CO2 vs lighting? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-18-2010, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 vs lighting?

Which one is more important?


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-18-2010, 11:15 PM
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My vote is for neither. Ferts, co2, and lights are all equally important. Finding the balance of all 3 is what we should be aiming for.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-18-2010, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nokturnalkid View Post
My vote is for neither. Ferts, co2, and lights are all equally important. Finding the balance of all 3 is what we should be aiming for.

i agree.

however... i wouldnt upgrade my lights without having co2 first.
so if you are trying to figure out which to get first. i say co2
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-18-2010, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by timwag2001 View Post
i agree.

however... i wouldnt upgrade my lights without having co2 first.
so if you are trying to figure out which to get first. i say co2
+1
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-18-2010, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammyman View Post
Which one is more important?
That's difficult to answer simply because the more light you have, the more CO2 the plants need for optimum growth and the more ferts the plants will be able to utilize.

Light and CO2 go hand in hand. If you have low light, then CO2 isn't as much of a concern and neither are the ferts. However, if you have high light and low CO2 and adequate ferts, the plants will still grow, but you've hit that situation where... so will algae. The 'balance' that has been referred to has as much to do with growing your plants as it does with growing your plants, without growing too much algae. Nothing worse than having an aquarium stocked with beautiful plants... smothered in algae.

Your question is better asked: What lighting should I get if I intend to use _________ for CO2?.. or not use CO2 at all?

The answer will depend on what you intend to do for CO2. While you can buy a brighter light and put it further above the aquarium to reduce the light, how far above will really depend on the wattage, the reflector used behind the light, and even the bulb type. There are a lot of variables here to consider to strike that balance..but generally, the advice given here will be based on your wattage vs. your intent to inject CO2/not inject CO2 and the method you employ.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 01:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timwag2001 View Post
i agree.

however... i wouldnt upgrade my lights without having co2 first.
so if you are trying to figure out which to get first. i say co2
+2

Co2 will only help no matter what type of light you have.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 01:08 AM
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Depends of the goal you are trying achieve, most planted hobbyists want what a low light/rich CO2 yields.
This maximizes the light you add. Want more growth? Add CO2 first, then later, if that's not fast enough for ya, then and only then do you add more light intensity.

A good understanding of the relationship BTW the 2;

http://www.tropica.com/advising/tech...and-light.aspx

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 03:39 PM
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There is a minimum amount of light that you need before even the best CO2 system will help. Once you get above that, then CO2 is the best investment for an enjoyable planted aquarium. Years ago, when the only lights easily available were T12 fluorescent lights, the main struggle was getting enough of those bulbs over the tank to get above that minimum light requirement. That led planted tank enthusiasts to be obsessed with getting more light. Then, when PC lights became easily available, people started using more light than they really needed, and CO2 became essential to avoid growing mostly algae. Now that we can use T5HO lighting, far too many of us are still obsessed with getting more and more light, and we can end up with so much light that keeping enough CO2 in the water without killing all of the fish becomes a full time job - not a hobby, but a job.

A hobby is supposed to be fun. And, it is when you use only enough light, so that the you can grow all of the plants you want to grow, and have a pressurized CO2 system to keep them supplied with adequate carbon for optimum growth.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 03:53 PM
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 03:59 PM
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I feel that light is most important. You can have a tank with no co2, &/or no ferts. I do not think you will get far with a tank with no light at all.

Also light dictates how much of the other 2 you may or may not "need". Light ultimately is the deciding factor of everything else, correct?

(In the beginning, there was light...)
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-19-2010, 11:39 PM
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Until I had that old 15 watt fluorescent tube over my 20 gallon tank 30 years ago I could not grow plants. Under a standard incandescent fixture they faded away. With it I kept an apon and a crypt alive for 4 years. Not thriving but alive.

I vote for light.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 01:33 AM
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It is a three legged stool.

Cut off any one leg, and the stool will fall over.

Cut one short, or make them all different lengths and the stool may stand, but not very well.

When all three legs of the stool are pretty close to the same length the stool works the best.

When light, CO2 and ferts are balanced things work best.

There is not one that is more important than another. Plants need all three to thrive.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 01:36 AM
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awesome analogy!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Plants need all three to thrive.
I guess I was looking at it in a more "If I had to chose one" kinda way. Like what it would take to sustain or survive vs thrive.
Of course they're all important, & work "best" in proper proportions, but light is the only one you can't do without. Which in my mind would make it most important.

Maybe I'm taking the question too far?
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 02:37 PM
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CO2 vs lighting?

Too much light without the others will produce a lot of algae. There will be more light than the plants can use with the other factors limited.

Something will use that energy - algae.

Of course the answer on what to upgrade first depends on what is most lacking now. Co2 and fertz you can adjust, light you're stuck with except to reduce photoperiod, if you don't mind a dark tank much of the day.

I'd say add some fertz and see what happens. Many low-light, low-tech tanks exist with great growth. Great growth does not mean fast. All require some nutrients, so maybe that's your first change.


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