Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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aunt kymmie 07-03-2008 09:57 AM

type of plants w/ fish & vice versa
When adding C02 what does that mean exactly?
As in, what is the delivery method and form of the C02?

My tank is currently cycling but when it's ready I want fish and live plants. I plan on a sand substrate.
When you have live plants are you limited to the types of fish you can
keep due to the plants specific fertilizer needs?
Or, are you limited to the types of plants you can keep when you also keep fish?


okiemavis 07-03-2008 04:41 PM

The only limit in stocking (both plants and fish) is if the fish will eat the plant or uproot it. You'll either want plant-friendly fish or plants that are hard to destroy or aren't very edible. Also, with a sand substrate, you'll need proper fertilization for your substrate, as well as a liquid fertilizer.

CO2 works the same way for plants as O2 works for fish to put it simply. You add more bubblers to give the fish more O2 with which to breath and flourish. If you add CO2 you're adding something that makes the plants happier- they will absorb it and turn it into O2 (the same way terrestrial plants work).

For CO2 to be in a form that plants use, it needs to be dissolved into the water. You can do this by feeding the co2 output into your filter (which 'chops' the co2 up into the water), or you can use something that releases the co2 into the tank in tiny little microscopic bubbles, like a diffuser. Diffusers work the same as air stones except they have smaller holes, so the bubbles that come out are tinier.

Were you thinking of buying a co2 setup (expensive) or using DIY co2?

aunt kymmie 07-03-2008 04:58 PM

Hummm....not sure what I will do. When you say expensive what kind of dollars are we talking about for a co2 set up? And what is DIY co2?
Yes, I know I should go back and read thru past posts but I'm at work (or I should be working!) and am looking for fast answers. Thanks!

aunt kymmie 07-03-2008 05:00 PM

PS. The addition of fertilizer(s) that plants require do not harm or effect the fish??

okiemavis 07-03-2008 06:44 PM

Ferts intended for aquarium use won't hurt fish OR inverts in your tank.

A pressurized co2 system is probably going to run you a minimum of $300, it's not easy to find used. DIY co2 is done by mixing yeast and sugar. It works quite well for smaller tanks. Here's a link on how to set it up, although personally I'd recommend using a different recipe. The basics are the same though.

aunt kymmie 07-03-2008 06:58 PM

Thanks for the info. When you say that DIY co2 works well on small tanks what do we mean by small?? I intend to plant a 100 gal. Is that considered small? How much/what kind of maintence is required on a pressurized system?? Thx-kym

okiemavis 07-03-2008 07:15 PM

Ahh- I was thinking under 25. You'll need multiple DIY generators for a 100G tank. Proper lighting in that tank will be *quite* the investment, so I suppose at that point you may as well invest in the CO2 system as well.

I'm under the impression that once you get an automated system going, it will be a LOT less maintenance. All you need to do is change out the CO2 bottle when it's empty. CO2 shouldn't be too expensive, as it's the same stuff you buy for paintball, and you can get the bottle refilled the way you get propane bottles filled for your grill.

DIY co2 requires mixing and activating the stuff every few weeks, and it's a lot less stable as you can't just control how much pure co2 comes out.

aunt kymmie 07-04-2008 12:47 AM

Are you able to tell me exactly what type of lighting I will need?
I've seen all kinds of lighting systems on Craigslist, some cheap, some not so cheap. I want to do it right the first time and not waste money on "guessing". My canopy has four bulbs in it now. Two vita-lite & two actinic. I was leaning towards timers; moonlight to day, then day to moonlight. Will this work with live plants?

Ghreed told me: The color of the bulbs is not a big deal compared to the light intensity but the intensity won't change just by changing bulbs and that actinic is really for saltwater.

The tank came with these bulbs.
Does this mean I'm looking for high intensity bulbs and it does not matter what color they cast? The plants need high intensity light. Does it bother the fish?

Thanks for the info!

1077 07-04-2008 01:02 AM

You may wish to consider a substrate suited for plants as opposed to sand which can compact making it more difficult for SOME rooted plants to thrive. Some fish prefer subdued lighting as opposed to bright but with some floating plants you could provide them with some measure of comfort and still provide enough light for plant growth. I would look for bulbs specifically for plant growth. Drs. Foster/Smith at www.liveaquaria is but one place where you may find what you are searching for. :)

okiemavis 07-04-2008 09:41 AM

Color absolutely does matter. Color is measured in spectrum. For a freshwater tank look for lights close to 6700k. Actinic is very blue, which is good for coral growth, but won't really benefit freshwater plant growth, your plants benefit mostly from red and green light.

Do you know what kind of canopy you have right now? Compact florescent? T-8? How many watts is it? You may simply be able to change the bulbs out, or you may have to get a whole new setup. This will really depend on the intensity of the light as ghreed said. We can figure that out if we know the type of fixture and the wattage. The *type* is key because that will tell us how efficiently the wattage is used.

For instance, we can have a 18 watt t-5 or an 18 watt compact florescent. Even though they use the same amount of power (watts), the compact florescent actually puts out MORE light because it uses that power more efficiently.

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