Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Grimmjow 12-15-2009 07:19 AM

CO2 and fertilizer
 
So I have a few tanks in my house (a 46, 20, 15, and a 3g) but up until recently I didnt know much about CO2 and never heard of fertilizers, can fertilizer be used instead of CO2 or should they be used together or what?
I plan on setting up a 50-75g tank in the near future and I love the plants but havent really had any problems with the ones in my other tanks with no CO2 or fertilizer. I saw a small CO2 thing on petsmart.com ( Hagen Plant Grow Natural System with CO2 - Live Plant Care - Fish - PetSmart ) that looks nice and i could just get a couple of them but ill keep looking for now.
So I guess Im just here looking for peoples experienced opinions/tips.

Angel079 12-15-2009 09:37 AM

I'd pers add CO2 (if any) at last or rather not at all. All my tanks were planted so far and what I find most important to begin with is a proper light over the tank. Following this is nutrition for the plants, which can be good enough with good source water, but yours didn't sound like it if you said you have troubles. So then I'd suggest liquid fert's (such as Flourish Comprehensive) and if you intent to have Plants such as Swords I'd also add root tablets for them.
These 2 factors alone are generally good enough to grow real nice planted tanks. So I'd suggest to start there:-)

MoneyMitch 12-15-2009 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angel079 (Post 290042)
I'd pers add CO2 (if any) at last or rather not at all. All my tanks were planted so far and what I find most important to begin with is a proper light over the tank. Following this is nutrition for the plants, which can be good enough with good source water, but yours didn't sound like it if you said you have troubles. So then I'd suggest liquid fert's (such as Flourish Comprehensive) and if you intent to have Plants such as Swords I'd also add root tablets for them.
These 2 factors alone are generally good enough to grow real nice planted tanks. So I'd suggest to start there:-)

+1 diving into planted setups with all these crazy c02 and diffrent ferts every day or w/e will not work for you. c02 can be a headache to deal with and can bring on some nasty algae. but anyways you need to look at lighting first for a 55 i would recommended around 80 watts total any florescent will work just get what you like (and no you dont need any special plant bulb either) get a all in one liquid fert and go and pick up like three amazon swords, a few java ferns and maybe some pennywort. then i would let the tank go from there and see what you think then if you have success with that you might want to look into c02 and all that then, but not now.

Angel079 12-15-2009 02:09 PM

Actually I found the Daylight bulbs you'll find at your hardware store work great.

For the plants, get what you like - But careful on the Pennywort, stuff grows worst then weeds - See my 55g and Pannywort after a few days of non trimming attention here http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...nnywort-33810/

Byron 12-15-2009 06:20 PM

As previous replies have mentioned, the issue is balance between nutrients and light. Plants require nutrients which include carbon (from CO2 mainly, some less from carbonates), nitrogen (from ammonium/ammonia) and minerals. The carbon as CO2 and nitrogen as ammonium/ammonia comes from the fish and biological processes. The minerals come from fish food (before and after passing through the fish), tap water, and/or fertilizer (usually liquid, sometimes substrate for certain plants). When all this balances the light [1 watt per gallon of full spectrum is sufficient], the plants will grow fine. And the majority of aquarium plants will be healthy and thriving in this low-tech or natural setup.

The issue with adding CO2 is you then need more light and more fertilizer to balance. Plants will grow up to the point at which one of the essentials is no longer adequate. Liebig's "Law of Minimum" applies. Excess light, or excess CO2, or excess minerals will not allow plants to grow better if any one of these is inadequate. And that is when algae takes control. The more you add the more you affect the balance in the aquarium.

Byron.

WisFish 12-15-2009 08:15 PM

Growing plants is like building a fire. To build a fire you need fuel (like wood) heat and oxygen. If you don't have any one of these three you can't have a fire. To make the fire bigger you need to make sure all three of these are available in the right proportion. Not enough wood? The fire can only get so big. Limit the amount of air a fire can get, the fire only gets so big. (reducing the heat is harder to control)

Plants are the same way. Nutrients and a small amount of CO2 are generally already available in the water. Turning the light on is like adding heat to the wood and oxygen. As the light increases, the plants consume the available nutrients and CO2 to grow the plant. As the light increases, typically it the CO2 that runs out first. Increasing the light further only grows algae. And of course, if the CO2 is gone, adding more nutrients only aids the algae.

So the jump from low-tech to high-tech is when CO2 injection and increased lighting is made. But the jump is usually not necessary unless you'd like to grow a certain plant that requires more light.

Byron 12-15-2009 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WisFish (Post 290334)
Growing plants is like building a fire. To build a fire you need fuel (like wood) heat and oxygen. If you don't have any one of these three you can't have a fire. To make the fire bigger you need to make sure all three of these are available in the right proportion. Not enough wood? The fire can only get so big. Limit the amount of air a fire can get, the fire only gets so big. (reducing the heat is harder to control)

Plants are the same way. Nutrients and a small amount of CO2 are generally already available in the water. Turning the light on is like adding heat to the wood and oxygen. As the light increases, the plants consume the available nutrients and CO2 to grow the plant. As the light increases, typically it the CO2 that runs out first. Increasing the light further only grows algae. And of course, if the CO2 is gone, adding more nutrients only aids the algae.

So the jump from low-tech to high-tech is when CO2 injection and increased lighting is made. But the jump is usually not necessary unless you'd like to grow a certain plant that requires more light.

The fire is a very good analogy. Good thinking Bob. B.

Mean Harri 12-20-2009 02:27 AM

These answers have just made some of this planted tank/lighting/co2 stuff much clearer. Thanks.

But let's expand a minute. Lower lighting for low to medium light requiring plants and some ferts can generally be done without co2 and all the fuss. What if you plant your tank somewhat heavily? If someone was going to plant a 55g fairly densely with plants, and by fairly dense I mean not so much packed with plants but some decent coverage, would that require more co2 from a supply not available to the plants just from the natural goings on in a tank?

If the plants are the "wood" and you are going to add more and more you need more and more oxygen for the fire to get bigger. You can add all the wood "plants" you want but if the oxygen"co2 and lighting" isn't there the fire won't get bigger. It will snuff out. So is your concept of natural limiting the amount of plants one can plant? How does one know the cut off line of too many plants better add co2 and this is sufficient?

Angel079 12-20-2009 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mean Harri (Post 292190)
What if you plant your tank somewhat heavily? If someone was going to plant a 55g fairly densely with plants, and by fairly dense I mean not so much packed with plants but some decent coverage, would that require more co2 from a supply not available to the plants just from the natural goings on in a tank?

I don't wanna sounds repeatative, but again, its really all about the mixture of light&ferts & CO2.:-)

I had 55's that were indeed more PLANT then tank at one stage or another (poor trimming on my end / laziness) and even then I didn't add CO2 and if you look at my pic's it speaks for itself.
Also try check out Byron's planted tanks (think he called it "Former 55g") - That also speaks for itself IMO and as far as I know (and pls Byron correct me if I'm wrong there) B. also does not use CO2 Injection.

Byron 12-20-2009 12:54 PM

Correct Angel, I have never used CO2 and see no need to ever consider doing so. I have what I consider to be quite heavily planted aquaria and have had tanks like these for 20 years. CO2 is not a necessity except for very high-end setups like Takashi Amano's tanks or the Dutch style (if this is still the term used for the mainly-plant, few or no fish tanks).

Mean Harri, have a look at my photos, particularly the present flooded Amazon forest 90g aquarium. I consider this tank thickly planted, even more-so than my others. There is no CO2, light is less than one watt per gallon of full spectrum/cool white combo (one tube each), and twice weekly liquid fertilization. The fish load varies from 75 to 110, all characins, Corydoras, three Farlowella. Obviously there is a balance that works.

There are a lot of plant species that will flourish in this type of setup. I have observed tremendous growth from the Echinodorus (swords) in both my Amazon tanks, so much so that I cannot imagine any more if I were to use CO2 and increased lighting. Forcing the plants to grow faster is comparable to doing similar for the fish--why? Better to let both just "cruise along" and provide years of enjoyment.

I can explain further on my simple method if asked.

Byron.


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