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Re: CO2 for dummies!

Subject: Re: CO2 for dummies!
by Anon on 6/5/2010 11:09:19

Hi again Christina,

The cheapest way is if you or Mr S. are feeling creative you could make your own. There is a thread or article here somewhere that gives instructions, I will try to find it.

Secondly you can get cheap commercial versions, such as

Tetra-Plants CO2-Optimat which uses a pressurised canister, Tube and the Diffuser in the tank. With this one you have to press the nozzle on the cannister everyday when the lights of the tank are on in order to fill the diffuser. This one is hard to control the amount of CO2 entering the water. It is large enough for a tank up to 100litre. It takes approximately 8 hours to diffuse contents into water.

and the

Hagen CO2 Natural Plant System. This one uses a canister into which you put sugar and warm water plus the yeast and stabilizer that Hagen supply. This then has a tube connected to it that runs into the tank and connects to the diffuser in the water. Again this type is hard to control the amount of CO2 entering the water. Another drawback with this one is that it keeps running for 24 hours so you do need to add your own clip to the tube to stop CO2 entering the water when the lights are off as plants do not dissolve CO2 in the dark, and you will get a CO2 spike and this will drop your PH considerably. But by adding your own clip to the tube you can stop this from happening.

Thirdly you can get something like the JBL Pro-Flora 602. Although a lot more expensive at Around ?180, it is by far the easiest to use. I have put a link to JBL's site for this below to show what it contains. But in essence it consists of a pressurised bottle that has a regulator connected to it. Long story short when you have it set up you can regulate the amount of CO2 using the supplied bubble counter. If you connect it to a timer switch you can regulate how long the CO2 unit supplies CO2 to the water via a small electrical device called a solenoid. Once it is all up and running all you need do is change the bottle every 3 or 4 months or maybe more for your tank. The dials on the regulator let you see when the bottle requires refilling. Some shops are actually giving away a spare bottle free, (usual cost about ?89), so that you can always have a full bottle to hand. To refill it costs about ?18 pound. Compare this as follows.

Tetra canister = ?6.99/month
Hagen Yeast and stabiliser = ?6.50/month
JBL refill = ?18/3 or 4 months
Home made incalculable as it depends on your own makeup.

JBL web site - Click Here

In the long run the JBL style system does work out cheaper and is much more precise. The thing to remember here is that CO2 does not only help the plants but it also lowers PH and hardness. Not too bad a thing if you are keeping Angels but can be disastrous if you are keeping Guppies etc that need a high PH.

All above figures are approx and other manufacturers do make similar units, but JBL is what I use. I have also upgraded the bottle from the supplied 500g to the 3.5kg bottle due to size factors of my tanks.

Hope that helps