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DIY aquarium co2 reactor

CO2 is an important element for the plant kingdom

Half of the plants are carbon. Therefore, carbon dioxide in the aquarium is needed, first of all, by them. It provides the carbon that plants need. In ordinary water bodies, the gas level reaches 40 mg / l. But an aquarium is a closed reservoir where oxygen is constantly supplied. And, despite the fact that animals emit gas when breathing, its amount is not enough for the life of greenery. They consume CO2 through photosynthesis, a process that converts water and carbon dioxide into glucose, source of energy, under the influence of sunlight.

  • the main source of carbon;
  • building material for living plants, they grow quickly, become strong, beautiful.
  • through photosynthesis, plants produce oxygen. It is consumed by all aquarium animals. Due to this, it is possible to reduce the oxygen supply to the container during the day.
  • the gas decreases the acidity level in the water. This has a beneficial effect on the life of greenery and many inhabitants of the aquarium.

Installation compounds

Once your homemade CO2 system is ready, prepare a special composition that works on the basis of fermentation. As a result of the process, carbon dioxide is released.

Here are some suitable recipes for the CO2 aquarium system to work:

  • The first recipe for how to make carbon dioxide at home works on the basis of fish food with soda. A mixture is prepared to supply carbon dioxide to the aquarium as follows: a glass of sugar, a pinch of baking soda, half a teaspoon of crushed fish feed are poured into a large bottle, a small loaf of fish is added (you can replace it with dried apricots or raisins. 2 things), the most important ingredient is yeast. Both dry and live are suitable. After that, water is poured into the bottle, boiled in advance and cooled to a warm state. Do not pour under the very neck, leave a gap of 5 cm.Close the homemade CO2 generator tightly.
    Lower the system spray into the aquarium. CO2 delivery will start in 10 hours. If carbon dioxide does not flow within 24 hours, then the tightness of the system is broken. If that’s okay, add some more yeast and sugar to the bottle.
    The recipe works for several weeks. After that, the composition must be drained, leaving only a third and filled with a new mixture.
  • Another recipe includes the following ingredients: 1 liter of water, 20 tablespoons of sugar, 6.5 tablespoons of baking soda, 8 tablespoons of starch. Everything is mixed and cooked until the mixture thickens. After that, it needs to be cooled and poured into a bottle for the fermentation process. Carbon dioxide is released over 3 months.
  • A simple recipe for CO2 will help maintain gas levels in your aquarium for 2 weeks. You can make it as follows: take one and a half liters of water, add yeast on the tip of a knife, half a glass of sugar, a spoonful of soda and flour. Mix everything thoroughly and pour into a bottle.
  • Take 30 g of gelatin and pour 500 ml of water over it. Leave to swell for 40 minutes. After that, add another 500 ml of water, 3 cups of sugar, a spoonful of baking soda to the gelatin. Put on low heat and heat until all ingredients are dissolved. Pour the mixture into a fermentation container and add half a spoonful of dry yeast. Close the lid without interfering. The mixture works for a month.
  • The fermentation process also takes place in mixtures with citric acid. Will help create CO2 in the aquarium citric acid and soda. The recipe is as follows: 10 g of citric acid is mixed with the same amount of soda. Everything is thoroughly mixed. The fermentation bottle is poured over with warm water, and the mixture is poured into a wet container. The cover is sealed. CO2 in the aquarium citric acid and soda supplies throughout the day.

aquarium, reactor

DIY Inline Aquarium CO2 Reactor


When installing a CO2 generator in an aquarium, keep in mind that, in addition to the positive aspects, there are also disadvantages of using it, the care of the tank should be more thorough. If you made a CO2 system yourself:

  • Watch your carbon dioxide levels. To do this, use special tests.
  • Monitor acidity levels. Most plants and animals love soft water. The first ones in such an environment absorb fertilizers better.
  • Adjust lighting. This is an important point for the process of photosynthesis. Even if the level of carbon dioxide in the water is sufficient, the process will not start without sunlight.
  • Feed your aquarium greens with fertilizers. They need micronutrients to live.

If you ignore the rate of these indicators, homemade products will lead to a failure in the process of photosynthesis. Because of this, fish will suffocate, the water will become cloudy, an algal outbreak will occur. Therefore, when installing CO2 in an aquarium, remember that even the simplest and most harmless system, if used improperly, can harm the inhabitants of the tank.

All about DIY aquarium CO2

If live green plants live in an aquarium with fish, then, in addition to oxygen, it periodically needs a supply of carbon dioxide. Not everyone knows this, although these are elementary laws of aquarium hobby. Green plants in water need carbon dioxide. It is required for photosynthesis.

There are special installations for supplying CO2 to the aquarium. You can assemble a CO2 device for an aquarium with your own hands. But you should understand in more detail what kind of gas it is and why CO2 is in an aquarium with fish.

DIY installation

For a CO2 unit in an aquarium, you will need:

  • colorless plastic bottle with a volume of 2 liters. It serves as the basis for the fermentation process.
  • a plastic bottle with a wide mouth. Serves as a filter in the installation.
  • medical syringe with a volume of 5 cubes. With its help, the number of bubbles is counted.
  • a dropper, or rather a hose from it. It connects system elements into one unit.
  • hermetically sealed base, e.g. aquarium silicone.
  • back pressure valve;
  • hose or tube;
  • special clamps for them in the form of suction cups;
  • the sprayer is not an important, but a desirable element of the installation.

When the parts are prepared, the do-it-yourself system for supplying CO2 to the aquarium is assembled according to the following scheme:

  • Take the bottle cap and use a utility knife or sharp scissors to remove any partitions from it.
  • Remove the plunger from the syringe. Cut the lower part. Place a back pressure valve in the device. Blow to experience permeability.
  • Connect the syringe to the bottle cap. Pass through the resulting voids with an airtight agent. Pour water into the resulting device. DIY CO2 bubble counter ready.
  • Next, connect it to a large plastic bottle.
  • Remove the adapter and flow regulator from the dropper. Take the cap from the second bottle and make a hole in it for the adapter.
  • Do one more with the needle next to the first.
  • Connect a hose to the adapter at the bottom of the cap. Cover with silicone. Fill the CO2 generator with water.
  • Further, the installation is connected using hoses as follows: from a two-liter bottle, the end should be connected to the valve cover, from the needle. to the aquarium.
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A simple diagram will help you quickly build a CO2 installation.

The amount of supplied CO2

How much CO2 to supply to the aquarium depends on its volume, the number of plants and fish. The lack or overabundance of the supplied gas can be judged by the condition of the inhabitants of the reservoir:

  • At the correct concentration, after 7 days the plants will be covered with oxygen bubbles.
  • The fish will be active and healthy. If you notice a deterioration, transfer them to another container with clean, previously separated water. Stop supplying CO2 to the tank. The fish can be returned in a few hours, the carbon dioxide generator in a few days.
  • The appearance of algae also testifies to an excess of CO2 concentration.
  • The level of acidity of water has decreased, there is more gas than needed. In this case, add baking soda to the aquarium, a teaspoon of 50 liters.
  • The surest way to check how a manufactured generator works is to make a test using special indicators.

A simple, do-it-yourself installation with simple recipes will provide the aquarium with carbon dioxide for a long time.

Balloon installation

This method of supplying carbon dioxide is more suitable for large aquariums with a large volume of water. As part of the installation, a solenoid valve, a control system, a CO2 spray reactor and the cylinder itself are used. The undoubted advantage of the balloon installation method is its efficiency and the presence of a large volume of substance. This system allows you to observe the movement of gas bubbles. In addition, the second and important factor is complete control over the production of substances, as well as the stability of the supply.

Unfortunately, the balloon diffuser is very difficult to make at home. over, such equipment is quite expensive. How a do-it-yourself CO2 balloon system for an aquarium is organized will be discussed in one of our next articles.

Other methods

It is worth remembering that for all of the above systems for supplying carbon dioxide, a bell reactor is required that supplies CO2 to the aquarium, a bubble counter and a drop checker. The bell reactor is necessary so that CO2 can be evenly sprayed over the volume of water. A bubble counter and drop checker are needed to analyze the amount of gas in the aquarium. Therefore, when choosing a water saturation system, special attention should be paid to the operation of a bell reactor, a drop checker or a bubble counter. Do not forget that you can make any CO2 reactor with your own hands (including the bell).

Experienced aquarists, who understand how a water purification and saturation system should work, are able to make their own reactor from almost any available means. They can use ordinary plastic bottles, glass cylinders. The diffuser can even be made from a conventional fire extinguisher. At the same time, it will spray no worse than professional equipment.

How to supply carbon dioxide quickly and reliably in your aquarium?

Maintaining a permanent environment in an aquarium or artificial reservoir is important not only for the main houseboat owners, but also for their natural neighbors. plants. Today we will talk about a system for maintaining the level of CO2, which can be equipped in an aquarium with your own hands.

Why is carbon dioxide in an aquarium?

Many novice aquarists wonder why carbon dioxide is needed in an aquarium. The fact is that it is essential for plant growth. It is known that for photosynthesis, plants use CO2, which is usually maintained at a constant level in natural water bodies. This happens due to the large amount of water that is not available in a regular home aquarium.

At home, plants consume carbon dioxide at a tremendous rate, and the restoration of its mass does not occur by itself. Fish are able to release only a very limited amount of the substance, which is not enough to restore balance. In addition, CO2 is necessary to maintain a constant pH balance, which is also necessary to maintain plant life, and also effectively fights Blackbeard, one of the most difficult species of algae in the aquarium.

To maintain the amount of carbon dioxide, there are several types of special systems and diffusers, the analysis of which is carried out through a dropchecker or bubble counter.

CO2 generator

Such a generator is capable of providing a more stable supply of substances. This is due to the fact that it is much easier to add citric acid and soda to the solution (on the basis of which the diffuser works) than to regulate the production of mash. The essence of the generator is that citric acid flows from one vessel to another, interacting with soda and forming carbon dioxide. This creates pressure in the vessels connected by valves.

The main advantage of the generator method is that the materials for assembly are very inexpensive, and its operation is safe. The hardest part is connecting the valves correctly. In addition, thanks to the control sensors, the acid supply can be regulated. But, unfortunately, it is quite difficult to assemble such an installation yourself, and any mistake in creating a structure that ensures the maintenance of CO2 in an aquarium can become deplorable for your fish.

Submission methods

Aquarists need to remember that the normal concentration of carbon dioxide in open water usually ranges from 2 to 10 mg per liter. over, in stagnant waters, this figure often reaches 30 mg per liter. At home, however, this figure hardly reaches the level of 1 mg per liter. But the fact is that plants need the same conditions that they had in the usual natural environment.

For this reason, the minimum carbon dioxide in water should be at the level of 3-5 mg per liter. And the maximum indicator should not exceed the mark of 30 mg per liter (otherwise the fish themselves may suffer). Control over the level of gases allows you to exercise and influence the growth of plants. But do not forget that with a change in the amount of gases, you need to change the lighting.

The amount of material supplied can be estimated using a bubble counter. Remember that counting is best done in 1 minute, thereby determining the pace and strength of the pressure. Consider a few specific settings that allow you to saturate the aquarium with CO2.

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CO2 for a mash aquarium

Another method of supplying carbon dioxide to the aquarium is to use mash. At first glance, to inexperienced lovers of aquarium inhabitants, this method seems strange and even dangerous. But in fact, a mash based on sugar and two plastic bottles connected by valves acts as a very good means of generating gases. The undoubted advantage of the method is its simplicity. Such an installation for CO2 with your own hands can be easily made at home.

In addition, all the necessary materials are very inexpensive, and when using a drop checker, its operation can be successfully monitored. The only thing to remember is that the valves and the CO2 reactor (even in the form of a bell) must be set up.

From the video “Carbon Dioxide Generator” you will learn a lot of useful things for creating such an apparatus.

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Alternative installations

There are also ways to supply CO2 from special gas cylinders or using fire extinguishers. Some craftsmen implement such methods.

The supply of carbon dioxide to aquatic flora is the key to their normal growth and life. To ensure this process at home, a minimum of improvised material, a little persistence and very small financial costs are enough.

Video: creating a CO2 reactor for an aquarium with your own hands.

DIY CO2 generator

It will take a little more materials and labor to make a workable gas generator with flow control.

The principle of operation of the installation consists in the gradual supply of citric acid from one vessel to another, where the baking soda is located. The acid is mixed with baking soda, and the CO2 released from the chemical reaction enters the aquarium. Consider the manufacturing process by stages of work.

Drinking sparkling water as source of carbon dioxide

It’s so basic that many aquarists don’t even consider adding CO2 to aqua this way. And completely in vain, by the way.

Common soda sold everywhere contains a significant dose of carbon dioxide (up to 10,000 milligrams per liter in highly carbonated water).

After opening the bottle, a lot of gas comes out instantly, but still a significant part of it remains in the drink. up to 1500 mg / liter.

If in the morning you add only 20 milliliters of soda per 10 liters of water to the aquarium water, then this will be enough for the aquatic flora.

Creation of the apparatus

Take two identical liter plastic bottles. It is necessary to carefully drill 2 holes in the caps with a wood drill for the subsequent installation of the tubes (hoses). One tube with a non-return valve connects the container to the container.

A tee tube is inserted into the second holes of the caps, one branch of which also has a check valve. Hoses with non-return valves must be inserted into the container, and a small cock is installed on the central branch of the tee to regulate the flow.

DIY aquarium co2 reactor

DIY CO2 aquarium

Periodic supply of carbon dioxide to the aquarium is necessary because, as a result of filtration and aeration, CO2 in the water tends to zero. And in such conditions, the algae in the fish house can die. The system (or generator) of carbon dioxide gas can be created with your own hands at home. It is not so difficult.

From school, any person knows that carbon dioxide, the basis of the process of photosynthesis, is absorbed by plants from the surrounding air. Thanks to this, in fact, the growth of terrestrial flora occurs. And in the natural aquatic environment, the concentration of CO2 is sufficient for the development of aquatic plants.

The same conditions must be created in the aquarium, which is a closed container. Creating a carbon dioxide concentration in the range of 3 to 7 milligrams per liter of aqua is a prerequisite for aquarium plants to feel normal. To do this, it is not at all necessary to purchase industrial carbon dioxide systems.

Required reagents

An aqueous solution of soda (60 g of soda per 100 g of water) is poured into the bottle, and a solution of citric acid (50 g of acid per 100 g of water) is poured into the bottle. Tube caps must be tightly screwed onto bottles.

All joints and holes must be reliably sealed with resin or silicone to avoid gas leakage. The ends of the first hose must be lowered into the solutions, and the left and right tubes of the tee must be installed above the level of the solutions. CO2 will pass through them.

Beginning of work

To start the process of generating gas, you need to press on the bottle (with citric acid). Acid through the first hose enters the soda solution, and a reaction occurs with the release of carbon dioxide. The check valve of the branch pipe does not allow the soda solution under pressure to enter the container.

The evolved gas flows in two directions:

  • into a bottle of citric acid, creating pressure for continuous generation,
  • into the central branch pipe of the tee, through which CO2 enters the aquarium.

With a tap, you can regulate the gas flow. If, instead of a homemade tee, you use hoses from a medical dropper, then an additional gas bubble counter will appear, which is very convenient for creating an accurate CO2 concentration in aquarium water.


Soda as a CO2 source for your aquarium

For nanoaquariums up to 20 liters, not everyone wants to communicate with a CO2 balloon installation. You can make a CO2 generator using mash or soda. But you can do it easier. There is an ancient and undeservedly forgotten method of CO2 supply. the use of carbonated water. Carbonated water is a kind of concentrate of carbon dioxide already dissolved in water. CO2 in soda is usually about 5000-10000mg / l, and after opening the bottle it tends to 1450mg / l. If you calculate how much carbonated water is needed to bring the CO2 concentration in the aquarium to 10 mg / l, then it comes out quite economically. Fresh soda only needs 20ml per 10L of aquarium water, which will give 10mg / L of CO2 in the aquarium. It is enough just to apply soda in the morning along with fertilizers. After standing, soda can be added in large quantities, since carbon dioxide is eroded. Approximately 1 liter of soda is enough for 10-20 liters of aquarium for a month. Any sparkling water will do, except for salt water, of course. It is better to use the cheapest ones. They are usually made from tap water :). It is better not to increase the CO2 concentration by this method to more than 10 mg / l. First, it is not known how much carbon dioxide your soda contains, 5000mg / L or 10000mg / L. Secondly, large fluctuations in CO2 concentration in the aquarium are not desirable. After adding soda, the concentration will gradually decrease due to the consumption of the aquarium plants. Constant fluctuations of CO2 from 10 mg / l to zero and back are not terrible. But fluctuations from 20-30mg / l to zero are much worse for balance in the aquarium.

  • no need for a reactor to dissolve CO2 and a bubble counter, since CO2 is already dissolved in carbonated water;
  • ease of use;
  • economical in the short term;
  • suitable for nano aquariums.
  • unstable concentration of CO2 in the aquarium;
  • the price of 1 gram of CO2 is the highest of the listed methods, that is, uneconomical in the long term and for large aquariums;
  • poor CO2 supply in comparison with other methods.
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The most inaccurate way of tracking the level of CO2 in water, based on subjective opinion: the aquarist observes the behavior of fish and the state of plants, noting atypical reactions of living organisms and pale vegetation.


Carbonated water is a concentrate of carbon dioxide already dissolved in water. After opening the bottle, a liter of water contains 1450 mg of gas. After a simple calculation, it can be determined that a daily dose of 20 ml of carbonated liquid is enough to provide ten liters of aquarium water with carbon dioxide. Of the advantages, it is possible to designate the ease of use, the cost-effectiveness of the method, from the disadvantages. an unstable concentration of CO2, a weak gas supply in comparison with other methods.

  • Better to use the cheapest brands of unsalted soda water: they usually use tap water.
  • Every day, along with fertilizers, pour the required dose of water (based on the volume of the container) directly into the aquarium.

Special indicator fluids

This method allows you to determine the level of carbon dioxide in the water within 5 minutes. Principle of operation. liquid. the indicator shows the values ​​of pH and KH (carbonate hardness).

By comparison, the color of the indicator is compared with a special color scale, so that the CO2 concentration in the aquarium can be estimated. Of the shortcomings, it should be noted the gradual discoloration of the liquid, which will require its replacement. In general, the method is simple and effective.

Chemical reactions

Less commonly used at home, a way to saturate water with CO2 is to carry out a chemical reaction between products of a carbonate nature (soda, chalk, egg shells, dolomite) and acid (citric, acetic). To control the amount of carbon dioxide released, the process is carried out in a Kipp laboratory apparatus.

The advantage of the method is cost effectiveness. Disadvantages, as with mash: problematic regulation of the level of gas formation, the need to update reagents. The installation of a protective device is mandatory, since the resulting carbon dioxide takes acid particles with it, there is a danger of poisoning the inhabitants of the tank.

How to properly feed and control CO2 levels in your aquarium

When CO2 is supplied in the form of gas, the control is carried out using a bubble counter system. It is recommended to maintain the gas pressure in the range of 1 to 2 atmospheres. it is optimal for the most effective CO2 consumption, as well as for maintaining the required level of this substance in the aquarium. Higher pressure should be set when gas is supplied to the main pipe, from which it is distributed to several aquariums.

Several methods are used to control the gas level:

  • a device called a bubble counter or drop checker that is installed in the CO2 supply system. By adjusting the number of bubbles over a period of time, the required gas level is set;
  • special indicator liquids that change their color depending on the pH level (when the concentration of carbon dioxide drops, the pH level rises, which can adversely affect the inhabitants of the aquarium);
  • observing the inhabitants of the aquarium, tracking abnormal behavior or blanching of plants.

To achieve the best result, it is recommended to apply these methods in combination: install a drop checker, periodically conduct drip tests using indicator liquids and observe the behavior of its inhabitants all the time.

What should be the concentration of CO2 in aquarium water?
How much CO2 should be fed to the aquarium?

In natural reservoirs, the concentration of CO2 ranges from 2 to 10 mg / l (in running waters) and can reach 30 mg / l in stagnant waters of bogs. Tap water usually contains 2-3 mg / l of CO2. In an aquarium with plants and without CO2 supply, its concentration is usually less than 1 mg / l or tends to zero altogether.

It should be quite obvious that aquarium plants need the same conditions that they have in their natural habitat. For some species it is 2-10 mg / l, and for some it is better 20-30 mg / l. That is, at least in the aquarium, it is necessary to increase and maintain the CO2 concentration at the level of 3-5 mg / l. The maximum is 30 mg / l, as aquarium fish and shrimp can be harmed at higher concentrations. CO2 concentration can be assessed using a long CO2 test. dropchecker.

The growth rate of the aquarium plants can also be controlled by varying the CO2 concentration in the aquarium water. But it is better to do this in conjunction with changing the lighting level. If instead of CO2 concentration in the range of 20-30 mg / l, you decide to make 10-15 mg / l, then it is better to reduce the lighting level from 1 watt / l to 0.5 watt / l.

The bubble counter is a must, as it can be used to estimate the amount of CO2 supplied to the aquarium. It is better to count bubbles within a minute to determine the rate in the most commonly used dimension of bubbles per second (p / s).

And the last, also important question regarding CO2 in an aquarium is taken out in a separate article: determining the concentration of CO2 in an aquarium.

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