The Cheap CO2 or No CO2???

BruinAquatics

Hey guys I'm setting up a 29g planted tank in hopefully the next few days or so. I pretty much have everything to get started. My initial plan was to run an RGB Nicrew, with Diy Co2 by Aquario and use the EI dosing method.

However now that I have been working things out I'm starting to question whether I should even use the aquario neo co2 thing. I already have it and seems good quality but I'm afraid of it's inconsistencies and whether it will even make that big of a co2 impact. I'm also a little bit worried about pH and co2's efffect of ph but I have a high kh and gh value and from what I read co2's relationship with bicarbonate, carbonic acid, etc, is much more complex than just lowering pH (so i'm not too worried).

I'm also questioning whether I really need co2 injections as my intended plants are low tech capable (vals, amazon sword, anubias barteri, java fern, crypts wedtii, apongoten bulb, pogostemon stellatus, hydrocotlye leucophela, buce, and stem plants like rotalas and ludwigias that I know can grow in low co2 enviornments since I've done it before).

I do like the idea of having a co2 injection but i'm not fully committed to wanting a pressurized system. The Neo co2 system will likely deliver way less than 25-30ppm co2 but will deliver more than if no injection is present. I also know that with this co2 system it is a 24/7 injection which isn't too concerning fish wise since i'll be running an extra airstone, but may mess with my plant balance.

I also like the fact that co2 injections can aid in allowing my plants to outcompete the algae but I don't think Im even that worried about algae since I know methods to keep it at bay in a low tech setting.

So should I just dose excel or should I try the diy neo co2?
 

Cherryshrimp420

Do you want to sell your plants or aim for a specific aquascape look? If not then I don't see a reason to go high tech
 

Mudminnow

I already have it and seems good quality but I'm afraid of it's inconsistencies and whether it will even make that big of a co2 impact.
I've not used the DIY system you have, but, in general, I'm not a fan of DIY CO2. In my experience, they are a hassle, and it's far too easy to make things worse in your tank instead of better.
I'm also a little bit worried about pH and co2's efffect of ph but I have a high kh and gh value and from what I read co2's relationship with bicarbonate, carbonic acid, etc, is much more complex than just lowering pH (so i'm not too worried).
Don't worry about CO2 and PH. The day-to-day swings in PH that CO2 injection cause don't harm anything.
I'm also questioning whether I really need co2 injections as my intended plants are low tech capable (vals, amazon sword, anubias barteri, java fern, crypts wedtii, apongoten bulb, pogostemon stellatus, hydrocotlye leucophela, buce, and stem plants like rotalas and ludwigias that I know can grow in low co2 enviornments since I've done it before).
Yep, no need for CO2 with those choices. Using CO2 can still have some advantages though. With it your plants will grow fuller, faster, and more vibrantly. You can also run lower or higher light intensities if you use CO2 (low-tech tanks have a narrower window in terms of lighting options).
I do like the idea of having a co2 injection but i'm not fully committed to wanting a pressurized system.
It's my opinion that you should go pressurized or not at all.
I also like the fact that co2 injections can aid in allowing my plants to outcompete the algae...
This is only true if in some cases. Honestly, I think CO2 injection is more likely to make algae issues worse. If you don't use it correctly, the CO2 levels will not remain consistent throughout the day--favoring algae.

So should I just dose excel or should I try the diy neo co2?
In my opinion...neither. Go low-tech or high-tech. The in-between stuff doesn't work as well.
 

BruinAquatics

Is there a possibility to "try" out the diy system and see how it goes than if i don't like it i can make a transition to know co2? Or will that be too difficult?
 

toeknee

From my experience, unless your CO2 is spot on consistent, it causes more troubles than it's worth. And DIY CO2 is very tough to be consistent with.
 

BruinAquatics

Sounds good everyone thanks for your responses. Im gonna go ahead and call it quits with the diy co2 thing. I'd much rather manage a low tech tank and you guys are definitely right about either low or high tech. I'm still gonna use EI dosing and I'm still weighing my opinion on whether i should use Excel or not. I've heard success stories and gimic related stories but not really any disaster instances. So I'm still gonna do my research on excel. For now I'll put the neo co2 away for a future expirement.

Thanks guys!
 

sslliitthheerr

Is there a possibility to "try" out the diy system and see how it goes than if i don't like it i can make a transition to know co2? Or will that be too difficult?
well think about it this way, don't put the plants in yet maybe have one tank plant and then put the diy one in first and if you find no way to balance it the way you want then try the other one. in my little experience so far as I have just set up my first planted breeding tank for guppies is that you WILL make mistakes and it really does not matter how long it take as long as you get it the way it is intended
well think about it this way, don't put the plants in yet maybe have one tank plant and then put the diy one in first and if you find no way to balance it the way you want then try the other one. in my little experience so far as I have just set up my first planted breeding tank for guppies is that you WILL make mistakes and it really does not matter how long it take as long as you get it the way it is intended
i know this does not really help as you are a lot more knowledgeable than me but it was meant to put you in the right headspace.do you have 2 14 gallon buckets lying around? cause if so i might have a good testing solution
 

BruinAquatics

Sorry im not really understanding the method that you described

I'm not too worried about the short term balancing of the tank and its response to the co2, but rather more worried about the long term (and probably short term) inconsistencies of the diy system, which will then thus create long term balancing issues for me. That's really the only thing thats holding me back.
 

sslliitthheerr

Sorry im not really understanding the method that you described

I'm not too worried about the short term balancing of the tank and its response to the co2, but rather more worried about the long term (and probably short term) inconsistencies of the diy system, which will then thus create long term balancing issues for me. That's really the only thing thats holding me back.
well, if you get a large bin of similar parameters or attach 2 buckets together you could test both of the systems out of the tank so that you can figure it out quickly
 

ruud

I'm not too worried about the short term balancing of the tank and its response to the co2, but rather more worried about the long term (and probably short term) inconsistencies of the diy system, which will then thus create long term balancing issues for me. That's really the only thing thats holding me back.

Not sure if I follow this. Consistency and balancing are terms used oftentimes by hobbyists as if it were the solution to all sorts of problems. And I feel this is particularly true to those that rely on technology a lot, rather than biology. It is consistency that is actually the cause for many problems.

Sure, irregular CO2 fluctuations with an average of 15ppm causes stress to many plant species; the latter can trigger certain algae spores. But irregular fluctuation around 15ppm is technology induced.
 

Cherryshrimp420

No point EI dosing without co2 injection (and strong lighting) . The plants wont be able to use those nutrients
 

ruud

No point EI dosing without co2 injection (and strong lighting) . The plants wont be able to use those nutrients

Add Excel to this statement as well.

If you want to increase CO2 levels a bit; increase water surface agitation, embrace shallow tanks, add dry leaves, add fish.

Conduct water changes every now and then and most of your other nutrients will be available as well.
 

BruinAquatics

No point EI dosing without co2 injection (and strong lighting) . The plants wont be able to use those nutrients
Lighting likely won't be strong. I still want to embrace the dry ferts though, but in a modified state. I like the idea of customizing my NPK levels, and affordability. Come to think of it im more planning on using a very modified PPS-pro method than an EI method.

Meaning im thinking more of a modified pps pro (and come to think of it, this is technically not even pps pro) where im still gonna use dry fertilizer, and I'll dose for deficiency (for instance i know that I'm going to need to dose extra potassium in this tank because of my vals, amazon swords, and Java ferns)
I was thinking about making my own nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, and micro solutions (so 4 different solutions) and dosing all npk's and micros after a wc (like an all-in-one, but I would likely dose less on the nitrates and phosphates). Then throughout the week at some points (which is a schedule that i need to create) i would dose potassium and micros at a low concentration and/or level. The reason why I'll dose a lower amount of N and P is because my bioload will definitely produce those macros, pretty much constantly. At the end of the day its an expirement of what dry fert method/schedule/concentration/level of a given nutrient works for my biomass, bioload level, lighting, plant types, and my overall system.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Lighting likely won't be strong. I still want to embrace the dry ferts though, but in a modified state. I like the idea of customizing my NPK levels, and affordability. Come to think of it im more planning on using a very modified PPS-pro method than an EI method.

Meaning im thinking more of a modified pps pro (and come to think of it, this is technically not even pps pro) where im still gonna use dry fertilizer, and I'll dose for deficiency (for instance i know that I'm going to need to dose extra potassium in this tank because of my vals, amazon swords, and Java ferns)
I was thinking about making my own nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, and micro solutions (so 4 different solutions) and dosing all npk's and micros after a wc (like an all-in-one, but I would likely dose less on the nitrates and phosphates). Then throughout the week at some points (which is a schedule that i need to create) i would dose potassium and micros at a low concentration and/or level. The reason why I'll dose a lower amount of N and P is because my bioload will definitely produce those macros, pretty much constantly. At the end of the day its an expirement of what dry fert method/schedule/concentration/level of a given nutrient works for my biomass, bioload level, lighting, plant types, and my overall system.

Without strong light and Co2, your plants will not utilize the ferts. The growth of a plant is primarily driven by light. Adding more ferts will not cause the plant to grow faster, it's light that will drive nutrient demands

In a low-tech tank, ferts are not necessary except for maybe potassium and iron. Anything else can be obtained from food and tap water. If you are using a pure distilled water source then yes, you need to add some minerals back.
 

BruinAquatics

Yep I understand that, but I feel like these concepts vary from person to person. I have a med to high kh and gh and still when I add fertilizer to my low-tech tanks with the amt that is more than what they seem they need, they thrive. I'm most likely going to do the method I mentioned especially because the method has the flexibility that I want which will allow me to play around with my system. Who knows maybe at some point I'll find dosing only potassium and iron is all I need, or prehaps that I need to dump a ton of phosphates everyday (which most likely won't happen but who knows).
 

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