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Medium Energy? - Running a low level of CO2...

Courtneybst

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Hi guys, I know this has probably been asked to death but I can't seem to find a definitive thread about it.

I'm planning to rescape my 120cm and 60cm tanks and I wondered if I could run them with a lower level of CO2... maybe 15ppm? The reason behind this is 1. To save on refills, 2. I've noticed even turning down my CO2 a little bit has improved the fish respiration with seemingly no negative affects on the plants. 3. I don't want explosive growth for maintenance purposes but I also don't want it to be as slow as a low energy tank because these are displays after all.

Has/does anyone do this successfully?
 

ScareCrow

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I've been doing this for the past 6 weeks. I can't tell you how much CO² in terms of ppm I'm putting in other than it's 1.2 bps using a citric acid / bicarb generator. I inject via a ceramic diffuser into the canister filter intake and use the canister filter as a reactor.
In terms of results I have mostly epiphytes so it's not exactly explosive growth but definitely more dense growth than I was getting in low tech.
I think @Hufsa has been trying 15ppm.
 

Hufsa

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I think @Hufsa has been trying 15ppm.
Close, somewhere around 20ppm.
How successfully or not Im doing it I will not comment on, but there is some established practice to run at 20ppm.
I dont see why you couldnt get 15 to work either.
It should be all about balancing the other stuff to compensate a bit.
So go easy on the light intensity if youre running EI ferts with 15/20 ppm Co2, that kind of thing.

Has/does anyone do this successfully?
I think you should just go for it and then report back in this thread with how it went :thumbup:
 
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If you want slower growth you want to use lean dosing. If you want to use low co2 levels you need to dim your lights. I do think it can be done if you use mostly easier plants like most of us do. If you want to safe on CO2 buy the biggest bottle you can put underneath your tank. Myself use a 10kg bottle that I refill for 30 euro's at a gas supply station. Thats about 25GBP more then a half year.
 

Courtneybst

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In terms of results I have mostly epiphytes so it's not exactly explosive growth but definitely more dense growth than I was getting in low tech.
Sounds ideal!
If you want slower growth you want to use lean dosing. If you want to use low co2 levels you need to dim your lights. I do think it can be done if you use mostly easier plants like most of us do.
Yeah I will be using mostly epiphytes and cryptocoryne but the types that need higher light like spiralis red, tiger, flamingo etc
 

Wookii

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I do this on my main tanks now, and plan to do it on my 1500. As @DeepMetropolis says, you can easily use a lower level of CO2, but you need to cut the light, either directly or using floating plants as a shield/diffusor. It’s the light that drives the demand of nutrients, including CO2 as far as I’ve been able to determine.

It is also a little species dependent - pick plants that like higher levels of CO2, and they won’t do so well, so plant choice is important too I think on a ‘medium-tech’ tank (if there is such a thing!).
 
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Hufsa

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It is also a little species dependent - pick plants that like higher levels of CO2, and they won’t do so well, so plant choice is important too I think on a ‘medium-tech’ tank (if there is such a thing!).
This right here. If you avoid picking plants that are known to love/need high light like certain stem plants, and avoid some others that are suspected to like higher CO2 or just being divas (Pantanal) then I think you can grow most everything else.
 

Yugang

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I really like the idea @Courtneybst , as you say a lower CO2 level seems to make running the tank so much easier, cheaper, and comfortable for lifestock.

Tom Barr, a long time ago, suggested on his forum that a higher CO2 ppm takes BBA out of their comfort zone.
"BBA grows in ranges of about 5-10-15ppm of CO2, that seems to be an optima" - Tom Barr on Barreport Sep 2 2013.
This quote is very old, and I have not seen similar statements more recently. Probably this claim is no longer considered valid?

An idea could be to start at 20 ppm, as @Hufsa and others have been doing. When all works well, find out lower levels and see if BBA remains manageable.

Hope you share your experiences, I may follow your example :)
 

Courtneybst

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I really like the idea @Courtneybst , as you say a lower CO2 level seems to make running the tank so much easier, cheaper, and comfortable for lifestock.

Tom Barr, a long time ago, suggested on his forum that a higher CO2 ppm takes BBA out of their comfort zone.

This quote is very old, and I have not seen similar statements more recently. Probably this claim is no longer considered valid?

An idea could be to start at 20 ppm, as @Hufsa and others have been doing. When all works well, find out lower levels and see if BBA remains manageable.

Hope you share your experiences, I may follow your example :)
Thank you! That's really useful, and I think the BBA thing has been the main concern at these lower levels.

I've also figured that maybe if I allow my water to 'degas' fully before measuring my pH I'll get a more accurate pH drop and the fish will be less affected.

My next tank will be rimless so it'll finally allow me to place the outlets and inlets anywhere I like which would greatly help with flow and CO2 distribution.
 

Tom Michael

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Hi Courtney- I’m running my 290 L planted aquarium what I would consider medium tech - one bubble per second blue/green d/c. Only running one month but so far so good, almost no algae good plant growth and pealing end of photo period. It can def be done if you have the experience to get the balance right!
 

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Courtneybst

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Does this mark the end for the Juwel?
It does! It's been a good 6 years but it's time to go
Hi Courtney- I’m running my 290 L planted aquarium what I would consider medium tech - one bubble per second blue/green d/c. Only running one month but so far so good, almost no algae good plant growth and pealing end of photo period. It can def be done if you have the experience to get the balance right!
Hi Tom, that's great! May I ask what your lighting setup/period/intensity is? It seems like the unit is suspended quite high.
 

Tom Michael

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It’s an ADA light - yes it’s quite high, 40 cms from the surface. It’s on for 10 - 12 hours per day.

I should also say I’m running the v low amount of C02 24/7 and I have moderately soft water.
 

JoshP12

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Totally. IMO you always want co2 to be in the “most excess” with a massive buffer … so reducing it will just slow growth and not affect forms or induce deficiencies.

IMO you need to “reduce” something (from full blown EI and high light and impeccable flow standards) to make it work (keep flow impeccable lol) … personally, I would not withhold light; I would throw macro nutrients in the substrate, dose additional potassium and micro in the column, feed the fish and look to ADA model.

@Wookii brings up plant species and this is the key — mini butterfly … ya you gonna need 25+ of that co2 minimum. Rotundifolia … grow like a weed and beautifully at 10-15.

You can cheat your water by picking the right plant choices … lower KH makes co2 more accessible to the plant (especially those that can’t utilize carbonates) … but right plant choices and you can “make it work”.

The middle road gives the least headache lol.
 
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