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Hello! I'm a brand new member making my first post. My name is Greg and I've been maintaining saltwater reef tanks for quite a few years. I'm interested now in trying my hand a a small planted tank for the first time. Since it'll either be in a 20H or a 7 mini-bow, and I've never done this, the lfs recommended that I might consider trying out the Hagen Nutrafin CO2 Natural Plant System rather than purchasing an expensive CO2 system. He sells both.

I've looked into the Hagen system, and it's reviews seem favorable except for the expense of fermenting formula. I understand that I can generate CO2 through a fermentation process using yeast and sugar, but I don't really know how to, or with what proportions.

Is anyone here using this system, or something similar (even DIY), and can you help me with this process? Thanks, and looking forward! :icon_wink
 

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Hi Greg - welcome to plantedtank!

Check out this thread for lots of input on Hagen recipes. It is very easy to do it yourself and not spend money on those expensive refill packets:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/planted-tank-faq/10071-wanted-your-best-hagen-co2-recipes.html

BUT if you really want to save money, just do the whole thing yourself! This is my favorite DIY CO2 article:
DIY CO2 System for Planted Aquarium

Lots of good advice in there. The only thing I would change is that the bulkhead fittings they recommend are kinda pricey. Your local hardware stores should carry brass fittings that go from 1/2" to 1/8" and they are perfect for DIY CO2 applications.

Also, for even more good advice read Rex's site:
Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks and you'll get a crash course in everything worth knowing about a planted tank.

Please never hesitate to ask questions, even if they seem silly! (and if you're still trying to decide between a 20H and a 7 mini bow, I'd say do both. Set up your 20H as a higher tech tank with stronger lights, faster growing stems and your DIY CO2, and set up your mini bow with low tech lower light stuff like java fern, moss, anubias, etc. - then you'll get to see the best of both sides!)
 

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the links jentheplantgeek provided are excellent! lots of quality reading there.

fwiw: i'm using the hagen setup on two tanks a 10g and 12g, for the mixture i'm using 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon yeast. there's a ton of different receipes out there, just experiment and see what works best for you and your plants.

i started out with marine tanks as well (still have a nano reef actually) and the one thing you'll want to keep in mind is with a planted tank, you'll want to keep the surface agitation to a minimum and you'll want much less circulation in the tank than you would normally have in a reef setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks to both of you for your useful replies. Looks like I'l have plenty of good reading ahead. I didn’t hear anything negative here yet regarding the Hagen system, so that’s incouraging. I have delemas around each tank, so I still have to work out which one it’ll be.

My 7 gallon is on my desk at work. It’s currently a nano reef, but is kind of high maintenance. Too much evap on weekends doesn’t help matter, plus my ‘babysitter’ who took care of the tank in my absence is no longer here. I retrofit the original strip with a 32 watt Custom SeaLife compact fluorescent, so all I need to do is change the bulb from 50/50 to 6,700K. ...and of course gut the tank. Kinda hard parting with a nano reef I’ve had for 4 years.

My 20H at home is a prime candidate only I’ve got a large tinfoil barb in it who’d probably be a bull in a china shop with a planted tank (haven’t even researched to see if he’s good in a planted tank yet).

Too bad they're no in the same place, but like Jen said, it leaves me room for experimentation! :)
 

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32watts may be too intense of light on a 7gallon setup though, others can chime in here with this, but its my understanding (again i'm still new myself) that that much light will heavily promote algae growth.
 

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I've had 30 watts over a 5.5 gallon with moss, riccia and ambulia... no c02. I only really got dust algae on the glass. I also kept the photoperiod down.
 

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It is a lot of watts per gallon, but it is also a very small tank and that throws off the scale somewhat. You could get away with it without too much trouble and I think it'd grow plants very well :) Supplementing Seachem Flourish Excel would help keep any would-be algae at bay.
 

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The Hagen packets usually don't work very well and produce very little CO2. I know, because I have 2 of the Hagen systems. I do like the Hagen ladder, and I believe Drs. Foster & Smith sell the ladders separately. The links Jen gave are excellent, and most people on this forum who have DIY CO2 use DIY systems, as well. You can DIY so much cheaper, and use the savings to buy the diffuser of your choice.
 
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