How To Add CO2 To An Aquarium – The Easiest And Most Affordable Methods

Wondering how to add CO2 to an aquarium? Learn how to increase its concentration to allow plants to thrive.

Carbon dioxide is fundamental to the growth and health of all aquatic plants, as it allows them to thrive. Unfortunately, most aquariums are CO2 deficient. Fortunately, adding CO2 to your fish tank is easier than you think!

Therefore, keep reading to learn how to add CO2 to an aquarium.

What Is CO2?

Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a colorless gas, characterized by its faint sharp odor and a sour taste. Jan Baptista van Helmont, a Belgian chemist, first recognized this chemical compound as early as the 17th century. He considered it a product of both fermentation and combustion.

In addition, carbon dioxide is the byproduct of respiration. So, in the process of breathing, we inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. The same goes for your aquatic pets – fishes. Accordingly, make sure your aquarium has an oxygen supply for fish and invertebrates, and they will in turn ensure a CO2 supply for the plants.

Read more about CO2 for the fish tank below.

Why Does My Aquarium Need CO2?

The answer is very simple, aquatic plants need CO2 to produce energy through photosynthesis. Among the many scientific explanations, the easiest is the one that says that plants need the energy to grow, therefore a plant that does not receive enough CO2 will not survive.

It is very important to remember that it is advisable to add CO2 only to the planted aquarium. Adding CO2 to a standard aquarium can be useless, and also extremely harmful. Speaking of which, your aquarium plants will pull the CO2 out of the water and absorb light with their leaves to produce energy in the form of sugar molecules. They are ultimately used as energy to stimulate growth, rooting, repairing damage, and reproduction.

In addition, some plants will not require adding CO2 to the aquarium; instead, they will absorb the CO2 produced by the fish. Also, it is important to note that the lower the light requirement of a plant, the less CO2 it needs and vice versa.

Read more about: How Much Light Do Aquarium Plants Need?

How To Add CO2 To An Aquarium?

Now that we have explained that CO2 is vital for aquatic plants, it is time to say a few words about how to increase CO2 in an aquarium.

Here are the most popular methods:

  • Aerosols
  • Yeast based systems
  • Pressurized CO2 systems

Aerosol

If you are looking for a quick and effective solution to raise the level of CO2 in your aquarium tank, Aerosol CO2 sets are ideal for this. This type of set consists of a pressurized CO2 can, a hose, and a diffuser.

As for the process itself, it consists of pressing a button on the can, in order to fill the diffuser with carbon dioxide gas. Once in contact with water, the gas is soaked up from inside the diffuser chamber until it is filled with water and the gas is completely gone. Then you have to press the button on the can again to refill the diffuser and repeat the procedure.

One of the negative things we associate with this method is that if you don’t manually refill the diffuser, the entire aquarium will run out of CO2. This method of adding CO2 to the aquarium is ideal for small to medium-sized aquariums.

Yeast Based Systems

If you are still wondering how to add CO2 to an aquarium, try the yeast-based CO2 system method. This is one of the very cost-effective methods that work at fairly low pressure.

This type of kit consists of sachets and a screw-top canister so that you actually make the liquid yourself. The liquid then ferments and produces CO2 gas which is introduced into the aquarium via a ladder-style diffuser.

For this method to work best, yeast-based systems must be kept in a warm room. As for the cycle of CO2 production, it ranges from zero (nothing) to a few bubbles and then quite a few bubbles, before bubble production stops completely.

The best thing about this type of system is that it is very unlikely to overdose on the tank. Yeast-based systems are a great choice for beginners and are suitable for small as well as medium-sized aquariums.

Pressurized CO2 Systems

If you are an experienced aquarium keeper, Pressurized CO2 systems are an ideal choice for rising CO2 levels. Namely, the set (disposable or refillable) consists of a pressurized gas bottle, a regulator valve, some hose, and a diffuser.

Unlike Yeast-based CO2 systems, the Pressurized system can easily overdose a tank and be fatal to your aquatic pets. Therefore, it is necessary to install a drop checker and pay attention to it.

Also, it is very important to keep in mind that pressurized systems usually include a solenoid, and accordingly, the supply is automatically cut off when the lights are off. Therefore, it is recommended to supply carbon dioxide only at night.

How To Increase CO2 In An Aquarium Naturally?

It would be best for your first approach to adding CO2 to the aquarium to be natural. This is definitely the best option to keep your underwater environment healthy and happy. Here are some techniques on how to naturally add CO2 to your aquarium.

Using a gas infuser kit is a great option to add extra CO2 as no chemicals are needed.

Did you know that fish waste (especially feces) is an excellent natural source of CO2? So, if your aquarium has both plants and inhabitants, you don’t have to worry. Nutrient-rich waste will provide your plants with much-needed natural CO2.

Did you know that fish waste (especially feces) is an excellent natural source of CO2

Finally, we must not forget to mention bacterial respiration because it increases the level of carbon dioxide in the aquarium over time. Also, be careful because this is not the most successful method, it only works for plants that need a minimum amount of CO2.

To Wrap Things Up

In order to grow, plants need essential 3 things: light, nutrients, and carbon dioxide.

CO2 allows your plants to reach their full potential. In addition, carbon dioxide helps in the process of photosynthesis and helps plants produce food and oxygen. It may all sound complicated, but once you start, you will see a significant difference in the development and health of your aquatic plants.

We hope you find this article “how to add CO2 to an aquarium” useful. Let us know in the section below.

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FAQs

How To Increase CO2 In An Aquarium Naturally?

It would be best for your first approach to adding CO2 to the aquarium to be natural. This is definitely the best option to keep your underwater environment healthy and happy. Here are some techniques on how to naturally add CO2 to your aquarium. Using a gas infuser kit is a great option to add extra CO2 as no chemicals are needed. Did you know that fish waste (especially feces) is an excellent natural source of CO2? So, if your aquarium has both plants and inhabitants, you don’t have to worry. Nutrient-rich waste will provide your plants with much-needed natural CO2. Finally, we must not forget to mention bacterial respiration because it increases the level of carbon dioxide in the aquarium over time. Also, be careful because this is not the most successful method, it only works for plants that need a minimum amount of CO2.