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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am relatively new to planted tanks, but have had fish only tanks for over 20 years. I currently have a standard 55 gallon moderately heavily planted tank. I'm running a Finnex Planted+ light 6 hours a day, dosing with Excel daily along with macro and micro nutrients. My water straight out of the tap has a pH of 8.2, KH 10, GH10 and these are also the parameters in my tank. I have a few large pieces of Manzanita, but the pH never really changed with their addition. Substrate is a mix of plain aquarium gravel and fluorite. Plants are a large Ozelot sword, vallisineria, anubias, java fern, java moss, crypts, dwarf sagittaria, and Bacopa. The plants are growing well and I'm happy with the tank except for the fact that I can't seem to run the lights any longer than 6 hours a day (3 hours on, 4 off, 3 on). Any longer and algae starts to grow everywhere. I'm thinking of investing in a CO2 setup so I can run the lights longer and actually have more time to enjoy the tank. What do you think of this plan?:fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm currently dosing all Seachem products. I dose comprehensive once weekly, nitrogen and potassium twice weekly, phosphorus once weekly. I also have root tabs under the sword, crypts, sag and vals. I perform a 30% water change weekly. Ammonia and nitrites are 0 and nitrates test at 5-10. Phosphates are 1ppm using API tests. I addition to the plants the tank is stocked with praecox rainbows, pristella tetras, danios, cories, otos, nerite snails and the red cherry shrimp are multiplying daily. If I add CO2 I will likely change to dry ferts using the EI method once the Seachem products are used up. Filtration is via a Fluval 306 canister and C4 HOB. I don't use any charcoal, instead I have replaced it with more bio media.

Currently the algae is in check, but I have struggled with both green spot algae and black brush in the past when I had the lights on for 8 hours. Occasionally the bba still shows up on the older anubia leaves but if I dose the Excel directly in the problem areas it's tolerable. I'm hoping that with CO2 I might be able to get the lights back to at least 8 hours or longer. If not, I'm not sure the expense will be worth it.
 

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None of your plants require co2 at all to thrive. If a longer photoperiod is producing algae just raise the fixture and lengthen the photoperiod.

I wouldn't invest money in co2 for that setup. Remember, if you add co2 your lights may be able to be on longer but that's not the only thing that will be going on. You'd be changing the whole chemistry of the tank and would have to figure out how much more ferts/light to use to balance the Co2 in a tank that the plants don't really have the means to intake nutrient any faster than they already are.

I don't think co2 would help much here. Raising your fixture and lengthening your photoperiod is by far the cheapest option.
 

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I completely agree with RyRob unless your plan to do move to a moderate/ high tech tank.

If you're in a transition phase ( it doesn't sound like you are) then wait until you have the plants in place that will require that type of environment.
 

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If OP wants his lights on longer and maintain/increase growth and avoid algae I would personally go with co2. He's already dosing and plants are growing. co2 will increase uptake and reduce organics sitting in the water column which is prime requirement of alga. You don't need high light to realize the benefits of co2 to both plants and filtrating the water column.

He's already dosing so at most you just up your dosing a bit. Buying dry ferts is the way to go. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Unfortunately, I can't raise the light. I have it inside a canopy to protect it from a large and rather clumsy cat. He broke the last one trying to sleep on it. Fortunately he did not electrocute himself or the tank.
 

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Ever consider using floating plants such as frog bit or water lettuce?

They will act like a light filter which will allow you to possibly leave the lights on longer while absorbing any excess nutrients in the water. If you're not into floating plants, adding some fast growing stem plants that do not require CO2 wouldn't filter light unless you didn't trim them, but they would soak up excess organics, hence forcing any algae that is around to die off as it won't have a food source.

If you really want to try CO2 then by all means, go for it. All of my lights over my low tech tanks dim, but even with that option, my photo period is only 6 hours. My fish 'tuck themselves in' at around 8:00 PM and I'm fine with that.

It never hurts to have other options....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If OP wants his lights on longer and maintain/increase growth and avoid algae I would personally go with co2. He's already dosing and plants are growing. co2 will increase uptake and reduce organics sitting in the water column which is prime requirement of alga. You don't need high light to realize the benefits of co2 to both plants and filtrating the water column.

He's already dosing so at most you just up your dosing a bit. Buying dry ferts is the way to go. Just my 2 cents.
I'm leaning towards adding CO2. Obviously it will mean more work to find the right balance for the tank again. In general, from what I've read online many people with low tech tanks only run their lights for about 6-8 hours but high tech tanks the lights can be on for 8-10 hours or more. Am I correct in making the general assumption that CO2 should allow the lights to be on a couple hours longer?
 
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