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Old 03-07-2004, 05:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Needing CO2 (and Much Other) Advice for a 38 Gallon Tank

Hi and thanks to anyone that helps me out. I saw a posting asking where the newbs are, well, I guess I sort if fit the bill. I have been trying to keep a planted tank with limited success for the last year.

I have a 38 gallon tank with a 110 watt lighting system. I am using a yeast set-up now and am not too happy with it.

I would like to put together a system that is nice, but not too expensive. If anyone has recommendations on buying different parts from several places, I'd REALLY appreciate it if they could also recommend a site that has schematics that are relatively easy to follow.

I would also like a system that could be used on a larger (125-250) gallon tank, if possible. I its know, crazy, but I'd like the option when and if I ever decide to buy a larger aquarium.

One other question related to algae. I do weekly water changes of about 10-15%. I have: cardinal tetras (10), and rummy nose tetras (7), about 16 green tetras, 4 zebra botias, a couple of catfish and an algae eater. Is this too many fish for a heavily planted tank?

I've been trying hard not to overfeed, but I'm having some black hair algae that goes crazy once in a while and is a pain in the back end to clean up. I have no water test kits, but my fish are pretty finicky and all are doing very well. Regarding plants, all are common, some anubias, a sword or two, a large val (too large maybe!) and various common other plants.

Does anyone have recommendations on plants that will last quite a while? My swords do well for a while then die off. I have read that they need to be take out of the tank for a period of time. Well, I would like to find something a little less care-intensive if that's the case. Does anyone have some good ideas on plants that would fit my needs and tank size?

I hope I don't sound like too much of an idiot. My wife and I are working on our master's in special ed while working... We are SO busy and incoming cash is none too high right now. I have tried researching on-line, but there is so much info (a good deal of it conflicting) out there, I'm getting a bit flustered

Thanks for any answers, I am looking to buy the makings for my CO2 system in about 5-6 months.
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the board,

Take a look These should be a big help for many of your questions.

I would strongly recommend you switch to pressurized co2 from the diy. 38 gal, is approaching the limit of diy, and with as much light as you have, you will have algae issues unless you keep the co2 up. You should also check you kh to be sure there are no possible pH swing issues there.
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to APC and thanks for becoming a member.

Don't remove your swords from the aquarium. I think you have a nice compliment of plants so far. I would suggest that you add some Cryptocoryne wendtii as well and maybe some other fast growers like water sprite or hygrophila species.

The reason your plants tend to die off is that you don't seem to be feeding them. Can you tell us more about the substrate you are using and any fertilization that you are adding to the water?

Don't worry too much about the fish load, although it is a little high.

And as for the algae, it will be beaten back by your soon-to-be healthy plants.
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Toddalf!

Welcome Welcome Welcome! I'm really sorry to hear that your facing some unwanted issues with your tank right now but all beginners face those same issues when they get in to the aquaria world. I'm not a pro about CO2 but all i can say is that (on the cheap side) I hooked up two 2-liter bottles, on each to a powerhead and an intake of hang-on filter. Although it wasn't the best solution, it worked enough for my plants to grow. This is a really simple setup, but you'll reallize that as your play with your CO2 setup, you'll think of other methods of dissolving this gas in to the water. As long as you find some sort of water agitation and an path (like a tube or something) where water and the CO2 can flow, then you should be fine.

As for the algae. I'm not too sure if you have staghorn of Blackhair algae. I think they are the same. This is how I solved my blackhair algae problem ::

I lowered the amount of light the tank recieved a day. For example going from 12 hours a day -> 10 hours a day. I also made sure that everybit of area in the tank does not have still water. My first problem with my 20 gallon tank was that certain area of water was not being filtered. Those were the areas where staghorn began to grow. SO I added another powerhead to make sure that there was a continuous movement of water in all areas. In 2 weeks all my staghorn was gone. hair algae remained. Good thing is I left my amano shrimps to deal with that. And...that solved all my algae problems.

Continue to research whenever you have time. Just post us up when you face anything. Thing is, every aquarists has been in your shoes before and it is how they deal with the problem that truly measures what kind of aquarist that person is.'s a good thing for issues to come up. Although in the shortrun it may be unfavorable, but in the longrun your future tank will be much better. Take it one step at a time.

I hope everything goes well with your masters and kudos to both of you for taking on this special area. See you around APC!
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Thanks!

I really appreciate the comments so far and support. Looks like I will try lowering the number of hours of light. I've been meaning to but, it keeps getting put off (I'm suddenly getting great at procrastinating).

Does anyone have any recommendations on the number of hours I should have the lights on?

I forget the name of the substrate I bought (it was over a year ago), but I think it was a baked red clay (I think) and recommended by a small pet store saleperson.

Just in case anyone needs more info, I have two little DIY yeast CO2 systems set up. I also use Seachem's Comprehensive Plant Supplement and Potassium Supplement.

The website is nice Bert! Thank you for posting it.

Again, I really, really appreciate all of your help everyone!
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