If you are a person who loves to adore your aquarium with live plants then it is time you need to know the crucial benefits of CO2. It can be quite a task to maintain heavily planted tanks because they require immense care. Live plants require certain suitable environment and nutrients to grow in a tank. So if you simply place them in your tank it is highly unlikely the plant would continue to grow. Like all other plants photosynthesis happens in these plants too. Except, they use CO2 from the water instead of using CO2 from the air. Also, water plants will be using the artificial light for the photosynthesis as the fish tanks aren’t exposed to direct sunlight to prevent the algae formation. It is essential that your tank possesses the right amount of CO2, neither too less nor too high, because higher concentration of CO2 can be fatal to your fishes.

Significance of water plants in your fish tank

Aqua plants are an essential part of an aquarium. They keep your fish tank lively and the fishes feel more comfortable in a green underwater habitat. They feel less stress when plants are around in your aquarium. It is said that the presence of plants brings out the colours of some colourful freshwater fishes. Water plants play a key role in breeding as many fresh water fishes likes certain type of plants to lay their eggs. Also many plants are used as a protection for the eggs from being eaten by other fishes. 

Plants when placed in your fish tank increase the amount of oxygen there by helps in the reduction of ammonia by dissolving nutrient wastes from the decomposed organic matter. In addition, the plants regulate the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate which helps to keep the ecosystem balanced.

For few plants a little hike in the CO2 will be sufficient but if you are planning on an underwater garden then you will surely need a high amount of carbon dioxide. So if you wish to keep a lot of plants in your aquarium you need a little more amount of CO2 than usual.

Importance of CO2 for plants in aquarium

Carbon dioxide is an irreplaceable nutrient for plants. When they get adequate amount of CO2, plants thrive in growth. Even in the underwater world, CO2 holds its significance. Whether you decide to add a few plants or choose aquascaping there is no doubt, carbon diode is a key ingredient.

You need to remember three vital resources when dealing with a planted aquarium. They are light, carbon dioxide, micro and macro nutrients. The micro and macro nutrients are already obtained from the waste of fishes and added fertilizers. All you need to take care of is light and CO2.  A limited quantity of carbon dioxide is already present in the aquarium, because of the breathing mechanism of fishes but that quantity is too low to be sufficient for plants. It is mandatory to add CO2 externally to achieve quality level of growth in plants.

It is well established that plants prosper well in an environment with a concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide which is estimated to be around 10 – 15 ppm (parts per million). It is essential to maintain this percentage as a constant in your tank else it poses a high threat to your fishes and other living organisms. If you maintain the range below 30 ppm it is great for the fish species to live in.

Also if the provided carbon dioxide is insufficient the plants become pale and shows stunted growth. If the low levels of CO2 are persistent, there is a risk of your plant’s death. Lime starts to accumulate on the leaves of the plant. Also too much carbon dioxide dissolved in water turns into carbonic acid resulting in the increase of the pH level of the water in your aquarium. This situation is highly dangerous for you plants as well as fishes as they become more vulnerable to disease if they live in high pH concentration. With low CO2 levels there is a risk of algae boom which can cause lot of problem like ammonia poisoning. So it is every essential to maintain the accurate level of carbon dioxide in the fish tanks.

CO2 Supplementation

The addition of carbon dioxide is needed for plants to thrive in your aquarium. There are three main types of supplementation widely available in the market. They are manual, semi-automatic and automatic varieties. Manual systems, as the name suggests must be operated and handled by hand. They use the method of yeast fermentation which in mostly of low budget and user friendly. This system usually contains a can that has yeast and sugar, which on fermentation releases carbon dioxide into the tank with a help of a tube fitted to it. This method is the most convenient way of CO2 addition.

Second technique used in the carbon dioxide supplementation is semi-automatic which uses a timer setup to function. This type of method is usually fit of medium sized tanks as it holds limited plants in it. It functions by releasing the CO2 into the tank which is stored in a cannister and its pressure checked upon by a regulator. Care must be taken to ensure whether light setup is on while releasing CO2 into the tank because without enough lighting, the plants cease to have energy to process the amount of carbon dioxide released.

The last type of carbon dioxide addition is an automatic one that performs the task on its own. This technique is suitable for all kind of tanks but mostly preferred for large and densely planted aquariums. The function is similar to the previous device but it is an upgraded model with a pH detector and controller. This detector senses the fall in the pH level and cuts off the supply of carbon dioxide to the task. This method comes as an advantage as there is no fear regarding the excess supply of CO2 that might in turn destroy your aquarium set up.

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