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CO2 Natural Plant System Question

920 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  KnaveTO
Hello all, glad to be part of this excellent forum :)
I have just purchased a CO2 Natural Plant System into my 20 gallon planted tank. I got this system on a recommendation by my local tank shop dudeman ( .) He told me that because my tank was so small this system would work fine in contrast to an electric CO2 injection system and gave me a walk through of how to install the unit. I got home and I began to set up my new toy; I filled the canister to the top of the first level w/ pure table sugar, added the stabilizer and Activation packs, then I filled the canister to the top of the second level w/ warm (about 68dF) tap water, and then I screwed the lid on tightly. Next I began to put the unit together; I inserted the tube into the plastic wall mount w/ the nozzle facing in as the instructions explained and connected the tubing to the canister. Lastly, I submerged the unit in the water affixing it to the tank wall and attached the canister to the back of the tank.
According to the instructions I should see bubbles either within the first 2-10 has been less than 24 and I see no bubble and I am not that worried, but based on the level of knowledge of the members on this forum I figured I would double check all of these steps and the time frame against that base of knowledge to make sure I have done everything correctly. Thanks for reading and I will becoming more active on the forum as I progress in this hobby. Below I have given a complete list of all the equipment I am using to eliminate any confusion in regards to my newly established tank.

My tank:
2feetx16inchx13inch 20 gallon tank, I have an AquaClear 50 gallon filter with the bio filter upgrade, 2 Coral Life 14 watt Colormax Full-spec T5 fluorescent lights, 1 bag of ecocomplete substrate, 1 air pump and bubble wall unit, 1 piece of drift wood that I treated for 2 weeks prior to putting it in the tank, 3 rocks, Dwarf Hairgrass (1x) Micro Sword (x2) Amazon Sword Plant (1x) Halimeda Plant (1x) Anacharis (5x) Myro Green (5x) and I am in the process of carpeting the bottom of the tank with Chain Sword Narrow and some moss. I also have 3 neon tetras, 3 black neon tetras, and 3 candycane tetras.

I conditioned the tank for 2 weeks prior to introducing the plants and fish with stress coat and stress zyme. I have also treated the water with Flourish excel, Flourish potassium, Flourish nitrogen (replaced with new CO2 unit) and Flourish Iron. I have tested the Ph (good) and the ammonium (low but not at 0 the tank is only 1 month old), tested for both types of iron (good) and I have the Phosphate test but have yet to use it (I just got it yesterday.) I have been feeding the fish twice a week and doing 30% weekly water changes after the first 2 weeks i.e. two 30% water changes so far. No algae yet. I think thats everything :help:
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Dont use what the system gave you go out and buy your own sugar and Yest..I had the same prob...
I bought my own sugar but not the yest... what amount of yest should I use?
The amount for a 2 liter is 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon, so you can half that if your container is 1 Liter, or do whatever math is necessary depending on the container's actual volume. Some believe adding too much yeast will result in the sugar being used up too quickly, I think one of the main problems with making it last is the acids that build up in the container and kill the yeast. You can slow that process by adding a small pinch of baking soda to the mix.
Hey Ease and welcome to the hobby. Unfortunately I'm afraid your setup is not a very good one for a planted tank. First of all, get rid of the air pump! It will disipate any co2 you actually manage to get in the water. You want as little surface agitation as possible, because the surface tension of the water is what keeps the high levels of co2 in the water. Remember, its much easier to evaporate co2 than to dissolve it!!!

Your filter is an excelent choice for a beginer, and for a fish only tank. But once again, power filters let the water run out on top of the water surface, hence driving off co2. What you really need, is a canister filter. The intake and return lines are both below the water surface, thus preventing surface disturbance. They aren't that expensive either, unless you buy them from your LFS. Look online, and places like BigAls or DrFosterSmith, should have good filters for around $50. Thats what I paid for my fluval 204. If you still want it to hang on the back, go for the Magnum H.O.T. But whatever your choice is, don't buy the cheapo no brand ones, do a little research and read reviews. The other thing, is get rid of the carbon from the filter as it will absorb the plant nutrients. Use it only after medications and when you need to clean the water (foul smells, etc). I hear Purigen is excelent for constant use on planted tanks.

Your lights look good, but if it was me, I would have set it up with higher intensity bulbs, like 2 foot 20watt t12's. The intensity of each bulb is at stake here, since adding them will not improve each bulb's power, only their total wattage. But what you got will probably work great.

The dudes at your LFS probably don't know much, and do you really want to listen to an opinion from someone who's trying to sell it to you? Yes, the co2 system would probably be sufficient for your tank, but you could've done it better yourself. All it takes is a large juice bottle (like apple and eve apple juice), and a hole in the cap that you pull some tubbing through. Then just use whatever works for you in the bottle... good place to start is 1 cup of plain sugar, 1qtr of the dry yeast packet, and a teaspoon of baking soda (thats their secret stabilizer :hihi: ). See how much cheaper? Mix that with lukewarm water, let the yeast hydrate and sink, and voila! Then you could place the other end of the tubing under a powerhead (~$10-15), or whatever you decide. There are plenty of options out there. A counter current reactor with bio balls (could use a gravel vac with sponge) is the most efficient as all the co2 will be disolved. I personally use the same bubble ladder you got, but I have a power head above that sucks up undisolved bubbles and breaks them up.

Read up this website as it has a lot of good advice:
If you don't get your co2 right (meaning disolved), than all that other stuff you're dosing probably won't do much because of the limiting factor here. Or actually, it could promote algae! Since your setup is fairly new here, you ought to get on the co2 ASAP or else you wont see the light of day in your tank due to algae. But looks like you did some research, and are willing to commit, and that is good. One last thing, don't use any acids or bases to adjust the water pH, let it be whatever it is. The only thing I would use is Baking Soda to raise the tap pH if it is too low, but at the same time not letting the KH go above 5deg. But in the tank, you really ought not to put anything in to adjust the pH, other than water changes! Good Luck and keep us posted!
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here is my mixture

1cup sugar
1cup warm water
1/4 tea spoon of yeast

1bubble every 3 seconds or 3rd step on the ladder
Here you go. I am not going to give any advise but to read the following article regarding DIY CO2 systems. Best thing I ever did.
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