Carbon Dioxide, What is it and why do I need it?
Plants are made up of forty to fifty percent carbon, in land plants, like the bushes in your front yard, they get Carbon Dioxide from the surrounding air. In aquariums, carbon dioxide diffuses much more slowly, and the aquarium plants unless they are growing out of the top of your aquarium cannot get that CO2 from the air. So you need to supplement the water with some form of CO2. Why? Because Carbon dioxide is the carbon source, CH2O being the basic building block of plants. If you want beautiful plant growth, a good supply of carbon is necessary. Fish do not respirate enough CO2 to provide plants with enough. You have several choices, liquid CO2 like Seachem's Excel, my choice for liquid supplements, read about it here; Seachem Flourish Excel, or gas CO2 like this set; CO2 Set, using a gas bottle CO2 where you use a regulator and needle valve, (steps down the pressure to put 1-3 bubbles of CO2 gas into your aquarium) usually comes with a magnetic valve (this device allows you to plug the regulator/needle valve into a timer so that it turns on and off with your lights, this way you do not have to turn it on and off your self every single day) and a bottle of gas that you get at your local oxygen company to attach these items to.
Can I grow aquarium plants without adding carbon dioxide in some form? Probably not for long, eventually your plants will suffer and expire. There are some plants that can convert bicarbonates in the aquarium water to carbon, but they are the exception and they have to work harder to do that. At the very least, I recommend using Seachem Flourish Excel which will last in a fifty gallon aquarium one hundred days before you need to purchase more. Correct CO2 chart to measure gas CO2 can be found here: CO2 CHART If you have questions about this article, send an email to CO2 Question No matter what your budget is, there is a Carbon Dioxide solution for your aquarium plants!
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