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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-21-2003, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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i'm setting up a planted tank and have a few questions.... i really want to get this right first time.

1, how effective is DIY co2? i was thinking fo getting a computerised controller, but these are quite expensive in the UK. i have a few options A, fully automated ph controller £269 B, pressurised co2 with night time shut off £159 C, diy co2 £50 max.

which is best value in terms of what it offers for my plants?

2, i have a couple of the amano books, but wondered if anyone could reccomend a site to help identify types of plants. i know the common ones, but see many that i don't know what .

3, is high turnover a problem if you don't agitate the surface or introduce air into the water? the reason i ask is that i have two eheim 2026 filters spare and would like to use them both - i want super crystal clear water. the tank is 180 litres. i was going to use them with the spray bar mounted vertically and the holes facing the glass. is this OK?

4, the tank i want comes with two tubes fitted as standard, i intend to use triton tubes fitted with aluminium reflectors. is this enough light? the tank is 40cm deep.

5, is it a big problem not to use fertilliser in the subsrtate? i will be moving in around 18 months to 2 years, and having moved with tanks before i know the hassle, the thought of all the mess caused by laterite when stripping the tank is the stuff of nightmares. will liquid fertiliser and root tabs be enough???

thank you in advance for your help.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-21-2003, 11:49 PM
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1: DIY on a tank the size of your tank is problematic at best. You would be best to go with option B IMHO.

2: Look in the Plant Database here and at other forums.

3: That might be a bit much on the water volume. You will be pumping 10X your tank volume every hour. You might have a problem with the plants laying flat on the gravel no matter how you orient the spray bars.

4: Nope. Not a chance. I don't know the length of the tubes but the max amount of light you could be getting with 4' bulbs would be 80 watts. That's 2 wpg. You can grow some plants with that light but there are many more you can't. If the tank is 3' long then you will only have 60 watts which is 1.5 wpg which will really limit your plant selection.

5: I only use root tabs under heavy root feeders. If you mean laterlite then for now you could go without and and then put it down when you move.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2003, 04:37 AM
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Just to add some more thoughts to all of the good info Rex has given:

1) CO2 is CO2, if it comes out of a shiny or rusted metal bottle, or out of a blubbering plastic soda bottle. Both ways can supply CO2 for your plants. The real difference is in the startup cost (DIY probably even less than you mentioned), and the continuous maintenance. If you have the money, and don't see much joy in mixing sugar water yeast every two weeks, you will be better off with pressurized CO2. If you have very soft water (low kH) an automated controller will give you peace of mind and stability in your tank.

Also, for a tank with about 2 Watt/gal, you you will need less CO2 than say 4 Watt/gal, so DIY still is a viable option.

2) Robert from AB has mentioned a few good books in this thread https://www.plantedtank.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3956. One way to start learning is to look at all the pictures at online vendors sites. This would give you at least a general understanding and the ability to differentiate between a sword and a vallisneria.

3) You might want to start out with one of them, and when the plant density has reached jungle character, add the second filter. I noticed that in my tank, in the beginning the XP3 was enough filtration and water movement, while now it is not sufficent anymore.

4) If those bulbs are two 40 (t12) or 32 (t8) watters (just guessing) and you have good reflectors this should allow you to grow a wide variety of plants. If you have a basic understanding of fluorescents and electricity, you could get another ballast and "overdrive" them which results in about 50% more light output.

Good luck with your tank...


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2003, 12:17 PM
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I did not notice the projected startup costs for DIY. If it costs you more than £10 you need to either move out of that country or check into your shopping habits. All you need is sugar, yeast, a bottle, tubing, and a method of dissolving the CO2 in the water. The diffuser is the most expensive part and costs around $10.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2003, 12:21 PM
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Yeah if you buy anything, buy a difuser...
Currently saving another few cents using brown sugar... CO2 rate so fast, using only 1 bottle now

At worst your not gonna get a deposit return for a cooldrink bottle or two... Unless you wanna do one of those inline catalysor thingies some guys have, but if you an afford the pump to drive that properly you can affor a difusor.

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Hi. I'm back.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2003, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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thanx very much.
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