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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello from this newby. I have a 60L /13G tank which I am trying to improve. Not able to afford Co2 Gas system so have Liquid Co2. When a plant description states medium Co2 = 10 - 15 mg Co2 gas per litre has anyone any idea how I can work out the Liquid Co2 equivilant? Thanks for reading
 

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Hello from this newby. I have a 60L /13G tank which I am trying to improve. Not able to afford Co2 Gas system so have Liquid Co2. When a plant description states medium Co2 = 10 - 15 mg Co2 gas per litre has anyone any idea how I can work out the Liquid Co2 equivilant? Thanks for reading
Hello and welcome!

So despite some brands actually calling their product 'liquid co2', it is not actually liquid co2. Carbon Dioxide is a gas not a liquid. At best these products are providing another carbon source for plants to use. At worst these products do nothing but kill algae (which is useful, but is hardly a replacement for actual co2). Additionally many brands use straight glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient. This stuff is... well scary. As in chemists who know the properties of this stuff don't even think about handling it without a powered ventilation hood, and full arm and face protection. Seachem sells Excel which is a modified glutaraldehyde which is supposed to be slightly less horrifying as ways to die go but you still need to be really careful when using it.

Anyway this is a long way of saying that if a plant requires co2, dumping a 'liquid co2' product in won't keep it alive. Some websites will say a plant needs co2 when really it just needs co2 to grow to its full potential, but it will live just fine without it, just not grow very fast, or as full.

Hopefully this is helpful.
 

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I'll offer up that, atleast for Excel and per it's website, it's roughly 30% - 40% of co2 effectiveness. Of course Excel is not full strength glut.

But that doesn't necessarily mean you just add more to make up the difference. Just like co2 there's an upper limit to how much you can add and that can be different form tank to tank. You can experiment but unlike co2 overdosing on "liquid carbon" can kill both plants and animals.

In my experience using Excel, then switching over to co2 on the same tank, it's closer to 50-60% less effective than co2. But that's an incredibly biased opinion, lol! It was night and day difference in the growth of my plants when I switched to co2.

Not that Excel didn't help. It did. You just need to go about things differently with liquid carbon vs co2. Less light. Less Ferts.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello and welcome!

So despite some brands actually calling their product 'liquid co2', it is not actually liquid co2. Carbon Dioxide is a gas not a liquid. At best these products are providing another carbon source for plants to use. At worst these products do nothing but kill algae (which is useful, but is hardly a replacement for actual co2). Additionally many brands use straight glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient. This stuff is... well scary. As in chemists who know the properties of this stuff don't even think about handling it without a powered ventilation hood, and full arm and face protection. Seachem sells Excel which is a modified glutaraldehyde which is supposed to be slightly less horrifying as ways to die go but you still need to be really careful when using it.

Anyway this is a long way of saying that if a plant requires co2, dumping a 'liquid co2' product in won't keep it alive. Some websites will say a plant needs co2 when really it just needs co2 to grow to its full potential, but it will live just fine without it, just not grow very fast, or as full.

Hopefully this is helpful.
Thanks minorhero, I have read so much about the perils of liquid carbon it gets confusing. I am currently using TNC which has 2% glut. Tank a year old and has had some failures but I put this down to starting a very low tech tank with just gravel. Have just taken delivery of some Tropica substrate to see how things improve. Fish in temp tank cos had a glitch with filter so taking the opportuntiy for some revamping. So its an case of patience for slower growth without the gas. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll offer up that, atleast for Excel and per it's website, it's roughly 30% - 40% of co2 effectiveness. Of course Excel is not full strength glut.

But that doesn't necessarily mean you just add more to make up the difference. Just like co2 there's an upper limit to how much you can add and that can be different form tank to tank. You can experiment but unlike co2 overdosing on "liquid carbon" can kill both plants and animals.

In my experience using Excel, then switching over to co2 on the same tank, it's closer to 50-60% less effective than co2. But that's an incredibly biased opinion, lol! It was night and day difference in the growth of my plants when I switched to co2.

Not that Excel didn't help. It did. You just need to go about things differently with liquid carbon vs co2. Less light. Less Ferts.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Thanks pauld738 for the % figures, very interesting. The less lights less ferts scenario too, I had not come across that before. I had done the less lights more ferts option!! I have a Fluval Aquasky LED Bluetooth light so can play with the settings for adjustment.
 

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I’ve used Excel in the past for getting rid of a stubborn hair algae bloom in moss as well as for spot treat black beard algae. It’s amazing at dealing with algae, but as others pointed out above it’s serious stuff. I personally don’t love using it if I don’t have to. The plants did seem to respond well to it, but if you over dose it it can kill your fish, and even burn some more sensitive plants. I have a low tech tank that I’ll occasionally fertilize and everything seems to look great, but the plants in that tank are considered easy to medium difficulty. I saw this video a couple weeks ago that sets up two identical tanks and shows the comparison of using excel vs co2. It doesn’t show a control tank running neither, but it still gives you an idea of what to expect.
 

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I'll think you'll find that a nutrient rich substrate will be just as important if not more so. I would ensure you have that covered first before spending all your money on glutaraldehyde.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I’ve used Excel in the past for getting rid of a stubborn hair algae bloom in moss as well as for spot treat black beard algae. It’s amazing at dealing with algae, but as others pointed out above it’s serious stuff. I personally don’t love using it if I don’t have to. The plants did seem to respond well to it, but if you over dose it it can kill your fish, and even burn some more sensitive plants. I have a low tech tank that I’ll occasionally fertilize and everything seems to look great, but the plants in that tank are considered easy to medium difficulty. I saw this video a couple weeks ago that sets up two identical tanks and shows the comparison of using excel vs co2. It doesn’t show a control tank running neither, but it still gives you an idea of what to expect.
Brendon thanks for the video. Made very interesting viewing. I had looked at the Barr report previously, but as I had only just started with the tank, I found it a bit overwhelming. Have to admit it did notice a reduction in algea problems after starting to use glute. Have lost 3 lots of Eleocharis montevidensis but not sure if it was glute or lack of decent substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll think you'll find that a nutrient rich substrate will be just as important if not more so. I would ensure you have that covered first before spending all your money on glutaraldehyde.
Yep I think you're right mossman77. Beginner error of trying to be a cheapskate and not use decent substrate. Well hopefully my new bag of Tropica will sort this. Then I shall stop the glute and maybe increase the ferts a little. Cheers
 

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Yep I think you're right mossman77. Beginner error of trying to be a cheapskate and not use decent substrate. Well hopefully my new bag of Tropica will sort this. Then I shall stop the glute and maybe increase the ferts a little. Cheers
Actually, with Amazonia type soils like Tropica you don't need as much Ferts, especially in the beginning. You will want to watch Potasium as that is what is usually deficient. And maybe start up micros after a couple weeks. But the N and P are taken care of pretty good but the soil itself.

There are, of course, exceptions as certain plants prefer water column dosing over substrate Ferts but they usually prefer co2 injection as well so may not come into play.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, with Amazonia type soils like Tropica you don't need as much Ferts, especially in the beginning. You will want to watch Potasium as that is what is usually deficient. And maybe start up micros after a couple weeks. But the N and P are taken care of pretty good but the soil itself.

There are, of course, exceptions as certain plants prefer water column dosing over substrate Ferts but they usually prefer co2 injection as well so may not come into play.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Appreciate the tip paul738. I use TNC Complete which has macros and micros so hopefully this will do the trick. Had wondered about changing brand but again as a newby all these products to choose from!!! Each brand claims they are the best so guess it's trial and error for your personal tank requirements. Maybe when I get low on the TNC it's time to change to a different brand and see if there's any difference.
 

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Appreciate the tip paul738. I use TNC Complete which has macros and micros so hopefully this will do the trick. Had wondered about changing brand but again as a newby all these products to choose from!!! Each brand claims they are the best so guess it's trial and error for your personal tank requirements. Maybe when I get low on the TNC it's time to change to a different brand and see if there's any difference.
Oh, gotcha. :)

Nitrates will run a bit high with Tropica soil and standard dosing. Not sure if that is entirely a bad thing, though. I've seen many say that nitrates from Ferts are better than nitrates from decaying matter/fish poop.

I recently setup 2 3gal betta bowls with Tropica soil. They've been running for about 8 weeks now. I only started dosing a splash of Nilocg's Thrive S 2 weeks ago (so 2 doses) which would be roughly equivalent to TNC's Lite. Plant growth has been awesome considering the conditions (no filter, lights are turned on manually when I think of it). My crypts completely melted and they are back now. I have had to trim stems, which went in around week 4, twice now. All with very little Ferts dosing.



Here you can see the pin holes that is typically a Potassium deficiency that hit since I wasn't dosing any Ferts at all.



Hope this helps. Tropica soil is fantastic stuff!

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, gotcha. :)

Nitrates will run a bit high with Tropica soil and standard dosing. Not sure if that is entirely a bad thing, though. I've seen many say that nitrates from Ferts are better than nitrates from decaying matter/fish poop.

I recently setup 2 3gal betta bowls with Tropica soil. They've been running for about 8 weeks now. I only started dosing a splash of Nilocg's Thrive S 2 weeks ago (so 2 doses) which would be roughly equivalent to TNC's Lite. Plant growth has been awesome considering the conditions (no filter, lights are turned on manually when I think of it). My crypts completely melted and they are back now. I have had to trim stems, which went in around week 4, twice now. All with very little Ferts dosing.



Here you can see the pin holes that is typically a Potassium deficiency that hit since I wasn't dosing any Ferts at all.



Hope this helps. Tropica soil is fantastic stuff!

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Thanks for the heads up re Nitrates paul738. Its acutally Tropica Growth Subtrate not the aquarium soil that I will be using. Its meant to be neutral and does not affect the KH or pH value of the water. However I shall still make use of the test kit to keep on top of any spikes. Have also bought some new plants so hopefully they will help settle things. Won't put the Glowlite and Cardinal Tetras back into tank until things are steady. Friend is changing to a marine tank and says I can rehome his Penguin Tetras when my tank is sorted.
 

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Thanks for the heads up re Nitrates paul738. Its acutally Tropica Growth Subtrate not the aquarium soil that I will be using. Its meant to be neutral and does not affect the KH or pH value of the water. However I shall still make use of the test kit to keep on top of any spikes. Have also bought some new plants so hopefully they will help settle things. Won't put the Glowlite and Cardinal Tetras back into tank until things are steady. Friend is changing to a marine tank and says I can rehome his Penguin Tetras when my tank is sorted.
Oh so you are adding this under your existing substrate?

You can safely ignore everything I said in my previous post, lol! :) I don't have any experience with substrate underlayments like this.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh so you are adding this under your existing substrate?

You can safely ignore everything I said in my previous post, lol! :) I don't have any experience with substrate underlayments like this.

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I shall read, mark, learn and inwardly digest any advice to keep me on my toes. My current set up is just gravel and plants are "getting by" but looking abit flat. Did use Flourish tabs but didn't see much improvement so decided to try growth substrate. Fingers crossed
 
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