Is CO2 worthwhile? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-04-2006, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Is CO2 worthwhile?

I have never used CO2 in my aquariums before. Before I start, I would like to ask you all is it worth it? I understand that I will be getting greater plant growth, and then I will have to provide them with extra fertilizer and also keep them in control with regular trimmings.

Yes I understand Dutch aquariums, plants predominate, too few fishes and you need the CO2. I have no questions there.

A fish dominated aquarium, you need aerators not CO2. I have no questions there either.

When you want a well planted and well stocked aquarium, the question arises.

In the aquariums I keep, I try to balance the planted area and the fish area. I partition the floor area, 2/3 to 1/2 of the rear is strictly planted. The substrata are fine sand over a bed of laterite soil.

The front of the aquarium is partitioned off from the rear with a 3Ē wall of acrylic strip. The fore ground is the fish area. 2Ē fine washed sand over the grid for the UG filter. Bog woods and caves are in this area.

1. When water, lights and base are good - Is there any plant you cannot grow without CO2?

2. Where you have an aquarium partially planted, like mine, and adequately stocked with fishes would you need to fertilise it with CO2?

My questions arise in these circumstances. Can anyone help me please?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-04-2006, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
1. When water, lights and base are good - Is there any plant you cannot grow without CO2?
Plants with low light requirements will do. But most of them are apparently slow growers so you might need CO2 if you want fast growth.
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2. Where you have an aquarium partially planted, like mine, and adequately stocked with fishes would you need to fertilise it with CO2?
CO2 from fish is never enough to accommodate all plants hence the availability of CO2.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-04-2006, 02:56 AM
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It's as bluebell says-- even the most heavily-stocked tank will not provide the CO2 necessary for aquatic plants (except perhaps the slowest growers). Especially in a well-aerated tank, CO2 will be lost rapidly.

If 2/3-1/2 of the ground space is planted with fast growers, you already have enough plants to have a heavily planted aquarium.

1. While it might be possible to grow the plants without CO2, it would be heavily recommended. Especially if you have high lighting, the plants will be especially hungry for a carbon source. Ie-- the higher the lighting, the more carbon the plants need, the more CO2 that should be injected. Remember too, that if well acclimated, fish can stand moderate CO2 levels because the plants will be rapidly producing oxygen as well.

2. 2/3 is fairly well planted, and even with 1/3, or mildly planted, CO2 would still be a good idea. If you plan to grow plants well, you need a source of Carbon. Most hobbyists use CO2 because it is the most effective and simplest. Excel could work, but it is more of a supplement. Walstad's non-CO2 method uses floating plants to absorb carbon from the air that will be released into the water. Bottom line is that the plants need Carbon somehow.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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I was reflecting on my own question when this struck me------ normally in all large bodies of water you find the plant area in patches. These patches would not deplete the CO2 at their peak photosynthesis as the large surrounding of water would form a bank for CO2 supply!!!!

In our aquarium we do not have this bank of CO2, so we must contrive something at peak times.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 05:29 AM
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essa, when investing between light or ferts or Co2
adding Co2 is the only component that is good for plants
while being especially BAD for most potential algae.
that factor alone makes it worth diffusing in your tank.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by spypet View Post
essa, when investing between light or ferts or Co2
adding Co2 is the only component that is good for plants
while being especially BAD for most potential algae.
that factor alone makes it worth diffusing in your tank.

Not sure if it's bad for algae per se, but CO2 is usually the limiting factor in plant growth in higher light tanks. The amount of fertilizers recommended is usually adequate to sustain proper plant growth in most circumstances.

Since CO2 is the limiting factor, plants won't be able to grow to their maximum potential. And if they can't do that, they won't be using the light or the fertilizers in the water column to the full potential either. This leaves excess nutrients which the algae readily soak up.

If you bump up your CO2, it's not the CO2 or carbonic acid that "kills" the algae. The reduction in algae levels is simply because plants are able to utilize that high light in conjunction with proper/higher levels of CO2 to absorb the dosed fertilizers in the water column, leaving little left for algae. Essentially, with enough CO2, plants will outcompete the algae for nutrients. This ultimately leaves the algae "starving", and thus, you see a decline in algae levels.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:36 PM
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even a low to medium light tank filled with slow-growing plants will grow better with less algae problem if you give it a little CO2 (or Excel). IMHO, it is just as hard, if not harder to maintain a no-CO2 tank as a high-light, fast-growth tank. You have to juggle a very delicate balance or things go south real quick. If it's a small tank, it's very easy to just add a small amount of Excel when feeding the fish. If it's a bigger tank, DIY CO2 will make life so much easier, even though it's a small amount of CO2 being added. Pressurized CO2 by the way, is so much more convenient, easier to control and cost-effective over the long run. I was able to put together my pressurized CO2 setup for about $150 total. I set it and forget it, until it needs a refill 4-5 months later.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:39 PM
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I concur totally. I have much more problems with my low tech tank finding a balance than with my hi-tech pressurized CO2 setup. I think the reason is that with a med-high light setup, you just dose with EI and crank the CO2 up until there is sufficient everything (or excess) and then recalibrate with a water change.

The balance in a non-CO2 low tech tank is much more delicate and easy to upset. I've been fighting that imbalance for months in my 125 gallon tank.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:05 PM
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to answer your questions......YES
your plants cannot properly utilize nutrients without that limiting factor....a carbon source. There is no need to even argue one point or another....how many pics have you seen with a tank before CO2 was added, then one after? Is it worthwhile? Most definitely!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spypet View Post
essa, when investing between light or ferts or Co2
adding Co2 is the only component that is good for plants
while being especially BAD for most potential algae.
that factor alone makes it worth diffusing in your tank.
CO2 is not bad for algae.

Please refer yourself to the nearest plant biology book. Algae benefits from additional CO2 just like plants do.

The reason additional CO2 works to 'prevent' algae is that it gives plants the advantage and allows them to out-compete the algae for tank resources.

You give out a LOT of bad advice.

Finally to the poster's question: You have to figure out what it is you want from the planted tank hobby. The answer to that question will tell you whether or not CO2 will be "worthwhile". CO2 is certainly not essential for keeping an attractive planted aquarium that is relatively algae free.

Regards,
Barry
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spypet View Post
essa, when investing between light or ferts or Co2
adding Co2 is the only component that is good for plants
while being especially BAD for most potential algae.
that factor alone makes it worth diffusing in your tank.
I get your point Spynet. I made same post to several forums with similar practical advice. At the start CO2 is the first upgrade, for it would increase the plant growth at the expense of algae. Thank you for your advice.

Good advices are made from the heart, the head only provides the knowledge not the understanding.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 01:03 PM
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BBA=low co2
GSA=low co2
staghorn=Low co2

Spynet is right ,to get rid of the algae mentioned above we must increase co2
That means 30ppm of co2 will help get rid of these algae.
Banderbe you misunderstood the answer he gave.too quick to reply .
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 05:20 PM
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CO2 won't get rid of most algae, but it will greatly reduce the probability of it returning once you clean it out. I'm not a botanist or biologist, so I don't know why that should be so, but experience certainly teaches us that it is. My guess is that algae comes because we have an awful lot of light, but more CO2 lets the plants use that light to grow at their best, and good growing healthy plants in the tank leave no openings for algae to exploit.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-10-2006, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by epicfish View Post
Since CO2 is the limiting factor, plants won't be able to grow to their maximum potential. And if they can't do that, they won't be using the light or the fertilizers in the water column to the full potential either. This leaves excess nutrients which the algae readily soak up.

If you bump up your CO2, it's not the CO2 or carbonic acid that "kills" the algae. The reduction in algae levels is simply because plants are able to utilize that high light in conjunction with proper/higher levels of CO2 to absorb the dosed fertilizers in the water column, leaving little left for algae. Essentially, with enough CO2, plants will outcompete the algae for nutrients. This ultimately leaves the algae "starving", and thus, you see a decline in algae levels.
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Originally Posted by banderbe View Post

The reason additional CO2 works to 'prevent' algae is that it gives plants the advantage and allows them to out-compete the algae for tank resources.
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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
My guess is that algae comes because we have an awful lot of light, but more CO2 lets the plants use that light to grow at their best, and good growing healthy plants in the tank leave no openings for algae to exploit.

Depending on your dosing regimen, your lights, livestock, etc...you have to determine whether CO2 is a necessity for you. For any level of lighting and fertilization, CO2 will help plants grow better and help prevent algae.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-11-2006, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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I have read all your quotes before Epicfish. Also all the recent (since my joining) posts of Hoppy on this subject. I am grateful to both of you and all the others who posted on this and similar topics to increase my understanding of the matters involved. I have come to the following conclusions:-

First you plant your aquarium heavily, apply lights for 5-8Hrs. @> 2.5 wpg, slowly increase your CO2 to <30ppm for the light period, if you want more growth add macro ferts. And micro ferts. Thatís for the planted aquarium, for mixed fish and plant aquarium underdo a little.

Ecologically it remains----- That what is good for the plants, is good for the algae, the question is who will win. I bet it is the algae if there are not sufficient numbers of plant in the aquarium.

If you have a choice, you have a problem, till you elect your choice. No choice, no problem, only consequences, learn to live with them.

Last edited by essabee; 12-11-2006 at 12:09 PM. Reason: emphasis
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