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Hello everyone!! I am extremely excited to get back into the hobby but things have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years :)

I have decided to start relatively small and purchased a 20 gallon tall tank and a ray 2 24" led light. I purchased uniform sand from the petco (I realize know that I should have read about substrates and things like that) it looks great but I know I am going to have to add nutrients for the plants. I am still not sure what plants I am going to do but definitely some ferns and grasses. . I still just have a HOB filter that came with the tank but would like to upgrade to a canister with an inline heater.

So to my main question:

With this new lighting setup how long should I leave the lights on? I have been reading and reading about PAR and light and really haven't seen anything on the length of time that I need to leave them on.

Any suggestions about CO2. do I need it? whats the best diffuser? when going with a canister how much do I need to worry about Flow? I have a million questions :). Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!!

I hope everyone has a great day and I will try to keep my posts shorter from now on.
 

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generally speaking 8 hours. however if your tank is running the RAY2 sans co2, you might want to run it for slightly less to curb the algae growth.
 

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make half time a pause for...... the algae..... to catchup :p or not..... LOL!
 

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I'll pick up one of your questions, because it was an issue I had starting out.

Do worry about circulation (flow) in the tank. You want to avoid "dead spots." Good circulation helps keep oxygen levels and other parameters stable around the tank, which is one step towards encouraging healthy plant growth. Cannister filters provide great filtration, but once loaded up with filter media, may not provide enough circulation. A powerhead can supplement any additional circulation a cannister is not providing.
 

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I'd say you do not need co2 unless you really want to use it. There are plenty of low light plants which can do well with out pressurized co2. You could always dose Excel. Ad or try DIY co2 if you wanted to dabble. DIY co2 is a mixture of water, sugar, and dry yeast mixed in a bottle witch adds co2 to your tank (although it is considerably less co2 than a pressurized system). You will find quite a bit about it here if you do a search. Also try YouTube.

Excel is a liquid carbon supplement which can help plants with growth. High tech tanks require more attention and upkeep than a non co2 tank and also have a higher start up cost. Decide how much money and time you want to invest then that will help you decide what kind of tank to build. You can always upgrade to co2 later if you decide to. No matter which you decide to go with there is a lot of great information and helpful people here to assist you. Good luck.
 

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I agree with the above post. C02 is not necessary. Just make sure you adjust your lights and other parameters and select plants accordingly.

I think most people really actually want the low maintenance of a low-light, slow-growth, non-c02 injected tank. The pics of high-tech tanks are just too tantalizing I guess. People on this forum are addicted to c02 injection, and it's not necessary.
 

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I agree with the above post. C02 is not necessary. Just make sure you adjust your lights and other parameters and select plants accordingly.

I think most people really actually want the low maintenance of a low-light, slow-growth, non-c02 injected tank. The pics of high-tech tanks are just too tantalizing I guess. People on this forum are addicted to c02 injection, and it's not necessary.
No one said CO2 is necessary for every tank. If you insist on running high light, though, CO2 is necessary unless you have a thing for algae. :) I love my low tech, no water change low light tank. I also really enjoy my high tech tank. Different strokes!
 
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