[Updated 2021] Top 10 Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

Today’s post is about Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium. When people go to test plants in an aquarium, they usually want to do without CO2 injection. There are many reasons for this, including intimidation factors, cost, complexity and lack of information. The fact is that if you want a planted aquatic landscape that wins a spectacular prize, a high-quality CO2 system and injection protocol is a necessary part.

All pet fish owners want their fish to live happily and in good health in their aquarium.

Good quality fish food and the right systems to create a good environment are the keys to achieving this goal. Different systems are used to meet the specific needs of different tanks.

One of the necessary systems, especially in planted aquariums, is a CO2 system. CO2 systems help keep aquarium plants healthy and safe for other fish.

For this reason, it is important to find the Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium.

As a quick disclosure, this post will contain affiliate links for which I can make a small commission at no extra cost to you when you make a purchase. Now let’s move on to the topic. Let’s start with CO2 in nature first.

Below we will describe exactly how to choose the Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium tanks.

Top 10 Best CO2 System For Your Planted Aquarium

Best Aquarium CO2 System Reviews

1. DIY Pressurized CO2 System Effective CO2 Generator Kit

Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

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The first product to try is Sungrow’s DIY CO2 System Kit. This product is an excellent option for those who like the light assembly of their items. It is also much cheaper than other conventional CO2 systems.
The Sungrow CO2 system allows you to customize how you want to create the CO2 needed for your plants.

The kit comes with all the equipment you need, including a needle valve, pressure gauge, check valve and tube.

You have to take care of the plastic bottles but otherwise they pretty much give them to you. To set it up, you need to follow the instructions in the kit. Once you start and have good CO2 flow, you should change the fluid once or twice a month.

One negative aspect of this product is that it requires quite a bit of maintenance. The setup requires practical work, but it is also necessary to change the liquid that generates CO2 regularly. With other products this is not a problem, so for this one it is negative.


2. VASCA Hagen Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit

Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

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The last element is the VASCA Hagen pressurized CO2 system. The options above are for DIYers, so this one is for the opposite. There is no DIY part for this item, just the installation process.

The VASCA Hagen system is ideal for beginners because everything is delivered assembled. The kit comes with CO2 in small sealed tanks that plug into your aquarium. The valves and everything is already set up, all you need to do is insert and open the seal.

A negative point when it comes to the VASCA Hagen system is the cost. The cost of these is more than five times the cost of the other items on this list. It is certainly an investment to make.


3. CO2 Art Pro-Elite Series CO2 Regulator – The Best CO2 Regulator

Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

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Let’s start the list with the best of the best. If you are looking for a professional grade planted tank or large planted system, this is the CO2 regulator to buy. CO2 Art is a privately held company based in Las Vegas. The top-of-the-line Pro-Elite series comes with a 10-year warranty with a maximum working pressure of 80 PSI.

This series is so well received that it is endorsed by George Farmer, one of the most recognized aquatic landscape architects on YouTube, who was the last generation to endorse! This regulator is the latest generation built for aquariums up to 1000 gallons. It has a fully customized magnetic block with a high precision needle valve, check valve and bubble counter.

The workmanship of this CO2 regulator is world class. CO2 Art supports your product with industry-leading lifetime technical support and access to the support portal. You are never alone when you get your CO2 system up and running again!


4. FZone Aquarium CO2 Regulator – The Best Budget CO2 Regulator

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The FZone CO2 Regulator is a complete CO2 regulator available to aquarists at a reasonable price. It is surprisingly high quality considering the price. This comes from a person who is used to seeing high quality CO2 regulators cost over $200. This controller also has the advantage of running on DC power, meaning it consumes less electricity and is easier to operate in the event of a power outage. This pack also comes with a bubble counter, which allows you to monitor the flow of your CO2 using a high-precision needle valve. This CO2 regulator offers the same features you would expect from more expensive regulators, and FZone also offers a three-stage regulator. The bubble counter also has a check valve function.

It won’t fit standard paintball tanks, but the accessory to house them isn’t that expensive. It also offers only 1 year warranty. However, given its features and price, it is a good option to consider.


5. NilocG Aquatics CO2 Regulator – Small But Mighty

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The NilocG CO2 regulator offers a good option for those with limited space or who want to use a paintball tank instead of a standard CO2 tank. It is a high quality aluminum construction. It lacks some features of the others, such as a bubble counter, but size is the main selling point here. The needle valve is quite accurate. It’s a better consideration than Fluval kits for those with smaller tanks.


6. CO2 Art Inline Diffuser – The Best CO2 Diffuser

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When it comes to diffusers in a CO2 system. There are three options that we have in our systems. There are standard diffusers, which we see the most. They are cheap, need frequent maintenance, need to be kept in the display tank, and some are not as reliable as they should be.

This brings us to the next type of diffusion method, which is an in-line atomizer. These are mounted in-line with a filter such as a canister filter and are less affected by flow in the viewing tank. They produce a very fine mist, making the bubbles in the tank less noticeable. This CO2Art diffuser is the best choice if you want to use one. It is a high quality atomizer that only needs to be cleaned every 2-4 months and will last a lifetime. They can withstand a lot of pressure and can service larger tanks. The construction is great like all CO2 Art products, see the video below for more details.


7. Sera Flore CO2 Reactor – Eliminate CO2 Mist

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At the highest level of CO2 diffusion we have CO2 reactors. These reactors capture CO2 and keep it in their chambers until it is completely dissolved. This is a great tool for those of us who want a bubble-free, fog-free display tank. They are more effective than diffusers or atomizers, but require a little more touch to get right. You also need to buy the right size to handle your load.

This Sera Flore CO2 reactor is an excellent choice for a CO2 reactor. They can work externally or internally, making them a great option for those with aquarium sinks.


8. Mr. Aqua Turbo Diffuser – Easy Solution for Sumped Tanks

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the mr. Aqua Turbo Diffuser is a great option for those of us with aquarium wells. It is a modified power head that goes internally into your aquarium and works to dissolve CO2. What I like about it is that it is simple and effective. It is a separate device, which makes it easy to disconnect and maintain it instead of taking out the pipes with an in-line reactor. Cleaning is easier and fictitious proof in my head and easier to replace if it breaks.

It’s ugly to put in your display tank, especially with that giant printed text logo. I prefer to keep everything out of the display tank for aesthetic reasons. This simple outfit fits the bill perfectly.


9. Coldbreak CO2 Tank – Cheap CO2 Tank

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The hobby of brewing has certainly made CO2 equipment cheaper and easier to find. This CO2 tank from Coldbreak is a high quality CO2 tank at a very reasonable price. It is easy to order on Amazon and it ships quickly. Once you have one of these on hand, it’s easy to replace your CO2 tank at a local welding shop or brewery. Make sure any tank you get has hydrostatic seals. This means that they are tested and retested every 5 years.



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For people looking for a complete CO2 system kit, buy all in one, Fluval Pressurized CO2 kit is your best option.

The kit comes with everything you need at no extra cost or hassle, and is very easy to install and maintain throughout the life of your aquarium.


The Importance of CO2 in a Planted Aquarium

How exactly does a CO2 system benefit aquarium plants?

The answer lies in the natural function of plants. Plants need two things to perform their natural functions: light and carbon dioxide.

As photosynthesis progresses, plants need carbon dioxide and light to survive. Plants use light from their environment, so it’s important to place your aquarium in a well-lit area. However, plants cannot simply extract carbon dioxide from their environment.

Aquarium plants need CO2, but because they are in a closed room, they quickly become exhausted.

Without good CO2 levels, plants cannot photosynthesize properly. This leads to wilting and eventually death.

Benefits of CO2 in planted aquariums

This is where CO2 systems come into play. They regenerate the supply of CO2 in the water, allowing them to continue their cycle of photosynthesis. CO2 systems also help plants to live longer than they would without the system.

With all the necessary chemicals available, plants can continue to thrive underwater. They can continue to take advantage of the tank and keep it looking nice. That’s why you and your plants need CO2 systems.


How Does an Aquarium CO2 System Work?

There are three main types of CO2 systems that can be used in your tank. You can use a manual, semi-automatic or automatic CO2 system for your aquarium plants.

Depending on which one you choose, your CO2 system may work a little differently than the others.

Regardless of the system you get, most of the features are the same. The main purpose of a CO2 system is to replenish the carbon dioxide supply in the water for your plants. These systems use different methods to keep the CO2 level in the water high and give your plants what they need.

For manual CO2 systems, the method is based on fermentation products. CO2 is produced as a by-product of yeast fermentation and is stored in a separate bottle from the generator. This bottle is connected to your tank and the CO2 is released through a diffuser or powerhead.

These types of systems work best with smaller tanks, as they require some maintenance. They are also great because they are usually cheaper than the other types of systems.

Semi-automatic systems require a specific configuration to transport CO2. The gas comes through a pipe from the CO2 tank that is connected to the water. The semi-automatic part is when the system automatically opens the CO2 valve based on a timer.

This takes away some of the maintenance you have to do on your tank. These types of systems work well with medium-sized tanks. They also save some of the time it takes to manually check and add CO2 to the tank.

Finally, there is a fully automatic system. This system is similar to the semi-automatic system, except that nothing more needs to be done after setup. The system measures the amount of CO2 in the water and adjusts the levels automatically.

It is not based on a time system, but measures the actual amount of CO2 in the water. This makes it more accurate and more suitable for large tanks. Larger tanks require more CO2 for plants, and that can be difficult to provide with DIY or semi-CO2 systems.

If you use your system correctly, the CO2 content in the water should remain in a healthy place for your plants.

You can research how much your plants need before purchasing a system. This allows you to prepare your aquarium before adding plants and provides a good environment to grow.


How to Set Up a CO2 System for a Planted Tank?

As with the methods of transferring CO2, the actual setup of your CO2 system depends on the type you buy. If you choose a DIY system, more time is required to set up compared to an automatic one.

For DIY or manual systems, you start by creating a liquid that can ferment, like grape juice. You then connect the fermentation bottle to a valve that leads the carbon dioxide to your tank.

One you set that up, you need to manually open the valve to allow the CO2 to enter the tank occasionally.

On the other hand, for both semi- and fully automated CO2 systems, you just need to connect the CO2 tank to your tank. This is done with tubing and valves. The specifics for your tank are in the instructions, but the main idea is to make a connection.

Once you establish the connection with the CO2 source and your tank, you’re good to go! Now you just have to monitor the CO2 levels of the water to keep them in a good range for your plants.


FAQS About CO2 In Planted Tanks

Is CO2 harmful to fish?

That can happen even if the saturation levels are too high for too long. That’s why you need to keep an eye on your levels. Look for the warning signs I mentioned earlier.

Do planted tanks need CO2?

As I mentioned earlier in the article, many of our aquarium plants in the wild are used to higher CO2 levels than in a tank without CO2 injection. As a result, many commercially available plants will not grow to their full potential if CO2 injection is not provided. Optimal CO2 levels not only make your plants grow faster, but also affect their color, health and shape. The comparisons between a tank without CO2 and a tank that is injected are worlds apart. If you are serious about building a great looking aquatic landscape, CO2 is a must consider. In fact, it is more important than the substrate.

Can a plant benefit from CO2 in low light?

Absolutely! CO2 is such a critical health component for an aquarium plant. Aquarium plants in low light + low power + CO2 settings are actually a great way to grow more slowly but healthier in your aquatic landscape. There is nothing to complain about less pruning :).



Regardless of the style of CO2 system you use or your level of experience, quality assurance is important. You must monitor CO2 levels, even if your system is automated. Many Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium come with an indicator or light that lets you know if you have a good CO2 level.

You should also inspect your plants after installing a new CO2 system. If your plants stay healthy, the CO2 system is a good option. If not, consider switching to a different system or changing the CO2 content of the water.

Giving a good system check every now and then gives you peace of mind for the safety of your plants and fish. After all, these systems are there for your improvement, so a little extra work goes a long way.

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