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Possible to have dream planted tank and without CO2 injection?

Discussion in 'Non-CO2 Methods' started by jfritz42, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Hi all! I'm fairly new to BarrReport and would love to get some advice.

    Here is a picture of my "dream planted tank"

    I'm hoping to copy this tank AND do it with dry-start-method and without CO2 injection, using AquaSoil Amazonia as substrate due its high nutrient content and then not dose liquid fertilizers and do very few water changes. I have 110 watts of T5HO fluorescent lights.

    1) Is that possible? Or is the tank too densely planted to expect this look?

    2) Could you help me identify the plant types?

    3) The plants in the background seem to be planted on top of rocks. If so, how are they attached?

    Some background: I have a 55 gallon tank with plants and CO2 injection. It's been a first-time attempt, and I've struggled over 2 years to investigate dosing and injection methods. I bought all the plants randomly from Petsmart and have had difficulty due to mixing various plants with differing needs. I've gotten tired of the constant maintenance of CO2 injection due to the high growth rate (especially vals, which grow about 12" week in my setup). I've also been disappointed by the look because I never planned the aquascape ahead of time.

    Thanks SO MUCH for any help.
    Jason
     
  2. jerrybforl

    jerrybforl Lifetime Members
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    How big is your CO2 tank? On a 55, a 5lb should last at least 4-5 months. Your dream tank I don't think is possible W/O CO2. You can also turn down your CO2 and light for a lower maintenance tank.

    The other problem is that you bought "randomly". You should really buy all your stock at one time. I think we've all been there. Ditch the liquid ferts and use EI. Easier, cheaper, and faster to dose the tank.

    If your tank is not densely planted, the species you have will have faster growth rates. Less plants to compete with for CO2. If you plant it more densely, IMO it's a little easier to control your CO2.

    Plants all have a few very basic needs...water, light, and food. Some can do better than others without CO2. So the needs of the plants really don't vary too much. Plants acclimate very well to different water conditions.

    The stems in the back are growing behind the rocks. They're not attached.

    This is a learning process. If you ask your questions before you go and spend $$$, you will save lots of $$$ in the end.
     
  3. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Hi JJ, I really appreciate the feedback.

    My main difficulty at the moment is time. I have a wife and three little kids, so I'm trying to balance my hobby with reality :) I was using dry fertilizers and the Estimative Index for over a year, and the weekly 50% water change was too much of a chore, not to mention the trimming.

    I'm really attracted to the non-CO2, el natural approach just because it fits my schedule. But I love densely planted tanks, so I'm struggling to choose the right kinds of plants that will work in a low-tech environment.

    What do you think about using CO2 to grow everything in, then shutting it off altogether (maybe slowly phase it out)?

    Cya,
    Jason
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That tank you posted will not happen without CO2 enrichment.

    A tank like this is possible:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Or my ADA 60 p

    [​IMG]

    f7270730.jpg

    [​IMG]
     
  5. ghostsword

    ghostsword Lifetime Charter Member
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    Great examples Tom..

    I believe that you can achieve a great planted tank without CO2, you just got to choose the plants right..

    Crypts, ferns and moss, they are all easy plants, limit the amount of light you give them, and you will have a slow growing, easy to maintain tank. For the crypts you may need root tabs in the long run, but for now you have ADA Amazonia, so you are ok..

    There are lots of variety in the crypts, so choose the wide leave variety, they do well in low light, low co2.

    With Ferns, also many varieties, so you can do a really nice planted tank.

    Wood, Manzanita, with moss wrapped on it..
     
  6. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Tom and Luis, thanks SO MUCH for replying! I'm very happy to get some advice up front instead of making more mistakes.

    I would really like to have a foreground carpet, like with dwarf baby tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides), but ANY carpet would be fine. Would that be possible without CO2 enrichment? E.g. if I grow the HC with dry-start method, then add water but without CO2, will the HC just die off? Keep in mind that I only have 110W of T5HO lights on my 55 gallon aquarium.

    Thanks for the suggestions on crypts/ferns/moss as good low-CO2 plants. Other recommendations are greatly welcome.

    Take care,
    Jason
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Foregrounds require some work and generally they need CO2.
    I'd give that up as a trade off for not going with CO2.
    Forget HC entirely unless you like trimming and CO2.
     
  8. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Hi Tom,

    This guy has a pic of tank with a dense carpet of some kind of grass-like plant. He claims to have grown this in a non-CO2, non-Excel environment. Any idea what the variety is?

    Here's the pic:
    [attachment=1568:name]

    Thanks!
    Jason

    fts1smalllh7.jpg
     
  9. jerrybforl

    jerrybforl Lifetime Members
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    Jason you will have to gradually wean them off the CO2! If you have a pump and hose, a 55 gallon tank should take you about 15-20 to WC. My 75 and 100 take me about 20 a piece. Hope you are not part of the bucket brigade lol.
     
  10. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Hi JJ, I'll admit I'm not the fastest working person on the planet, especially on Saturday mornings without enough coffee :) It would take me about 30 min to do a water change with a "Python" hose to my bathroom sink, plus up to 30 min of adding buffers, cleaning filter, trimming plants, scraping algae, dinking around. 30-60 min per week is hard in my current circumstances.
    - Jason
     
  11. ZeroFish

    ZeroFish Member

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    Hi, I did try to grow hair grass in a non co2 tank, with hair grass only. They were doing fine and the tank has no algae, algae appear when I increased the light. Therefore, I would say hair grass is safe for a non co2 tank if you manage to get your light as low as possible.

    If healthy plant = less algae, what would happen if we use floating plant to increase the population of "healthy plant"? Floating plant does not have co2 problem. I wonder if we can use floating plant to help us to grow harder plant species under non co2 condition without algae? Although this would not help the plant to grow better.
     
  12. Yo-han

    Yo-han Guru Class Expert

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    This is hairgrass, one of the few carpet plants which should be doable without CO2. Take the acicularis, although it will get a little higher than most other variants, it needs less CO2. Other options are H. tripartita or Staurogyne repens or 'Porto Velho'. Most other carpets need more light (more light equals more CO2).

    You can make a similar looking tank like the first picture, but forget the red plants. They never do well without CO2/much light. Forget the HC, replace it by something else. And expect it to look not even half that healthy and bushy. Stems will grow more leggy and more change on deficiencies (CO2 induced).
     
  13. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Yo-han and others, thank you SO MUCH for the info. I'm especially happy to get the recommendations about the beautiful foreground plants that will work with no CO2. It's also very helpful to hear that hair grass will grow well. Also, I'm happy to avoid the trouble of HC or red plants that won't fit my current plants.

    Now I'm trying to decide if I'll create a DIY top soil or potting soil substrate or fork over lots of cash for Aqua Soil "New" Amazonia Normal type, which nobody seems to have a criticism about...

    Cheers,
    Jason
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    DIY soil I think, mineralize it in the tank if you want(lots of water changes for 2-3 weeks, then none from then on).
    A nice clean creek with some clay like soil on a bend works nicely.

    Clay sandy soil, that's what you want.
     
  15. jfritz42

    jfritz42 Junior Poster

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    Hi Tom, I'm not a chemist, not sure exactly what it means to "mineralize" the soil, although I gather it has something to do with breaking down the ammonia thanks to time/bacteria. I think I read that this can be done with Dry-Start Method, correct? (The alternative being to boil the soil and then put it through several wet/dry cycles)

    Also, regarding Dry-Start Method, could you please tell me how to handle taller plants that may not bear their own weight?

    Thanks again!!
    Jason
     
  16. Forumsnow

    Forumsnow Member

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    Hc is without a doubt possible without co2.
    [​IMG]
    This tank has been flooded since last November and 0 ferts or co2 since January. I trim maybe 1/3 every week or other week. It is with out a doubt possible just have to find the right balance. Hc grows super thick and very healthy, and have never had an issue with it pulling up. I think allowing it to grow in super thick in dsm made all the difference.
    Rotala colorata even has great color.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    So would you recommend HC for a newbie for a non CO2 tank?

    I wouldn't.

    DSM works well though for many species and is particularly useful for the slower growth in non CO2 systems.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, if you have very few other plants, then the above HC can be done, I've done it, a few others have also. But you are simply not going to have the tank you pictured initially, there are going to be trade offs.
    Many plant species do not get along well because one or two plants beat up on the others and take all the CO2.
    While you can find exceptions to many things, I'd still tell you to avoid it.

    DSM with hair grass would not be a bad option, read the non CO2 method article here.
     
  19. Forumsnow

    Forumsnow Member

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    See I would totally recommend hc for a beginner as long as they dry start it. I literally have done nothing but trim it since January. I did the whole high tech thing and the hc has been the easiest plant I have grown. Has even done better than most mosses. Maybe the tank is just a perfect storm of conditions for it to grow, but it seems that leaving the co2 out has seriously simplified things. Not trying to argue just sharing my experience and hoping more people will try it to see if it is just me.
     
  20. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've seen 1001 newbies do it and fail.
    I told them specifically what and how.
    A few experienced plant people succeeded.
    Those are not odds I care for.

    Non CO2 methods are great, more should try it.
    I'd say hair grass is a a much more likely plant to make it over time.
    The tank you list also has FEW other plants.

    This is VERY important and most/many want to add other plants and stems etc.
    Add a nice thick background of stem plants, tell me what happens in about 2-3 months.
     
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