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Starting with CO2 in Your Aquarium: Must-Have Gear for Success


Lush Plants with the benefit of CO2

Introducing CO2 into your aquarium can significantly enhance the growth and health of your aquatic plants, leading to a vibrant and lush underwater landscape. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a critical component of photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy, producing oxygen and organic compounds. In a closed aquarium environment, natural CO2 levels are often insufficient to support optimal plant growth. By supplementing CO2, you provide your plants with the necessary resources to thrive, resulting in faster growth rates, healthier plants, and a more aesthetically pleasing aquarium. Whether you're a novice aquarist or a seasoned hobbyist, understanding the benefits and equipment needed for CO2 supplementation is essential for creating and maintaining a flourishing planted tank.


CO2 Regulator and Cylinder


Here's a list of all the equipment needed to set up a CO2 system using a refillable cylinder:

CO2 Cylinder:

A refillable CO2 cylinder, available in various sizes (typically 5 lbs to 20 lbs for aquarium use).

CO2 Regulator:

A regulator with dual gauges to monitor both the cylinder pressure and the output pressure.

Includes a needle valve to fine-tune the CO2 flow rate.

CO2 Solenoid Valve:

An optional component that allows for automated control of CO2 injection, typically connected to a timer or pH controller.

Bubble Counter:

A device that visually counts the CO2 bubbles per second, helping to regulate the CO2 flow into the aquarium.

Check Valve:

A one-way valve that prevents water from siphoning back into the CO2 system, protecting the equipment.

CO2 Diffuser:

A diffuser or reactor that ensures efficient dissolution of CO2 into the aquarium water.

CO2 Tubing:

Special CO2-resistant tubing to connect all the components, ensuring no CO2 leaks.

Drop Checker:

A visual indicator that helps monitor CO2 levels in the aquarium, changing color based on CO2 concentration.

pH Controller (optional):

A device that monitors and controls the aquarium pH, automatically adjusting CO2 levels to maintain a stable pH.

Timer (optional):

A timer to control the solenoid valve, ensuring CO2 injection only occurs during the light cycle when plants are actively photosynthesizing.

These components work together to provide a consistent and controlled supply of CO2, promoting healthy plant growth and a balanced aquarium ecosystem.


Each individual system will have its own set up instructions. But this is a rough guide on the order of the fittings. Some systems will have the regulator, bubble counter and solenoid already connected.

Guide to setting up a CO2 system for an aquarium. Each piece of equipment is connected in sequence:

  1. CO2 Cylinder: This is the source of CO2.

  2. CO2 Regulator: Attached to the CO2 cylinder to control the flow and pressure of CO2.

  3. Solenoid Valve: Connected to the regulator for automated control, typically connected to a timer or pH controller.

  4. Bubble Counter: Connected after the solenoid valve to monitor the rate of CO2 injection.

  5. Check Valve: Installed after the bubble counter to prevent water from flowing back into the CO2 system.

  6. CO2 Diffuser: Placed in the aquarium to dissolve CO2 into the water efficiently.

  7. Drop Checker: Also placed in the aquarium to monitor CO2 levels.

  8. pH Controller: Optionally used to automate CO2 levels based on pH readings.

  9. Timer: Optionally used to control the solenoid valve, ensuring CO2 is injected during the light cycle.

These components work together to create a stable and efficient CO2 injection system for your aquarium, promoting healthy plant growth. ​​


There are lots of options to choose from, regulators are the most expensive part, and there are varying qualities.

Bubble Counters, Diffusers and Drop Checkers come in various shapes and sizes, being made of glass, acrylic and stainless steel. Which you choose will be personal preference, looks, cost and practicality.


Shop online or in store for CO2 Equipment.







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