CO2 can be highly beneficial to a planted aquarium. Liquid CO2 is often marketed in a bottle towards aquarists as a way to feed plants. However injecting pressurized CO2 into an aquarium provides more much more CO2 into the water column allowing plants to thrive.
In this article we discus how to setup our Aquarium CO2 Kit that can be purchased here.
Installing the CO2 Bottle to the CO2 Regulator
- Start by installing the Soda-Stream CO2 cylinder to the CO2 Regulator. Twist your CO2 Cylinder into the brass fitting. You may hear gas escape as you do this. This is normal as the bottle creates a seal with the regulator Adapter.
- If you do not have any working pressure on the regulator, the pin within the adapter will need to be adjusted. To do this, remove the CO2 bottle and using the provided Allen Key, adjust the adapter clockwise to move the pin down.
Adjusting the Pressure
- The small dial needs to be set to fully closed. Turn the dial clockwise to do this.
- The big dial on the regulator is your 'Working Pressure Dial'. Turn the dial clockwise till the needle stops at 2 bar of pressure.
- Open the bubble counter (Small Glass Cylinder) from the top and fill 3/4 (Three Quarters) with water. Seal the bubble counter as it was before.
- Depending how you are installing your regulator, you may swivel the solenoid valve and tighten it from below to lock it in place. The bubble counter can also swivel to be in an upright position if you wish.
- You may now connect your regulator to the power. You will hear a 'click'. This means your CO2 is ready to use. Open the small dial by turning it anti-clockwise till you begin seeing bubbles in your bubble counter. Dial the small dial back (clockwise) until you see approx one bubble a second.
- Listen for leaks in the system and tighten as needed.
- You may now turn the power off.
Installing the Diffuser
- Install the diffuser about 1/3 of the way up from the bottle of the aquarium in a high flow zone by attaching the suction cups to the aquarium.
- Measure tubing to attach to the diffuser to the glass U-Pipe. Measure another length of tubing from the U-Pipe to the check valve. Ensuring the arrow of the check valve points the same direction the flow of CO2 is flowing (Arrow points towards diffuser).
- Using a third length of tubing, connect the check valve to your bubble counter. To do this we remove the ring like cap seal from the bubble counter, press the tubing into the bubble counter and replace the cap securing the tubing to the bubble counter.
- Inject some water into the mouth of the diffuser or alternatively leak the diffuser soak for 2-3 hours.
- You are now ready to start adding CO2 to the aquarium! Open the needle valve and set to 1 bubble per second per 50 Litres of water volume. It can take 24 hours for the diffuser to work as intended.
Adding a timer
Adding a timer to your CO2 Regulators power source is recommended. For best results, set timer to turn your CO2 on 2 hours before lights turn on and set the time to turn the CO2 off an hour before lights turn off. CO2 will take a minute to stop working once timer is off - this is normal.
It is recommended no blue light overnight and maximum intense light of 7 hours when CO2 is running.
The drop-checker allows you to optimize the CO2 in your aquarium using a 4dkh solution. This indicates the level of CO2 in your aquarium by changing colour from Blue (Low CO2) to Yellow (High CO2). Lime Green is the optimal colour we aim for.
When making adjustments to the amount of CO2 in your aquarium, it can take up to an hour for the Drop Checker to change. Therefore it is recommended that you take your time making small adjustments to achieve the optimal lime green colour.
For best results place the drop-checker on the opposite side of your diffuser. Place it at a comfortable height a few inches below the surface of your aquarium. Invert the glass drop checker and put enough of the indicator fluid into the drop checker so that you can clearly see the colour. Clean the area of glass you wish to suction cup the drop-checker and stick it to the glass.