CO2 for Low Light tanks? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 for Low Light tanks?

Just read a thread / post (by BugMan) that stated
Quote:
Co2 is beneficial to plants no matter what the light level.
Sounds like a statement that I would agree with.

Assuming one already has the equipment and the only cost is the CO2 refills, cost would not be an issue.

Anyone have ideas about any negative effects of CO2 in low light tanks?

Anyone using pressurized CO2 in this application...what benefits or issues have you seen?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 04:55 AM
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I'd suggest that if you do go low tech, you stay low tech completely. It depends on how much light you have over your tank, surface aggitation is probably significant enough. Also depends on what kind of plant. Based on light and what kind of plants, it might not even be worth it.

If you do want CO2, I'd go excel.

I sort of regretted adding pressurized CO2 to my tank, it sorta shifted my low tech intended tank into a not so low tech and I got into planted tanks again and due to my lack of time and devotion, it blew up in my face again.

So my personal advice is that, if you really want to stay low tech, stay low tech. If you inject CO2 and you got enough light slightly around the higher end of the low light levels, you'll have to add ferts. I'm not saying it is impossible, but I wouldn't do it again if I had to redo it. It is like you're trying to get the benefits of both worlds imo.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natty View Post
If you do want CO2, I'd go excel.
To be clear, Excel is a carbon source, not CO2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natty View Post
I sort of regretted adding pressurized CO2 to my tank, it sorta shifted my low tech intended tank into a not so low tech and I got into planted tanks again and due to my lack of time and devotion, it blew up in my face again.
Huh? You lost me on that one. LMAO

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Originally Posted by Natty View Post
So my personal advice is that, if you really want to stay low tech, stay low tech. If you inject CO2 and you got enough light slightly around the higher end of the low light levels, you'll have to add ferts. I'm not saying it is impossible, but I wouldn't do it again if I had to redo it. It is like you're trying to get the benefits of both worlds imo.
What exactly did you do Natty? You really didn't specifiy what setup you were running so that the OP has a point of refrence of what you are talking about.

It sounds to me like the OP wants to run a low tech setup and possibly inject CO2. It sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I wasn't going to comment on this thread until I read your comments since I don't have experience with low tech setups. It sounds to me like you weren't really running a low tech setup. Maybe you started changing things like light intensity or some other factors that caused you to move into the high tech realm? Some clarification on what you were doing to obtain your experience would probably be helpful to all people reading this thread so that they can get an understanding of how they might relate.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 05:42 AM
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To be clear, Excel is a carbon source, not CO2.
Yeah, I sorta worded it out incorrectly. My bad, didn't mean to try to say it is CO2, I was trying to say that instead of using pressurized CO2, he should just use excel instead sorry.


Well, my setup was only about 1.4 wpg of ah supply. It was going great until I added pressurized CO2, then my whole setup started leaning towards the high tech range and I had to start dosing ferts. I was clearly aiming for a low tech tank, but somehow ended pulling myself back to the high tech range which I didn't have time for and it blew up in my face. I definately should have lowered my wattage but instead I kept trying to stick with 1.4 ah supply (they have great reflectors and efficient lighting so it was on the higher end of the low lighting).

I'm just trying to say that if you truly want to stay low tech and not have to dose any ferts and deal with all the water changes and maintenance, then you shouldn't inject CO2 and adjust your lights instead so you don't need to. He should use excel instead if he does plan to supplement the plants with a little bit of something.

Sorry for the misunderstanding guys, I guess midterm is coming up and I'm getting a bit edgy. Thanks for telling me.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natty View Post
Well, my setup was only about 1.4 wpg of ah supply. It was going great until I added pressurized CO2, then my whole setup started leaning towards the high tech range and I had to start dosing ferts. I was clearly aiming for a low tech tank, but somehow ended pulling myself back to the high tech range which I didn't have time for and it blew up in my face. I definately should have lowered my wattage but instead I kept trying to stick with 1.4 ah supply (they have great reflectors and efficient lighting so it was on the higher end of the low lighting).
OK, now you are giving us something to work with. How big was your tank? (37 gallon with a 55W AHS fixture? How long was the tank running at 1.4 W before you added CO2? What prompted you to start fertilizing? Were you injecting CO2 at a lower rate than normal or were you just going off of a drop checker?

My point with the CO2 is that if you are running a true low light setup, you probably don't need to have your CO2 at 30 PPM whereas a high light tank does. I might be wrong with this assmption, but it makes logical sense to me.


Quote:
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I'm just trying to say that if you truly want to stay low tech and not have to dose any ferts and deal with all the water changes and maintenance, then you shouldn't inject CO2 and adjust your lights instead so you don't need to. He should instead use excel instead if he does plan to supplement the plants with a little bit of something.

Sorry for the misunderstanding guys, I guess midterm is coming up and I'm getting a bit edgy. Thanks for telling me.
I wasn't trying to attack you, but I did think that your comments requrired some explaining to put them into context. I have read about other individuals injecting CO2 with good results into their low light setups. I had not heard of someone with your type of experience. I find it interesting that your low tech setup was running in an optimal state until you injected CO2. I had not heard of this until your post, and that is why I want(ed) clarification.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
OK, now you are giving us something to work with. How big was your tank? (37 gallon with a 55W AHS fixture? How long was the tank running at 1.4 W before you added CO2? What prompted you to start fertilizing? Were you injecting CO2 at a lower rate than normal or were you just going off of a drop checker?

My point with the CO2 is that if you are running a true low light setup, you probably don't need to have your CO2 at 30 PPM whereas a high light tank does. I might be wrong with this assmption, but it makes logical sense to me.
38 gallon with 55 watts so it is about 1.44wpg. A month before adding CO2, give or take. I started ferts as a supplement since the plants started growing pretty fast, extremely fast for my 1.44wpg tank and I wanted to fill out the tank before algae set in and outcompete. So basically one thing lead to another. I started to bump up the CO2 till the drop checker stayed yellow. You're right about low light not needing 30 ppm, you just have to keep it consistant.




Quote:
I wasn't trying to attack you, but I did think that your comments requrired some explaining to put them into context. I have read about other individuals injecting CO2 with good results into their low light setups. I had not heard of someone with your type of experience. I find it interesting that your low tech setup was running in an optimal state until you injected CO2. I had not heard of this until your post, and that is why I want(ed) clarification.
Yeah I know you weren't attacking me, never said you did. You were just pointing out my errors, which is normal and actually a very good thing and I'm perfectly fine with it. You are correct in pointing it out to me and I'll never take it negatively.

Well, my point as stated above was that, depending on lighting and type of plants, it's probably not worth injecting CO2. If he needs to add any carbon supplements, excel should do the trick fine enough. Surface aggitation should be enough as it is. Just beware in injecting CO2, you might just end up crossing the line back over to high tech if you don't watch out.

I'm just saying this based on what happen with me.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 07:59 AM
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...You're right about low light not needing 30 ppm, you just have to keep it consistant.
I agree, so if you keep an approximate consistent 15 ppm or even 20 ppm and use a nutrient dense substrate such as aquasoil, you should be able to get away with little or minimal fertilization, probably less so than a high tech setup.

The problem with Excel is that if you plant to keep vals, riccia(although it has never happened to me), or elodea in your low tech tank the Excel will cause them to melt. c02 injection in a low tech tank may not be necessary and most people with low tech setups choose not to as they don't want to deal with the hassle, but i cannot see it doing harm. If you transition from high tech to low tech, then you likely would need to keep c02 injection going and throttle down slowly.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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I was sort of thinking of it more in these terms. If light drives plant growth, in that you increase the light (period and/or intensity) and plants respond with faster growth, thereby creating demand for CO2 and nutrients. Then it makes sense that at a given amount of light, you have to make sure you have the amount of CO2 and nutrients in demand. If you crank the light down to somewhere around the low end of high-tech or the high end of low-tech, you would crank down the CO2 and ferts to match the lower demand. After all, we don't all supply the same amount of light, we just have to match whatever light we have. So some are ultra high and some are probably not far from low-tech.

So here's the question, at whatever light level, is it possible to see adverse effects if your CO2 exceeds what the plants need and use? What are the problems of 30 ppm or 40 ppm CO2 in a low end light...the plants simply won't use the carbon...so what?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 03:03 PM
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You won't need 30 or 40 ppm in low light, that is simply to much
and may damage the bacteria and live stock.
Without intense light, the need for large amounts of C02 is reduced.
Light is the driving force.
C02 will always benefit plant and plant growth, without light, the need
for large/er amounts of nutrients including C02 is reduced.

Don't over complicate it

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Don't over complicate it
This got over complicated for me when I asked that guy at the Local Fish Store, "how much does that aquarium cost"?

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WfxXx View Post
You won't need 30 or 40 ppm in low light, that is simply to much
and may damage the bacteria and live stock.
Without intense light, the need for large amounts of C02 is reduced.
Light is the driving force.
C02 will always benefit plant and plant growth, without light, the need
for large/er amounts of nutrients including C02 is reduced.

Don't over complicate it
Im still new at the pressurized CO2 so bear with me because Im confused! (Which is not hard to do) If you maintain 30ppm of CO2 in a high light tank and its OK why is it not OK to have 30ppm in a low light tank? By keeping the CO2 at 30ppm , are you not providing more CO2 than the plants can use even in a high light tank?
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2009, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veloth View Post
By keeping the CO2 at 30ppm , are you not providing more CO2 than the plants can use even in a high light tank?
Yes, the plants will have more than they need.


Quote:
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If you maintain 30ppm of CO2 in a high light tank and its OK why is it not OK to have 30ppm in a low light tank?
It's is ok. You will have much more than the plants can use in the low light tank. For this reason, you can back it down (something like 15-20)... the plants will be happy and your CO2 will last longer.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 12:33 AM
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What threw me was the part about hurting the bacteria and the fish.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 12:40 AM
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Recently Tom Barr posted a link to an article about some lab testing that showed that CO2, even in low light tanks, increases the plant growth rate. I don't remember how big the increase was, but it was substantial. I think that is "proof" that in low light tanks the plants are limited by the lack of CO2. So, if the objective is to have nothing limit the growth rate except the light intensity, then adding CO2 is a good idea. And, I have never heard of CO2 harming anything until you go high enough to bother the fish. Like most of us, I suspect, I am defending my choice of how to go - I have low light and CO2.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-09-2009, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Hoppy, I think when I get my CO2 tank back tomorrow, that's what I'm going to do. I've already cut my light way back....just not sure if it's still too much. I've raised the fixture, cut the bulbs from 4 to 2 and cut the period to 8 hours.

If you don't mind, I was wondering if I could PM you in the days ahead to get your assistance as I migrate from "HIGH" light to something significantly less.

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