To control algae, have faster growth of plants and overall wellness of their tanks, co2 can help with these desires.  Most people on this site that use co2 do the yeast and sugar  co2 reactor method.  Over time it gets annoying to deal with making these reactors and they're not exactly a stable method of consistant co2 injection.  Also you cant "turn off" the reactor.  Instead of using a co2 reactor try the paintball co2 injection method

At the site above, any regular paintball CO2 canister can be used to inject co2 into your planted tank.  The price to make your pressured co2 system can range from 40 US dollars and more depending on if you want gauges (recommended) solenoid regulators to turn off the co2 at night, diffusers, aesthetics, and so on.  The prices listed on the website above are not correct because of the costs of items now, so do not rely on those approximations.

Just a little info on CO2 - while CO2 is usually the limiting factor in all low tech planted tanks and people want to rectify that by injecting CO2, do understand CO2 will bring its own complications.  If you are NOT careful you can cause your tanks water chemistry to become unbalanced and you can potentially kill all your fish, and possibly your plants.

  • CO2 is a corrosive gas.  If you get the bright idea that "i can use any tubing I have here" you are wrong. you need CO2 resistant tubing, usually made out of silicone.  
  • Your regular air line tubing will NOT work.  The rubber will be eaten away by the CO2 acidic gas.
  •  Also you must make sure to use check valves on the CO2 tubing to prevent water from backing up into the tubing.
  • You must have enough buffer (alkalinity) otherwise the CO2 will cause your pH to become more acidic, even too acidic and cause fish death and possibly metal toxicity if left unchecked (fish dont like changes in pH more than .5 in general)
  • If you leave your co2 injection on throughout the night when your tank lights are off, you can cause a huge change in pH if you dont have nearly enough buffer.  Dead fish are not happy fish are not happy you. Its best to turn off the co2 at night (hence the desire for a solenoid regulator)
  • Use a bubble counter to see what your co2 diffusion rate is.
  • For diffusing your co2 do NOT use an air stone, they're VERY inefficient. you can order a cheap ceramic difusser online.  they're easy to clean and it will do a better job at NOT wasting your CO2
  • You should check your co2 levels via a drop checker or by using the explanation and chat on page
  • For an tank that has fish and planted, do not go pass 40ppm (some say even 35ppm)

Remember pressurized canisters holding liquid CO2 is NOT  a toy so respect the physics thats holding your canister together. Exploding canisters are not fun, letting the co2 out very quickly will cause the canister to become FREEZING to the touch. you dont want your hand frozen to the tank, You dont want to pass out due to CO2 displacing the oxygen in your room possibly killing you

If you play it safe youll be fine. Sorry for all the doom, but I just want to make sure you understand if you use co2 in your tank, you should be mindful of the responsibility of having pressure co2. 

With CO2 injection youll have happy faster growing plants

Happy tanking and trimming!!

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Great write up really informative

Thanks, from questions I've asked and discussions I've read along with very informative sites, i felt on this site we needed some info about CO2.  I dont know everything so those who use pressure CO2 should chime in =)

If you see any error in my post please contact me so i can edit it.

Thanks so much for this David, It's really helped me and it should help other people. You, Dustin, and everybody else on this website have helped me with the hobby so much.

Thanks Justin =)

nice write a question for ya'll out there its kind of an odd one but i figure maybe one of you all are a chem major or have some experience in it...anyways i was just wondering if anyone has ever used or known someone who used a piece of lab equipment for their co2 system of course i dont remember the exact name for the piece but it is basically a pressure cooker type looking thing that is well insulated and holds dry ice... the idea being that the dry ice will slowly sublimate providing a steady stream of co2 gas to whatever you want usually some sort of reaction vessel but in our case a fish tank....its just one of those things that have always been in the back of my mind that i want to try someday. figured id throw it out there to see what yall think...

I agree with Peter that is a nice idea, but dry ice (frozen CO2) will sublimate at different rates depending on the surface that its touching, the temperature of the "air" inside the container, and the pressure of the container.  a glass container will explode if there is an obstruction from the container to the tube to the diffuser.  If you are talking about a dewer, then you'll notice they don't have a little valve to let gasses out.  Its made to simply hold a sample of co2 or liquid nitrogen or some other cold or hot liquids or solids.

Another issue is dry ice is quite expensive.  here in southern California it costs 5 dollars per pound of dry ice.  To get liquid co2 in a canister it would be cheaper because you're able to fully contain the co2 unlike an always sublimating block of frozen co2 that could potentially destroy your container.

In the long run its always cheaper and more reliable and practical to use pressure co2 canister systems.

I was thinking the same thing dry ice is sooooo cheap it would totally be cost effective And good call Seth. I wouldn't have known their was equipment to store it for a period of time u got me curious about that now imma go look up if theirs such a piece of equipment

Interesting. My DIM (Did It Myself) Co2 system can be shut off without it exploding. My top secret mix lasts 2 to 3 months. I use an air stone right under my filter intake, works like a charm. But to each their own, as I always say. I have it set up where the co2 is filtered 3 times before entering the tank. The reactor produces the co2 and is stored in the holding bottle. So I can remove the reactor for up to 3 days and still have co2 entering the tank. Sothere is never a lapse in co2 injection, while I mix more.

For the DYI'ers heres a tip. Yeast doesnt like light. Paint the bottles black, or use non-clear bottles. Lasts longer.


Good idea about the reactors being painted to block light.  But if you still want to see inside the bottles you can put a strip of painters tape or some basic ol' tape (losely placed on the bottle from top to bottm) so that after you paint the bottle you can take the tape off and still see inside but block out most of the light.  Pardon the run on sentence, hope that helps too =)

Haha yeah that's exactly how mine looks. I dont mean to sound like im contradicting you. You know like, "yeah that sounds great, but..." Just throwing out ideas. lol

Liquid Co2 can only exsist in 56 atmospheres of pressure; thats like being 1898.372 feet under water. Thats why its "dry" ice. :D


i finally got my paintball co2 system running yesterday. its actually really easy wen you have all the parts. im loving it produces a constant stream of co2 and i can turn it off at night its great. the whole set it cost me 45-50 bucks the tank being the most expensive part($30) and the co2 defuser the second most expensive part($10). 




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