Planted 90 gallon tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Planted 90 gallon tank

Hello all. I am in the process of moving and I am going to be switching my planted 55 gallon to a planted 90 gallon tank. The current stocking is 5 electric yellow labs, 1 firemouth cichlid, and 1 bristlenose pleco. It has a ac 70 and some sort of api hob filter that came with the tank (api 75 I think?). My 90 gallon tank has a overflow and a 30 gallon sump. I was thinking of adding a school of tiger barbs (maybe 20 or so), a few more firemouth cichlids and more plecos (3 l-135 rio negro plecos are what I was thinking of getting). I know that everyone may be surprised by all of the cichlids in a planted tank but they haven’t bothered the plants at all and they look absolutely amazing in the 55.

Here are my concerns with my plan.

The 90 gallon tank is like 8” taller than the 55 and I don’t know if that change in height is going to go over well with my plants. My light is a Fluval plant light 3.0, my substrate is eco complete (with root tabs) and I dose with aquarium coop ez green, ez co2, and ez iron. Now that I’m upgrading the tank I size I was thinking it might be time to get a co2 system set up but I have no idea where to start on that.

Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 09:33 PM
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I like the attitude and it is somewhat bold but then we should challenge ourselves now and then, Nothing wrong with it as long as we do it slowly and with some thought. So my questions might involve how you feel about change if it becomes needed? Part of my doubts might involve the firemouth as they do tend to get more rough as they age and when there are several, there is a much better chance of them wanting to breed, which may/may not create some trouble. Something to look over at your fish as they go along?
All fish may act different in different settings but I found pleco to be a bit too hard on my plants, due to rasping on the leaves. Another small point to be aware of as they may work or you may want to trade them out if you begin to see spots on leaves which look thin/ transparent?
A 90 is a 75 but deeper front to back or is it same footprint and taller? If same footprint as 75, I find no major trouble getting light down to the bottom but that can also be worked around with using different plants, so another option to sort out, right?
I quickly reached a point where pressure CO2 was really needed to move further into the plant game, just to get the far better performance out of the plants. Lights are easy to get too much if we don't also move up on feeding ferts and CO2.
Pressure CO2 can be a bite on the wallet but I never felt the DIY CO2 was something for me, so bit the whole thing.
When first thinking on it, try to look at it as a collection of parts, rather than a single item, even though the ads may make you think of it as a single thing to buy.
Basic idea of a CO2 setup?
A regulator to cut the high pressure (800+PSI) down, a solenoid to act as a gate or switch to turn flow on/off and a needle valve to fine tune/adjust that flow before going through something to measure how much is passing ( bubble counter, perhaps?) and then something at the end to diffuse/mix the CO2 into the tank water.
But the complication comes in when we find that we can actually choose Cadillac or Volkswagon levels on each of the parts, I mention. There is no single Caddie version to buy off the shelf, nor a Volks option as we need to build up what level we want on each step. Study, time, effort, versus big bucks upfront, may be as good description as I can offer.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:59 PM
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I just did this research a couple of weeks back. CO2 is super confusing if you are stepping into it for the first time with no prior knowledge (or at least it was to me). Let me break it down a bit.

At the start there is DIY CO2 and Pressurized CO2. DIY involves mixing things together to create your own CO2. Most typically it is going to be yeast and sugar but it can be other things. From what I read this system is super fussy and will vary the levels of CO2 it produces depending on how old the mixture is and must be renewed at least every few weeks if not more frequently. Most people that run DIY CO2 reported that their plants didn't like the varying amounts of CO2 and eventually they break down and buy pressurized CO2. The advantage to DIY CO2 is that its super cheap, like under 50 dollars for an entire system.

Pressurized CO2 involves having a compressed gas tank near your aquarium. You then use bits and pieces of equipment and plumbing to get the CO2 from the pressurized tank into your aquarium. Its a lot more expensive but it also gives you consistent CO2 with little / no maintenance required until the tank runs low/out. Then you get the tank filled/replaced.

If you opt for the pressurized solution then you will pay money for the tank, for the co2 and for the bits and pieces to make it work. The cost here is variable based on quality and whether you buy a used regulator and screw your own bits and pieces to it to upgrade it. If you buy a used regulator and then buy bits and pieces from a place like then you are looking at around 150-200 dollars for the regulator and bits and pieces by itself. Plus cost of the pressurized tank and the co2 inside it plus whatever you want to use dissolve the co2 into your water.

Which brings me to reactors/diffusers. There are 3 main ways to dissolve co2 into water. You can use a diffuser (this is a little dongle looking thing that lives inside your aquarium and spits out lots of itty bitty bubbles). You can use a reactor (a device - usually but not always diy - that lives typically under your aquarium near your sump where water runs into a tube and co2 enters the tube as well - through water agitation and clever location of the exit pipe the co2 is dissolved before it is allowed to leave the chamber - the water continues on to the aquarium) And finally you can have an inline option. This is a mix of the first two where the co2 is typically diffused through a very small chamber on its way from your pump to your aquarium return.

No matter what you will need one of these options. You will also need to decide how much you want to spend and whether you are willing to do some DIY work such as putting together pvc plumbing parts and screwing bits of metal onto a used regulator.
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