CO2 ESSENTIALS ALL-IN-ONE CO2 SYSTEM

The simplest complete presurized CO2 system on Earth!
available only at select retail locations
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Take your planted aquarium to the next level - limited only by your imagination
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There are few things in the world that are as stunning and memorable as an aquarium full of beautiful fish and shrimp against a breathtaking backdrop of lush thriving plants. It's a little piece of paradise in your living room or where you need it. There is just something about these little aquatic oases that make them so relaxing and meditative to watch - a tranquil and educationl alternative to the TV to spend an extended amount of time looking through pane of glass!

Research in fact, has shown that looking at an aquarium lowers blood pressure and reduces the physical symptoms of stress as well as medication. That's probably why so many doctors and dentists have one in their waiting rooms. If a simple fish tank with plastic neon plants and pirate themed decorations have such a dramatic impact on your health, imagine what a beautiful planted aquarium can do for your physical and psychological well-being!
If you think these magnificent creations are out of your league - they are not. Just provide water, light, nutrients and most importantly, carbon dioxide (CO2) - and the plants will do all the heavy lifting. Just select the species you'd like and watch them grow.

Many people have trouble with growing aquarium plants for one simple reason. CO2 in an aquarium are extremely scarce, as little as 1/1000th found in nature!

CO2 is the single best investment you can make for your aquarium. Not only will your plants grow faster, they will grow better, more colorful and require far less effort. Even demanding plants like carpets are suddenly easy.
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Pressurized CO2 doesn't get easier or more affordable
While the extraordinary advantages of CO2 fertilization as been well known for decades, pressurized CO2 has gained a (somewhat deserved) reputation for being expensive, complicated, and inaccessible for most people. CO2 Esentials is an affordable All-In-One solution with everything you need for a complete pressurized CO2 system. It sets up in minutes and uses commonly available SodaStream canisters that are inexpensive, safe, long lasting and refillable. No trips to the hardware store for a missing piece or driving hours just to find and refill a dedicated CO2 cylinder. Just add a SodaStream canister to your grocery list and you're ready to go.

A SodaStream canister lasts 3 months on a heavily planted 30 gallon aquarium and empty canisters can be inexpensively swapped or refilled at thousands of locations. Popular kits based on disposable cartridges are super convenient and simple but operate at dangerously high pressures and cannot be automatically synchronized with your lights. Replacement cartridges are expensive and last mere weeks or even days and will be at least 10 times more to run.

CO2 Essentials combines the covenience and accessibility of the best cartridge based systems with the reliability, features and long-term viability of far more expensive and tecnically challenging setups based on standalone regulators and cylinders. Quite literally the best of both worlds.
Instructions for setting up your CO2 Essentials system
BEFORE YOU START:

CO2 tubing is rigid compared to airline tubing and does not slip on and off as easily. This is necessary in order to maintain pressure in the system. To make it easier to hook up your tubing "circuit", dip the end of the tube you want to connect in a glass of hot water for a few seconds to soften it and dip the other side in water to lubricate the connection. If the connection is made properly, once the water dries, it should be very hard to pull the tubing off. If you need to remove the tubing from something delicate - the stem of the diffuser for eg. - slit the tubing open with an sharp art knife or razor blade rather than forcing it and potentially damaging your equipment. 

You will also need to soak your diffuser in warm water for at least 6 hours or overnight. Afterwards, you will want to make sure that there is water inside the diffuser body so that the bubble counter will work. If there is no water in the diffuser, unscrew the top of the diffuser, fill it with water most of the way and screw it tight again. You'll be relying on this to guage the rate of CO2 injection.

PART 1: POSITION YOUR DIFFUSER

Pick a spot to place your diffuser: Keep in mind that you want to either spread the CO2 micro bubbles throughout your aquarium as much as possible or dissolve them as much as possible into the water column so you want to place it somewhere that catches the natural current in your tank created by your filter and/or powerheads. You may need to experiment after the CO2 has be connected to find the best spot so keep in mind that you may have to move the diffuser later so don't superglue it to the glass...

If you have a canister filter and an outflow aimed at the opposite side of the tank (such as a Lily pipe) - we suggest placing your diffuser on the opposite side of the aquarium from the outflow where there should be a down current which will carry the bubbles all the way around the tank.

Alternatively, you can also place the diffuser under a powerhead intake which will spray the CO2 bubbles throughout your tank. This is probably the most efficient way to fertilize with CO2. You can use a very small (4 watt or less) pump if you do not want too much water movement.

Placing your diffuser under a filter intake so that the CO2 bubbles are pulled into your filter can be a good solution. Your filter will act like a reactor and dissolve most of the CO2 completely into the water so there are few to no visible bubbles. This results in a high level of dissolved CO2 in your water column. Be sure that you have some water circulation in the tank and watch out for "dead spots" caused by hardscape or overly dense plant growth. 

Once you've selected where you will the initially placing your diffuser, attach the tubing to the end of the stem using the hot water method. You only need a 1/2" or 1.5cm overlap for a secure connection.  Stick the diffuser to the wall of the tank with the included suction cup and hang the tubing out of the tank. Keep in mind that you may have to fine-tune its positioning after the CO2 starts flowing.

PART 2: MOUNT THE REGULATOR

1. Remove the protective cap from the SodaStream canister and ensure that the mount is in good condition.

2. Ensure that the SodaStream adapter is already pre-installed and on tight as tight as possible with your hands.

3. Screw the SodaStream bottle onto the regulator with the adapter. You should be able to do this by hand using the body of the regulator as a grip. You will hear a chirp sound or a hiss when the regulator has engaged the pin and the seal is tight. The needle on the pressure guage should move up slightly as well - showing a working pressure of around 25-30 psi

There should not be a prolonged release of CO2 - if there is, completely remove the regulator as quickly as possible and try again, being extra careful not to crossthread.

PART 3: CONNECT REGULATOR TO DIFFUSER

If you've figured out where you will be placing your regulator and SodaStream canister, cut the tubing at an appropriate length. It's a good idea to keep the tubing circuit as short as possible that you are still able to move the regulator or diffuser freely without pulling on the other end. 

Once you've measured out the amount of tubing you want, cut it. Then go back the diffuser end and cut the tubing 10" from where it meets the rim of the tank. 

Connect the severed section to your regulator. Unscrew the retaining nut over the gas outlet and pop the tubing on, the tighten the nut back to keep it secure.

Blow on one end of your checkvalve to see which way it flows and use it to connect the two ends of your circuit so that gas can flow toward the diffuser but not the other way around. Use one hand to hold the tubing in place when you tighten the retaining nut so that it does not twist the tubing too much.

When you are done, there should be an uninterruped one-way "circuit" going from your regulator to the diffuser.


PART 4: ADJUST YOUR FLOW RATE AND FINE TUNE DIFFUSER POSITION

With the gas source and diffuser connected - you're ready to go. Before you start however, make sure the needle valve on your regulator is closed all the way. It probably is but it's a good idea to check.

Plug in the solenoid on your regulator. You should hear a metallic click sound when the solenoid is powered up - that is the valve opening that will allow gas to flow from the canister through to the gas outlet. When the solenoid is not powered, the valve will close and no gas will flow.

The "needle valve" near the gas outlet is how you will fine tune the flow of CO2 into your aquarium. Open it just a bit and wait until you can see large bubbles inside your diffuser. Shortly after that, thousands of micro-bubbles should come rise into the water from the ceramic membrane on the diffuser. 

You'll want to fine tune how much CO2 is being used. Our recommendation is to start at one bubble every two seconds for every 10 gallons but that is just a starting point. You can adjust the bubble rate using the needle valve on your diffuser - keep in mind that it takes about a minute for the bubble count in the diffuser to reflect the new setting, especially if you are lowering the flow rate. Eventually you'll want to fine tune the rate so that the CO2 monitor turns lime green but for now, start at the recommended setting and pay attention to what happens to the microbubbles!

This is the moment of truth where you can observe how your water is flowing by following the bubbles. Unless you are feeding them into your filter, you want the micro-bubbles to remain in the water as long as possible and disperse throughout your aquarium. If most of them are rising to the surface, you will need to reposition your diffuser somewhere else, where the current flowing the right way. If you cannot find a good spot where the CO2 remains in the water spreads through the aquarium, consider feeding them into your filter or getting a small powerhead or pump.

PART 5: FINISHING UP

Set up your dropchecker or CO2 monitor. This is critical as it allows you to visualize the CO2 concentration in your water so that it is not too high or low. 

You'll want to set up the solenoid on a timer to turn on and off with your lights or better yet, turn on 30 minutes to an hour before your lights do. That way, when the lights turn on in the morning, there is already plenty of CO2 for your plants to start photosynthesizing immediately. In nature, the early morning is often the most active photosynthetic period for aquatic plants as CO2 levels tend to be at their highest right after sunrise so many species are roaring to go right at first light.