Beginner Low-Tech-ish Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner Low-Tech-ish Questions

Hey there!

I'm not new to aquaria in general, but it's been decades since I kept a freshwater, and this will be my first foray into planted tanks.

I'm going to be starting up a Walstadt tank in my cleaned out old coral tank, but I do eventually want to try CO2 injectors, because I love carpets and I want a lush, beautiful one someday.

- Does anyone have an ABSOLUTE BEGINNER guide to CO2 systems? I don't know why but I've had trouble understanding the stuff I look up online. I mean like, a Baby's First or Complete Idiot's Guide to understanding and setting up CO2 injectors.

I swear I'm not stupid. I don't know what it is about this specific subject that's makes it so difficult for me.

- I'm looking to make pieces for my hardscape myself, but keep running into conflicting info- is food-safe resin also safe for aquariums?

- My only other question is, what fertilizers are safe for bettas?

Thanks so much for your time!

Last edited by UnicornBlood; 03-15-2019 at 04:45 PM. Reason: New Question I Forgot to Ask
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-15-2019, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by UnicornBlood View Post
Hey there!

I'm not new to aquaria in general, but it's been decades since I kept a freshwater, and this will be my first foray into planted tanks.

I'm going to be starting up a Walstadt tank in my cleaned out old coral tank, but I do eventually want to try CO2 injectors, because I love carpets and I want a lush, beautiful one someday.

Does anyone have an ABSOLUTE BEGINNER guide to CO2 systems? I don't know why but I've had trouble understanding the stuff I look up online. I mean like, a Baby's First or Complete Idiot's Guide to understanding and setting up CO2 injectors.

I swear I'm not stupid. I don't know what it is about this specific subject that's makes it so difficult for me.

My only other question is, what fertilizers are safe for bettas?

Thanks so much for your time!

There are a few guides lurking around, but they really are not too hard to understand.

Buy a quality regulator - One with good reviews, do some research on that model, typically I will recommend the highest quality regulator allowable in your budget. Many will come with bubble counters and solenoids which is good.
Buy a 5lb - 20lb tank, go used or new but make sure it is up to date certified, or better yet find a company that takes a deposit on tanks and you simply swap the empty one for a full one.

Those are the main aspects you'll need. Next you will have to determine how you want to get CO2 gas into Liquid water. If you are running a canister filter I will recommend a simple DIY reactor such as an inline Griggs reactor or an inline Cerges reactor. Simple and cheap to build, tons of tutorials online, or ask around on this forum. If you have a canister filter, you can use an inline atomizer, however I had heard of these clogging and failing or making the output water look like fizzy soda water. You can also use an in-tank diffuser without issues.

Use enough CO2 to get a full 1.0 drop in pH. By this, I mean measure pH with 0 CO2 added. Then, begin injecting CO2 for the day, and measure the pH again when CO2 is at it's max concentration - some time mid / end of the photoperiod - the pH should drop a full 1.0, you can even push that to a 1.2 - 1.3 drop.

If you have a large tank and you end up using CO2 faster than you can count bubbles in a bubble counter, look up Dwyer RMA flow meters, and do some searching on this forum for people who use them. It's a good investment.

Lastly, you'll need a way to control the solenoid - A simple wall socket timer will work. Have CO2 turn on 1-2 hours BEFORE the lights come on, so as the ensure CO2 is @ max concentration (a full 1.0 drop in pH) by the time the lights come on. Have the CO2 shut off 1 hour - half an hour before the lights shut off. Maybe consider running an airstone at night to replenish the water with plenty of oxygen.


Any fertilizers aquarium related are safe for bettas when used at correct levels.
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