Every pet fish owner wants to see their fish living happily and in good health in their tank.
Good, quality fish food and the proper systems to create a good environment are the keys to reach this goal. There are different systems used to meet specific needs of different tanks.
One of the systems needed, especially in planted aquariums, is a CO2 system. CO2 systems help keep the plants in the aquarium healthy and safe for other fish to be around.
For this reason, it’s important to find the best CO2 system for planted aquariums.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of CO2 in a Planted Aquarium
- Best CO2 System for Planted Aquarium
- Best Aquarium CO2 System Reviews
- How Does an Aquarium CO2 System Work?
- How to Set Up a CO2 System for a Planted Tank?
The Importance of CO2 in a Planted Aquarium
How exactly does a CO2 system benefit aquarium plants?
The answer lies in the natural function of the plants. Plants need two things to perform their natural functions: light and carbon dioxide.
As photosynthesis goes, plants need carbon dioxide and light to survive. Plants use light from their surroundings, so placing your tank in a well-lit area is important. However, plants can’t get carbon dioxide simply from their environment.
Aquarium plants need CO2, but because they’re in a closed area, they quickly use up their supply.
Without good levels of CO2, the plants can’t perform photosynthesis properly. This leads to wilting and ultimately death.
This is where CO2 systems come into play. They regenerate the CO2 supply in the water, allowing them to continue their cycle of photosynthesis. CO2 systems also help the plants live longer than without the system.
With all the necessary chemicals available, plants can continue to flourish underwater. They can keep on benefitting the tank and keep it looking beautiful. So, you and your plants both need CO2 systems!
Best CO2 System for Planted Aquarium
There are lots of different types of CO2 systems for your purchase. The CO2 system you choose depends on the specific needs of your plants. Here’s a short list of possible CO2 systems you can check out.
|Pictures||CO2 Systems||For Aquariums||Links|
|DIY Pressurized CO2 System Effective CO2 Generator Kit||Any Planted Aquariums|
|DIY CO2 Generator Aquarium Plant System Kit||Any Planted Aquariums|
|VASCA Hagen Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit||Small Planted Aquariums|
Best Aquarium CO2 System Reviews
1. DIY Pressurized CO2 System Effective CO2 Generator Kit
The first product you should try is the DIY CO2 system kit by Sungrow. This product is an excellent option for those who like to light assembly for their items. It’s also much less expensive than other CO2 systems that are mainstream.
The Sungrow CO2 system allows you to customize how you want to create the necessary CO2 for your plants.
The kit comes with all the equipment you need, including a needle valve, pressure gauge, check valve, and tubing.
You need to provide the plastic bottles, but other than that, it’s pretty much handed to you. To set it up, you have to follow the directions provided on the kit. Once you get started and have a good flow of CO2, you need to change the liquid once or twice a month.
One negative part of this product is that there’s a good amount of maintenance involved. The set up requires hands-on work, but you also need to change the CO2 generating liquid often. This isn’t an issue with other products, so it’s a negative for this one.
- Nice DIY project for those who like to have hands-on assembly.
- You can create your own drinks with this product with the CO2 generating liquid.
- The system is fully functional and comes with everything you need.
- There’s definitely some assembly required for this, so if you don’t like to do hands-on work, this isn’t for you.
- There’s more maintenance needed for this product than others.
2. DIY CO2 Generator Aquarium Plant System Kit
Next up is a DIY CO2 generator by Estink. This product is similar to the previous one in the sense that it’s a DIY project. You can quickly put this CO2 system together in a matter of minutes.
This system works by utilizing the same method as the previous project. You’re given tubing and valves to create a concentrated source of CO2 with liquids. This source is then connected to your fish tank and your plants have the CO2 they need.
A great pro for this DIY kit is that it’s available for a very low cost. Many other kits, DIY and otherwise, run for two or three times the cost of this one.
It’s a very affordable option for someone who’s not familiar with these kits and doesn’t want to spend a lot.
One negative point for this DIY generator is that some of the valves are not the best quality.
Some customers complained of the valves falling off easily, even after tightening. Others say that they’re just cheaply made, but either way, be aware of this fact.
- This CO2 generator is available at a low cost and is super affordable.
- This makes for a great DIY project if those types of things interest you.
- You’re given everything you need to complete the project.
- Some customers complained of cheaply made valves. This could hinder the CO2 generation.
- This also requires a lot of maintenance for upkeep.
3. VASCA Hagen Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit
The final item is the VASCA Hagen pressurized CO2 system. The previous options have been for DIY lovers, so this one is for the opposite. There’s no DIY portion for this item, just the setup process.
The VASCA Hagen system is great for beginners because everything comes assembled. The kit comes with CO2 in small sealed tanks that you attach to your aquarium. The valves and everything is already set up, all you have to do is attach and open the seal.
One negative point when it comes to the VASCA Hagen system is the cost. The cost of this is more than five times the cost of the other items on this list. It’s definitely an investment to make.
- No long assembly is required for this product, as it’s already set up for you.
- It’s very easy to use, making it perfect for beginners.
- A major con is the price of this product. The cost is way more than others mentioned.
How Does an Aquarium CO2 System Work?
There are three main types of CO2 systems available for use in your tank. You can use a manual, semi-automatic, or automatic CO2 system for your aquarium plants.
Depending on which one you choose, your CO2 system might function a bit different from the others.
Regardless of which system you get, most of the functions are the same. The main purpose of a CO2 system is to replenish the supply of carbon dioxide in the water for your plants. These systems use various methods to keep the CO2 levels up in the water and give your plants what they need.
For manual CO2 systems, the method relies on fermentation products. CO2 is made as a byproduct of yeast fermentation and is stored in a separate bottle from the generating one. This bottle is connected to your tank and the CO2 is released via a diffuser or powerhead.
These types of systems work better with smaller tanks, as there’s a bit of upkeep required. They’re also great because they’re usually cheaper than the other types of systems.
In the case of semi-automatic systems, there’s specific setup required to transfer CO2. The gas travels from the connected CO2 tank into the water via tubing. The semi-automatic part is when the system automatically opens the valve for CO2 based on a timer.
This takes away some of the upkeep you need to do with your tank. These types of systems work well with medium-sized tanks. They also save some of your time needed to check and manually add CO2 to the tank.
Lastly, there’s a fully automatic system. This system is similar to the semi-automatic one, except there’s nothing you need to do after setup. The system gauges how much CO2 is in the water and automatically adjusts the levels.
It’s not based on a timed system, rather it measures the actual amount of CO2 in the water. This makes it more accurate and better suited for large tanks. Larger tanks require more CO2 for plants, and it can be difficult to provide that with DIY or semi- CO2 systems.
If you use your system correctly, the CO2 levels in the water should stay at a place that’s healthy for your plants.
You can research the levels your plants need before buying a system. This allows you to prepare your tank before adding plants and giving them a good environment to grow in.
How to Set Up a CO2 System for a Planted Tank?
As with the methods of transferring CO2, the actual setup of your CO2 system depends on the type you buy. If you choose a DIY system, more time is required to set up compared to an automatic one.
For DIY or manual systems, you start by creating a liquid that can ferment, like grape juice. You then connect the fermentation bottle to a valve that leads the carbon dioxide to your tank.
One you set that up, you need to manually open the valve to allow the CO2 to enter the tank occasionally.
On the other hand, for both semi- and fully automated CO2 systems, you just need to connect the CO2 tank to your tank. This is done with tubing and valves. The specifics for your tank are in the instructions, but the main idea is to make a connection.
Once you establish the connection with the CO2 source and your tank, you’re good to go! Now you just have to monitor the CO2 levels of the water to keep them in a good range for your plants.
No matter what style of CO2 system you use or what your level of experience is, it’s important to ensure quality. You need to monitor the CO2 levels, even if your system is automated. Many systems come with a gauge or light that lets you know if you’re at a good level for CO2.
You should also inspect your plants after you install a new CO2 system. If your plants remain healthy, that means the CO2 system is a good fit. Otherwise, consider switching to a different system or changing the water’s CO2 level.
Giving a good check of the system every now and then gives you peace of mind for the safety of your plants and fish. After all, these systems are in place for their betterment, so a little extra work goes a long way.