Do CO2 and air pumps/stones do the same thing - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Do CO2 and air pumps/stones do the same thing

Like the title just wondering if I should use the air pumps before I go and buy a CO2 unit. Sorry I am new to FW. Also how needed is a CO2 unit and will I not have success in my planted tank without one?

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post #2 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 01:32 AM
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No, CO2 injection and air stones do quite different things. The main function of an air stone is to create turbulence and break the surface tension allowing gases to be exchanged between the water and the air above, such gases as oxygen, nitrogen, and CO2. CO2 injection provides additional bio available carbon in the water, CO2 is usually the limiting growth factor in aquarium plants. Though both air stones and CO2 injection are usually good, it would be completely counterproductive to use both at the same time. you can grow plants successfully without CO2, or so I have heard, but CO2 helps allot. If you have a small tank, I would encourage you to build your own CO2 generator, relatively simple but requires weekly maintenance. Otherwise pressurized systems are the only other way to go and they are quite expensive. If you dont use CO2 injection an air stone would be a good idea.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 01:36 AM
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air pumps pump air into a tank to disrupt the water tension to release bad gases, some can argue that it puts oxygen into the water however i feel it releases more negative gases then it is putting in the positive ones, regardless it is doing good.

c02 isnt 100% needed on a planted aquarium, what kind of plants are you thinking about keeping, how big is the tank and what kind of lights do you have?

plants absorb c02 while they photophynthesize, however when the lights go out they do the opposite- take oxygen and release c02. so if you are planning for c02, put it on a timer you can even have an air pump on a timer to come on at night ( the opposite of the c02's time cycle )

hope that all makes sense, please do more research.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 01:38 AM
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Airstones stir up the water with the goal of putting more oxygen into the water column while releasing bad gases. Co2 puts...well...Co2 into the water column. You are talking about two different purposes. I plan on putting plants in my tank in the next few months without pressurized Co2, but they will be a few easy plants, and I will be using additives to compensate. How big is the tank? What type of lighting do you have? What plants and how dense are they going to be? These and probably a couple other questions need to be answered and one of the knowledgable members will be able to point you in the right direction.

My wife rolls her eyes when I talk about getting another tank
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 02:08 AM
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Also, keep in mind that if you're using CO2, you want to keep as much of it in your water as possible. Disrupting the surface tension of your water (via air stone or any other method) helps to oxygenate your water, but also releases the CO2 you worked so hard to put into the water in the first place. So, using an air pump with an air stone at the same time as using CO2 would be counterproductive. Some people who use CO2 on their planted tanks even use only canister filters with intakes and outputs below the water line so that filtration doesn't disrupt the surface tension.

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post #6 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have a 120g tank (4x2x2). I have 2 175w 10k MH bulbs. I plan to have a slightly dense tank with java fern, anacharis, anubias, and sagittaria.
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Also what would be the best CO2 injector and regulator that I should get.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-22-2008, 05:46 PM
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I'm not sure about the CO2 system, but I know that your MH bulbs aren't ideal for plant growth. You'll want something in the 6700K range, as 10,000K will grow more algae than plants. I suspect you'll find trouble finding bulbs in that range from any sort of aquarium-related store as it's uncommon for people to use metal halide lights for freshwater tanks, and therefore most of the bulbs will be higher temperature bulbs designed for saltwater use (like yours). You'd probably have much better luck getting bulbs for those lights at a hydroponics store.

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