Gaseous carbon dioxide (C02) is essential for photosynthesis of plants and is sometimes overlooked in the planted aquarium hobby. However, having a C02 system gives better and faster results and should always be used if possible in a planted aquarium. Here are a few things that you should know about C02 in a planted aquarium:
1. Pressurized C02 is the best form of gaseous C02 for a planted aquarium. Using a solenoid along with a timer helps control C02 injection in an aquarium. Keep C02 cylinder out of reach of children as it is dangerous.
2. Turn C02 on an hour before the lights turn on in your aquarium. When the lights are off, turn your C02 off as well. Use light and C02 for maximum of 8 hrs in your planted aquarium.
3. For C02 diffusion in a large aquarium, use a c02 reactor or in line diffuser for better diffusion.
4. DYI C02 kits are good for smaller aquariums.
5. Liquid carbon (flourish excel) is not a substitute of gaseous carbon dioxide.
6. Dip diffusers for 30 min in bleach and water (1:1) if C02 bubbles coming out of diffuser becomes big. After that, dip the diffuser in a dechlorinator and water mix before putting the diffuser in the aquarium to help eliminate high chlorine levels from bleach solution dip.
7. DYI C02 systems will not kill fish as the C02 levels are too low.
8. Use a check valve to avoid water getting inside your c02 regulator from your diffuser and damaging it.
9. Use a bubble counter and start off with one bubble per second. Adjust C02 accordingly based on your plants requirements and experimentation.
10. Only injecting C02 will not give desired results. Adequate light and fertilizer use are also essential for plant growth.
11. Although drop checkers give delayed results, having a drop checker helps in giving an idea about right C02 levels. Place your drop checker close to the substrate and follow color readings as advised by the drop checker manual.There is no one rule for C02 injection. As conditions are different for every planted aquarium, trial and error is the only way of finding the right balance for your aquarium.