It might sound a little counterproductive to deliberately inject a substance that most believe to be harmful directly into your aquarium, but in fact Co2 is a vital resource for the on-going process of photosynthesis that allows your plants to survive and grow. In newly established or moderately sized aquariums, the water itself should contain a stable balance of Co2 necessary for your plant’s survival; by turning up your aquarium lighting, however, you can actually speed up the photosynthesis process, quickening their growth-rate but simultaneously increasing their Co2 consumption. At this point, it’s probably time to look into some artificial Co2 injection methods, but should you do it yourself or leave it to the professionals?
Building a your own Co2 injection system is a fairly manageable endeavour, providing you have some moderate DIY skills and a few Coca-Cola bottles lying around (note: own brand coke bottles work just as well!). DIY Co2 injection systems basically utilise yeast to produce Co2; combining yeast organisms with sugar in water causes them to respire, producing Co2 that can be piped directly into your tank. Remember to carefully seal all lids and tubing to prevent any excess Co2 escaping into the atmosphere. DIY kits are easily scalable, you can add new bottles as your aquarium grows (generally speaking, 1 2l bottle for every 15 gallons of water is a good rule to work to). They are, of course, extremely cheap, but you will have to replace the bottles on a regular basis as Co2 production begins to dwindle.
Or Not to DIY…
Pressurized Co2 injection systems require a lot less labour, supervision and maintenance, but they are considerably more expensive. Working from a canister of pressurized Co2, these systems feature an electrically controlled solenoid that helps to regulate the flow of carbon dioxide into your tank, meaning that you’re virtually never at risk of under or oversaturation. With a system such as this in place, you can effectively leave your tank for months without ever having to monitor its Co2 intake. Although the initial set up cost might be quite high, there’s no need to replace the canisters or components themselves (unless they break of course) and you’ll more than likely be able to find a place to refill the Co2 once it runs out.
If you’re just starting out in the amateur aquarium world, then a DIY kit is probably best for you (you can find tons of videos, tutorials and forums on line showing you how to set one up). If, however, you’re serious about growing your tank, then the reliability and low-maintenance nature of a pressurised system will probably help to save time (and man-power) in the long run. Chat to us on our website for more information on aquarium lighting and maintenance today!