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A handful of questions

Freakshow1966

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Got a few questions if i may;

1) Im thinking about adding a C02 system to help with plants. Whats a good one without it being super
expensive. I was looking at this one.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q9YC25Y?pf_rd_p=ab873d20-a0ca-439b-ac45-cd78f07a84d8&pf_rd_r=W9B0BKPEF1DWR1474H7A

2) where does one go to refill the C02 cylinder?

3) I have very softwater and am thinking this might be an issue for snails and shrimp. If i were to throw a
cuttlebone in the tank would that help with snail shells and such?

4) I bought some test strips and one of the test is for Alkalinity. I thought alkalinity was a measure of the pH.

For the record this is a 40 gallon breeder and my water test are as follows

Alkalinity……………………. 80
pH………………………….. 6.5
Total Hardness…………….. 25
Iron…………………………. 0
Copper……..……………. 0.1
 

essjay

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1) and 2) I'll leave the CO2 questions for someone else as I've never used it.

4) Alkalinity is what water companies call KH. It is because of the method they use to test it. Strictly speaking, a pH above 7 is basic not alkaline. In chemistry, there are acids and bases, with alkalis being just one type of base.

3) Yes, snail shells will erode in soft water, particularly where the pH is below 7. There are various things you can put in the tank to provide calcium, and cuttlebone is one of them. On-line shrimp shops sell a variety of things.
 
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Freakshow1966

Freakshow1966

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4) Alkalinity is what water companies call KH. It is because of the method they use to test it. Strictly speaking, a pH above 7 is basic not alkaline. In chemistry, there are acids and bases, with alkalis being just one type of base.
So if alkalinty is KH is my KH high or low? With the pH at 6.5 i assumed i had soft water.
 

Byron

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Agree with essjay.

CO2...this is risky if fish are present. And if fish are present, there may already be sufficient CO2 being naturally produced by the decomposition of organics in the substrate to provide what the plants require. CO2 is just one of 17 necessary plant nutrients, and if any are insufficient, the plant photosynthesis will slow. More of "x" or "y" does not make up for insufficient "z".

CO2 is part of the balance of light (intensity, spectrum and duration all factor in) and nutrients. Adding CO2 if the light is not bright enough to balance, or other nutrients are insufficient, can cause terrible algae.

Other aspect is the plant species, and numbers. Here again adding CO2 might or might not have any benefit, or worse it may have a detriment. Without knowing the aim--including the tank size, GH, additives (intended), lighting, plant species--it is not possible to offer much advice.
 

essjay

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Alkalinity……………………. 80
pH………………………….. 6.5
Total Hardness…………….. 25
Total hardness = GH. This is very soft. 25 ppm converts to 1.4 dH
Alkalinity = KH, and this too is low. 80 ppm converts to 4.5 dH.

Total hardness/GH is the most important for fish. Should you put hard water fish in this water they would struggle.
KH is mainly important for its pH stabilising effect rather than affecting fish directly.
 
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Freakshow1966

Freakshow1966

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Other aspect is the plant species, and numbers. Here again adding CO2 might or might not have any benefit, or worse it may have a detriment. Without knowing the aim--including the tank size, GH, additives (intended), lighting, plant species--it is not possible to offer much advice.
Well lets see its a 40 gallon breeder tank. GH= 25. This is the light i have
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PFHD1G1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Im not set on any type of plant over another. I have never had live plants before but here are some thoughts on plants
Java fern, Java moss, water sprite and Monte Carlow. The monte is the reason i thought at the C02. I dont have to have C02 i just thought it would give me lusher plants is all.

While i have had plenty of tanks over the years, this is a new one on me. Live plants, sand and no UGF, shrimp and snails, larger than a 20gallon all these are new to me.
 

Byron

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Well lets see its a 40 gallon breeder tank. GH= 25. This is the light i have
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PFHD1G1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Im not set on any type of plant over another. I have never had live plants before but here are some thoughts on plants
Java fern, Java moss, water sprite and Monte Carlow. The monte is the reason i thought at the C02. I dont have to have C02 i just thought it would give me lusher plants is all.

While i have had plenty of tanks over the years, this is a new one on me. Live plants, sand and no UGF, shrimp and snails, larger than a 20gallon all these are new to me.
The linked light should be OK so far as intensity and spectrum are concerned. Reading through the Q&A's though it appears you cannot have the light completely off, there is always some light on 24/7. That is not good for plants or fish, even if the light is low as it presumably would be during the "night" cycle. Fish must have a period of several hours of total darkness, meaning no ambient room light and no tank light. Plants benefit from the same. I would want to sort this out before spending the money.

The Monte Carlow plant I assume is Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' ? Link:
https://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/Micranthemum-'Monte-Carlo'-(025-TC)/4442

If yes, it does say it need bright light and CO2. Would you consider an alternative plant? None of the others mentioned will really benefit, either from increased light or CO2.

The issue adding CO2 is that it sets up a higher balance, and it creates another layer of risk. The less one intervenes in an aquarium, with bright light, CO2, more nutrients, adjusting water parameters, or whatever, the less complex the biological system will run and that means less risks for fish. And one has to remember the fish, they are detrimentally impacted by bright light and diffused CO2, that is now being accepted. Myself, I would only go down this road with an "aquatic garden" planted tank with plants but no fish. I toss that out for what it may be worth. :fish:
 

Byron

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Pictures as they say are worth thousands of words, so just to illustrate my "simple" approach, here are a few of my 40g (same tank size) tank over the last four years. I have changed it around a couple times due to my move and downsizing tanks. I have moderate (some would say low) light, and floating plants to help reduce it further for the fish, no CO2, and minimal weekly dose of Flourish Comprehensive Supplement complete plant fertilizer. Play sand substrate. Dual sponge filter. The tanks are geared for the fish, and the plants have to manage so obviously not every plant will survive but I keep the ones that will. The second photo shows how the pygmy chain sword spread when I let it.
 

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Freakshow1966

Freakshow1966

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Reading through the Q&A's though it appears you cannot have the light completely off, there is always some light on 24/7.

If yes, it does say it need bright light and CO2. Would you consider an alternative plant? None of the others mentioned will really benefit, either from increased light or CO2.
I think what they are talking about is there is a setting for 24/7 and it goes from bright white to a dim blue. However you can shut the light off and there be zero light.

Oh i am not set on any plant over another right now. I just said Monte Carlo because it looked nice but any other will work just as well. Just aiming for acarpeting plant is all.
 

seangee

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Be aware that shrimp are even more sensitive to fluctuations in CO2 levels, I agree with @Byron re the Monte Carlo.
You don't mention what fish you keep or intend to keep. Your water is perfect for many of the South American and Asian species so it may not make sense to try to change it unless you have specific fish in mind. Almost all of these fish prefer subdued lighting and CO2 injection always goes with high light. Some (but not all) shrimp may struggle in such spft water, the same goes for snails.
 
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Freakshow1966

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Your water is perfect for many of the South American and Asian species so it may not make sense to try to change it unless you have specific fish in mind.
My main interest is in Tetras Most likely Rummy Nose or Neon. I will have a center piece fish perhaps a betta or angel and then small fish. Certainly a gang of Corys for the bottom of the tank. Then snails and shrimp for extra clean up.
 

Byron

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My main interest is in Tetras Most likely Rummy Nose or Neon. I will have a center piece fish perhaps a betta or angel and then small fish. Certainly a gang of Corys for the bottom of the tank. Then snails and shrimp for extra clean up.
If I may, there are some issues here so it's best to deal with them before they occur.

Male bettas (presumably you meant male) are not community fish, so don't consider one here. Either it will attack the other fish, or the smaller fish will fin nip the Betta. This is so common it is the norm.

The tank is not large enough for angelfish. Gourami would provide some nice centrepiece fish though, for example the Pearl Gourami perhaps? Gourami tend to remain in the upper half of the water column, while rummynose tetras and neon tetras prefer the lower half, so that is a nice combo. Neons need cooler water (meaning around 74-76F/23-24 C) which suits the cories. Gourami would like a tad more warmth, and this shouldn't mess with the cories especially some species. Cardinals perhaps instead of neons?

Lots of options with soft water species.
 
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Freakshow1966

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Male bettas (presumably you meant male) are not community fish, so don't consider one here.

74-76F/23-24 C) which suits the cories. Gourami would like a tad more warmth, and this shouldn't mess with the cories especially some species. Cardinals perhaps instead of neons?
Yeah i know the male Betta is not a community fish, i think it always comes to mind because its a tough fish that can breath air. I have always used them to cycle a tank. I am by no means set on it, it just came to mind. Honestly i cant think of to many fish that would fit the bill as a centerpiece. I can keep looking.

Oh im fine with Cardinals they look great.
 

seangee

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Cardinals and corys will be great. Of course I would say that as it is what I have in my community tank. Apistos might make a nice centrepiece. Personally I have around 30 cardinals and don't feel they need a centrepiece. Using fish to cycle a tank is generally considered cruel and if it doesn't kill the fish will greatly reduce its life. This link describes a very effective way of achieving the same thing. To your original post they definitely do not like a lot of light. Here are mine in their home, which has no CO2 and I use floating plants to reduce the light. Back to black

I have malaysian trumpet snails (aka malaysian livebearing snails, aka MTS) in my tanks which have 0 hardness and highly recommend these as a cleanup crew
 
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Freakshow1966

Freakshow1966

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Using fish to cycle a tank is generally considered cruel and if it doesn't kill the fish will greatly reduce its life. This link describes a very effective way of achieving the same thing.

I have malaysian trumpet snails (aka malaysian livebearing snails, aka MTS) in my tanks which have 0 hardness and highly recommend these as a cleanup crew
I did plan on MTS as i read they dig into the sand and keep it turned over. As for the cycling you have to understand im old and we have always used fish in cycling the tank back in the day lol I have no problem of a fishless cycle mind you its just not something us old timers think about :)
 
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