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Hello all.Im looking for opinions on should I use Co2, in my planted aquarium. I've a 55 gallon aquarium,inhert sand substrate with two very large pieces of drift wood with, Anubias (various), African water fern, Java ferns attached to them both. In the sand in multiple places, I've cryptocoryne balansae planted,which I use root tabs to feed them. I use a liquid fert, liquid potassium, liquid iron for all the plants named above. I know they're all slow growers, the tank is moderately to heavily planted.The livestock is 20 tiger barbs,20 cardinal tetras,1 siamese algae eater, 2 clown plecos, 1 albino bristlenose pleco, 2 corydoras catfish. I understand the plants are all slow growing an that currently everything is thriving. Question is would I gain any benefit from installing a pressurized Co2 system. Any opinions welcome.
 

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CO2 is a wonderful thing! Your slower growers will become much more lush and grow much quicker. You’ll want to set it up so co2 and ferts are non-limiting and your light is what fuels the speed of the tank. Co2 should drop your ph by .80-1.20 and you’ll need to observe your tank to see what it and your inhabitants like. This drop should be completed just as your lights come on for the day and turn off maybe an hour before lights go out. I would also use a version of the ei dosing regimen. Nitrate 10-20+ ppm, potassium at 20+ ppm and phosphates at 1-3 ppm and be sure to use a comprehensive micro nutrient mixture. EDTA iron for “lights on” ph’s up to 6.5 and DTPA iron for “lights on” ph’s of 6.5+. Review the “share your dosing” thread for more specific information.

The tank I ran like this was a densely planted “slow grow” tank and I had flowering Buce and lush Java ferns galore.

Cons:

1. Be prepared to tinker and make lots of adjustments with the co2 flow to hone things in. This can be annoying. Don’t go super cheap on the regulator. Consider a flow meter.

2. I cannot avoid black beard algae when using co2. I practice dedicated husbandry but still get it here and there on drift wood, rocks or leaves that are dying back. As long as your on it, it’s totally manageable and worth it but never let it get out of control.

Good luck!


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply, I've a comprehensive idea on equipment I'd install if I go ahead with the Co2 system. My fertiliser regime currently gives me a nitrate readings of 10 ppm, potassium 5 ppm, phosphates 2 ppm. My current PH 8.0, so I'd expect to dive as low as 6.5 . Just hope it doesn't harm the livestock. My light is the fluval aquasky, but my tank depth is 2 feet (60 cm).It currently runs at 8 hours. It ramps up for 2.5hrs then peaks at 100% output for 3 hrs, then declines for the last 2.5 hrs. I just hope I don't need to upgrade my light too. But thanks again for your reply.
 

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How are you testing potassium? Im trying to get my tank dialed in also and can't find freshwater test kits for half the stuff people seem to be showing levels for
 

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How are you testing potassium? Im trying to get my tank dialed in also and can't find freshwater test kits for half the stuff people seem to be showing levels for
Personally I had to buy individual test kits for Potassium and GH/KH. Think one more too. API master kit only has stuff to Nitrogen cycle really.


@Wayne🇬🇧 I use co2 on three tanks. All with similar plants; Buce, anubias, java fern bolbitis(african fern), repens and a few others. Anyway, these all grow well in my non-co2 tanks. Only one has had co2 for a year, the other two I am just starting them last week with compressed co2. The plants in my my year long co2 are in a 75g about 21" deep I think and they all grow so fully. It's amazing. I don't get the beard algae but I also don't use the co2 to it's fullest. I probably only pump in about half what the tank can handle. I do get a fair amount of that black algae (assuming it's algae) that rims the older leaves and the inside parts of the leaf creases, especially on the anubias. I think this is normal anyway.

Good luck! I would suggest giving it a shot. The plants will love it and you will too.
 

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Personally I had to buy individual test kits for Potassium and GH/KH. Think one more too. API master kit only has stuff to Nitrogen cycle really.


@Wayne🇬🇧 I use co2 on three tanks. All with similar plants; Buce, anubias, java fern bolbitis(african fern), repens and a few others. Anyway, these all grow well in my non-co2 tanks. Only one has had co2 for a year, the other two I am just starting them last week with compressed co2. The plants in my my year long co2 are in a 75g about 21" deep I think and they all grow so fully. It's amazing. I don't get the beard algae but I also don't use the co2 to it's fullest. I probably only pump in about half what the tank can handle. I do get a fair amount of that black algae (assuming it's algae) that rims the older leaves and the inside parts of the leaf creases, especially on the anubias. I think this is normal anyway.

Good luck! I would suggest giving it a shot. The plants will love it and you will too.
I think the black algae that you are talking about is black beard algae, but i would need a picture to be sure.
 

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CO2 is the best upgrade an aquarium can get. You do not need to blast 30ppm of co2 to get the benefits either. Even aiming for 5 or 10ppm can be super beneficial for plants especially slow growers. You do not need to change your lighting when you upgrade to co2 unless you change your plants for more demanding ones. The only con to co2 is expense. Everything else is great about it.
 

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I am not experienced enough to get scientific or go into any sort of minute detail, but as far as my planted tank experiences have gone, I find that things are always better with C02 involved.
 
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