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Hello folks. I am new to this forum. I have kept saltwater reef systems for about 35 years and am now trying a go at a planted tank. While many parts of the ecosystems are similar, pressurized co2 is new to me.

I currently have a 48x13x24 tank.
It is lit with 4 ho t5s that are 4 inches above the tank. I know it is a lot of light but I only use all 4 at peak for about 4 hours. 2 are on 2 hours before and after.
I am using an Eheim 2026 canister filter with a Hydor inline heater.

Plants: I have a few swords, a couple of anubis and some hair grass.
Livestock: a variety of swordtails, gouramis, plecos, silver dollars and tetras.

I feel like I have done a good job researching the topic, but I still have a couple of questions. 1. Is it good to use a drop checker? I like one I saw on GLA. 2. What affects the level of co2 in a tank that I have to monitor? (ph, kh, temperature) I know that lighting, and plant growth will affect this. Thanks for any help. This forum is fantastic. Thanks to all who have gone before and paved the way!!!!

Ed
 

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I know PH dropped in my tank, so that needs to be taken in to consideration (my waters quite hard) and I'd imagine you'll want to keep oxygen levels good so a drop checker will be useful if only for showing what was going on (it takes a while to change to match CO2 levels) as you'll no doubt of seen the horror stories where people have gassed their fish with CO2 systems that failed over night.

Also as you have high light coupled with planned CO2 I hope you have a ferts regime planned to match it and be prepared for a lot of tank tiding ie trimming of plants
 

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1. Yes, a drop checker helps give you an easy at a glance guide to how you are doing. I would also recomend at the minimum a KH test and a digital PH meter (amazon has one for $20, no excuse not to have one).
2. There is a direct relationship to the KH in your tank (this is generally constant) and the amount of CO2 and its results on your PH. CO2 as it enters the water column lowers your ph (carbonate acid). As the CO2 is utilized it is removed and again PH rises. You are looking for a balance here.



Generally you want to keep your tank above 20ppm CO2, and lower than 30ppm. A safe range is 25ppm which gives you room for fluctuations.

A good example would be to get your water to a KH of 6, and then add CO2 until your PH drops to 6.9 (doing so slowly if you have fish).

As for ferts, I might suggest PPS-Pro method.

https://sites.google.com/site/aquaticplantfertilizer/home

Good luck!
 
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