Photosynthesis is a chemical process that combines carbon dioxide (CO2) and organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria.

ALL plants make their food by photosynthesis.
Some aquatic plants does not requires high CO2, therefore no additional CO2 additives is needed.
CO2 play very important part to ensure that a planted tank is successful. CO2 is ONLY required during light up period, which when plants are doing photosynthesis. Any additional CO2 remains in water after light off, will be consumed by algae. Which will cause: green water, hair algae , brown algae , BBA, etc etc.

There are various way for introducing CO2 additives in to your aquarium.

  • DIY CO2 – with correct combination of yeast powder, sugar and water.
  • Seachem Excel – liquid carbon solution
  • CO2 cylinder – pressurize CO2 gas

DIY CO2 and Seachem Excel “seems” to be the most economical way for new beginners. With using the correct combination, DIY CO2 only cost RM3 per week. But, you have to make the solution every week. Output of DIY CO2 is not consistent, algae attack is very common.

Seachem Excel is ” a source of bioavailable organic carbon. All plants require a source of carbon. This is typically obtained from CO2, but, may also be derived from simple organic compounds (such as photosynthetic intermediates) – from “. This method require daily dosage. Overdose of Excel will kill your fishes/shrimps !! A 250ml bottle of Seachem Excel in my area is around Rm40.

CO2 Cylinder is the most reliable way so far. Although starting cost might be higher than previous methods, but CO2 Cylinder can last many years. A complete CO2 cylinder set range from RM300 – RM500 (Applicable to my shop only). A 5 lbs co2 cylinder can last at least 6 – 12 months with 1bps (bubble per second). Refilling only cost Rm30, no additional maintenance cost is requires once you install it!

no CO2 or CO2? DIY ? Excel? CO2 Cylinder ?

  1. This depends on your personal budget and plants you wish to keep. As i mentioned earlier, there are various plants can survive under low co2 condition. “Survive”, the plant will not look the same as you see in most aquatic shop or photos.
  2. How frequent you not at home. Lets say you go vacation for 2 weeks during Christmas, Chinese New Year or summer holiday. You don’t want to come home with happy feeling but “oh gosh! Why my plants is all brown?!”

Complete Set CO2 Tank System. What do i need?

  1. CO2 Cylinder . (Steel or Aluminum)
    • Steel cylinder is much bulky but it is cheaper. (3L tank is Rm180++). Recommended for 2feet tank or above.
    • Aluminum cylinder looks nice but they are expensive. (1L tank is Rm200++). Only suitable for nano tank.
  2. Regulator. (Manual Regulator or Solenoid)
    • Regulator functionality is to reduce pressure from co2 tank to a lower safer working pressure.
    • Manual regulator – On/Off function is control by tuning manually. It is advised to turn off CO2 supply after light is turn off.
      • Cost Rm75 – Rmxxx. Depends on brand.
    • Solenoid – electric controlled regulator. By connecting this solenoid to timer, you can control CO2 on/off automatically.
      • Cost Rm290 – Rmxxxx. Depends on brand.
  3. Check valve. (Plastic or aluminum)
    • Check valve is installed right after regulator. Check valve only allow 1 way of gas flowing, hence it avoid water from reserve flowing into CO2 cylinder.
      • Cost Rm2 – Rmxx.
  4. Bubble Counter.
    • Bubble Counter is designed for user to count how many bubbles are inputted to diffuser per second (bps) . Generally, 1 feet aquarium 0.5bps, 2 feet aquarium 1-3bps, 3feet 2-5bps. Rate of bubble is depending on how dense is your aquarium. If you have more plants, then higher bps.
      • Cost Rm10 – Rmxx.
  5. Diffuser or Atomizer (Plastic or Glass)
    • CO2 does not dissolve in water easily. There are various brands and ways to get more efficient  CO2 dissolve.
    • Glass Diffuser – most common. Glass diffuser can be found in most fish shop.
      • Cost Rm15 – Rmxx.
    • Plastic Diffuser – new. Some ppl tend to break glass diffuser (like me) when they doing maintenance. So this plastic diffuser can be a good alternative way. Same function as glass diffuser but harder to break.
      • Cost Rm30 – Rmxx.
    • Atomizer – new. Atomizer is a new product in year 2011. Atomizer produce smaller bubbles than a conventional diffuser. But you need to get a bubble counter + check valve + air hose that support high working pressure (minimum 35 psi).
      • Cost Rm30 – Rmxxx.

If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Thanks for reading 🙂


18 responses »

  1. Abd. Halim Ismail says:

    Terima kasih Mr. Wei Jie, information yang berguna untuk saya.

  2. Pasukan Gerak Khas says:

    wow.. thanks a lot man..

    Now im understand how to take care the water plant.. going to build a planted tank in future..

  3. Edmund says:

    Nice in for very helpful, I need to meet you soon,,,!!

  4. Azman says:

    Hi Wei Jie, do you have any comment on the CO2 tablet as one of the Malaysia eBay seller sell it?

  5. WeiJieTew says:

    hi lim,
    i need to know what is your current psi first.

  6. Lim says:

    If the reading from the Manual Regulator is “1000 psi”, that’s mean can get the double around 3-6 mth?

  7. Lee says:

    Hi Wei jie,

    How much roughly refill will cost for 4kg tank? Any refill shop around k.l area?

  8. FC says:

    Hi ,

    Can I ask how to maintain the psi 30-35 in order to use the atomizer ?The regulator seems to be on the 25 psi range ,can you please advise ?Thanks.

  9. ali says:

    Boss…apa alamat kedai awak…mau tengok barang akuarium. .

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