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CO2 Aquarium Systems for Planted Aquariums (Carbon dioxide)
Three Types of CO2-Systems
are used by aquarists to add CO2 to the water in their aquariums: 1. CO2 Bio-Systems, 2. CO2 Mechanical-Systems, and 3. CO2 Electrolysis-Systems. We'll discuss each of these methods and the costs involved.
The ad below links to this advertiser.
1. CO2 Bio-Systems
This method is highly recommended for aquarists, who have no previous experience with adding CO2 to their aquarium water. Users report this method is lots of fun, and they learned a lot about adding CO2 to their aquarium water.

A CO2 Bio-System consists of a container, such as a 2-liter soda bottle, with small amounts of yeast, sugar, pH-buffer, and water. These ingredients naturally ferment to produce CO2. This is a very low-tech, natural, and inexpensive way to add CO2 to aquarium water.

The container has a stopper with a hole through it for a piece of stiff plastic tubing that attaches to a piece of flexible tubing, which dangles into the aquarium and allows the CO2 to bubble into the water. The CO2 in the bubbles dissolves into the water, increasing the the concentration of
CO2 and the growth of the plants. Click here for to buy a CO2 Bio-System.
Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as Tropical Fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here to listen to Michael from San Marcos, California, who calls Pet Fish Talk and talks about his experiences with the Hagan Natural CO2 Bio-System Generating System for Planted Aquariums.
2. CO2 Mechanical-Systems
is much more convenient and efficient than a
CO2 Bio-System at adding CO2 to aquarium water. It is also more complicated and more expensive. Most aquarists, who have such a system, say it took quite a while to get it working right. But when it works, it works well and can be trouble-free for many years.

A CO2 Mechanical-System
uses bottled CO2 gas and usually includes both a gas regulator and a needle valve to a adjust the flow of the CO2 gas, plus a bubble counter, a check valve, and a CO2 diffuser or reactor. Click
here for information about a commercially available CO2 System.
Since photosynthesis uses light as the source of energy, photosynthesis only takes place, when the plants are exposed to light. When plants are not exposed to light, photosynthesis is reversed, and the plants release some CO2 back into the water.
While CO2 is essential for plants, too much CO2 can reduce the pH of aquarium water to levels that are stressful for fish, so the CO2 System should be turned off when the lights are turned off, which is easy to do by putting both the lights and the CO2 System on the same switch or on the same timer.
CO2 Systems have a valve that can be adjusted to produce the correct level of CO2, which can be measured with a CO2-monitor, that gives an easy-to-read, continuous, qualitative visual indication of the current CO2 level in a freshwater aquarium. Click here for more information about a CO2 System with a monitor.

Click here for information about Amazon River Aquariums, which often contain lots of live plants and a CO2 System.

3. CO2 Electrolysis-Systems 
uses electricity to slowly convert a replaceable carbon block into CO2 gas, which slowly bubbles off the surface of the carbon block and dissolves into the aquarium water. This system consists of an electronic controller and a carbon block.
Carbo Plus System to add Carbon-Dioxide to your aquarium.   Carbo Plus System
showing the adjustable controller connected to the carbon block. The controller sends a current to the carbon block, which produces bubbles of CO2 gas that dissolves in the aquarium water.
The Carbo Systems have generally received negative reviews, and we do not recommend these systems at this time. In the future the technology may be improved.
How to Create a Planted Aquarium.
Mr. Jonathan Dooley of Pondscapes INC. in Fishers, Indiana, calls Pet Fish Talk and give lots of good advice about "How to Grow Live Plants in an Aquarium".
Pet Fish Talk, an MP3 PodCast, is a weekly internet talk show about keeping pet fish, such as Tropical Fish and goldfish, in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds. The shows were hosted by the Bailey Brothers, DrTom and Nevin, Click on this image for more information.  
Click here now to hear Jonathan from Indiana talk about keeping plants in aquariums. Note: Jonathan calls after about ten minutes.
After the show Jonathan sent an email with several lists of the items that he discussed during the show.
"Heres some of the links from things I talked about today. :)
Web Sites
with Information about Planted Aquariums.
"Also, from the NOVA program you were refering too, one of the people that had tanks on the show was Diana Walstad, author of "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" (shown below). Her tanks are setup using a soil substrate, which is a completely different way to keep plants. :) "
Click on this image to buy Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana L. Walstad.   Ecology of the Planted Aquarium
A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist, by Diana L. Walstad.
Hardcover: 194 pages. Second Edition.
Highly recommended.
Click here to buy this book.
"As far are a beginner setup for plants, here's a good shopping list. :) "
1 10-gallon tank.
1 bag Flourite (15lbs)
1 glass top for 10-gallon tank
1 20" 28 watt power compact light strip (ESU makes one)
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish Nitrogen
1 bottle SeaChem Flourish Potassium
1 bottle SeaChem Prime for water changes.
1 two-liter bottle, and airline for DIY CO2.
1 small filter (I use Aquaclear filters on small tanks, sans carbon, run airline from CO2 into intake)
Recommended Plants
4 bunches Saggitaria subulata
4 bunches Bacopa monnieri
2 pots of Cryptocoryne wendtii
1 Anubius Nana
1 Microsorum pteropus (Java fern)
Clean up Crew
6 Neocaradina japonica "Amano shrimp"
2 Crossocheilus atrilimes "Siamese Algae Eater"
6 Red Ramshorn snails (will start the breeding process, I usually have about 1 per gallon. Make sure you get the small ones, not the big Ramshorn Snails, as they WILL eat plants)
Other Recommended Fish.
"Smaller fish, such as Endler's Livebearers, Briggitae rasboras, Bluefin Killis, ect ... "

"Follow all directions on SeaChem bottles for dosing.
DIY CO2 re-charged bi weekly.
25% water change bi-weekly, keep siphon 1" from gravel.
As stem plants grow, prune the healthy top growth, and replant.
lights run 10-12hrs daily, on timer if possible."
Jonathan Dooley
Aquatic Design and Maintenance Company
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