aquaria can take one of two forms: those that are high light tanks, and those that are low light tanks. Regardless of the type of lighting, algae can become a problem in both types of tanks if proper care and maintenance are not observed. Another question that must be asked at this point is: Do I want a low light (and hence lower maintenance (not maintenance free!)) tank, or a higher light (and thus higher maintenance) tank?

In general, there are 3 factors that are required for plant growth:

1) Light
2) Nutrients
3) Carbon dioxide

One can imagine these 3 factors like a triangle; a deficit in one or more of any of these 3 factors will result in an imbalance, allowing algae to take advantage of the situation and begin to flourish and grow.
thank you for your hard work on this one, Dark!

Last edited by somewhatshocked; 10-27-2019 at 09:03 PM. Reason: stop deleting posts
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