Setting up a small tank is trickier than it looks and getting the plants to grow can also be difficult. You only have a small amount of water and aquatic soil to work with and as a beginner it can be frustrating seeing your plants not growing. There is however a really simple solution to getting your plants thriving – pressurised C02 (carbon dioxide – which plants turn to oxygen and then grow, grow, grow!)
How to add C02 to a nano aquarium
For this guide I’ll be adding C02 to my Fluval Flex tank that was planted out in my setting up a planted aquarium guide.
For this you’ll need to have your tank setup and the following items.
- Fluval pressurised C02 kit 20g – (Fluval CO2 – buy it here)
- Extra cartridges – They usually last 2/3/4 weeks depending on how often you choose to use them. (Cartridges 20 3pk – buy them here)
- Ceramic diffuser (optional)
Setting up the Fluval mini kit
In the box you’ll find the following items – 1 c02 cartridge, tube, holder and a hideous plastic canister for in your tank (you can swap this for a ceramic diffuser if you prefer).
The setup of this system is really easy and the instructions are clear.
- Pierce the C02 tank with the nozzle provided, just make sure the valve is closed before you do so. This can be a little tight but you’ll feel it when it goes through.
- Take the screw part off and then add the tubing over the tank nozzle, then screw over securing the tube in place.
- Place the other end of the tube over the end of the canister where the nozzle sticks out and place in the tank. Tip – fill the canister with water as you put it in.
- Slowly (and we mean really slowly) open the nozzle to let the C02 escape – the slower the better! Allow both sections of the canisters to fill with air.
- The C02 will now slowly diffuse out of the canister and into the water, you’ll then need to top it back up around twice a day – when the light is going to be on for a while.
Alternatively you can get a ceramic diffuser and just let it run, this looks better but means the C02 needs to be turned off and on with the lights.
Here’s how the setup looks –
When the canister needs refilling it looks like the below image – It always has a small air lock in the top.
And when full it looks like this –
Fluval mini 20G C02 review
Here’s a video guide of me filling the canister in a Fluval Spec tank –
Fluval pressurised C02 comes in larger sizes for bigger aquariums and I personally use the 88G model with a ceramic diffuser in my 190 litre Jewel Trigon corner tank.