I definately dont want to buy a whole new light fixture if what i have can work.
There is lots of talk about t5 lights in the lighting forum. You should be able to find info there to tell you whether you need to choose plants that require low, medium, or bright light.
And the c02 thing i keep researching but all the info is so vague. People reccomend a certain product but gove no reasons. And as far as valves and all these other fancy terms im lost haha. I guess ill have to really break down what a good c02 system is comprised of. I just want something i can set and forget aside from changing out cartridges
For proper plant growth you need to balance light, CO2, and nutrients. You will be limited by the weakest link. Nutrients are easy to adjust. CO2 should be adjusted to match the light levels. If your t5 lamps provide low light levels there may be no point in going with pressurized CO2. You could use a liquid carbon source such as http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EUE6SC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00. Liquid is a less efficient carbon source than pressurized CO2, but good enough for low light levels.
If you want a CO2 system to set and forget, figure on spending $400-500 on a GLA system
. That is what I ended up doing. Read the reviews for various different brands and models. Low-end brands had about 50% of reviews that had some complaint. CO2Art only had a few complaints, and some might have been user error. I found nothing but raves for GLA.
This site has some useful articles:
How to build a CO2 regulator
The main components of a CO2 system are:
- Tank - the larger the tank, the less hassle. 10 lb. is a good size.
- Regulator - the heart of the system. Controls pressure.
- Solenoid - will turn CO2 off and on. For use with a timer or pH regulator.
- Needle Valve - controls bubble rate.
- pH Regulator (optional) - I didn't think it necessary. A timer works well.
- Check Valve - prevents aquarium water from getting into the regulator.
- Tubing - needs to hold pressure well and hold CO2.
- Diffuser - in-tank or inline with canister filter. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HH5AWVI?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_2&smid=A22Q0QY5OHFW08. So far so good. Seems very effective.