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CO2 questions & carpeting with Geophagus?

1875 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  du3ce
Good morning everyone!

I've been keeping a minimally planted tank for two months now (at 60 gallons) and want to make the move to a pressurized CO2 tank (in my dreams, one that looks like this! :icon_mrgr.

First issue: I have scoured amazon and other websites for a pressurized CO2 system that is 1. not too expensive (no more than $200), and 2. somewhat automatized, like when I leave the house for a couple days, and 3. easy to set up for a beginner like me. I am struggling (perhaps because I don't understand all the components)! Can anyone recommend an all-included, well-made "kit"? The ones Fluval makes look terribly made... What do people think of something like this one at $199: What else would I need to buy w/that one?

Second issue: I have 3 4" Geophagus (Acarichthys heckelii) :eek:. One of the main reasons I wanted a planted tank is to have some carpeting (baby dwarf tears or the like). Is that just unrealistic given these earth-eating guys I have in there? What's the next best type of plant option? I have some stems in there already and plant anchors seem to keep them down okay.

Thanks so much for your advice.
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You would need to purchase a paintball tank (around $20) and then find a place to fill it if you were to purchase that reg. You may need a larger tank 5lb or 10lb and in that case a different regulator fro a 60g tank as the paintball tank may require constant filling. I have a paintball set up and it works great but its only on a 7g tank if i were to go that big i would most likely replace it with something larger. I would also check the sale threads as i have seen multiple regulators and full paintball set ups for sale lately.
Personally, I'd avoid the paintball co2 for a 60 gallon tank....I think you'd be better served getting (depending on what you can afford) either a 5 lb tank or a 20lb tank.

Why the big difference? The jump in cost from a 10 to a 20lb doesn't make the 10lb worth it imho, and the cost of swapping or refilling the tank is more or less the same as well, but with a 20lb you would have double the amount of co2, and that should last you months, if not a full year, by itself.

As far as a regulator, get a normal regulator, not a paintball regulator. Honestly, I do feel that co2 is the one part you are going to want to splurge on, as a good regulator is worth its cost. You don't want the thing failing on you and gassing your fish ever, ya know?

As far as the fish go, I actually have two of these guys as well. Mine don't do very much digging, however, I wouldn't suggest doing dwarf baby tears (HC) simply because they are a very weak rooted plant, will be high maintenance to keep looking nice, and will probably get uprooted just by the fish swimming over it as they get larger.

What I would suggest as a carpet is either hairgrass (it gets some good roots but you might want to have it in a heavier substrate that doesn't get blown around too easily), monte carlo (kinda like HC but bigger leafed and hugs the ground more, nicer plant imho) or S. repens (it will need to be cut and trimmed to keep it short, but it has amazing roots and will stay in place, its working out nicely for me although I'm not using it to cover the entire bottom as I want to try something else to carpet with as well). If you have the light for it (which you should if getting co2) hygrophilia araguaia also likes to hug the ground, and is red, which is pretty cool.

No experience with chainsword here, but I feel like it might get some nice roots.

2 things that will help you with these fish and plants...

1. Select plants that have strong root systems. Anything that has weaker roots will often find itself floating and will require re-planting. Especially carpeting plants. Most stem plants will eventually figure out how to stay down but if its a plant with fragile stems it will get very, very frustrating very very quickly.

2. Add the plants and let them grow before having the fish. However, this is not always possible but its easier for plants to do well with fish like this when they are already established. I would hate to try and get a carpet of anything small and fine if the fish are already bruising around and the plants are struggling just to adapt to the tank conditions and start growing roots to anchor down. My tank started out with large fish before I really added plants, so its been a struggle for me but I've finally gotten it (mostly) down. You might have to get creative at times.
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Thanks Hybridherp! Wow, those tips are so very helpful to me at this particular junction. Thank you!!!

I already have the fish so I may have to go through the same struggle as you went through in getting my plants to root. From now on, I will choose plants with stronger roots. Good idea! Also, I think I will invest in a 20lb tank as you describe. Any specific recs?

Appreciate it!!!
$200 is going to be tough, but not impossible. A 10 lb co2 cylinder will run you $80 or so. You could get a Milwaukee regulator for around a $100 on amazon or build a much much better setup following the diy guides on the forum.
Any specific recs?

Appreciate it!!!
What do you mean by that? lol
i have a pair of gymnogeophagus el norte they dont really mess with the substrate that much
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