If you really want a flourishing planted tank, you have to ensure that the right CO2 levels are maintained. Not sufficient, and the plants will die. Excessive, and you risk murdering your fish and promoting the growth of algae.
That is the reason for purchasing a quality CO2 regulator for your aquarium is important. And a great way to ensure that you provide the ideal CO2 level without putting your aquarium at risk. However, you need to know that not all regulators are the same.
Table of Contents
Benefits of Using CO2 Regulator in Your Fish Tank
1. Healthy Plant Life
It is a well-known fact that plant life and fish need to exist together in balance. The plants flourish on the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is exhaled by the fish.
Side effects of the absence of carbon dioxide include plants with stunted growth or pale stems and leaves.
In this case, also, the plants won’t be able to provide the right supplements to the fish nor correctly aerate the environment. Such negative circumstances are best prevented by the installation of a good CO2 system or regulator.
2. Healthy Fish
Carbon dioxide plays an indispensable part in the life of fish and other aquatic life. Too little may harm your fish and possibly lead to their untimely death.
Fish discharge carbon dioxide when breathing. An excessive level of carbon dioxide in the water increases the toxicity, affecting the pH balance.
However, unless you are exceptionally skilled in detecting the level of CO2, what you are likely going to see is dead or sickly fish. A CO2 system helps to maintain the CO2 at a moderate level, thus reducing the negative impact.
3. Combating Algae Growth
Algae is indeed one of the greatest threats to fish. It affects the life of fish by producing an unhealthy condition that can cause infection to the fish and other plant life.
Studies prove that CO2 contributes to algae growth and an abundance of ammonia, which is risky for fish. Installing a CO2 regulator in the aquarium to monitor the level of carbon dioxide helps avoid these unwanted effects.
It might look easy, however, the value of a decent CO2 regulator is clear. It enhances the quality of water, boosts the wellbeing of both plants and fish, and keeps the growth of algae under control.
Nonetheless, you need to know that all CO2 systems aren’t the same. This is why you need to buy quality CO2 systems and regulators from reputable dealers.
The 8 Best CO2 Regulators for Your Planted Aquarium
|FZONE Aquarium CO2 Regulator with Solenoid for Planted Tank
|Aquarium CO2 Regulator with Solenoid 110V-Mini Dual Gauge Display Bubble Counter
|CO2 Aquarium Regulator Mini Dual Gauge Display
|SR Aquaristik Aquarium Dual Stage CO2 Regulator
|MOD Complete MDC99005 CO2 Regulator Aquarium Mini Stainless Steel
|VIVOSUN Hydroponics CO2 Regulator Emitter System
|DoubleSun Hydroponics Aquarium CO2 Regulator
|S.T. International Aquarium Professional CO2 Regulator
Aquarium CO2 Regulator Reviews
1. FZONE Aquarium CO2 Regulator with Solenoid for Planted Tank
This mini-CO2 regulator from FZONE is built to last. It has a high-quality aluminum body and stainless steel diaphragm plus it’s compatible with a range of different CO2 tanks. It includes a CO2 paintball adapter as well as a CGA 320 thread connection stem adapter and can be used with CO2 cartridges, too.
The precision needle valve and locking mechanism allow fine adjustments and accuracy from 0 to 60 PSI making this regulator suitable for tanks from five to 400 gallons. The integrated solenoid valve was designed to operate with low power consumption plus it’s super quiet and stays cool to the touch.
One of the best things about this regulator is that it can grow with your tank. It has a larger knob so it’s easier to adjust and can even work with 360-degree swivel piping for more versatility.
- This regulator has a high-quality aluminum body and stainless steel diaphragm for long-term durability.
- It includes a paintball adapter and CGA 320 thread connection stem adapter and is also compatible with CO2 cartridges.
- You can fine tune adjustments from 0 to 60 PSI.
- This regulator works effectively with tanks ranging from 5 to 400 gallons.
- This regulator is a little pricey.
2. Aquarium CO2 Regulator with Solenoid 110V-Mini Dual Gauge Display Bubble Counter
This regulator from DoubleSun is made of high-quality materials that are durable and built to last. It’s compatible with most high-density tubing and works well with a variety of CO2 atomizers and diffusers. The display is easy to read so you can set it to deliver precise amounts of CO2 from 150 to 2000 PSI.
The energy-saving solenoid valve operates quietly and at a low temperature so it won’t disturb you or any creatures in your tank. Plus, it helps to extend the life of the regulator. Setup is easy, too. It’s up and running in no time.
One of the best things about this regulator is its reliability. Once you get the settings just how you want them, the regulator takes care of the rest.
- A tightening tool, extra seal ring, and detailed instructions are included.
- It’s compatible with most high-pressure tubing, atomizers, and diffusers.
- Adjusting the settings is easy and it has a wide range of 150 to 250 PSI.
- It performs consistently and reliably.
- Instructions are difficult to understand.
- The bubble counter doesn’t rotate. An additional stand is needed if you need it in a different position.
3. CO2 Aquarium Regulator Mini Dual Gauge Display
The FZONE CO2 regulator is really easy to adjust. It has a knurled knob for fine adjustments that are as precise as one bubble every five seconds. The dual gauge display is really easy to read and tells you the level of the CO2 inside the tank as well as the outlet pressure.
To make sure the bubble counter stays consistent and accurate, a one-way valve prevents water from flowing back into the cylinder. The performance is very consistent, even when the system is hooked up to a timer.
Unlike some other regulators, this one is designed specifically for a planted tank. It has a maximum working pressure of 60 PSI and a durable aluminum alloy construction that’s built to last.
Plus, you get a wrench and extra O-rings for the initial installation and any necessary maintenance.
- This regulator is designed specifically for planted tanks.
- Adjustments can be as precise as 1 bubble every 5 seconds.
- A wrench and extra O-rings are included.
- This setup can be hooked up to an automatic timer and continues to provide consistent results.
- This regulator is only suitable for side open US standard CO2 bottles with a CGA 320 interface.
- The included instructions are difficult to understand.
4. SR Aquaristik Aquarium Dual-Stage CO2 Regulator
This kit works with standard North American CO2 bottles and is a great choice for a planted tank. It features a dual-stage valve for extra reliability and safety and delivers precise control of your CO2 output. Setup is easy and it delivers reliable and consistent performance.
The dials display the canister pressure and CO2 output and the large control knob reduces the chance of any accidental changes. There’s also an electric solenoid that you can turn off and on as needed. Plus, it can be used with a pH controller, bubble counter, or extra regulator seals.
Although this setup is highly reliable, the needle valve isn’t too sensitive so it’s not hard to get the settings you need because it doesn’t move around too much when you’re making changes.
- This setup is compatible with most pH controllers and standard timers.
- The dual-stage valve adds more reliability, precision, and safety.
- This regulator is easy to set-up and adjust.
- It’s compatible with a variety of pH controllers and bubble counters.
- This regulator is on the high end of the price range.
5. MOD Complete MDC99005 CO2 Regulator Aquarium Mini Stainless Steel
Help your plants’ development cycle with this CO2 aquarium regulator from PRO. Always inject only the appropriate amount at the appropriate time in order to keep your plants happy and healthy.
With its inbuilt precision, you can rely on having the capacity to fine-tune the measure of CO2, adjusting as necessary, so as to create an ideal environment for your plant life and fish.
Built with quality stainless steel, this CO2 system is designed to keep going for a long time. The durable steel construction is designed specifically to convey precision measures of CO2 in weights from 150-2000 PSI.
This CO2 system is highly compatible with several high-density tubing brands to inject your fish tank with CO2 easily and quickly. It is likewise compatible with several brands of CO2 diffusers and atomizers.
The maker of this system designed it in such a way that it will fit easily into your laid-down setup. The smaller dual display allows you to read your settings easily so as to make sure that they are always at the right level.
- Great quality
- Easy to install
- Needle valve is precise
- Well designed
- Bubble counter works well
- Comes with its own gears
- The PSI cannot be controlled
6. VIVOSUN Hydroponics CO2 Regulator Emitter System
Carbon dioxide is necessary for photosynthesis to take place, but is usually the most overlooked component limiting the growth of the plant. Plants can likely use up to 5 times more carbon dioxide than is normally present in the air.
Treating the air with carbon dioxide can reduce the time required for growth and increase your harvest. The CO2 regulator from VIVOSUN will enable you to maintain an optimal level of CO2 for ideal growth and also help you quicken the growth rate of your plant.
VIVOSUN is a company well known for producing hydroponic grow tents, however, they do provide a CO2 system option as well.
This unit is more affordable than others, yet it is the same in design and quality. It is built mostly with metal and has an electric solenoid valve.
The high-pressure flow measurement of 1.58″ is precise and built of durable material that can operate at 0 to 4000 PSI. This CO2 regulator has an inlet connection of CGA-320 and a flow meter ranging from 0.5-15 CFH.
Inside the regulator’s package, you will find a standard power cord and a plastic air hose (10’). The hose tail is measured at 4.2mm.
- Easy to install
- Complete control of the flow
- Can function for years
- Fair price
- Boisterous humming noises
7. DoubleSun Hydroponics Aquarium CO2 Regulator
This aquarium CO2 regulator from DoubleSun is created with top-notch material, designed for durability and long-lasting dependability.
Strong and sturdy steel is specifically made to convey precision measures of CO2 in weights from 150-2000 PSI. This CO2 system is built with a decompressing pressure gate which makes it stable, accurate, and easy to adjust.
Fine tune the release of carbon dioxide into your aquarium with the precision-designed discharge valve. It is easily customizable for the appropriate flow every time, so as to create an ideal environment for your aquatic inhabitants.
The valve framework is produced using an industrial electric solenoid, and the body is made from top-notch metal.
This CO2 regulator also comes with a pressure meter and a nylon washer. Just be sure that you connect all the parts together and secure your aquarium CO2 regulator firmly in place.
- Double stage (for safety)
- Consistent and reliable
- Simple to set up and use
- High build quality
- Comes with the needed tools
- Easy to adjust
- A bit expensive
8. S.T. International Aquarium Professional CO2 Regulator
The S.T. International CO2 regulator is built with a decompression pressure gauge that is easy to adjust. The work of the gauge is to give a steady and precise CO2 yield.
In case the connector has been removed, the CO2 system can be utilized with expendable cartridges. It has a licensed solenoid valve, it is energy efficient and highly effective, it works discreetly and doesn’t create heat, and it’s made for long-term use.
Equipped with all-inclusive voltage (220v and 110v) for global use, this CO2 regulator has been granted PSE and CE accreditation and International Patent endorsement to guarantee safety. You can make use of the CO2 system with large US barrels or smaller dispensable ones.
The pressure gauge utilizes the rainbow colors. However, it is actually down to personal preference and what makes it readable for you.
Unluckily, the size of the washers is unusual and there is no light indicating whether it is on or off. You should consider this CO2 aquarium regulator if you have a larger tank with more stock.
- Easily adjustable bubbles
- Solid build
- Can make use of small or large cylinders
- Reliable output
- Uncommon washer size
- No light indicator
How to Choose the Best CO2 Regulator for Aquarium?
We will now show you what we believe to be the main features to consider when looking for the best CO2 regulator for your aquarium. Discussed below are some of the features to consider:
Generally, installing a CO2 regulator is quite simple. It tends to be as easy as connecting a couple of tubes and turning a couple of knobs.
However, you may want to spend some time making adjustments to get the ideal amount of CO2. It is good to know that even the best CO2 system will need some fine-tuning. However, you won’t want to go to extremes with this.
This refers to how easily you are able to read the gauges. If you know that your eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be, we suggest that you seek out a CO2 regulator with a gauge that is quite easy to read.
3. Is the System Dual Stage?
In case you are a newbie when it comes to CO2 regulators, it is better to know about this factor. The dual-stage CO2 system is two regulators made into one. The primary stage thumps the pressure down to a consistent PSI and the second stage makes smaller adjustments.
This prevents variations due to changing PSI in the aquarium. Both stages will provide an important level of protection.
Truthfully, single-stage CO2 regulators are more affordable and are often used without any issues. Nonetheless, it can be risky and can be quite difficult to obtain a consistent and reliable output.
This will depend solely on your circumstances. If you are going to use your CO2 system for different tanks, you will need to get one that is compatible with the CO2 cylinders (5lb). Otherwise, you will always be replacing your regulator.
Then again, if you find it difficult to get the CO2 cylinders or you simply need it for a single tank, one option is to search for a regulator that is highly compatible with the normal paintball cylinders (24oz). These, incidentally, are quite easy to acquire.
Top-notch materials mean that it will last for a long time. And most people would prefer not to put resources into a piece of equipment that can easily break. Brass and stainless steel are your best choices.
Some of the kits discussed below are more of a bonus package and some are absolute necessities. We will let you know which are which as we discuss each of them.
- Needle Valve
This is also known as a pressure relief valve. If you need a safe and high-quality CO2 regulator, this kit is very important.
It gives you precise control over the amount of carbon dioxide entering your fish tank. Needle valves enable you to exquisitely tune and control the rate of flow (i.e. the CO2 bubbles released each second) to your preferred level.
It is essential to buy a top-notch pressure relief valve since it enables you to avoid having scary dumps at the base of the tank.
- Bubble Counter
The bubble counter is a visual apparatus, making it simple for you to gauge the number of bubbles entering your aquarium each second.
This kit is not a deal-breaker, as most CO2 regulators do not include one. Yet, we would suggest that you acquire one, as it enables you to make precise adjustments to the rate of flow.
- Solenoid Valve
Solenoid valves save you some money by preventing the wastage of CO2 during the “lights-off” periods when your plants are no longer in need of carbon dioxide, because they enable you to put the regulator on a programmed timer.
It is much better if the CO2 system comes with a light indicator to let you know whether it is on or off, so you can just manually turn off the supply of carbon dioxide on a CO2 system without one.
But in many homes, there are not always people around at the appropriate time to do this—and that is where the solenoid valve comes in to provide aid.
A good CO2 regulator must come with two gauges: one for low pressure and the other for high pressure.
The gauge for high pressure must read no less than 1000 PSI, as a majority of CO2 aquariums come with 800 PSI. The gauge for low pressure should read no less than 15 to 30 PSI and a maximum of 200 PSI.
Note, a CO2 regulator having dual gauges doesn’t mean that it is a dual-stage regulator.
- Check Valve
If the check valve is not included in the CO2 regulator kit, then you will need to get one. This is a vital safety feature, safeguarding against a reverse-flow of aquarium water into your CO2 system.
At the point when your CO2 breaks down in the water, it enters into the tubing again once the infusion of CO2 has ceased. If you do not don’t own a check-valve kit, water could get to your CO2 system and destroy it.
- The Washers
This may appear to be a minor thing. However, if the washers come in an irregular size, it can be a big issue trying to locate replacements. Washers of regular sizes are standard and very simple to find.
How to Use CO2 Regulator in Your Aquarium?
After purchasing your CO2 regulator and all the equipment needed for its installation, you can assemble them by following this guideline.
Step 1: Attach your CO2 system to the cartridge. You don’t need to stress yourself, most CO2 regulators are made to exquisitely fit with the cartridges available today and you don’t need to purchase any connector to link them. At some point, a paintball connector will provide some aid.
Step 2: Using suitable CO2 carrier tubing to link the air outlet directly from the CO2 system with a check valve and afterward with a diffuser. In case your CO2 isn’t properly designed with a bubble counter, then you need to get one and interface it with the air outlet directly from the system. The diffuser is usually positioned at the rear end of the regulator where CO2 is transformed into good-looking bubbles which are then infused in the water inside the tank.
Step 3: Positioning the diffuser in the right place in your fish tank, where there is a constant circulation of water, by utilizing suction containers.
Step 4: Assemble a drop checker for CO2 and then place it in the fish tank with a suction container. This gear helps to detect the exact concentration of CO2 in your planted aquarium. By adjusting the CO2 system with the use of a drop checker, it is possible for you to get an optimum concentration of CO2 in your planted aquarium. The recommended CO2 level for a planted aquarium is roughly 26 to 35 PPM.
It is essential to look for the right CO2 system or regulator in order to make your fish or plant life more comfortable in their home. We are glad to show you our rundown of the best CO2 regulator on the market today.
We considered – overall review score and affordability. We know that finding the ideal CO2 regulator for a planted aquarium isn’t a simple task with a lot of brands out there and we believe that our top choices above will narrow your path in making the right decision.