A CO2 regulator’s job is to take care of your aquarium plants. It regulates the CO2 levels in your aquarium and keeps them at the optimum level for plants to thrive. This, in turn, will guarantee the best environment for your fish. So what happens if you have too much carbon dioxide? It will encourage the buildup of algae that will dirty the tank environment. On the other hand, if there is too little, your plants won’t survive. So how do you make sure you have the right amount? You need the right aquarium CO2 regulator.
Since these items are a little more technical, it’s not as simple as going out and picking the one with the highest reviews. A good way is to learn about the individual components and how your tank CO2 system works. This is what we aim to help you within the guide below. Read on for a list of the best CO2 regulators.
View The Best Aquarium CO2 Regulators Below
1. Taprite T742HP Primary Double Gauge CO2 Regulator
This CO2 regulator is compatible with any CO2 tank that comes with a CGA-320 valve. Made of brass, these regulators are made in the USA and are very durable. It features a low pressure gauge at the top to display the pressure output for your tank. To make sure you don’t disturb the tank environment by too much, the low pressure regulator provides a range of 1 to 50 psi.
The high pressure gauge located at the side will indicate the pressure of the remaining CO2 in the tank. For safety reasons, the Taprite T742HP comes with a duck bill check valve to make sure the product doesn’t retreat back into the CO2 regulator.
Why We Like It
We like how the CO2 regulator displays low and high pressure to give you a clear picture of the tank environment.
2. Titan Controls HGC702710 CO2 Regulator
This product is compatible with the Titan Controls controller, or any other 12 volt controller you may have. To have you gain more control for your planted tank, it features a precision flow meter as well. The valve itself is a heavy solenoid and also an oil-less pressure gauge. To keep your planted tank clean and the environment optimal, you can use the two plastic tank washers that come with your purchase. There is also a 12 foot CO2 dispensing line available as well.
Why We Like It
We like this CO2 regulator because it works with any 12 volt controllers. This makes fitting much easier.
3. FZONE Aquarium CO2 Regulator
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This modern-looking design comes with dual gauges to give you a precise and accurate reading of your aquarium environment. The solenoid valve is updated to 12 volts split-type, which is more stable and safer as well. The entire aquarium CO2 regulator gives you more control over the precise CO2 output. The aluminum alloy build prevents rusting on the CO2 regulator and keeps your fish and plants safe. It also includes a bubble counter and other tools for easy setup.
Why We Like It
We like how this aquarium CO2 regulator comes with a bubble counter to help control the CO2 rate in your aquarium
4. Double Sun Aquarium CO2 Regulator
If you are looking for quality construction, then look no further. This CO2 regulator for your aquarium is made of high density materials that are built to be reliable and durable. The regulator is designed to emit controlled levels of CO2 into the tank. You can pair it with most atomizers and diffusers as well as tubing.
While the dual gauges are small, they are easy to read and are compatible with any tank that has a CGA320 valve. The CO2 regulator even comes with tools for upkeep and maintenance including a tightening tool, wrench, seal ring, and more.
5. MOD Complete Aquarium CO2 Regulator
This slim and sleek stainless steel design is strong, durable and reliable. Able to inject optimal levels of CO2 and giving you full control are two benefits of the CO2 regulator. Your plants will thrive and flourish in your tank with the regulator that is easy to fine tune to your adjustments and the mini gauges will display the condition of your aquarium clearly. It features high and low pressure gauges as well as a bubble counter that will give you a clear picture on what needs to be adjusted.
6. Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator
Made from brass and features an advanced solenoid valve, the industrial design of this CO2 regulator creates a durable and dependable product. The needle valve helps with the accurate release of CO2 into your aquarium depending on the type of plant substrate you have. There are dual gauges with a bubble counter to give you a clear picture of the tank environment and to help you with plant growth. The CO2 regulator is compatible with most high density tubing and diffusers and atomizers.
7. VIVOSUN Hydroponics CO2 Regulator
This CO2 regulator has a variety of uses from keeping your tank environment precise to greenhouse CO2 regulation and more. It is a combination of a regulator, solenoid valve and flow gauge, all of which are important parts to maintaining the right environment. Made from brass, the construction of this CO2 regulator is built to function for many years to come. Get the precise levels of CO2 you need for growth tents, hydroponics and more.
8. JARDLI Aquarium CO2 Regulator
As good as brass and aluminum alloy are, nothing beats stainless steel in terms of durability. This mini CO2 regulator features both aluminum alloy and stainless steel on the body for high quality performance. The precision needle valve on this regulator will give you precise readings into your tank environment. You can adjust the CO2 output as needed depending on how large your tank is and the type of plants you cultivate. The mini valve is compatible with most full size CO2 tanks.
Best Aquarium CO2 Regulator Buying Guide
The selection process can be tough for an aquarium CO2 regulator. There are so many moving parts, components and adjustability factors that are determined by the size of your tank and the type of plants you keep. To help you understand CO2 regulators in more detail and what one should have before you spend your money on it is our goal with the buying guide below. Consider the below factors before purchasing your next CO2 regulator.
Easy Setup and Adjustment
You need the product to be easy to use. Any sort of device or product that takes a lot of research before setting up is a turn off for a lot of buyers. However, most CO2 regulators are easy to set up and it only involves connecting tubes and twisting valves.
Understanding how to use the device in order to get the right amount of CO2 output is also important. You don’t want to make a rookie error and harm your plants.
Easy to Read
In order to get a clear picture, you need the right gauges and meters to show you what’s going on inside. Make sure the gauges are easy to read. It doesn’t necessarily mean a gauge is easier to read just because it’s larger. It depends more on the font and the color contrast.
As with almost anything you buy, the materials have a direct effect on how tough the device is. For CO2 regulators, we would suggest stainless steel and brass as the two most reliable materials. They do not rust and are strong enough to last throughout the years.
What’s the use of buying a top-notch [email protected] regulator only to realize it does not fit with your system? You need to make sure the CO2 regulator you purchase is compatible with your other equipment.
What Does it Come with?
What do you need with your regulator? Some people only need a strong solenoid valve and dual gauges to get it working. Let’s take a look at some accessories CO2 regulators for your aquarium can potentially come with.
Bubble counter – A bubble counter sounds like something cute, but it has more serious responsibilities. A bubble counter is crucial to monitoring your tank environment. Most regulators actually do not come with one, so it’s a bonus if one does. It allows you to understand the flow rate of your tank.
Needle valve – The needle valve is responsible for how much CO2 is allowed into your tank. It gives you more accuracy when tuning the flow rate.
Solenoid valve – You may have seen this pop up on almost all of the options we have provided above. In terms of valves, a solenoid valve is the most common. They give you the option of putting the CO2 regulator on a timer to prevent CO2 from being wasted when your plants don’t need it.
Dual gauges – There are ones with only one gauge on the market, but to make it a good CO2 regulator worth your money, you need 2. One would be for low pressure and the other for high pressure.
A big consideration for most consumers is the price of a product. Before you adamantly stick to your pre-allocated budget, you need to consider all the factors we mention here first. Purchasing the right and best choice is more important and you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for the price.
It may only cause you to end up with a product that does a subpar job, breaks down easily, or never even worked in the first place. Regardless of the price, the quality CO2 regulator and the compatibility it has with your CO2 system should be your top considerations.
Frequently Asked Questions About CO2 Regulators
How to Choose a CO2 Regulator in an Aquarium?
Most of the factors and options we have listed above are for aquarium consideration. One more thing you should pay attention to is the size of your tank. You also need to be sure of the flow rate needed and the types of plants you are cultivating to know the precise levels of CO2 needed.
How Does a CO2 Regulator Work?
Their main function is to alert users such as yourself on the level of CO2. It allows you to customize the environment by adjusting the CO2 levels to create the perfect and best conditions for your plants.
What are the Benefits of a CO2 Regulator?
Is it important to have a CO2 regulator? They do provide the best option for customizing the best environment for your plants (as mentioned in the previous section). Let’s take a deeper look at the advantages.
Say Goodbye to Algae – An overabundance of algae can lead to health deterioration for your plants. It also helps with levels of ammonia.
Better water quality – It gives your aquarium inhabitants the perfect level of CO2 needed to thrive.
Healthy fish and plants – Having the right amount of CO2 often mean healthy and flourishing fish as well.
Do You Really Need CO2 for Aquarium Plants?
As an aquarist you know that water levels are important to your fish, but do plants really need it? The best case scenario for your home aquarium plants is one with a CO2 regulator. There is only one way to ensure you have a healthy and populated tank. The CO2 levels need to be monitored closely, and a CO2 regulator does just that.
Too much CO2 is a bad thing for plants and other marine inhabitants of your tank, and CO2 regulators are the solution. So if you want a beautiful planted tank with crystal clear water, then CO2 regulators are a necessity.
What is a Dual Stage Regulator?
Just because your CO2 system regulator has 2 gauges, it doesn’t mean it is a dual-stage regulator. A dual-stage regulator is just how it sounds – a regulator with two stages. It requires two steps to lower the CO2 content. The first stage takes the initial steps by lowering the pressure, and the second stage adds even more protection to regulate the CO2 levels.
A dual-stage CO2 regulator is more sought after, more effective and usually higher-end than a single stage. If you had the option to choose, a dual-stage would keep your tank environment more stable.
How to Set Up Your CO2 Regulator for Your Aquarium
We said it was easy, but we think it’s still useful to give you a thorough guide on the setup just in case your purchase doesn’t come with instructions.
Make sure the cylinder is properly sealed. Secure the pipe valve and close it tightly then fit the regulator on the cylinder and screw it tightly. Make sure the outlet is face down and faces you directly. You can then open the valve and make sure there are no leaks. If everything looks good, this is when you adjust your preferred CO2 levels via the knobs until the gauges show your ideal levels.
Setup is easy and simple, and this is especially true if your purchase comes with all the accessories and tools you need. We would also suggest setting up a drop checker with your CO2 regulator so you can always have clear indication on the plant environment.
How to Use Your CO2 Regulator for your Aquarium
Setting it up is the first step, but now we need to look at the operation. How do you use your aquarium CO2 regulator?
Step 1: You should have made sure that your CO2 regulator is compatible with the cartridge (and most are). Most manufacturers make them to be suitable for most cartridges on the market. All you need to do for step 1 is to attach them.
Step 2: Use a CO2 tube (some come included with your purchase) to link the air outlet to the check valve then to a diffuser.
Step 3: Place the diffuser in the correct spot according to your tank.
Step 4: You can attach a drop checker at this time if you have one.
How Do I Care for and Maintain my CO2 Regulator?
Even the best CO2 regulators need proper care to last long. Luckily for most users, they are quite easy to clean and store. They don’t need cleaning every day, just perhaps every other week or every month. Check your CO2 regulator to see if you need to clean it. The dual gauges should be free of dust and easy to read.
No parts should be rusted if you purchased one at a higher price or if it was made with sturdy and strong materials. What you need to clean your CO2 regulator is just a soft cloth and a few drops of bleach for the heavier cleaning. When not in use, it’s a good idea to store the CO2 regulator for your aquarium in a cool and dry place. Hopefully, there is casing or wrapping as well that can keep it from being damaged.
How Do I Get More CO2 into My Aquarium?
A CO2 regulator can help with that, however, there are other more immediate ways to add CO2 levels into your aquarium without a CO2 regulator on hand. There are fertilizer products available on the market for this situation. They can add CO2 and other nutrients into the water that will benefit your plant life.
Without adding CO2, the food and energy source for plants, they have to make do with what the marine creatures in the tank produce. This isn’t enough for them to flourish depending on the type of plant you have. Reaching the desired pH levels is also important and you can do that by using baking soda and distilled water. However, we suggest going for fertilizer products because they also supply micronutrients plants need such as nitrogen, phosphor and iron.
Figuring out the best regulator can be hard, especially if you are a beginner. If you are just starting out, you may not know the know-how to set it up or to pick the right one. Things such as a needle gauge or bubble counter may be terms you have never heard of. A good way to get started with your research if with our guide.
Look through the factors to consider before you purchase a CO2 regulator. You want this to last for the long haul and have all the right add-ons and accessories you need (like the above-mentioned needle gauge and bubble counter). Remember that quality should never be sacrificed for price, not when it comes to the well being of your plant inhabitants.
Did You Know?
If your CO2 regulator kit does not come with a check valve, then we highly recommend purchasing one. This is the little feature that prevents backflow of water into your CO2 system.
Make sure the washers are all the same size, the best is to go with the standard size. This can minimize hassle when you need to replace parts and components in the future.