CO2 question—Do I need a CO2 system?

Aysu

I recently broke down my 10 gallon low tech planted aquarium and upgraded to a 29 gallon tank, using the same plants, stock, and filter media/some of the old gravel (to keep the cycle going). There was a slight ammonia spike, of course, but I'm past that now, and with no loss of life. In the new tank, I’m trying to do a legit aquascape, planned and organized from the start. The only new plant is dwarf hair grass, and I’m wanting it to carpet.

So, we all know where this is going haha.

Current equipment and set up:
- 29 gallon tank
- fluval plant and shrimp stratum, with some of the old substrate layered on top
- There is a patch of sand, but nothing is planted in it
- weekly dose of an all in one macro and micro liquid fertilizer from the aquarium co-op (this will go up to twice a week once I’m certain the plants have settled)
- daily dose of API liquid CO2
- a NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light, Full Spectrum LED on a timer for 8 hours a day
- HOB filter (I don’t remember the brand, but it came with the tank and it's working fine)
- an air stone that runs 24/7

Right now, I’m doing daily doses of 3ml of API liquid CO2, measured using a dropper. Is this enough for dwarf hair grass to spread? I don’t mind if it takes longer to carpet, and I don’t mind doing the daily dosing, but if it isn’t going to work, then I’ll shell out for a CO2 system.

At one point with the old tank, I was using that one small fluval CO2 system—that many of you have probably seen—because the price was nice, and I wanted to see how that all worked... until I learned that each refill costs $18, and only lasted about a week even once I learned how to avoid burping a whole bunch of gas each time I turned it on. It certainly helped the plants, but the old tank didn’t have any real need for extra CO2, just Java ferns, Java moss, anubias, some floaters, and another plant I don’t remember the name of but clearly didn’t need the extra help to grow.

On a related note, if I do need to get a CO2 stystem, I still have the parts of that Fluval CO2 system (the bubble counter/check valve, the regulator valve, the ceramic diffuser, and a glass drop checker I bought separately). Obviously, that stuff was for a much smaller aquarium than I have now, but I think it might still work for the new one, just maybe with a different gas canister that’s larger and needs replacing less often? Or will that not work? Can I just use a soda stream CO2 canister from my local Target instead? Will I need to buy a different regulator valve or an adapter to fit, or are those standard? My understanding is what came with the Fluval kit is pretty cheap. Would it be better/less of a headache to just replace everything?

Also, if I do go pressurized CO2, I’d like to get a solenoid to automatically turn the thing on and off. Can I buy/attach that separately, or will I need to get it as part of a pre-setup for aquariums thing? What is a good recommendation for a solenoid for cost and quality?

I don’t want to go DIY, regardless of how well it works for some people, so please don’t recommend doing that. I'm fairly lazy, do the less fuss with each change, the better. I also don’t like the look of any DIY system that I’ve seen, and can’t I hide it in a cabinet. Cost isn’t a huge issue for me right now, but I also don’t want to spend money on a CO2 system if I don’t have to, if that makes sense.

Attached is a picture of the tank, just in case anyone wants to see it. I think this is with the old light before I got a bigger one to fit the new tank. I’d take a new picture, but the tank lights are off for the night. Anyway, it's simple, but I like it.

Thank you for any and all help!
 

MandutheAxolotl

I mean, It's all based on your preference. How fast you want the dwarf hairgrass to carpet will determine whether you want to have CO2 system or not. Also whether you think it's worth it. Beautiful tank btw.
 
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Aysu

I mean, It's all based on your preference. How fast you want the dwarf hairgrass to carpet will determine whether you want to have CO2 system or not. Also whether you think it's worth it. Beautiful tank btw.
Thank you! I'll wait to see if anyone else has anything else, but hearing that makes me lean towards sticking with liquid CO2.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Liquid CO2 doesn't affect CO2 concentrations btw. Are those actual rotalas in the back or are they part of the background picture?
 
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Aysu

Liquid CO2 doesn't affect CO2 concentrations btw. Are those actual rotalas in the back or are they part of the background picture?
So there's no point to adding liquid CO2? I thought it still helped with plant growth, just not as efficiently?

And the rotalas is part of the background picture.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

So there's no point to adding liquid CO2? I thought it still helped with plant growth, just not as efficiently?

And the rotalas is part of the background picture.

Ehh Im not sure how it directly benefits plant growth. I'm not sure if Glutaraldehyde can even be used by plants as a carbon source...

It is a strong disinfectant though, and may indirectly benefit plants by killing algae and biofilm on plant leaves and thus allow more photosynthesis.
 
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Aysu

Ehh Im not sure how it directly benefits plant growth. I'm not sure if Glutaraldehyde can even be used by plants as a carbon source...

It is a strong disinfectant though, and may indirectly benefit plants by killing algae and biofilm on plant leaves and thus allow more photosynthesis.
Based on some new stuff I’m looking into now that you’ve told me this liquid not-CO2 doesn’t really help plants grow, I think you’re right that. Beyond what you said by killing algae, it isn’t very useful. I wasn’t searching the right stuff for it before. Can’t hurt to keep using it at least until I finish the bottle, though, I guess. I don’t have any super sensitive plants or critters that might be harmed by it.

Guess this also means getting a pressurized CO2 system.

Anyway, thank you pointing this out to me!
 
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Mudminnow

You don't always need to inject CO2 to have a dwarf hair grass carpet. I've helped one of my brothers grow a hairgrass carpet in one of his low tech tanks before. Things that helped us: shallow tank (29 might be tricky), medium light, and soil. I think having softer water helps too.

If you go with a CO2 system though, it will be easier/faster to grow a dwarf hairgrass carpet.

Both approaches have pluses and minuses. It's up to you which you like.
 
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Aysu

You don't always need to inject CO2 to have a dwarf hair grass carpet. I've helped one of my brothers grow a hairgrass carpet in one of his low tech tanks before. Things that helped us: shallow tank (29 might be tricky), medium light, and soil. I think having softer water helps too.

If you go with a CO2 system though, it will be easier/faster to grow a dwarf hairgrass carpet.

Both approaches have pluses and minuses. It's up to you which you like.
This is good info, thank you!

Unfortunately, it's not a shallow tank. But it does have soft water, good lighting, and good substrate, with several root tabs buried in it, so maybe that'll be enough? I think I’ll see how the grass does for awhile, and if it looks like it needs help, I'll invest in a CO2 system.

I think I’d like to do CO2, because people's tanks do look so much better with the extra help. I need to do a bunch more research to figure out what is what in the system, thread sizes, adapters, solenoids, system sizes, CO2 sources, what does my tank size require, etc. But being in my last semester at college makes me not want to invest any extra brain power in comparing products, pieces, and prices when I need to be studying accounting and business concepts.
 
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Nickguy5467

helps prevent algae in bright tanks i read. i like that part
 
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