Originally Posted by PRIMESIX
Thanks for your comments. This is my first planted tank and as you can see by my photo I think it's starting off pretty well (about a year old now). I knew that my aquarium was going to be planted because it made sense to try to have the most natual enviroment possible for my fish companions. To be completely honest, I didn't want to use CO2 because of the added cost and hassle, but since I am useing T5HO lighting I am told it's my only option. I fertalize with Seachem products daily and do a weekly water change, I am told if I sop useing the co2 I will have a majot algae outbreak and my plants will start to die. Is this true? Do you need a co2 system to have a successful planted aquarium?
To answer the last question, no. But, the light and nutrients must be balanced for a successful planted aquarium. And some plant species may not do well under low-tech as opposed to high-tech methods. So it comes down to what you want in the way of a planted tank.
I have no desire to propagate plants, they are only there for aesthetic reasons and as biological "helpers" with water quality. I have fish tanks that happen to have live plants in them too; some have or want plant tanks that may have a few or even no fish. The approach is different. You can see my tanks in the photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left.
To your penultimate question, possibly. Again it depends upon the balance. If the plants are doing well currently, one may assume the light and nutrients are balanced. Particularly if algae is not an issue--by which I mean it may be present (it is in all tanks) but not problematic. If the CO2 being added is providing carbon to match the light and other nutrients, and it is suddenly stopped, then the light becomes excessive with respect to the balance and algae will likely increase. Reducing the duration is not usually beneficial because the balance has to be present during the light period in order for photosynthesis to take place.
T5 HO lighting is very intense; I tried it and took it back, because it was clearly going to be more than I could balance. I was more concerned with the fish frankly, it really is bright lighting. Floating plants can help with this.