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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y'all!

I've been keeping fish in a 36gal bow front Aqueon tank for years and am trying to improve my garden. I need to find better driftwood and some rocks but in the meantime, I have questions that Google just can't seem to answer.
1) I have the Aqueon strip light fixturethat has space for 2 bulbs. I'm only running the "Daylight White" one it came with. Between an additional Daylight, the Beautymax, the Colormax Red, and the Colormax Blue, which bulb combo would give the best lighting for some high intensity plants? The water is about 18 in deep for reference

2) High light apparently needs co2 injection. First of all, is 36 gal too small for that? Do I need an airstone to offset the co2 for the fish? Or will the plants and the hob style filter be enough o2 for them to breathe?

3) Which is more economical, the compressed co2 systems or the ones that look like a science project? Do you use the same regulator equipment or is there a low vs high pressure type?


Thank you all for your time! Any other advice is appreciated...like what kind of background to use. You can definitely see my wires.:|
I'm going for 'lush stream' since most of my fish are native to slow moving rivers and ponds but I'm not sure a fake picture wouldn't look tacky.
 

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Hey y'all!

I've been keeping fish in a 36gal bow front Aqueon tank for years and am trying to improve my garden. I need to find better driftwood and some rocks but in the meantime, I have questions that Google just can't seem to answer.
1) I have the Aqueon strip light fixturethat has space for 2 bulbs. I'm only running the "Daylight White" one it came with. Between an additional Daylight, the Beautymax, the Colormax Red, and the Colormax Blue, which bulb combo would give the best lighting for some high intensity plants? The water is about 18 in deep for reference

2) High light apparently needs co2 injection. First of all, is 36 gal too small for that? Do I need an airstone to offset the co2 for the fish? Or will the plants and the hob style filter be enough o2 for them to breathe?

3) Which is more economical, the compressed co2 systems or the ones that look like a science project? Do you use the same regulator equipment or is there a low vs high pressure type?


Thank you all for your time! Any other advice is appreciated...like what kind of background to use. You can definitely see my wires.:|
I'm going for 'lush stream' since most of my fish are native to slow moving rivers and ponds but I'm not sure a fake picture wouldn't look tacky.

Sorry I can’t help with #1, but plenty of people here use T5, so someone will be able to.

2) 36 gal is definitely not too small for CO2. I’ve put it on my 4gal. I don’t think size plays much of a roll in determining whether or not you can use CO2. You won’t need an air stone as long as you dial in an appropriate amount of CO2 injection. You DO need decent surface movement though. You don’t need a lot of agitation, but should have obvious surface movement pretty much across the whole surface of the tank.

3) I’ve never used the DIY CO2 stuff, so I have no experience there, but I’d imagine it’s more economical. A decent compressed CO2 setup will run $250-500, depending on specific equipment choices. You can definitely get away with spending less. My first regulator was $40 on Amazon and worked fine for a year until I upgraded. This made the whole setup possible for under $100 I think


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The lights are actually LED. Aqueon has a 'Floramax' bulb for their fluorescent fixtures but I guess us LED fans aren't loved.


Luckily the waterfall from the filter gently ripples the surface, but I just thought more co2 in the water must need more o2 for the fish? I know plants make o2 and will be absorbing some of that co2 to do so, but it seems like there wouldn't be enough. As much as I want my plants to flourish, I don't want it to be at the cost of my fish. I still want to add some after all


I found a well reviewed regulator for compressed co2 for 54 and a diy one for 42. It looks like you use soda bottles (geez I haven't bought a 2 liter in years...) and citric acid? I mean, I guess if it can hold the carbonated pressure and acidity of Coke, it can hold up to some citric acid lol


Actually, could I skim the co2 out of Coke? I like sodas but not that much and this isn't exactly a safe time to throw a party...It'd be a waste to pour it all out
 

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The lights are actually LED. Aqueon has a 'Floramax' bulb for their fluorescent fixtures but I guess us LED fans aren't loved.


Luckily the waterfall from the filter gently ripples the surface, but I just thought more co2 in the water must need more o2 for the fish? I know plants make o2 and will be absorbing some of that co2 to do so, but it seems like there wouldn't be enough. As much as I want my plants to flourish, I don't want it to be at the cost of my fish. I still want to add some after all


I found a well reviewed regulator for compressed co2 for 54 and a diy one for 42. It looks like you use soda bottles (geez I haven't bought a 2 liter in years...) and citric acid? I mean, I guess if it can hold the carbonated pressure and acidity of Coke, it can hold up to some citric acid lol


Actually, could I skim the co2 out of Coke? I like sodas but not that much and this isn't exactly a safe time to throw a party...It'd be a waste to pour it all out

Instead of focusing that more CO2 necessitates more O2, you should just shoot for a CO2 concentration of about 20 - 30ppm. That’s kinda the number that people consider safe for fish and effective for growing plants.

I suggest going for compressed CO2 over DIY if they’re that close in price. I’d imagine it’s simpler to dial in properly and simpler to maintain.... But again all my experience is with compressed gas, so take it with a grain of salt.


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Really any size tank can benefit from co2 you just have to be incredibly careful, however your tank is big enough to have room for error but make sure to keep it at 20-30 ppm and absolutely make sure you have good surface agitation to promote gas exchange.

Compressed system is always the way to go, and get a regulator with an electric solenoid. When using a diy system you can't just turn it off and there is so much room for error. I got a nice setup on CL for 90$ so look around.

Your light does not sound adequit for co2, of course co2 will always help but you would probably be wasting its effects with that light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Both regulator setups I was looking at had the gauges, bubble counters, and solenoid valves
DIY
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W7H4J8V/

Pressurized
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GSSBF64/


I would think the gauge and counter on the DIY would keep it consistent but maybe if there's not enough co2...well it can't output what isn't there. The DIY system definitely has cost on its side, but I don't know, maybe citric acid in sufficient amounts is more expensive than buying and refilling a tank?
Algae is not too much of a worry unless it's the soup kind. My 3 flying foxes eat all the algae and sadly, my amazon swords. That's part of why I want the garden to flourish--to keep up with their appetites!
That's good to know on the ppm range. Those chemical color checkers seemed to only indicate 'not enough', 'too much', and 'just right' and I'm not into that Goldilocks stuff. Does anyone know where to get a digital co2 monitor? I saw some that base it off pH, but it seems like other factors could change that, giving a false co2 ppm.

Thanks again!
 

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Both regulator setups I was looking at had the gauges, bubble counters, and solenoid valves
DIY
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W7H4J8V/

Pressurized
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GSSBF64/


I would think the gauge and counter on the DIY would keep it consistent but maybe if there's not enough co2...well it can't output what isn't there. The DIY system definitely has cost on its side, but I don't know, maybe citric acid in sufficient amounts is more expensive than buying and refilling a tank?
Algae is not too much of a worry unless it's the soup kind. My 3 flying foxes eat all the algae and sadly, my amazon swords. That's part of why I want the garden to flourish--to keep up with their appetites!
That's good to know on the ppm range. Those chemical color checkers seemed to only indicate 'not enough', 'too much', and 'just right' and I'm not into that Goldilocks stuff. Does anyone know where to get a digital co2 monitor? I saw some that base it off pH, but it seems like other factors could change that, giving a false co2 ppm.

Thanks again!

The best way to measure CO2 is to look for a ph drop of 1 when you compare readings from your peak CO2 time (around the time it shuts off) to the minimum readings which would be just before it turns on in the AM.

In my tank tend to see 5.6 at peak and 6.6 at minimum.

I know that KH can drastically effect ph levels in your tank, but I’m not sure of where that number needs to be for this method to be accurate. I keep my KH around 2-3, and I’m fairly certain it’s accurate at that level


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