CO2 or Not? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 or Not?

hi Everybody,

Few days ago I started to setup a planted 5G aquarium. First I was thinking about going without CO2, but now started to think about adding CO2. Want to understand what would be disadvantages, well of course except for the extra cost.

Also, which types of CO2 system/equipment would work best? Assuming I have 5g tank, will have it planted heavily, put a snail, shrimp and maybe a betta fish there.

Thanks,
Ruben
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 10:20 AM
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You could experiment with a DIY system to see what difference it makes before you spend a lot of $$ on a tank system.

I've been using a http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DI1W4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 for the co2 diffuser and it seems to work. The bubbles get smaller and smaller as they get to the top of the ladder. It takes awhile for the plastic to get waterlogged and work properly.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 01:02 PM
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Hi Ruben,

May I ask why you are wanting to supplement with CO2? Is it because of the plant type you want to use? You want fast growth? etc

With such a small body of water, I would normally suggest you deal with the carbon needs of the plants by either frequent water changes or keeping it low light and using something like Excel liquid.

If you do want to supplement, you can go DIY or a purchase small paintball canister CO2 kit like the one Fluval puts out.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 01:28 PM
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Using CO2

Hello rub...

A CO2 system is tricky to set up and expensive to run. It's not worth the time and expense unless you're dedicated to keeping plants that demand strong lighting. A tiny tank like a 5G will be challenging enough just to keep the water clean enough to support even one fish.

You'll give yourself the best chance for success if you go with a larger tank, say 20 to 30 gallons and keep things simple by going with undemanding plants like Anubias, Java fern and Amazon swords. These need no special lighting and use the fertilizers the fish produce.

Your call.

B

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
hi Everybody,

Few days ago I started to setup a planted 5G aquarium. First I was thinking about going without CO2, but now started to think about adding CO2. Want to understand what would be disadvantages, well of course except for the extra cost.

Also, which types of CO2 system/equipment would work best? Assuming I have 5g tank, will have it planted heavily, put a snail, shrimp and maybe a betta fish there.

Thanks,
Ruben
A diy setup can be time consuming and work especially if you do the yeast method of co2. Baking soda and citric acid or vinegar is a bit easier. That method creates co2 immediately. The easiest way is pressurized co2. A *single stage co2 regulator, a precise needle valve and a 10lb co2 tank plus a way to create and deliver teensy weensy bubbles into the water column. Some people use a piece of bamboo skewer stuck into the co2 delivery tube and into a Powerhead's water pump port. You could also use a co2 diffuser see Google Images. Such a system even when left running all the time will last years with a 10 lb co2 tank on such a small tank. I use a 20 lb co2 tank system on my 47 gallon tank and it lasts for a few years. You do not need a solenoid on/off valve. Once I dial in the co2 that's it until I need to replace the co2 tank. My tank is very heavily planted.

*Victor CGA 320 regulator. Cost $90. Got it from a welding supply store. With a Fabco NV-55 needle valve http://www.fabco-air.com/products/fl.../NV-55-18.html


The easiest of all methods is the Diane Walstad method.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argus View Post
You could experiment with a DIY system to see what difference it makes before you spend a lot of $$ on a tank system.

I've been using a hagen ladder for the co2 diffuser and it seems to work. The bubbles get smaller and smaller as they get to the top of the ladder. It takes awhile for the plastic to get waterlogged and work properly.
Hi Argus, I'm bit sceptical about DIY system since I'm new to this, and that would be another variable which I can do wrong. I'd rather go with a manufactured solution, and when I learn how this all works I might go with DIY. Also my tank is small (5g) and I home that it would not break the wallet.

What is the purpose of the bubble counter you mentioned above?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiArt View Post
Hi Ruben,

May I ask why you are wanting to supplement with CO2? Is it because of the plant type you want to use? You want fast growth? etc

With such a small body of water, I would normally suggest you deal with the carbon needs of the plants by either frequent water changes or keeping it low light and using something like Excel liquid.

If you do want to supplement, you can go DIY or a purchase small paintball canister CO2 kit like the one Fluval puts out.
Hi MiamiArt, well some of plants I have and would want to have are high light demanding, and also I would want to see results sooner Also I think when plants grow to a certain level I would be able to reduce/remove the CO2 source when I would not need fast groth anymore. Is that correct? I'm already added daily doses of Excel, but there are some contradicting sources. Some of them say that Excel works and some say - doesn't.

Are you referring to following kits:
"http://www.amazon.com/Fluval-Mini-Pressurized-20g-CO2-Kit/dp/B0049RL3H4/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1442775291&sr=1-1&keywords=fluval+co2+kit and
"http://www.amazon.com/Fluval-Pressurized-88g-CO2-Kit-Ounces/dp/B004G44ZQQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1442775291&sr=1-2&keywords=fluval+co2+kit?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello rub...

A CO2 system is tricky to set up and expensive to run. It's not worth the time and expense unless you're dedicated to keeping plants that demand strong lighting. A tiny tank like a 5G will be challenging enough just to keep the water clean enough to support even one fish.

You'll give yourself the best chance for success if you go with a larger tank, say 20 to 30 gallons and keep things simple by going with undemanding plants like Anubias, Java fern and Amazon swords. These need no special lighting and use the fertilizers the fish produce.

Your call.

B
hi BBradbury, could you elaborate on this more? How is the CO2 related to water cleanness? I'm using a canister filter which seems to be able to clean the water fairly quickly at this point.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
A diy setup can be time consuming and work especially if you do the yeast method of co2. Baking soda and citric acid or vinegar is a bit easier. That method creates co2 immediately. The easiest way is pressurized co2. A *single stage co2 regulator, a precise needle valve and a 10lb co2 tank plus a way to create and deliver teensy weensy bubbles into the water column. Some people use a piece of bamboo skewer stuck into the co2 delivery tube and into a Powerhead's water pump port. You could also use a co2 diffuser see Google Images. Such a system even when left running all the time will last years with a 10 lb co2 tank on such a small tank. I use a 20 lb co2 tank system on my 47 gallon tank and it lasts for a few years. You do not need a solenoid on/off valve. Once I dial in the co2 that's it until I need to replace the co2 tank. My tank is very heavily planted.

*Victor CGA 320 regulator. Cost $90. Got it from a welding supply store. With a Fabco NV-55 needle valve http://www.fabco-air.com/products/fl.../NV-55-18.html


The easiest of all methods is the Diane Walstad method.
hi Steve. Well, that size of a CO2 tank would be overkill for my tiny aquarium, isn't it?

I've also noticed CO2 tablets in the market. Do they work? I'm just thinking to boost the plant growth for initial period and then will see how it works.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
Hi Argus, I'm bit sceptical about DIY system since I'm new to this, and that would be another variable which I can do wrong. I'd rather go with a manufactured solution, and when I learn how this all works I might go with DIY. Also my tank is small (5g) and I home that it would not break the wallet.

What is the purpose of the bubble counter you mentioned above?
The bubble counter (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DI1W4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00) increases the amount of time a bubble is exposed to the water; so more time for the water to absorb the CO2. You can also use a http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0058XWDFO/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3PLVG7DWQRTFR&coliid=I10L4HZZYVLO36 to reduce the size of the bubbles—more surface area per volume of gas. However, I have no experience with them.

IMO, the DIY method is fairly simple, just water, sugar, bakers yeast. Equipment I use:
  • 1 gal. apple juice bottle for yeast generator.
  • 1/2 gal. apple juice bottle for the hooka
  • http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B007PGE2IS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3PLVG7DWQRTFR&coliid=I2MAPMGRN25T2Y(silicone is best)
  • http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MJSUIEE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00
  • hagen ladder

If you want to reduce the CO2 at night you can add a http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TA7BTRC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00 to the airline tubing.

I drilled a hole in the top of the apple juice bottle that was smaller than the airline tubing and pulled the tubing through with pliers. This formed a good seal. You can also use http://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0006O5S70/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3PLVG7DWQRTFR&coliid=I331HNERNTGT06 for model airplanes.

The biggest downside is you need to change the replace the sugar water & yeast about every 10-14 days. Upside is this is all very inexpensive and easy to do. I expect that setting up a commercial tank system is at least as complicated.

Last edited by Argus; 09-20-2015 at 10:29 PM. Reason: added info
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-20-2015, 10:33 PM
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Using CO2

Hello again rub...

The answer is really simple. In poorer water conditions your aquatic plants aren't as healthy as they are in a tank that gets a lot of fresh water weekly. The process of taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen doesn't work as well because they need a constant source of minerals from new water. Water that constantly runs through a filter loses minerals.

Filters do a very poor job of keeping the water clean. They just take in toxic water and return the same water a little less toxic. Remove and replace a lot of tank water and do it often and your plants will be healthier.

I said a 5G tank is a challenge to keep because there's not enough water in it to dilute wastes. A small tank will need a 50 percent water change every 2 to 3 days.

B

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rubenhak View Post
Hi Argus, I'm bit sceptical about DIY system since I'm new to this, and that would be another variable which I can do wrong. I'd rather go with a manufactured solution, and when I learn how this all works I might go with DIY. Also my tank is small (5g) and I home that it would not break the wallet.

What is the purpose of the bubble counter you mentioned above?



Hi MiamiArt, well some of plants I have and would want to have are high light demanding, and also I would want to see results sooner Also I think when plants grow to a certain level I would be able to reduce/remove the CO2 source when I would not need fast groth anymore. Is that correct? I'm already added daily doses of Excel, but there are some contradicting sources. Some of them say that Excel works and some say - doesn't.

Are you referring to following kits:
Fluval-Mini-Pressurized-20g-CO2-Kit and
Fluval-Pressurized-88g-CO2-Kit-Ounces?




hi BBradbury, could you elaborate on this more? How is the CO2 related to water cleanness? I'm using a canister filter which seems to be able to clean the water fairly quickly at this point.






hi Steve. Well, that size of a CO2 tank would be overkill for my tiny aquarium, isn't it?

I've also noticed CO2 tablets in the market. Do they work? I'm just thinking to boost the plant growth for initial period and then will see how it works.
A ten lb, even a 20lb tank isn't. It just a tank. The bigger it is means fewer changes. I've got many decades behind me. I first started with DIY baking soda and vinegar. Then went to pressurized. I would never go back to DIY. much less work with pressurized co2. So ask yourself this. Would you want to fiddle with changing a DIY method every few weeks or so or go a few years between tank changes? Don't seriously consider co2 tablets. One key to success is consistency which a pressurized system offers.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 05:11 AM
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The point I was trying to make was that a DIY yeast system would allow one see what the effects of CO2 would be on the tank w/o spending much $$. A tank and regulator system is a pretty expensive thing to buy just to try it out. As some have mentioned, CO2 might be a very bad idea for 5g.
g4search and g4search like this.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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Argus, thanks for the complete DIY instructions. I think for now I will just hold from adding any additional CO2 sources. I will let the aquarium to cycle first so that i can add some fishes first. Then will decide on the CO2. For me the pressurized system looks more appealing since I do not have much space at the aquarium to put a large canister for CO2 source and I would be able to successfully hide the pressurized tank.

BBradbury, Steve001, got it. I was just thinking that smaller tank produces smaller amount of waste
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 06:18 AM
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CO2 might be a very bad idea for 5g.
I beg to differ. Below is a pic of my old 5 gallon tank using injected C02. It was pumping close to 3 BPS using an Aquatek Mini Regulator and a 24oz C02 paintball tank.

You'll never get that much growth with DIY C02. C02 is a key component in a planted tank. If you can't provide non-limiting amounts then you will never get your plants to grow properly regardless of how much light or ferts you put in the tank.



Bump:


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Last edited by PortalMasteryRy; 09-21-2015 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Typoe
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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I beg to differ. Below is a pic of my old 5 gallon tank using injected C02. It was pumping close to 3 BPS using an Aquatek Mini Regulator and a 24oz C02 paintball tank.

You'll never get that much growth with DIY C02. C02 is a key component in a planted tank. If you can't provide non-limiting amounts then you will never get your plants to grow properly regardless of how much light or ferts you put in the tank.



Bump:
This 5 gallon babe looks great!!! How long does the 24oz CO2 tank last for the 5 gallons? I guess you used Fluval Ceramic 88g diffuser with the Aquatek Mini Regulator, is that correct? How it work well? Also, how would you compare your setup with the stock "Fluval Pressurized 88g-CO2 Kit - 3.1Oz" ?

Thanks!
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 08:21 AM
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The 24oz tank is only good for 3 months. I was using the fluval ceramic diffuser. I would purchase a bigger diffuser since you want to make sure you get smaller bubbles since the c02 gas only has only has contact with the water for a small amount of time before it reaches the surface and possibly gas out. 3.10 oz of gas is not a lot and I only would recommend the 24 oz. 2.5 lbs/5 lbs C02 tank with a regular regulator if you are serious with using injected c02.

One tip is do not put any hardscape. 5g is a very small tank and you would want as much space as you can get.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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The 24oz tank is only good for 3 months. I was using the fluval ceramic diffuser. I would purchase a bigger diffuser since you want to make sure you get smaller bubbles since the c02 gas only has only has contact with the water for a small amount of time before it reaches the surface and possibly gas out. 3.10 oz of gas is not a lot and I only would recommend the 24 oz. 2.5 lbs/5 lbs C02 tank with a regular regulator if you are serious with using injected c02.

One tip is do not put any hardscape. 5g is a very small tank and you would want as much space as you can get.
Are you familiar with "Rhinox 1000"? Is it large enough for 5 gallons? Also can you comment on this bubble counter "Fluval 88g-CO2 Bubble Counter"?

This is how my aquarium looks right now. Is this considered too much hardscaping? There is still lots of space available. Planning to add more plants.


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