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CO2 in a heavily stocked tank

Bluecoat

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8 Mar 2021
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Sussex
Hi,

I'm planning on setting up a 150l eheim vivaline shortly. Ideally I want a fairly heavily planted tank, but also quite heavily stocked with fish.

To keep things simpler, as I'm busy with kids etc, I thought I'd start with the standard lighting that comes with the tank, initially grow lower light plants, then transition to CO2+better lighting later, rather than take it all on at once (having never used CO2 before) does this sound like a plan?

What are your thoughts about whether lots of plants+lots of fish+CO2 - is this a good idea?

Thanks!
 

alto

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24 Dec 2014
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6,235
Eheim Vivaline 150 is 60 x 50 x 50cm
This tank footprint will suit rather fewer fish than a more traditional shape such as the Vivaline 180 100 x 40 x 45cm (high) ... of course then you might as well go Vivaline 240 120 x 40 x 50cm (high)
Except of course tank and filter and hardscape and plants etc costs also rise significantly

What fish are you interested in?

Plants grow much better with CO2 so if you’re considering CO2, I’d add it at the beginning

If you go with a heavily stocked tank, then you’ll also want to set up for easy, quick water change system (eg, Python system or similar)

I’d suggest setting up the tank initially with plants, then algae/cleaning crew, then adding (most) fish once plants are well established - much easier this way
(Allow the kids to each choose a few brilliant coloured Endler boys Endler - Aquarium Glaser GmbH to keep things interesting while tank is settling in)
 

tiger15

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14 Mar 2018
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USA
I have gone through the same thought process when I converted my heavily stocked cichlid tanks into planted cichlid tank. I started out with low tech set up to see if it worked. The growth was very slow and I had to constantly fight algae, and almost wanted to give up. Then, I turned to CO2 and has no regret except for not doing it earlier. CO2 is a game changer which makes plants grow faster, and robust plants are the best weapon against algae. So I believe that for newbies, going all the way to CO2 will make growing plants easier than navigating in low tech.

There are many successful low tech tanks but most are lightly stocked. But I keep cichlid which are heavy polluter and high bio load is magnet for algae. Without CO2, I don't think I will still be growing plants. After success in high tech, I set up a couple zero tech planted bowls with shrimp only, and it works.
 
Joined
18 Nov 2020
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38
Location
Lisbon, Portugal
Hi,

I'm planning on setting up a 150l eheim vivaline shortly. Ideally I want a fairly heavily planted tank, but also quite heavily stocked with fish.

To keep things simpler, as I'm busy with kids etc, I thought I'd start with the standard lighting that comes with the tank, initially grow lower light plants, then transition to CO2+better lighting later, rather than take it all on at once (having never used CO2 before) does this sound like a plan?

What are your thoughts about whether lots of plants+lots of fish+CO2 - is this a good idea?

Thanks!
I started my tank with a similar plan. However, 3 weeks later I as adding CO2.
I regret I did not include the CO2 since the beginning, as the option of not including it conditioned my light options, my plant options and ultimately my hardscape options (because I started with fewer plants).
As I've said, 3 weeks later I was adding CO2, then I replaced the light (to a stronger one) and then I started adapting the hardscape and adding additional plants. I definitely would've preferred to make a clean build since day #1.
 

Bluecoat

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Thank you so much for your replies, and for being such a welcoming forum (which isn't always the case haha!!)

@alto - I originally wanted the 180, but the Vivaline 150 was a compromise as my Mrs wasn't keen on something with a bigger footprint. However, after revisiting the conversation with her, I have now ordered the Vivaline 180 :) (she is in a good mood with me)
In terms of stocking, Not finalised, but I'm looking at a combo of:
  • small tetras (mainly for the kids)
  • would love some tiger barbs, but from memory they may be a bit too nippy
  • Briefly thought about pygmy puffers, but pretty soon realised they are probably not a good idea here (already thinking of another smaller species tank for those haha)
  • perhaps some rainbow fish
  • half dozen or so corydoras
  • a pair of cichlids of some sort
  • a few oddballs/algae control species (back when I had a tank decades ago I was more into unusual catfish etc!)
  • some shrimp (as these are new to the hobby since I was last into it)
CO2 - thanks for all the advice. I think I'm going to just dive in and go for it up front. The only decision I've made on that front is to go for a pressurised system, as I don't have the time to mess around with yeast (unless liquid CO2 is worth looking into?) CO2 is the area I am least knowledgable about, and also looks quite expensive, so I need to do a bit of reading on that. I had a look on ebay form 2nd hand parts, but I really don't know what I'm doing in terms of what I should/shouldn't be looking at.

Substrate - thinking about Tropica plant growth soil, capped off with fluval stratum or similar (hopefully ok with the corydoras?)
Lighting - boy plant LED's are pricey! I don't think the Eheim standard LED's will be up to it, so guess I'm looking at something like the Fluval plant 3.0 (which I hope will fit under the hood of the vivaline) Any suggestions of good cost effective LED's here?
Filter - the 10x volume in circulation per hr rule is confusing me. I've seen some good deals for used Eheim pro 4+ at around 1000 lph, and was wondering if something like that would be ok in combo with the internal biopower 200 tat comes with the vivaline (max 650lph)?
Is the 10x rule really about getting great movement in terms of gas exchange, debris etc, or does it mean 10x volume actually going through a filter?
For small community fish, do you think that may be a bit excessive in terms of the outflow being too powerful for them?

Sorry for the long ramble!
yours, Bluecoat
 

Zeus.

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Is the 10x rule really about getting great movement in terms of gas exchange
Yes, Co2 diffusion is very slow in water, getting good flow in tank gets the CO2 (and other ferts) to the plant so there is never s shortage locally

Is the 10x rule really about getting , debris etc, or does it mean 10x volume actually going through a filter?
Flow can be generated by filters or powerheads, I have twin Maxspect gryes, so I ignore the filter output
 

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