Top 9 Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium [Updated 2023]

Top 9 Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium [Updated 2023]

A CO2 system’s purpose is to inject carbon dioxide into an aquariums ecosystem to help plants absorb it more whilst dispensing oxygen throughout the tank. It helps aquarium plants thrive and create a better oxygen source for your fish. For aquarium enthusiasts who have had trouble establishing healthy planted tanks, finding the Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium from our list below could be very beneficial.

Comparison Table

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Different varieties of aquatic plants can require specific levels of pH and CO2 to be at their healthiest. A complete CO2 system can properly monitor, maintain and adjust CO2 levels in your tank and maintain stable pH levels in the process.

We’ve listed our Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium below.


Top 9 Best CO2 System For Your Planted Aquarium

Best Aquarium CO2 System Reviews

1. Rhinox DIY Pressurized CO2 System 

Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

The Rhinox DIY Pressurized CO2 System is great for those who like a light assembly option, and is cheaper than other conventional CO2 systems.

This system is DIY, allowing you to customize how you want to present and create it. The kit comes with all the equipment you need, including a needle valve, pressure gauge, check valve and tube.

This product does require quite a bit of maintenance. The setup is DIY, but it’s also necessary to change the liquid that generates CO2 regularly, unlike some other CO2 systems.

However, an interesting added bonus with the Rhinox system is that it can be used to create homemade beverages like beer and wine in addition to creating a healthy ecosystem in your tank.

3.8/5 STARS


  • DIY system
  • Cheaper option
  • Can be used to make beverages


  • Can be finicky
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2. VASCA Hagen Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit

Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

The VASCA Hagen Fluval Pressurized CO2 Kit is strictly not DIY, it just has the installation process.

This makes the system more ideal for beginners as everything is delivered pre-assembled. The kit comes with CO2 in small sealed tanks that plug into your aquarium. The valves and other parts are already set up, all you need to do is insert and open the seal.

Due to the ease and effectiveness of this product, the Hagen system is one of the pricier CO2 systems on the market. 2.2/5 STARS (6 reviews)


  • 3 replacement cartridges
  • Complete kit


  • Customer reviews rated product low
  • Quality issues
  • Overpriced
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3. CO2 Art Pro-Elite Series CO2 Regulator  Best CO2 System For Planted Aquarium

CO2 Art Pro-Elite Series CO2 Regulator is a professional grade planted tank system. CO2 Art is a privately-held company based in Las Vegas. This top-of-the-line system comes with a 10-year warranty and a maximum working pressure of 80 PSI.

This regulator is built for aquariums up to 1000 gallons, and has a customized magnetic block with a high precision needle valve, check valve and bubble counter.

The company provides excellent technical and customer support even after you receive it. It’s also been endorsed by George Farmer, one of the most recognised aquatic landscape architects on YouTube.

4.7/5 STARS (4 ratings)


  • Dual stage prevents end of tank dump
  • Adjustable working pressure
  • Includes needle valve & bubble counter
  • 10-year warranty


  • None that we could see
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4. FZone Aquarium CO2 Regulator  

The FZone Aquarium CO2 Regulator is a relatively high quality product set at a very reasonable price. The controller is able to run on DC power, meaning it consumes less electricity and is easier to operate in the event of a power outage.

This pack comes with a 1-year warranty and also comes with a bubble counter, allowing you to monitor the flow of your CO2 using a high-precision needle valve. The bubble counter has a check valve function and offers a three-stage regulator.

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

4.1/5 STARS


  • Dual gauge
  • Quiet
  • Alloy (won’t rust)
  • Fine precision readings
  • Inexpensive


  • Quality issues
  • Some reviews say fittings leak
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5. NilocG Aquatics CO2 Mini Regulator with Solenoid

The NilocG Aquatics CO2 Mini Regulator is 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, compact aluminium design. This kit is a better consideration for those with smaller tanks or are wanting discreet machinery in their aquariums.

Due to the small size however, it does lack some features other CO2 systems wouldn’t, such as a bubble counter. But the needle valve is quite accurate.

4.1/5 STARS (4 ratings)


  • Fits full size CO2 tank
  • Aluminium (won’t rust)
  • Precision CO2 flow
  • US tank fittings
  • Small size


  • No bubble counter
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6. CO2 Art Inline Diffuser 

Another CO2 Art product we recommend is the CO2 Art Inline Diffuser. Unlike standard diffusers, which are cheap and need frequent maintenance, this is an in-line atomizer.

This product is mounted in line with a filter, such as a canister filter, and are less affected by flow in the viewing tank. They produce a fine mist, making the bubbles in the tank less noticeable.

Similar to other products from this brand, it’s a high quality atomizer that only needs to be cleaned every 2-4 months and will last for a long period of time. They can withstand a lot of pressure and can service larger tanks.

4.6/5 STARS


  • Nano CO2 mist technology
  • Durable crack resistant metal body
  • Precision controls
  • Replacement ceramic membrane


  • None that we could see
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7. Sera Flore CO2 Reactor – 66-160 gal

CO2 reactors, like the Sera Flore CO2 Reactor, capture CO2 and keep it in their chambers until it is completely dissolved. It’s a great option if you’re wanting a bubble-free, fog-free display tank.

They are a more effective choice 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.

The Sera reactor can work externally or internally, which makes them a great product for those with aquarium sinks.

3.9/5 STARS


  • Easy to install and clean
  • Acrylic
  • A reactor
  • Can be installed in an aquarium sink


  • Finicky
  • Quality issues
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8. Mr. Aqua Turbo Diffuser 

The Mr. Aqua Turbo Diffuser is a great option for aquarium wells. It’s a modified power head that goes internally into your aquarium and works to dissolve CO2.

It’s a simple and effective product. It’s also a separate device, making it easy to disconnect and maintain instead of taking out pipes with an in-line reactor.

Cleaning is easy, and it’s an easy diffuser to take out and replace if it ever breaks. The design is simple and compact too.

2.7/5 STARS


  • Suit tanks up to 100 gallons
  • Small compact design


  • Noisy
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The Fluval Pressurized CO2 System Kit is an all-in-one complete CO2 System that can be installed straight into your aquarium.

The kit comes with everything you need, including a holding bracket to keep it all stable once installed. Installation and maintenance is simple and easy.

This kit includes a bubble counter and regulator, and is suitable for tanks around 10-15 gallons.

3.9/5 STARS


  • Complete CO2 kit
  • Includes bubble counter and regulator


  • Quality issues
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Benefits of CO2 Systems in Planted Aquariums

For a planted aquarium to thrive, the tank needs to be supplied with two things: light and carbon dioxide.

Tanks that operate in closed rooms can mean CO2 supplies can be quickly exhausted and your plants won’t be able to photosynthesize properly. Plants may wilt or eventually die, and oxygen that they produce as a result of photosynthesis will no longer reach your fish and other live animals in the tank.

Installing a CO2 system into your planted aquarium means you’re providing a consistent and reliable source of CO2 into the environment. Allowing your plants to complete their cycle of photosynthesis and live longer and healthier. Plants can then work to keep your tank’s natural environment healthy and be an active source of oxygen for your live pets.


How Does an Aquarium CO2 System Work?

Best CO2 System for Planted Aquarium

There are three main types of CO2 systems that can be operated with your aquariums; manual, semi-automatic and automatic system.

Regardless of the system, most of the features are the same and the main purpose is to replenish the carbon dioxide supply in the water.

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

This type of system works best with smaller tanks, as they require some maintenance, but are usually the cheaper option compared to the other types of systems.

Semi-automatic CO2 systems operate with a specific configuration to transport CO2. The gas comes through a pipe connected to the CO2 tank and the water. The system automatically opens the CO2 valve based on a timer, making it semi-automatic.

Medium-size tanks are ideal for these systems, as maintenance is less prominent. You also don’t have to spend time to manually check and add CO2 to the tank.

Automatic CO2 systems are similar to semi-automatic, except that nothing more needs to be done after installation. The system can automatically measure the amount of CO2 in the water and adjust the levels accordingly.

This is a more accurate choice for your tank and is ideal for larger aquariums that require more CO2 for plants.


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. Once everything’s been installed, you can manually open the valve occasionally to let CO2 into the tank.

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, all you have to do is monitor the CO2 levels in the water.


FAQS About CO2 In Planted Tanks

  • Is CO2 harmful to fish?

CO2 when used in moderation is not harmful to your live fish and pets. However, if your tank is saturated with high levels of CO2 for a long period of time, it could cause a danger to your fish.

  • Do planted tanks need CO2?

All plants need CO2 to complete photosynthesis. In closed tanks, your plants may be able to get small amounts of CO2, but it may be detrimental to their health in the long run. Added CO2 injections can make your plants grow faster, while also helping their color, health and shape.

  • Can a plant benefit from CO2 in low light?

Absolutely, CO2 is such a critical health component for aquarium plants. Plants in low light + low power + CO2 are actually a great way to grow more slowly but in a healthy way in it’s aquatic environment.


Final Thoughts

Finding the Best CO2 System for Planted Aquariums is beneficial on so many levels, from helping your plants flourish and thrive, to providing your fish and other live animals with stable sources of oxygen. CO2 systems can keep the levels of CO2 in your tank stable with little to no maintenance on your behalf, depending on what style of system you choose.