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.


[Latest 2023] Top 9 Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator For Planted Tank Care

[Latest 2023] Top 9 Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator For Planted Tank Care

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If you really want a thriving planted tank, you need to make sure the proper levels of CO2 are maintained. It’s not enough and the plants die. If it’s excessive, you risk killing your fish and promoting algae growth.

Lucky for you, I’ve done a lot of research to find the Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator at affordable prices.

Comparison Table

CustomSiteStripe ImageTitleReviewBuy
Top PerformanceCO2 Aquarium Regulator Mini Dual Gauge Display4.3/5.0Check Price
cheapestMOD Complete MDC99005 CO2 Regulator Aquarium Mini Stainless Steel4.1/5.0Check Price

That is why it is important to buy a quality CO2 regulator for your aquarium. And a great way to ensure you’re delivering the ideal CO2 level without compromising your aquarium. However, you should know that not all regulators are created equal.

In this buyer’s guide, I’ll share with you my tips for choosing the Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator, and finally, I’ll discuss some of them.

Top 9 Best CO2 Regulators for Your Planted Aquarium

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator Reviews

1. JARDLI Aquarium CO2 Regulator with Solenoid for Planted Tank

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator

This JARDLI Mini CO2 Regulator is built to last. It has a high quality aluminum housing and stainless steel diaphragm, and it is compatible with a wide variety of CO2 tanks. It includes a CO2 paintball adapter and a CGA 320 threaded connection stem adapter and can also be used with CO2 cartridges.

The precision needle valve and locking mechanism provide fine adjustments and precision from 0 to 70 PSI, making this regulator suitable for tanks from five to 400 gallons. The integrated solenoid valve is designed to operate with low power consumption, it is also super quiet and stays cool to the touch.

One of the best things about this regulator is that it can grow with your aquarium. It has a larger knob to make it easier to adjust and can even work with 360-degree swivel tubes for more versatility.

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2. CO2 Aquarium Regulator Mini Dual Gauge Display

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator

The wyin CO2 regulator is very easy to set up. It has a knurled knob for fine adjustments that are as precise as a bubble every three seconds. The dual gauge display is very easy to read and tells you the CO2 level in the tank and the outlet pressure.

To ensure that the bubble counter remains constant and accurate, a one-way valve prevents water from flowing back into the cylinder. Performance is very consistent even when the system is connected to a timer.

Unlike other regulators, this one is specifically designed for a planted tank. It has a maximum working pressure of 75 PSI and a durable aluminum alloy construction that is built to last.

You will also receive a key and extra o-rings for initial installation and any necessary maintenance.

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3. MOD Complete MDC99005 CO2 Regulator Aquarium Mini Stainless Steel

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator

Help the growth cycle of your plants with this aquarium CO2 regulator from PRO. Always inject just the right amount at the right time to keep your plants happy and healthy.

With built-in precision, you can rest assured that you can fine-tune your CO2 reading and adjust it as needed to create an ideal environment for your plant and fish life.

This CO2 system is made of high quality stainless steel and is designed to perform for a long time. The durable steel construction is specially designed to transmit precision measurements of CO2 in weights from 150 to 2000 PSI.

This CO2 system is highly compatible with different brands of high density tubes to inject CO2 into your aquarium easily and quickly. It is also compatible with various brands of CO2 atomizers and diffusers.

The manufacturer of this system has designed it to fit easily into your kit configuration. The smaller dual display makes it easy to read your settings to ensure they are always at the correct level.

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4. DoubleSun Hydroponics Aquarium CO2 Regulator

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator

This DoubleSun Aquarium CO2 Regulator is made of premium material, designed for durability and long-term reliability.

The strong and tough steel is specially made to transmit accurate CO2 readings in weights from 150 to 2000 PSI. This CO2 system is built with a decompression pressure port making it stable, accurate and easy to adjust.

Adjust the carbon dioxide emissions in your aquarium with the precisely designed flush valve. It can be easily adjusted for the right flow every time, to create an ideal environment for your aquatic inhabitants.

The valve structure is produced by industrial electric solenoid, and the body is made of premium metal.

This CO2 regulator also comes with a pressure gauge and nylon ring. Make sure to connect all the parts together and secure your aquarium’s CO2 regulator firmly in place.

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5. S.T. International Aquarium Professional CO2 Regulator

Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator

With the connector removed, the CO2 system can be used with disposable cartridges. It has a licensed solenoid valve, is energy efficient and highly efficient, operates discreetly and generates no heat and is designed for extended use.

Equipped with all-inclusive voltage (220v and 110v) for worldwide use, this CO2 regulator has received PSE and CE accreditation and international patent approval to ensure safety. You can use the CO2 system with one-off large or small American barrels.

The pressure gauge uses the colors of the rainbow. However, it really depends on personal preference and what makes it readable for you.

Unfortunately the size of the rings is unusual and there is no light to indicate whether it is on or off. You should consider this CO2 aquarium regulator if you have a larger tank with more inventory.

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6. AQUATEK CO2 Regulator Mini

Including most of the kit you’ll need to get started, this mini CO2 regulator is best used with smaller tanks and is compatible with regular diffusers and atomizers.

No adapter is required to connect a standard 24 oz CO2 cylinder.

Its reliability is met with mixed reception. Some people claim it’s hard to pin down your ideal call rate, but once you’ve found it, it stays constant; others claim it is constantly changing.

The overall build quality is not for me; I prefer a solid stainless steel or brass construction. It is made from a mix of plastic and steel, which reduces its overall durability.

The solenoid valve is cheap and made in China, but it uses a light indicator.

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7. Up Aqua CO2 Regulator

Very durable, it is made of strong brass so it is built to last.

The needle valve needs adjustment, but once it’s in place, it delivers a consistent and reliable output.

With an adjustable valve, it is a must if you want to use it for multiple tanks.

The electric solenoid valve is of excellent quality, but has a running-in period of several weeks.

You will need to purchase the bubble counter, check valve and other necessary equipment. But the good news is that it is compatible with most.

A good option if you have a larger tank.

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8. SR Aquaristik Aquarium Dual Stage CO2 Regulator

If you want an affordable two-stage regulator, this might be the one for you.

Highly reliable, the needle valve is not very sensitive, which makes it easy for you to get an accurate bubble count and flow rate.

The solenoid is very good and comes with a nice LED light so you can clearly see when your CO2 system is on and off.

The gauges are clear and easy to read. Because it is two-stage and not single-stage like the others, you get more reliable and consistent CO2 emissions.

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9. Fzone Triple Stage CO2 Regulator

Three stage control provides stable current and output.

This smaller size regulator may be the perfect fit for smaller tank stands.

Some users have complained that the bubble counter needle valve can leak, requiring frequent adjustments to seal.

But overall, the Fzone is praised for its reliability.

It is made of aluminum. So better than plastic drives, but not the optimal steel or brass.

Also, the few meters are small and not the easiest to read. Also, there is no light in the solenoid, I am not crazy about that.

But it can work with 5-pound tanks and it also includes an adapter for use with paintball cylinders.

The setting can be adjusted from 0 to 60 PSI.

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Benefits of Using Best CO2 Regulator in Your Aquarium Fish Tank

1. Healthy Plant Life

It is a well-known fact that plants and fish must coexist in balance. Plants thrive on the carbon dioxide (CO2) that fish exhale.

In return, the fish feed on plant material and also seek shelter under the plants. However, too little or too much CO2 will affect both fish and plants.

Advantages of using a co2 regulator in an aquarium

Side effects of the absence of carbon dioxide include stunted plants or pale stems and leaves.

In this case, the plants will also not be able to provide sufficient supplements to the fish or properly aerate the environment. The best way to avoid these negative conditions is to install a good CO2 system or regulator.

2. Healthy Fish

Carbon dioxide plays an indispensable role in the life of fish and other aquatic life. Too little can harm your fish and possibly lead to their untimely death.

Fish give off carbon dioxide when they breathe. Too high a carbon dioxide level in the water increases toxicity and affects the pH balance.

But unless you have an exceptional ability to detect CO2 levels, you are likely to see dead or sick fish. A CO2 system helps to keep CO2 at a moderate level, reducing its negative impact.

3. Fight Algae Growth

n fact, algae are one of the biggest threats to fish. It affects the life of fish by causing an unhealthy condition that can cause infections in fish and other plants.

Studies show that CO2 contributes to algae growth and an abundance of ammonia, which is dangerous for fish. Installing a CO2 regulator in the aquarium to control the carbon dioxide level will help prevent these unwanted effects.

It may sound simple, but the value of a decent CO2 regulator is clear. It improves water quality, improves plant and fish welfare and controls algae growth.

However, you should know that not all CO2 systems are created equal. That is why you should buy high quality CO2 regulators and systems from reputable distributors.


How to Choose the Best CO2 Regulator for Aquarium?

Below, we’ll show you what we think are the most important features to consider when looking for the best CO2 regulator for your aquarium. Some of the features to consider are discussed below:

1. Usability

In general, installing a CO2 regulator is quite simple. This is usually as simple as plugging in a few tubes and turning a few knobs.

However, you may want to spend some time making adjustments to get the ideal amount of CO2. Good to know that even the best CO2 system needs some adjustments. However, you don’t want to go to extremes with this.

2. Readability

This refers to how easily you can read the gauges. If you know that your vision is not as good as it used to be, we recommend that you look for a CO2 regulator with a reasonably easy-to-read meter.

3. Is the system double stage?

If you are a novice when it comes to CO2 regulators, you should know this factor best. The two-stage CO2 system consists of two regulators in one. The primary stage lowers the pressure to a constant PSI and the second stage makes smaller adjustments.

This prevents variations due to the change of PSI in the aquarium. Both phases will provide a significant level of protection.

The truth is that single stage CO2 regulators are more affordable and often work flawlessly. However, it can be risky and it can be quite difficult to get a consistent and reliable result.

4. Compatibility:

This is solely dependent on your circumstances. If you are going to use your CO2 system for several tanks, you will need to purchase one that is compatible with CO2 cylinders (5 pounds). Otherwise, always replace your regulator.

On the other hand, if you find it difficult to get hold of the CO2 cylinders or if you only need it for a single tank, one option is to look for a regulator that is highly compatible with regular (24 oz) paintball cylinders. . These are also quite easy to obtain.

5. Materials

Premium materials ensure it lasts a long time. And most people prefer not to put resources into equipment that can break easily. Brass and stainless steel are your best options.


Why You Need a CO2 Regulator

If you want to keep aquarium plants healthy, you probably need a CO2 injection, as it plays a crucial role in plant photosynthesis.

I’m not going to go into much detail about photosynthesis because I think you probably already know how it works.

Here’s what you need to know:

In nature, plants will extract their CO2 in large quantities from the natural subsoil (silt, etc.) and degrading plants.

In your closed aquarium, however, CO2 is limited, tap water is converted into CO2 and the degradation of plants is minimal.

That is why you have to make up for this lack of CO2 with an injector. But you have to regulate it.

In addition to wasting your money (you’re injecting more than you need), too much CO2 can lead to algae growth because your plants can’t use the CO2 fast enough to compete with the algae.

Or it could kill your fish, as the high CO2 content displaces oxygen and suffocates your fish.

Now every aquarium setup is different. The amount of CO2 you need depends on a number of factors:

  • Volume of your tank
  • Type and number of plants you own
  • How much light do you give your plants?
  • The amount of fish in your aquarium.
  • Amount of water movement

Determining how much CO2 your tank needs may require some adjustments. The best and fastest way to do this is to use a drop tester.

A drop checker is a simple device made of glass or plastic.

It settles in your tank and with a solution in it, the CO2 will leak from the water in the drop checker and cause a reaction, causing the solution to change color:

  • Blue = not enough CO2
  • Green = CO2 levels are correct
  • Yellow = too much CO2



Finding the right CO2 system or controller is essential to make your fish or plants feel more comfortable in your home. We are happy to show you our roundup of the Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator on the market today.

We consider overall review score and affordability. We know that finding the ideal CO2 regulator for a planted aquarium is no easy task with many brands and we believe our top picks above will narrow your path to making the right choice.