CO2 is a gas that plants use to power the process of photosynthesis, which allows them to absorb nutrients from water and turn them into food for their own use. Without sufficient carbon dioxide, the photosynthesis process breaks down and the plants stop growing. It’s important to connect your aquarium to an external source of CO2 to ensure that plants have access to the correct amount of gas for maximum growth.
Adding CO2 to an aquarium is a relatively simple task, but can be a daunting one for some people. There are many different types of products on the market that can help you achieve the desired CO2 levels in your aquarium, and these include inline atomizers, CO2 injectors and more.
Inline Atomizers: These products attach directly into the tubing of the filtration system and allow the aquarium to connect to the inlet of the atomizer. They’re a good choice for nano-sized tanks and are able to provide a high-level of CO2 in the tank.
CO2 Injection: Pressurised systems inject CO2 into the tank from a canister or cartridge that is attached to a regulator. They’re a great way to boost the natural levels of CO2 in your planted tank and they are easy to set up and operate.
A CO2 injector can come in many different forms, from small kits with a few cartridges to larger and more expensive models that have solenoids that allow the system to be easily adjusted to suit your needs. These can be purchased from the likes of NilocG Aquatics, ZRDR and Fluval.
Yeast Based Systems: These systems run at fairly low pressure and work by adding yeast plus sugar to water to make alcohol which then ferments to create CO2. They are an inexpensive option, and come in kit form with sachets and screw-top canisters and a ladder style diffuser.
Aerosols: These systems are inexpensive to buy, but they have some disadvantages. First, they don’t diffuse the CO2 into the water as well as a ceramic or ladder diffuser does, so it’s important to manually refill them on a regular basis. This can mean that the CO2 levels in your aquarium fluctuate, which is not ideal for the health of your fish.
Drop Checker: A drop checker is a small glass bulb with an indicator liquid that changes colour depending on the amount of CO2 in your aquarium water. Blue indicates too little CO2, yellow means the gas is too high and green is the optimal level for your tank.
It’s worth using a drop checker to check the levels of your CO2 in your aquarium because it’s easy to get an idea of how much you need to add and can help you keep it at a safe level for the fish. It’s also a great way to ensure you don’t overdose on CO2 which can damage your fish’s immune systems and cause pH shock.
Lastly, the amount of CO2 you need in your aquarium depends on the amount of light that you are using, which plants you are planting and how often you feed the fish. Generally, we find that it’s best to have around 30 ppm CO2 in a planted tank because this is the optimal level for plant growth and fish safety.