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Excel needs to be dosed daily. Have you seen the little kits on Amazon for DIY CO2? It hooks up 2 - 2 liter bottles and has an adjustment valve and pressure gauge.. it's like $14... you could also use a little Hagen Elite mini filter that costs about $15 to disperse the C02. You would need to mix up a new batch of yeast / sugar every 2 weeks or so. After years of low tech struggle I finally came to the realization that C02 saves alot of heart ache and frustration as well as plant costs...
It's rare to see a good amount of success with new tanks without C02.. and they will never be as lush or "grown in" looking as CO2 enhanced tanks. You will be MUCH happier with a little C02. Mix up a batch and you're done for 2 weeks...
The tank looks promising!
 

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shawnwaldon;10 484554 said:
Thank you for the suggestion. My wife is the one that takes care of the daily tank maintenance. We will be investing in a co2 system in a couple months though, but no DIY setup. My wife is putting up with it for now, but doesn't want to continue doing it for a long time so I need to make sure the tank is as automated as possible. My plan is to get an aquarium controller for a reef tank and get things set up to be a really low maintenance tank.

This is my first time dealing with a carpet plant so some advice would be appreciated.
Monte Carlo makes a great carpet, but you have to plant it right. I broke it up into as small of pieces as I could and planted them one by one in the area that I wanted to carpet. No chunks or big groupings. When you plant it right you should see very little Monte Carlo. It will begin to sprout up in a few days. It must be periodically trimmed back or the parts on the bottom that become grown over will start to brown and rot. You really should take out all those masses and set aside a few hours to do it right otherwise it will never grow in the way you want it.
 

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It looks fantastic! That's really going to look great as it fills in. You managed to skip over the initial algae / diatom outbreak as well! You mentioned dosing in another post. What are you dosing? Nitrate at 20ppm is pretty much perfect for a planted tank unless you have fish super sensitive to it.
 
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