High light plans, two questions: no weekend CO2, and vacations
I bought a 29 gallon tank and a high light fixture. I am going to be starting a tank in August, and I want to be prepared for my first high light, fairly heavily planted, tank.
I have looked into how to make my own CO2 system, which doesn't look too hard. But, it occurred to me that since it's not automatic (and therefore on a timer), I will have to shut it off at night and turn it on in the morning. That is completely fine with me, but I realized that might be problematic on the weekends, because I won't be at my apartment on weekends. I am worried that if I use CO2 during the week and not on the weekends, my pH will swing too much. What do you guys think? Is there a better way that does not involve buying an expensive CO2 system?
Also, I realized that if I go on vacation at any point, I will not be able to use CO2 because of the same issue. I am worried that I will develop an algae problem as a result. How would I avoid the algae problem that could occur?
I am wanting to try out the CO2 supplementation to avoid algae with my high lights. I have read that if there is light and plants cannot make use of it because of inadequate CO2, algae will grow. Also, I really want a gorgeous tank, and I think lovely plants would help it look nice. The plants I am looking at are mostly plants that require high light. Mine is barely considered high light, so I am hoping it will be enough. (It is a 48 watt T5HO, which I think is equivalent to 2.48 watts per gallon of a non HO bulb. I heard the T5HOs produce about 1.5 times more intense light than do T8s.)
I am doing a lot of research on this, but I don't want to mess up by accident and end up with a bunch of algae. Does anyone have any tips or feedback that could help?
You definitely want a solenoid valve, which will allow you put the co2 on a timer. Inconsistent/fluctuating co2 is just as good at causing algae issues as no co2 is.
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I am confused because I have heard lots of good things about T5HO lights, but then I just saw that a lot of people on this site don't like them (someone said that in another thread), so I am worried that they will be too bright for the fish. I want the tank to have great plants, but the more important part is the fish! I plan on having floating plants over a section of the top of the water, and having hiding spots for the fish. Do you think that will be okay?
T5HO are my light of choice for anything above 10 gallons. If you find that they're too bright you can raise the fixture a couple of inches above the tank. Your plan to create some dark areas sounds good. However keep in mind that with high light and CO2 you're going to need to dose ferts. I recommend looking into the Estimative Index (EI) system and buying powdered dry ferts so you can make your own mixes.
That's reassuring to hear! Thank you. This will be my first time with HO. I have done a lot of research but don't want to mess it up. Do you use CO2 supplementation yourself?
I didn't know you could buy powdered fertilizers. That could potentially save me some money! I was going to use root tabs and Flourish. I have not used the EI system. I will look into it.
If I go away for a week or so on vacation eventually, will my tank have tons of algae in it when I get back?
I use pressurized CO2 on my high tech 10 gallon tank. Instead of using root tabs I'd recommend getting a good substrate to start with. ADA Aquasoil and mineralized topsoil are both good options depending on what you're looking to spend (the latter is much cheaper).
As long as you have someone to dose ferts for you (or you make a DIY fert doser) then you shouldn't have a bunch of algae when you come back from vacation.
Thank you! I ordered mineralized sand and gravel. (Sand for the bottom layer with a relatively thin layer of gravel over it. I got CaribSea brand. It looked good to me.
I also looked into the EI system. Thanks for the tip. It doesn't really appeal to me because of the large weekly water changes, though I will continue to consider it. I usually change 30% or so a week with my current tank. I know another 20% isn't that big of a deal, but I am using buckets and I would rather not do 50% changes. I am hoping that I will be able to do 30% changes with the new tank, too. If not, I will change 50%, but I am hoping to do 30%. I do have a Python, but it won't attach to my fiance's faucets (the first tank is in her apartment), even with the adapter. I need to ask a plummer about it or something. I am putting the second tank in my new apartment (moving there for a year to do an internship), and I am not sure if the Python will work with the faucets there. Hopefully it will.
Thanks for the idea about having someone else come in to fertilize my plants if I go away on vacation. I wouldn't have thought of that, actually. I would have just worried about the feeding.
I am so excited about this tank. Part of it is because I am looking forward to a new challenge. I am really passionate about aquariums (as we all seem to be on this site), and I enjoy taking care of mine.
No problem. Depending on the gravel size you may just want to leave it out. pea gravel is too big for some plants. If EI isn't for you then you can look into the pps method
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I will look into it, thanks!
The gravel is 1-2 mm in size, according to the website I looked at. Do you think that is small enough?
That sounds fine. As long as it's not pea gravel sized it should be okay.
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