CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

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CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  ShortyKiloGyrl on 2014-03-17, 16:21

I have heard the terms pressurized and also liquid for co2 in planted tanks. The tank I plan on using it in is a fluval spec v (5 gallon). I plan on organic miracle grow base with blank sand substrate. I want a healthy but not out of control planted tank. This will be at work so I don't want to spend an abundant amount of time taking care of it but moderate is fine. Someone please educate me Smile
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  jrygel on 2014-03-17, 16:41

I'm also new to this but have a pretty [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] with 'liquid carbon' (Flourish Excel).  The excel works pretty well, but is not as good as pressurized CO2; it is just a liquid supplement (similar any other fertilizer) that helps to replace some of what the plants need from CO2 in the water.  As the plants use up the carbon from the Excel, it needs to be dosed again (I dose every day, but others do every other day), which gets a little annoying, and you will need to dose a VERY small amount for a spec V (0.5 mL or so).  Overdosing Excel can be very bad for your fish.

Pressurized CO2 is a system with a CO2 canister that injects the gas directly into the water of the tank.  This can also be bad for your fish if you put too much in.    Most simple systems, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], just continuously inject CO2 into the water.  This works if you don't inject too much, but the CO2 levels continuously rise when the lights are off and the plants aren't photosynthesizing, so you need to keep the rate reasonably slow to avoid the CO2 concentration getting too high; you'd definitely want to keep the lights on a timer so that they turn on on days you aren't in the office.  Some of these systems are setup with timers that turn the CO2 off when the lights are off, or even pH monitors that turn the CO2 on or off to keep the water at a constant pH (CO2 will drop your pH a bit).  There are advocates of both methods (continuous CO2 and solenoid), and I've been reading up on it to decide what to do when I move into injected CO2. The systems with good solenoids and pH controllers get very expensive; I'd assume that you would want to keep it simple with such a small tank, but you'll need to be able to get the injection rate pretty low to keep your fish happy.

From what I've seen, you will need a much better light than the stock one to balance with injected CO2 on a spec V.  It might be okay with low light plants and Excel, though.

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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  anderson_p_r on 2014-03-17, 17:00

I wouldn't worry too much about CO2 on a 5g tank. Your substrate and lighting will have far greater influence. I get away with cfl bulbs and root tabs on a dirted 10g I setup for a friend's office and even it is getting a little out of control now. Just make sure you put enough sand cap in to keep dirt in place, that's not a very tall tank.
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  Guest on 2014-03-17, 17:16

How about doing a DIY co2 system like this. Just a little smaller version.

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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  hobbyorobsession on 2014-03-17, 17:20

if you do not want to maintain it frequently I would suggest not using co2.
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  MRTom on 2014-03-17, 17:30

Another aspect to CO2 is that it will probably require some equipment outside the tank. On a small thing like the specV, that's gonna distract a lot. So you'd be investing a lot of effort, on something that's gonna take up a bunch of space, that won't necessarily get you all the benefits you seek. I'd go with what everyone else said and stick to low light and excel Smile

If you're like me and like to experiment for the sake of science (snake oil is science?), be prepared for some interesting algae problems!
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  Gizmo on 2014-03-17, 17:47

I love using CO2 and have a full pressurized system with a solenoid and timer to turn it on/off with the lights. The problem with CO2 injection in a small tank like yours is it's VERY easy to OD and gas your fish. I would stick to Flourish Excel, as mentioned above, or *maybe* a small yeast fermentation DIY CO2 system as mentioned above as well. Anything pressurized, like a paintball or a full pressurized system, is a dangerous gamble in such a small tank, if you ask me.
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-03-17, 21:04

Hi ShortyKiloGryl,

Sounds like you have an interest in CO2 :)There are some good points shared in this thread. You can overdose CO2 , but I wouldn't let that stop you. You (we) can overdose ANY additive we put in the fishes water, conditioner, ferts, Meds, whatever it is , it can be overdosed.

For a small 5g it would be easy to purchase those $8-10 small bottles of Excel and use that 2-3X a week. We all have done that. Here is some reading to organic carbon Flourish Excel . [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

If you are interested in going Compressed CO2 here are some tools for dosing a 5 gallon. I am going to explain this backwards from the fish tank to the compressed bottle. 1st ; a gas defuser. The defuser that would be appropriate would be a CUP DEFUSER. This is basically a small cup turned upside down with an airline (CO2 line) stuck in the top. I will add a picture later of mine. So basically this upside down cup creates and holds a CO2 bubble underwater. Water current rubbing against it defuses little amounts of CO2 into the water. Any type of small CO2 system will work for this application and will last a long time.

Next is airline tubing. You can seek specialized CO2 tubing for this application. I use both airline tubing, and CO2 tubing, both work fine. You can purchase enough of this to put your CO2 tank anywhere you want.

Co2 tank and regulator. For this application you could purchase a nano set up. This type of set up would be small enough to fit easily behind a tank and still have the tank close to the wall. Or installed on the side without it looking bulky. If you think your interest will expand past your 5 gallon nano, or if you dont care about looks, or whatever. You can contemplate a full sized CO2 system. A full on CO2 regulator with solenoid and perhaps a 2.5 pound CO2 tank. This is what I would purchase. You may at some point switch the system to a larger fish tank. You will be able to do this with a full sized system.

Back to dosing a 5 gallon fish tank. The type of defuser I mentioned above needs small amounts of CO2 fed to it. Just enough to fill the upside down cup and hold a bubble. Every once in a while it'll burp and refill. This is what I use in my 9.5 gallon. My CO2 solenoid is on a timer. It clicks on an hour before the lights come on, and clicks off an hour before the lights turn off.

CO2 and PH. CO2 effects PH. Decaying organic matter effects PH. Both these lower PH. Monitors such as PH drop test kits are handy. Buffers such as crushed coral are popular to bring PH levels up in heavily planted tanks, and planted tanks with CO2 injection. All 3 of my planted tanks have crushed coral somewhere in the system.

Cup snagged from hair spay or mousse bottle .
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Last edited by fishNAbowl on 2014-03-17, 23:44; edited 1 time in total
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  ShortyKiloGyrl on 2014-03-17, 23:13

Wholey wow. That's awesome information fishNAbowl! I think since this is at work and I'd be gone on the weekends that co2 isn't the best option knowing it can harm the fish if a malfunction should occur. However, after seeing fellow fishboxers large planted tanks it makes me want to convert my 75 tropical over to one. I think the co2 option would be great for that! Summer time I may turn it off or only do it during certain times as we take weekend trips and I go away for a week every summer. I would hate for something to happen then either.

Thank you everyone for the great tips. I do believe for this 5 gallon the excel option is the best since it is at work.
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  fishNAbowl on 2014-03-17, 23:42

ShortyKiloGyrl wrote:Wholey wow. That's awesome information fishNAbowl! I think since this is at work and I'd be gone on the weekends that co2 isn't the best option knowing it can harm the fish if a malfunction should occur. However, after seeing fellow fishboxers large planted tanks it makes me want to convert my 75 tropical over to one. I think the co2 option would be great for that! Summer time I may turn it off or only do it during certain times as we take weekend trips and I go away for a week every summer. I would hate for something to happen then either.

Thank you everyone for the great tips. I do believe for this 5 gallon the excel option is the best since it is at work.

 Spot On 

Plus depending on where you work at you may have issues with storing a hazardous material at your location. It maybe something you might want to discuss with your employer. At my work every material right down to Windex glass cleaner has to have an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) . Lol
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Re: CO2 planted tank options? Very new to this, teach me!

Post  ShortyKiloGyrl on 2014-03-18, 10:19

Lol I don't think that would be a problem. Where I work I'd be able to buy co2 straight from our suppliers Smile Our technicians use it frequently and we have it on hand all the time. Hehe Smile
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