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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so i recently upgraded my 20 gallon long tank for a 40 gallon breeder.

current equipment for the 40B is:
Fluval 404
eheim 2217
Hydor inline 200w heater (on the 2217)
100w heater with cobalt thermostat
(4 air driven sponge filters to seed the canisters but will be removed in a month)
USA Nova extreme T5ho 2x 39w 6700k bulbs

equipment to be added:
5lb co2 system with ph controller
2-3 powerheads for water circulation
new led light??

substrate is aquasoil mixed with eco complete

amazon swords
jungle val
water wisteria
java moss
java fern
some anacharis and rotala and crypts ( don't know the exact names)
also some driftwood and terracotta pots

~12 endlers livebearers
2 german blue rams
2 logfin BN pleco
2 common plecos (4in) (will be rehomed soon)


I recently bought a full pressurized co2 system with ph controller and everything. I've been reading a lot and i want to add some red plants and especially want to add a carpet to the front of the tank. I've settled on micro swords since they're pretty cheap and easy to find.

My questions:
1. carpet plants require high lighting right? would my nova be enough? or what about the finnex ray2? i also have the chance to buy one of the buildmyled lights with a dimmer. any tips or advice? I also saw some led lights on ebay that claim .5w leds at 6500k would those be low light or high light? which light would be best for what im planning?

2. I know the ph meter controls the co2, but what's the "right" ph? in 2-3 years that i've been in the hobby i've never tested my ph and haven't had any issues with plants or fish. I keep angels and rams and discus with no problems.

3. I've never used co2 before, can i add it to the tank as-is, or do i need to remove the fish? airstones or airdriven sponge filters and co2 dont mix because the co2 is realeased from the wwter too fast so its wasted right? Can I still power the sponges with powerheads?

5. from what I've read co2 and algae seem to go hand in hand, but i plan to add otos and amanos would they take care of the algae issues?

thanks for reading and any help/advice!!

I attached a pic of the tank as it is right now


Premium Member
2,127 Posts
I'll give it a go.
1. A lot of carpeting plants require fairly high light. Micro swords do not. Marisela minuta is another. I put several sprigs in my med light tank and it's taking over.
Take a look at the lighting sticky for a chart to figure your par with different fixtures. I don't see your fixture on there. There's a wide range between the brands of T5HO. Looks like you're between 40 and 100 par if you hang it just off the top of the tank. Maybe someone more familiar with that fixture will chime in. You don't have anywhere near enough info on the led light to even guess at the par.
2.You need to get a good accurate ph reading on your water. Usually a water sample is removed and left to "gas off" for 24 hours. I believe you can skip this step because you're not adding co2 yet. Most people adjust the co2 controller so you get 1 full point drop in the ph when the co2 is on.
3.No need to remove the fish. Just start slow. Add a little, let everything stabilize for an hour or so. Keep a close eye on the fish. If they start showing signs of distress; hanging out at the surface, gasping for breath, etc. dial back the co2 and aerate the water to lower the co2 level.
4.Surface agitation where the water "breaks" releases co2. If you can power the filters with power heads that will certainly lower the loss compared to air stones.
5.Adding co2 should help balance the tank and lessens the amount of algae. Amano shrimp and ottos can also help

3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

thanks so much! it's good that i don't have to take the fish out, also i tested the ph of my tank water using the API master test kit and looks like its between 6.8-7, so should i be setting the controller for a ph of 6?

so after some thought i decided i'm getting rid of the t5 and going for an led. Did some looking around and this is are the readings for the finnex ray 2 36", a custom build 36" led from buildmyled (with a dimmer), and a kessil A150w Amazon sun. Which one would be better? also for micro swords what par should i be aiming for?

thanks again!:grin2:


68 Posts
I like all of the inhabitants except for the guppies, which prefer harder water. Many plants prefer softer, low pH water. Furthermore, when the CO2 is optimized, the pH will generally fall one full pH point. While all of your other fish inhabitants will do well under these conditions, it is not ideal for your endlers. Otos and smaller plecos are ideal in a planted tank. There are a couple of other tools. When you make water changes, you can spray hydrogen peroxide on exposed glass, hardware, wood and most plants. Also, glutaraldehyde can help with the algae.

It is a program that requires patience and time to optimize your tank.

I personally enjoy the challenge of light, water parameters and fertilization. You will soon be awarded with amazing plants.

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