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Hi, I joined this forum as my other tropical fish forum doesn't reply or have enough answers about planted tanks.
I'm very confused, I have had a 36g for a while now, never had luck in plants. I've done a bit of research, changed the substrate to flourite and changed the lights from 1 single 15w T8 to a double 24w T5. Now i am stuck, it will be (once the plants arrive) be heavily planted with riccia carpet.
Do i need Co2? I have purchased seachem fertilizer set, with flourish, iron and excel. Will that be enough with the excel or will I need a Co2 Diffuser?
I really don't understand Co2.....
 

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To start, lighting is more than WPG, how tall is your tank? You can tell how high light your tank is from these graphs posted by Hoppy (seriously, best thread on this forum):
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html

Secondly, fluorite is nutrient rich, I would actually hold off on fertilizing your tank until you are sure you have mid-high light. It seems like with the light you have you will most likely have mid level lighting, so I would say see how your tank does without nutrients for a while and add them for a few weeks to see how much they improve. Adding ferts to the water column makes it available to algae spores so if there's an imbalance between light and nutrients algae will arise.

Given the current conditions, I think you wont need CO2 right now. However, if algae begins blooming, a cause may be low CO2. I would start by using the lights you have on a 9 hour period, maybe even 7 or 8, don't fertilize yet since fluorite should be suitable for now, and keep away from CO2 for now, it costs a lot and I don't think your aquarium will really need it. :)

Best of luck!
 

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What are the dimensions on the tank, and exactly what lighting fixture do you have?
 

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Flourite contains no useable nutrients worth mentioning. You should start adding fertilizer to your water as soon as the plants are in.

I agree that the lighting you have is probably middle of the road lighting. CO2 is very beneficial, but may not be necessary at this light level. I would suggest still using it. Because you don't have super high light, you don't have to run high CO2 levels.

With medium light and CO2 injection, you can easily grow any plant you are going to find at the LFS, and probably 95% of everything else.
 
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