New Member
2 May 2019
I have had a 64 litre tank for a few years, and on the whole few problems. I have now splashed out on a Juwel Vision 180. My tank is planted, and I seem to be having issues with plants dying. It has been pointed out me that Co2 is my issue. Needless to say I feel quite thick after been a semi confident novice! The most fragile of my plants is Monte Carlo which I have bought twice.

So its back to the start. I see there is liquid Co2 which is cheap, then there are systems for about £130, which then have further running costs? I would greatly appreciate someone breaking terms down simply for me, as reading some of the posts on here, I got confused quite quickly.

Simon Cole

25 Dec 2018
Yes sure. These are sensible questions. I have two Vision 180s without carbon dioxide and I grow plenty of Monte Carlo.

Liquid carbon is a chemical called glutaraldehyde. There is some concern about exactly what it does (check out the two videos in this link), its safety (here), and the harm it does to certain plants like Vallisneria. It probably does not provide a carbon source to plants, but it does kill off certain algae.

A pressurised system provides carbon dioxide into the water through gaseous diffusion. It would typically consist of a pressurised cylinder, a regulator valve, a solenoid switch to turn it on and off (and a timer), a bubble counter, some tubing, a diffuser, and a glass drop checker to confirm that the system is working effectively. There are other alternative technologies like carbon dioxide regulators and yeast based systems, but they all aim to introduce carbon dioxide into the water column. The picture below is one that I use, which runs on a reusable soda stream bottle. I have been running it for about 5 months without needing to replace the bottle, which would cost £15.

I wouldn't waste your time with liquid carbon. The first thing to do is to make sure that you are dosing the plants with the correct amount of fertiliser daily, and that your plants are getting enough light. You also need to think about whether you aquarium soil is spent. If this is all okay, then a pressurised CO2 system seems like a logical choice. But to me it sounds like another factor could be at play because Monte Carlo usually does okay in these tanks.

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