Alright so I have tried a small planted tank in the past but it kinda fell apart, mostly my fault, but at some point in the future I’d like to give it another go. If you were to try to do a nice 5g or 10g planted tank would you use excel or run CO2 on it? Clearly ferts and such would be used as well.
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Excel isn’t exactly co2 in my opinion,it’s watered down glutaraldehyde which isn’t the safest of chemicals, it’s mainly to kill off algae and it does that by mutating the algae beyond the ability to grow any further, so with the algae mutated it’s no longer taking up nutrients and allows the plants to do so. I have a gallon of the actual chemical that you are welcome to,just have to water it down to half strength to dose the same as Excel. Sooo long answer short I’d go with the co2 tank
If I can budget in a CO2 system I personally always go that route. No matter the size of the aquarium. In my opinion there is no replacement for pressurized CO2 injection.
Now with that said some “low tech” plants you can definitely get away with not having to run a CO2 system. As sometimes there is enough in the tap water to keep them going. But going this route you want to keep some times in mind such as more frequent water changes to keep everything replenished properly. Also you want to be careful using air pumps or having too much surface agitation as both of those will get rid of any CO2 in the water fairly quickly. Some excel with this method won’t hurt either.