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Hello and request for advice


16 May 2008
Cotgrave, Nottingham.

I've been registered a while and just soaking up advice but thought it time to get involved.

I set up my first planted tank (my first aquarium of any sort in fact) at the beginning of august and its been running nicely. Minimal algae and good plant growth. It is heavily (over) stocked with harlequin rasboras, rummynose tetras, pentazona barbs, sterbai corys, amano shrimp and a couple of angels but I've had no fish losses or any with health concerns other than 2 ottos and a harlequin that went shortly after introduction so I've put those down to travel stress/fragility. I'm also aiming to upgrade to a bigger tank in the new year. I'll try and post a couple of photos at some point when I'm not at work.

The tank is a 30" x 15" x 18" tank giving 120 litres (before hardscape etc.)

I've been dosing EI daily using aquaessentials dry salts for macros and tropica plant nutrition for the micros - i'll get a trace mix powder for when this runs out.
Water Changes of 50%+ weekly.
I'm adding CO2 using 2 of the hagen nutrafin yeast cannisters and a daily dose of Excel easycarbo.
Filtration is from an Eheim 2224, flow is aided by a koralia nano pump.
Lighting is 2x18W T8s for 10 hours a day with a 24W T5 giving a burst over 4 hours in the middle of the day.

Now... here's where I need some advice...
I know that the flow from my filter is insufficient going on current thinking.
I know that my CO2 supply is inconsistant due to the nature of DIY production.
I know that my algae issues, slight as they are (small amounts of BBA and a bit of a fuzz type algae on sword leaves etc plus the inevitable green spot on some of the older anubias leaves) would be aided by remedying both of these situations.
I know that I'll be skinned alive if I go out and buy a new filter and a pressurised CO2 system.
SO... do I go for the filter or the CO2 reg etc as my next step?
Personally, I'd go with the CO2 setup. You can do it for under £100. It'd be easier to try and score a cheap second hand filter to add to your current filter, as apose to buying a bigger new filter so you might be able to do that as well, or at least, fairly soon after :)
I think that depends on how well you feel the flow is doing now and whether you feel you are under filtering for the fish or just the plants.

You didn't give livestock figures so I don't know how overstocked you are but If you think you're on the limits of your biological filtration then upgrade the filtration, the animals must come first. If however your filtration is adequate and you think the flow is getting to most of the tank (plants all swaying nicely) then go for the CO2 reg.

If you're getting a bigger tank later then you'll need both eventually.
Hi and welcome! :D
I'd choose to upgrade CO2 injection every time. One doesn't have to buy a brand new filter, used filters work just as well and they often come on the market. You can always find cheaper ways to upgrade the flow such as the addition of more powereheads and so forth that won't break the bank, but you can't make more CO2 unless you increase Excel/Easycarbo - which can become very expensive as tank size increases. You can also do other things in the tank to optimize flow patterns such as keeping a more open plan, pruning/thinning more frequently, restricting the lighting and so forth to minimize the effects of mediocre turnover rates.

there're 10 harlequins
6 pentazona barbs
6 rummynoses
6 corys
2 angels
2 ottos
4 amano shrimp
(plus a good number of pest snails - physa marmorata)

From a biological filtration point of view I don't think there's a problem, the 2224 is providing enough I'm sure - it's purely from a flow point of view I think the filter requires an upgrade (I'd estimate that at the moment there's about 3-4x turnover at best). Sadly due to the positioning of the tank bracing there's only space for me to use one filter so it'd be case of replacing it with a bigger one. The other thing would be that with the increased flow the co2 distribution would be better - but I don't think this would make up for the inconsistant supply?

I'm definitately bending towards the CO2 just thought I'd try and get as much input as possible!
I'm definitately bending towards the CO2 just thought I'd try and get as much input as possible!
I would be too, you're right, good CO2 distribution can't compensate for poor CO2 production. You filtration/flow sounds ok, you've got a filter rated ~6x tank volume which combined with your nano pump (rated 7.5x tank volume) should be enough. The 10x rule is for rated not actual turnover, I think the aiming point was about 5x actual turnover. More important is getting the flow right to make the best use of the turnover.