Help with understanding co2? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-17-2011, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
Question Help with understanding co2?

Hey everyone,

I recently got a 3 gallon acryllic fish tank from my roommate and have made it a plant-only tank, with one nerite and at least one adult MTS.

I had been considering getting a co2 system for my 5 gallon planted betta tank, but worried about my fish just in case something went wrong, especially since I'm brand new to it.

This is it:

co2 system: Hagen Plant Grow Natural System with CO2 | eBay

Now that I have a (rather small) tank that has only plants in it (save the snails, which I still care about but...less..), I was reconsidering the co2 idea for it.

But I need help! I understand that co2 will help my plants and encourage growth, but the cons are fuzzy for me. I don't understand what can happen that may cause problems, how to fix any problems that can come up, and, considering I wouldnt go cansiter for the co2 (I would prefer to stay natural, as I live in a dorm and cant have that kind of co2 here).

Can someone please explain the gist of co2 in simple terms, so that I can better comprehend? Theres so much info out there, but its muddled and confusing.

Also, would I be able to use this system in my type of tank? I think there is a plate that gets suctioned to the wall of the tank, but the tank is circular/cylindrical, so would it work?

The reason Im looking at this one, too, is because I have a gift card for ebay and have no idea what to spend it on, lol! I also dont think I can or want to do DIY for a co2 system, since it seems to be more powerful(?) and needs to be airtight(?), which Im probably not going to be able to do. I have the gift card, so Im very willing to buy.

This is my 3 gallon tank and its stats:

  • I have a compact CFL bulb at 6500k, 15w for 8-10 hours a day, right above it.
  • I dose Aqueon Plant food about once a week, after a partial water change and use root tabs from Bob's Tropical (1 in the tank) for the vals and swords.
  • Its usually anywhere from 74-76'F.
  • Im fairly certain the water is of medium hardness and is a more neutral pH.
  • The substrate is a mix of left over eco-complete and horrendous looking pink gravel (I know, I know! My roommate likes it, though!)
  • I have a small filter in the tank for the moment, until I can rehome the platy that lives in it for the time. Its a tetra whisper 3i.

plant root tab

This is what it looks like, and a link to it: Hawkeye AquaView 360 Aquarium, 3gal with LED Light (6 switchable colors): Fish (No center tube, but does have a tetra whisper 3i in it)

In the tank I have:
Jungle and corkscrew vals
Java ferns
Java moss
Young amazon swords
Creeping charlie
Onion plants
May add dwarf hairgrass, "fake" marimo ball moss/algae (on wood)

I have even more than pictured, but the fish inside needed more room to move so I had to clear some, lol!!!

Thanks for the help. Ive never really been able to understand the whole co2 thing, and would really appreciate any help and any advice you can give me!!
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-17-2011, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
Oh, forgot to mention... Im probably going to buy a large rubbermaid clear tub and rigging lights above it and growing/selling the cuttings to a local aquarium club.

I would also consider putting it in there.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-18-2011, 10:52 AM
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I've never bothered with CO2 systems so I will leave that aspect for those with experience to assist you.

What I can tell you is that you need a balance between light and nutrients in order for the plants to photosynthesize (grow). Adding CO2 by itself with do very little if anything, unless there is sufficient light and the other nutrients, of which carbon (CO2) is but one of 17. Without fish in the tank, there will be few naturally-occurring organics which are a major source of nutrients, so some sort of fertilization will be necessary. Here again, those who can help with the CO2 can comment.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-18-2011, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
Im using Aqueon Plant food and root tabs and have snails in the tank :D
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-19-2011, 12:08 PM
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Thats an awful small tank to be investing for a C02 system. How much is your ebay cert for? And Byron is right as far as needing lights at 1.5 to 2.5 Watts per Gallon. Also a 5 gallon tank for your system would probably be as tall as your tank. I know you said you didnt want a DIY system but thats the way I would go on such a small tank. And your tank does look very nice
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