CO2 + Algae Eaters?

Ogeidniaeloh

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I am quite the beginner in this hobby and have a new (cycled) 20 gallon tank with one Betta, three neon tetras, four silvertip tetras, a few ghost shrimp, two amano shrimp, and an albino bristlenose pleco. I have planted some Java Fern in a corner of the tank (tank is coarse gravel so plant options were limited) and now, of course, I have plenty of brown algae. My pleco has done a great job cleaning the tank on his own (my amano shrimp rarely make an appearance and prefer to hide in a fake plant decoration) but I have been reading that I need to add CO2 to my tank for my Java Fern and other future plants. I plan to plant more of them along the back of my tank once this coronavirus thing blows over (possibly anubias?). According to the internet CO2 kills agae. Will this kill off my Pleco's food supply? I don't want to starve him if I can avoid it.
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Thank you!!
 

FinalFins

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Hi there, liquid co2 'kills' algae while injecting gassed co2 into a tank does not kill co2, but rather helps the plants thrive to the point where they outcompete the algae and it dies off from competition.

Brown algae isn't really a algae but are diatoms which form with silcates. It shouldn't die due to co2. :)

Also your pleco can be fed algae wafers of other foods depending on species. What species is it?
 

Fahn

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CO2 doesn't kill algae (tell that to the string and staghorn algae in my crystal shrimp tank). Rather, it increases the available carbon for plants to use so they can photosynthesize at a faster rate, meaning they uptake more nutrients and get a competitive edge against algae, so you see more plant growth and less algae. To accomplish this you need a heavily planted tank. It wouldn't make a lick of difference if you injected CO2 in your tank with only 1 plant.

Java fern is an extremely undemanding plant that benefits from added CO2 but certainly doesn't require it.

Also, that isn't Java fern, looks like come kind of Anubias. It will die if buried in the gravel and needs it's rhizome exposed to the water column.

Also hit your tank with a good gravel vacuuming, that's a lot of buildup.
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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Fahn said:
Also, that isn't Java fern, looks like come kind of Anubias. It will die if buried in the gravel and needs it's rhizome exposed to the water column.

Also hit your tank with a good gravel vacuuming, that's a lot of buildup.
Ah, my local pet store called it java fern so that is good to know. I will probably try to order my future plants online. Do you know what plant would be the best buried in my gravel? As you can see its not very fine gravel so I know most plants are rooted out (no pun intended).
 

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
Ah, my local pet store called it java fern so that is good to know. I will probably try to order my future plants online. Do you know what plant would be the best buried in my gravel? As you can see its not very fine gravel so I know most plants are rooted out (no pun intended).
Amazon swords, Cryptocorynes, most stem plants such as Ludwigia spp. or Hygrophyla spp., Valisneria, dwarf sag, Aponogetons, to name a few types.
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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Fahn said:
Amazon swords, Cryptocorynes, most stem plants such as Ludwigia spp. or Hygrophyla spp., Valisneria, dwarf sag, Aponogetons, to name a few types.
Thanks for the recommendations!

You mentioned that a heavily planted tank is required for CO2 to make a difference. How heavily do I have to plant a tank for it to be "heavily planted"? Will it be enough to plant along the back of my tank about 3-4 inches thick from the back wall? I assume this question depends on the type of plant as well?
 

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
You mentioned that a heavily planted tank is required for CO2 to make a difference.
NOT necessarily. Some plants absolutely do require CO2, so even in lightly planted environments with those plants, it is required. Examples include the infamous carpeting plant Hemianthis callitrichoides ("HC Cuba", "Dwarf Baby's Tears"). Despite being the smallest aquarium plant, it is a nutrient hog that needs very bright lighting and CO2 injection to survive.

What comes into play more is nutrient uptake. By adding CO2 you are increasing the rate atwhich plants uptake nutrients, so you will have to dose more often. In heavily planted tanks this is easier because their is little risk of adding too much and causing huge algae blooms (remember that algae are technically plants as well).

By heavily planted I mean nearly every square inch of your tank is planted.
 

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
Thanks for the recommendations!

You mentioned that a heavily planted tank is required for CO2 to make a difference. How heavily do I have to plant a tank for it to be "heavily planted"? Will it be enough to plant along the back of my tank about 3-4 inches thick from the back wall? I assume this question depends on the type of plant as well?
Hi, I don't think it is necessary for you to heavily plant your tank and your plant options will be limited by the gravel. Heavily planted, google "dutch aquascape." That's an extreme example but that's what a high tech, CO2 injected tank might look like.

Anyways, CO2 should not be used as an algae control method. It is one of the three factors that control plant growth: light, nutrients, CO2. When all three are balanced, that is when algae control happens. CO2 is also complicated and expensive and unneeded for plants like java fern and anubias.

You shouldn't be relying on algae to feed your pleco, he'll need regular fish food just like any other fish. Algae wafers and other sinking foods are good for bottom dwellers. I would also recommend you increase the schools of tetras, they're schooling fish and like to have many of their own kind around. Absolute minimum 6 of one type of schooling fish, but I think 10+ would be best. This may not be possible with your tank size though.
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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-Mak- said:
Hi, I don't think it is necessary for you to heavily plant your tank and your plant options will be limited by the gravel. Heavily planted, google "dutch aquascape." That's an extreme example but that's what a high tech, CO2 injected tank might look like.

Anyways, CO2 should not be used as an algae control method. It is one of the three factors that control plant growth: light, nutrients, CO2. When all three are balanced, that is when algae control happens. CO2 is also complicated and expensive and unneeded for plants like java fern and anubias.

You shouldn't be relying on algae to feed your pleco, he'll need regular fish food just like any other fish. Algae wafers and other sinking foods are good for bottom dwellers. I would also recommend you increase the schools of tetras, they're schooling fish and like to have many of their own kind around. Absolute minimum 6 of one type of schooling fish, but I think 10+ would be best. This may not be possible with your tank size though.
I plan to plant some vallisneria spiralis along the back of my tank. Do those need CO2? I would prefer to avoid CO2 since, as you mentioned, it is expensive and a bit of a hassle. With regards to my tetras, I would love to get more, but my tank is only 20Gal and adding up the lengths of all my fish, it's already too much (3 x 1" neon + 4 x 1.5" silvertip + 2.5" betta + 4.5"(once he grows up) x2 bristlenose plecos = 20.5). I only have one bristlenose at the moment, but I was planning on getting the second one once this blows over, though I might hold off to avoid overcrowding. The neon tetras school with the silvertip tetras so I hope they will be okay. I also have some ghost shrimp and a couple amano shrimp. The pet stores near me only offer baby plecos, which don't know what algae wafers are and rely on the algae present in the tank. My bristlenose loves cleaning all the agae he can find and I still have more than enough for him to eat. I don't want to overfeed with an added algae wafer.
 

Fahn

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Vals do not require CO2 injection. You don't need to go by the 1" per gallon rule as it is outdated and inaccurate; I had 45 fish in my old 29 gallon and could support them because I was heavily planted, with very good filtration, and also kept top, mid, and bottom dwellers.

Offer your pleco fresh vegetables, my BN pleco loved squash, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, sweet potato, carrot, apple, romaine lettuce, and watermelon rind!
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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Fahn said:
Vals do not require CO2 injection. You don't need to go by the 1" per gallon rule as it is outdated and inaccurate; I had 45 fish in my old 29 gallon and could support them because I was heavily planted, with very good filtration, and also kept top, mid, and bottom dwellers.

Offer your pleco fresh vegetables, my BN pleco loved squash, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, sweet potato, carrot, apple, romaine lettuce, and watermelon rind!
Do Vals require ferts?

Would you say a second BN would be okay to get in the future then? Also, is it true that having ghost shrimp decreases biological load of fish? Along those lines, are amano shrimp better to have than ghost shrimp in terms of helping clean the tank? Same amount of both maybe?

I've tried both cucumber and zucchini and he doesn't seem interested in either of them (both blanched). Though, he loves my Cholla wood and sometimes the driftwood and hunts down algae with a passion. Is there a reason he might not be interested in the cucumber or zucchini? (I realize I have started to go into non-plant topics so I apologize for that)
 

Tankmandan

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The plants that you have and want CO2 is not needed. It would be a waste of money to put a CO2 system into the setup you have. Wait until you have a proper planted tank. The liquid Co2 Excel which is not even Co2 will not even help in your case.
 

Fahn

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
Do Vals require ferts?

Would you say a second BN would be okay to get in the future then? Also, is it true that having ghost shrimp decreases biological load of fish? Along those lines, are amano shrimp better to have than ghost shrimp in terms of helping clean the tank? Same amount of both maybe?

I've tried both cucumber and zucchini and he doesn't seem interested in either of them (both blanched). Though, he loves my Cholla wood and sometimes the driftwood and hunts down algae with a passion. Is there a reason he might not be interested in the cucumber or zucchini? (I realize I have started to go into non-plant topics so I apologize for that)
ALL plants need ferts, especially Potassium, Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Carbon.

Your pleco will be just fine. Algae wafers and fresh veggies served raw (they last longer in the tank). My pleco would eat a wedge of zucchini down to the skin in 48 hours. They do rasp at wood fiber and cholla is a soft, easy to rasp wood that plecos like. Try something like squash, carrot, or watermelon rind as well, mine loved those.

Having ghost shrimp doesn't take away from a biological load (they poop too), but their load is so small that it is practically nonexistent. Ghost shrimp also don't really eat algae; they're detritivores that prefer bits of meaty foods or vegetable matter, so they could clean up leftovers. Amanos will eat just about anything but specialize in eating algae.
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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Fahn said:
ALL plants need ferts, especially Potassium, Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Carbon.

Your pleco will be just fine. Algae wafers and fresh veggies served raw (they last longer in the tank). My pleco would eat a wedge of zucchini down to the skin in 48 hours. They do rasp at wood fiber and cholla is a soft, easy to rasp wood that plecos like. Try something like squash, carrot, or watermelon rind as well, mine loved those.

Having ghost shrimp doesn't take away from a biological load (they poop too), but their load is so small that it is practically nonexistent. Ghost shrimp also don't really eat algae; they're detritivores that prefer bits of meaty foods or vegetable matter, so they could clean up leftovers. Amanos will eat just about anything but specialize in eating algae.
How do you get fresh veggies to sink? Also, what ferts do you recommend? Is it a single mixture or do I need to buy each of the things you mentioned individually?
 

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
How do you get fresh veggies to sink? Also, what ferts do you recommend? Is it a single mixture or do I need to buy each of the things you mentioned individually?
I stuck an airline clip suction cup into the veggie and stuck that to the glass! You can also just stick a fork in it,

I use and highly recommend NilocG Thrive, it is a concentrated fertilizer with every nutrient.
 
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Ogeidniaeloh

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Fahn said:
I stuck an airline clip suction cup into the veggie and stuck that to the glass! You can also just stick a fork in it,

I use and highly recommend NilocG Thrive, it is a concentrated fertilizer with every nutrient.
Last question: How long would I be able to leave it in my tank before I should remove it?
 

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Ogeidniaeloh said:
Last question: How long would I be able to leave it in my tank before I should remove it?
Raw veggies can stay in for up to 48 hours in my experience with cooler water tanks. With warmer water I wouldn't do more than 24 hours.
 

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