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Old 05-12-2007, 02:09 AM   #1
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I am thinking of setting up a planted tank. I have a general idea of what I want, but wanted to ask a few questions first. I will probally start off small, say a 15 gallon tank or something.

1) Do you need filters and if so, is a Aqual Clear filter good?

2) I know you don;t need CO2 in a lowlight tank, but do you need CO2 in a medium light tank? If no, what is the work around?

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Old 05-12-2007, 02:47 AM   #2
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from my noobie experience and knowledge.
co2 is always a good thing for plants but not a needed in lower light setups, I believe you will start needing co2 after 2 to 2.5 watts per gallon. if your going low light or medium light do less frequent water changes to keep co2 levels steady and not fluactuate thus keeping BBA in check. you might need ferts depending on how many plants but I would say it is always better, something like- Potassium Sulfate, Mono Potassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate, CSM+B Plantex. maybe get a test kit that reads phosphate is good to have.

regarding the filter I believe that is fine since you do not have co2, this might keep the co2 tank levels with ambient levels, but once you start adding co2 in the tank less movement is better on the surface of the water.

you might need flourish excel to dose some sort of carbon.

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Old 05-12-2007, 10:55 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that a smaller aquarium like the 15 gallon you're considering is going to take more light to hit the various lighting levels. As a result you probably won't have quite as much light as you think.

While it's not strictly necessary to have a filter in a planted tank, It's a good idea to have something to provide water movement. You might as well use a filter, especially in a lower light tank where the plants won't be growing as fast and therefore won't provide as much of a bio filter for your aquarium. AquaClear is probably the most recommended HOB filter for planted aquariums.

Generally it's somewhere between medium and medium high light, that CO2 generally becomes a necessity. There are some higher light tanks that work quite well without it, but most run into algae problems. As long as you stay below the medium to medium high light range you really shouldn't have to worry about CO2. If you find that you do then Flourish Excel would be a pretty good option on that size tank if you don't want to mess with DIY or Pressurized CO2.

If you haven't already, please read the links in the Read This First Sticky at the top of the forum. There's lots of great information on starting a planted aquarium.
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Old 05-12-2007, 04:46 PM   #4
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Purrbox is dead on, reading the sticky as well as her article So you want to do a Planted tank is also a good read. It goes into depth regarding the small tank lighting issue.

After reading these, if you incur any specific questions or wish to pick our brains, feel free to do so.
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