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Would seachem excel and seachem root tabs be better or a mini pressurized co2 kit? This is assuming the substrate is just plain old aquarium sand.

Also, how many pounds would I need of the aformentioned sand per gallon in a planted tank?

Thanks in advance!
 

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ive used I think it was like 2lbs per gal for my 55..

id stay away from ecel, it puts a limit on what plants you can have. if you really want to go with extra carbon get a pressuised system, yeast based systems are far to sporatic to be of any use.
Not exactly correct. DIY co2 generators work very well for tanks up to around 40 gals. I have a 30, and 40 gal. on yeast generated co2, and they are doing excellent. I will concur they could be sporadic if your not diligent in keeping the generators renewed often.;-) I use a two bottle system on my tanks. They produce a consistent 1BPS. I make up a new bottle every 2-3 weeks.
 

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You can't really use a per gallon rule when calculating substrate... For example, enough sand for a 20 gallon tall wouldn't be nearly enough for a 20 gallon long.

I use soil substrates to provide co2 and nutrients, but many people have good luck with flourish comprehensive and root tabs without the extra carbon source. In a stocked tank without major surface disturbance, there's a lot more co2 than people expect. As long as you don't pick any "hard" plants (like small foreground plants and red plants) you'll do fine without added co2.

Byron's guides on the planted forum index are very informative and might help you decide.
 

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Not exactly correct. DIY co2 generators work very well for tanks up to around 40 gals. I have a 30, and 40 gal. on yeast generated co2, and they are doing excellent. I will concur they could be sporadic if your not diligent in keeping the generators renewed often.;-) I use a two bottle system on my tanks. They produce a consistent 1BPS. I make up a new bottle every 2-3 weeks.
i agree
 

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flippent observation

I guess I am a Wisenheimer but I have to ask when injecting co2 into your tank do you ever have an uncontrollable urge for a glass of seltzer water?? What is the difference between injecting co2 into your aquarium and adding small amount of club soda? Can we sweeten the aquarium by adding a little tonic water too?

Another aspect is adding fertilizer tabs to the water column appears inconsistent to me. We spend such effort resolving problems related to nitrogen in our aquariums, yet the plant crowd always adds more nitrogen and other organic compounds, increasing the total amount of nitrogen possibly enhancing the tds and negatively impacting ph. This behavior seems to me as ‘back-tracken’ going in the wrong direction, Away from the balanced system.

It’s reasonable to assume everyone will reject this view with statements about the benefits of live plants.

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seltzer water has additives in it. it is also not a continuous application like injecting CO2.

And I'm not understanding your question about nitrogen. fert tabs if utilized correctly keeps the nutrints in the substrate level where the nitrogen will eventually be transfromed into plant growth. nothing should be released into the water column..
I have a tank stuffed full of plants. once I left water changes for 4 months. TDS ended up around 140... I also fertilized on a regular basis
 

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It’s reasonable to assume everyone will reject this view with statements about the benefits of live plants.

Pop
Seeing as this entire thread is about the benefit of various options specifically for plants, I see no reason to do so.

As far as sand goes, a 30" x 12" bottom requires about 40 to 50 lbs of unrinsed playsand to reach a depth of between 2"-3"... so I would say about 18 lbs per square foot of bottom depending on how deep you want it.

I suit the plants to the environment just like we try to do with fish and water parameters... although I have done some experimenting with mixed results and am about to change my lighting, I don't anticipate ever using CO2 in my current tanks.

Jeff.
 

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On the nitrogen comment- plants need all their nutrients available at all times.

I don't know about your balanced systems, but mine (before soil) had all 0's for nitrogenous compounds, and growth was slow.

Most frets we reccomend here (the comprehensive fertilisers) are, for all intents and purposes, trace element ferts. Their Npk is negligable, and they mostly provide nutrients that are lacking- like copper, iron, silica, and boron.
 

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How regulated does CO2 need to be for it to be useful ? I don't have any idea.
very, co2 requires extra fert and extra light to keep plants growing and algae under control. if your co2 dips but ur fert and light are still high algae will take hold in a matter of day(s). then once you have it itll take weeks to get rid if it. consistency is key with high tech co2.
 

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On the nitrogen comment- plants need all their nutrients available at all times.

I don't know about your balanced systems, but mine (before soil) had all 0's for nitrogenous compounds, and growth was slow.

Most frets we reccomend here (the comprehensive fertilisers) are, for all intents and purposes, trace element ferts. Their Npk is negligable, and they mostly provide nutrients that are lacking- like copper, iron, silica, and boron.
I can agree with you here, ive been using seachems flourish since I started my tank. with the tank now much more full of plants then before I am starting to see macro def's in the bigger plants. flourish isn't for a co2 tank by any means or a high light non co2 system.
 

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very, co2 requires extra fert and extra light to keep plants growing and algae under control. if your co2 dips but ur fert and light are still high algae will take hold in a matter of day(s). then once you have it itll take weeks to get rid if it. consistency is key with high tech co2.
This is an absolute. I learned the hard way when I started using co2. The co2 has to remain consistent. DIY is a little tougher to keep levels regulated. The generator bottles have to be replaced as soon as the bubble count drops in the least.
 

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Would seachem excel and seachem root tabs be better or a mini pressurized co2 kit? This is assuming the substrate is just plain old aquarium sand.

Also, how many pounds would I need of the aformentioned sand per gallon in a planted tank?

Thanks in advance!
Some of what I will now mention has already been said, so bear with the repeat. But I would like to stress the all-important aspect of balance. Unless this is understood and achieved, the planted aquarium will not be at its best, whatever the method. I don't know your particular level of experience, so some of this may be "old news," but it is at the crux of a healthy planted tank.

Aquarium plants require light of sufficient intensity to drive photosynthesis [this varies with the plant species]. But sufficient nutrients, of which there are 17, must also be available. Plants will only photosynthesize (= grow) up to the point at which something is no longer available/sufficient, what we call the limiting factor. This balance is crucial not only for plant growth, but with respect to algae.

Light we can easily provide, so I'll move on to nutrients which are the basis of your question. Most nutrients will be naturally present in a fish tank. They occur from fish foods and water changes. Some may not be in sufficient quantity, so we add them. Carbon is a macro-nutrient, but there is more of it available in a balanced system than many realize. But the question one must first decide, is the sort of "planted tank" you want. Different species of pants have differing nutrient requirements (with respect to volume) same as light. A tank full of stem plants and floating plants--all being much faster growing--will require more light intensity and more nutrients to balance. While a tank of ferns, mosses, crypts, Anubias and some swords will need much less of both.

Adding CO2 is not necessary unless you are aiming for a high-tech high-plant volume tank. The photo below is just one of my tanks, none of which use any form of carbon supplementation; but the plants are all low and moderate light requirement, and the natural CO2 is sufficient to balance.

If you feel the need to add carbon, I would do so with a diffuser and not rely on liquid carbon supplements like Excel. These will decimate some plant species, and if overdosed can kill plants, fish and bacteria.

Substrate tabs will benefit substrate-rooted plants (only), but this is not always needed either. Large swords, tiger lotus, aponogeton, etc which are fairly heavy feeding plants will benefit from substrate tabs. But they also must have liquid fertilizer, as must all plants if nutrient supplementation is needed at all. Some nutrients are only taken up via the leaves from the water column, so substrate nutrients are ineffective here. A comprehensive (complete) liquid supplement is the first thing to add, and may be all you need. The tank in the photo has plain sand substrate, with substrate tabs only next to the larger swords, and receives liquid fertilized (Flourish Comprehensive) once a week, and Flourish Trace once a week. I also use Equilibrium to increase the "hard" minerals which are completely lacking in my very soft tap water. But each aquarium is or can be different, depending upon your source water, fish stocking, and fish foods.

As to the amount of sand, you want somewhere between 1 inch and 3 inches, depending upon the plants. The tank in the photo has 1 inch in front (or almost) and not quite 2 inches in back.

Byron.
 

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Would seachem excel and seachem root tabs be better or a mini pressurized co2 kit? This is assuming the substrate is just plain old aquarium sand.

Also, how many pounds would I need of the aformentioned sand per gallon in a planted tank?

Thanks in advance!

I would use a layer of peat moss with a layer of sand on top to "trap" the peat moss. (canadian spaghnum peat moss in the 1 footx1 footx3ft plastic "bales" $11). then forgo the excell or root tabs.


my .02
 

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want to point out there is nothing wrong with high tech at all and it is very doable. byrons tanks are examples of years of maturity and wernt done overnight. a high light Ei ferts and co2 will turn a new tank from a light forest into a dense jungle in very short time. but with using the high tech there are many factors that need to be kepts in check. I would not recommend high tech for anyone new to the plant side of things.
 
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