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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a medium- heavy planted tank. It's a 55g breeder with almost exactly 1.5 wpg of light. My question is, will I need a co2 system install or would a liquid do just fine? I saw a cheap system at Petco for $50. It takes the small cartridges so I'm sure it will cost in the long run. I see the build for $150 on here, but I'm hesitant to jump. I'm really going for the aquascaped look, and I'm guessing I'll need a larger system than your typical aquarium with a few plants. Go big? Idk...


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This is a no brainer.
If you want better growth, better looking tank, CO2 is the way.
That $50 thing at Petco is for smaller tanks. For a 55G you will need a cartridge every few days.
Read more here. People sell used stuff here too.
That way you can get a good system. CO2 systems in general are costly. But its like an investment. It will result in good growth.
 

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You can get what you want probably without CO2. It took me a little while to make the jump. For the most part, I lacked the patience to wait on things to fill in. You may need CO2 if you decide on the more demanding plants or certain carpeting ones. I think you will be happy you went with it.
 

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Like the others have said, CO2 will likely be the greatest single addition to your tank. I fought it as well for awhile but can't image being without it now. It will cost you some $$ and time (initially during setup primarily). Green Leaf Aquariums has some nice pre-built systems, that's what I use, but you can use the primer here and build your own as well. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! I'll watch my growth rate and see if I'm happy. Liquid should last until I find a paintball gun or build a system. I'd really like my dwarf hair grass to carpet, so I have my answer.


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I think the paintball type systems will likely not be enough for a 55 gallon, you may want to look into systems using standard 5 or 10 pound CO2 tanks. I get about 3.5 months on my 5 pound tank on my 90 gal.
 

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There is a need for additional information before ANYONE can say yes you do need CO2. Specifically what plants you plan to use and if you intend to creep into the high light spectrum, which I guestimate you are not at currently.

Now, with that said, if you want faster growth (or have plants thay pretty much require it) and you are willing to put the time/research/$$$ into it, then yes, you need CO2.

However, it is not the end all to planted tank success.

If you do not have plants that really require it, and are ok with slower growth, then you probably do not need it.

I am in the same boat in some ways, and I keep teetering back and forth whether or not to make the jump to CO2.
 

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There is a need for additional information before ANYONE can say yes you do need CO2. Specifically what plants you plan to use and if you intend to creep into the high light spectrum, which I guestimate you are not at currently.

Now, with that said, if you want faster growth (or have plants thay pretty much require it) and you are willing to put the time/research/$$$ into it, then yes, you need CO2.

However, it is not the end all to planted tank success.

If you do not have plants that really require it, and are ok with slower growth, then you probably do not need it.

I am in the same boat in some ways, and I keep teetering back and forth whether or not to make the jump to CO2.
+1. The easy answer is yes but DefStatic is spot on. If you're PAR levels aren't high (1.5wpg doesn't tell much) and you're not dosing ferts then CO2 won't help you. If you want to move up to high tech (high PAR level lighting and regular fertilization) then you should also get a decent CO2 rig.

That being said, I do run CO2 and ferts on a medium light tank and I did notice a significant increase in plant growth when I added the CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok. I'm running the marineland single bright 30" led light ( 600 lumens = 60 watts) and the original t8 28 watt 6500 kelvins for a total of 88 watts/ 55 g = 1.6 wpg. I'm dosing API leaf zone 3 weeks a month and API co2 booster daily. Plants include anubias, amazon sword , java fern, dwarf hair grass, water primrose, and moneywort.



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I think you can still have lower light levels and still be CO2 limited. Nothing says the light has to be x-level in order for CO2 to make a difference. If you are CO2 limited and you add CO2, your plants will definitely take off. Even with 1.5WPG, you could see a significant difference in my opinion. Needed? Probably not.
 

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I think you can still have lower light levels and still be CO2 limited. Nothing says the light has to be x-level in order for CO2 to make a difference. If you are CO2 limited and you add CO2, your plants will definitely take off. Even with 1.5WPG, you could see a significant difference in my opinion. Needed? Probably not.
No but I am pretty sure there is a standard set that if your light is x amount you pretty much have to. And that if you want to use CO2 effectively you should have x amount of light.

I would say with that list of plants CO2 is hardly a concern, however like you said in a limited capacity (heck, prob wouldn't even have to refill whatever setup very often) it is going to help. Any tank, low tech or high tech, will benefit from a CO2 setup. We put back in CO2 every time we do water changes.

It is really a matter of will your plants without grow at a rate you want. For my 30 gallon, there really wasnt a need for CO2. Actually in none of my tanks.

And as for carpets, pretty much every carpet plant will wildly benefit from CO2, just some will still work well without it, but again the growth will be slow.

Reader Digest version, I agree LOL

Ok. I'm running the marineland single bright 30" led light ( 600 lumens = 60 watts) and the original t8 28 watt 6500 kelvins for a total of 88 watts/ 55 g = 1.6 wpg. I'm dosing API leaf zone 3 weeks a month and API co2 booster daily. Plants include anubias, amazon sword , java fern, dwarf hair grass, water primrose, and moneywort.


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I ditched API Leaf Zone. Every time I used it, it threw off my API Freshwater test kit. Gave me false readings. I really do need to start using something though. I haven't even put in root tabs for like a year.

But I have to say, IDK what your plants looked like before but you appear to have some really healthy specimens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Def, that would explain the crazy spikes I see when I dose ferts and on the week I don't dose, the levels stabilize. Thanks for all the input on the topic. My growth rate is decent on most plants and nonexistent for others. I'm thinking of trying the small system from Petco until I move in September. After research, my plants are all low demand. The smaller system trickling a small dose would likely get it done.


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Def, that would explain the crazy spikes I see when I dose ferts and on the week I don't dose, the levels stabilize. Thanks for all the input on the topic. My growth rate is decent on most plants and nonexistent for others. I'm thinking of trying the small system from Petco until I move in September. After research, my plants are all low demand. The smaller system trickling a small dose would likely get it done.


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Honestly, I would look at doing a small paintball type setup. From what I understand, for prob around the same price, you could set something up and save massive amount of money. That petco setup you are talking about is meant for nano tanks.

I do know someone on here had that same setup on a 30gal like my own and was able to only have to replace the cartridges every 2 or 3 months but I am not sure what his entire setup was.

Do some research on it and see what will work best in the long run. If you buy the small one I might buy it back from you if you upgrade LOL.
 
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