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Old 08-06-2012, 11:06 PM   #1
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Do I really need a CO2 setup?

Hey guys, first time posting, glad to be here and in the forum with many knowledgeable people.


Anywho, I have a 36 gallon bow front aquarium from Aqueon. With it I have (I think) a Quiet Flow 50 @ 250gpm, and a 17W 24" Full spectrum light.

I can't seem to keep the plants from losing all of their leaves, floating to the top (which is probably due to poor placement) or turning a little brown. I have also given them liquid fish food.

Is it necessary for a CO2 system? I love the look of planted aquariums as they look nice and authentic.

Thanks guys!
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:19 PM   #2
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If the one filter is the one that came with the tank, then its a quietflow 30. And your problem is probably lighting, that's really low lighting being a t8. I have that same tank.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:51 PM   #3
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I couldn't tell you about the other plants, but I know that the bamboo isn't fully aquatic and will slowly die if the upper third??? isn't in the air.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:19 AM   #4
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you do not need co2 if you are patient in letting your garden grow. you have to plan and choose plants wisely. also you need to upgrade your lights to at least 1-2 watts/gallon,

fertilizers and excel will help most plants.

it is probably challenging to get lush groundcover without co2, though.

i like this reference for non-CO2 tanks. Planted Aquarium – Sudeep Mandal’s Website
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paytertot
your problem is probably lighting, that's really low lighting being a t8. I have that same tank.
+1 the absolute key to a planted tank is correct lighting. Co2 is only needed for tanks with high levels of light.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #6
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Looks like from left to right: lucky bamboo (dracaena), bacopa, dead/dying hornwort, ludwigia repens, anacharis, lucky bamboo (dracaena).

I'm sorry to inform you but it looks like a helicopter may have crashed in your tank as well.

But seriously, I agree that the single t8 is not really much light for growing plants. It will likely sustain some of the less demanding stuff but the condition of the hornwort may be due to insufficient lighting.

Co2 is a good step in a planted tank but I'd probably step up the lighting first.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:48 AM   #7
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I'm growing low light plants in the same tank with a coralife t5 fixture (i replaced the colormax with a daylight bulb) and ferts.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I'm growing low light plants in the same tank with a coralife t5 fixture (i replaced the colormax with a daylight bulb) and ferts.
How's that working for you?
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger terror

How's that working for you?
It's working pretty well.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:15 PM   #10
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Nice fixture...I'd reccomend them to others..
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:41 PM   #11
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So a T5 bulb can work? I'm not too sure about what all that T business is. i'm also trying to find a good site to go to to find a brighter bulb. All the places in my area only supply 24" 17w bulbs. I stumbled upon aquariumguys.com and they have brighter bulbs for a decent price. Just not sure of what exactly to go with
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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A dual bulb t5 fixture will still be low light, but better than the t8
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codiferous
So a T5 bulb can work? I'm not too sure about what all that T business is. i'm also trying to find a good site to go to to find a brighter bulb. All the places in my area only supply 24" 17w bulbs. I stumbled upon aquariumguys.com and they have brighter bulbs for a decent price. Just not sure of what exactly to go with
You can't put a brighter bulb in the light fixture that came with your tank. What you'll need is a different light fixture that can use a different type of bulb. The Coralife T5 light fixture is much brighter than the light fixture you have. There are lots of companies that make T5 light fixtures for aquariums in different price ranges. The higher priced fixtures generally work better but inexpensive T5 setups will do the job.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:23 PM   #14
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So something like this won't work in my set up?

Aquari-Lux T8 Bulb 24" 20W

or this:

50/50 T8 Fluorescent Lamp without Reflector - 17W - 24 in.

oooooooor this:

Ocean Sun Fluorescent Lamp - 10,000k - 24 in - T8


I'm all open to anything, just want to see if there's a cheaper solution first. I was thinking about getting a combo day/night light but so far I have my current bulb and a string of LEDs I painted blue that works pretty well
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codiferous
So something like this won't work in my set up?

Aquari-Lux T8 Bulb 24" 20W

or this:

50/50 T8 Fluorescent Lamp without Reflector - 17W - 24 in.

oooooooor this:

Ocean Sun Fluorescent Lamp - 10,000k - 24 in - T8

I'm all open to anything, just want to see if there's a cheaper solution first. I was thinking about getting a combo day/night light but so far I have my current bulb and a string of LEDs I painted blue that works pretty well
Sorry, but none of those bulbs will ever properly grow the plants you have in a tank your size. They just can't produce enough light. If price is an obstacle you can always do what I did and order an Odysea T5 light fixture from aquatraders. They cost about as much as 2 bulbs and actually come with the bulbs included. They aren't high end but they will grow loads of plants. Actually, if you really did go high end you would probably need to have CO2. The Odysea light fixture should allow you to grow tons of plants without CO2 (still always a good option to look into).
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #16
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as you are finding out, planted aquariums and aquariums in general isn't cheap. you can try to control costs but the spending options are limitless and it just adds up. of course the rewards are gratifying, educational, fun, and worth it.

i think you need to look at t5 ho bulbs. the one I got is working well and the price wasn't too bad Nova Extreme 2xT5HO | Current-USA

this product also has good reviews on this site. online you might find it for less than $100.

also the zoomed t5 HO lamps at petco seem to be a decent option as well. sometimes there are sales/coupons for those.

either of these would bring you up to medium to high lighting

there are articles about people wiring their own lighting using home depot parts or creating a pendant light, but I am not that savvy and would be nervous about electical work.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:22 PM   #17
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Ok cool! I don't have a problem spending some money here or there, just want to explore the cheaper options first.

I found this one at the site you directed me to: Odyssea T5 Aquarium Lighting

Is this optimal?

Just want to make sure I'm getting the right thing. Sorry I guess I just like to be pretty thorough with my set up
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:34 PM   #18
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I think, first, we need to decide if you're wanting low lighting, high lighting, etc. With high lighting comes more planting options but also a good amount of ferts and co2 injection. Low lighting won't require this and moderate lighting you can get away with DIY co2 and liquid ferts such as flourish, normally.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:38 PM   #19
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Well I guess enough lighting to cover the plants I already have in my tank. I should have read up on planted before going out and getting em.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:27 PM   #20
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You could always get a single T5 light strip if you aren't planning on getting CO2. The Hagen Glo single T5 strip is available on Amazon for a good price. It's an excellent quality fixture.
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