Hey guys, my name is Antonio.
I was hoping I could find some advise and knowledge here with you all. I've started my first high Tec tank but seem to be confused on some stuff.

Set up:
-55 gallon fish tank
- 1 Finnex Planted+ 24/7 SE Fully Automated Remote Aquarium LED Fixture AND 1 Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Freshwater Plant Discus
(I use the 24/7 feature on the Finnex, the second leds turn on along side with the CO2 which is around 10 am and turns off along side the CO2 around 4 pm)
- Pressurized CO2 using a Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated COOL TOUCH Solenoid
-Cascade 1500 Canister Filter

Question 1: How do I check my CO2 leves?

I've checked online and everyone says to use a drop checker, but could be slow and unreliable. The other way was to check PH and KH then using a chart determine the current CO2 level. I've done this and my PH is around 7.4 and KH is around 4. Which according to the chart is low on CO2.

Question 2: Does that mean I have to increase CO2 input into the tank even more?

But if I increase the CO2 even more would it not harm the fish? My PH from the tap is at a super high 8.3 so having it at a 7.4 with the amount of CO2 I use now seems like a huge change already. Is it ok to increase CO2 levels even more, or em I doing something wrong, em I testing PH or KH wrong perhaps?

Question 3: Why don't my plants look lush and green?

The plants are growing fine, pretty fast actually.
But they don't look lush and green. I dose Easy Green All in One Fertilizer from Aquarium Co-Op once per week and API leaf zone once per week on a different day. Em I not dosing enough?

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Hi.  Drop checker is the easiest way.  You can make it complicated if you want, but I just aim for 1-2 bps and then see how things are going.  If all is well I bump it up a little and watch over the next few hours.  If you see fish gasping, or plants pearling super hard, dial it back some.  

As for your pH, you really need to consider using a softer water source.  Plants uptake nutrients the best when the pH is in the mid 6s to around 7, so getting in that area is your best bet.   It's a lot easier to make water hard than vice versa.   

What are some options for getting softer water? I live in a small town and that's just how hard the water is here. Would diluting the water with RO water be an option?

Yes RO is an option, or using some distilled water.  Or rainwater.  Just depends on how creative you want to get.

Having pressurized co2 without a drop checker is like Harold Melvin without The Bluenotes....you'll never go platinum.

Try EI dosing:


http://www.aquariumfertilizer.com for macro ferts



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