One of the things that you need to ensure when maintaining a fish tank is keeping carbon dioxide and oxygen balanced inside the tank. To do this, you need to get an efficient CO2 reactor that is specifically designed to aid add the adequate amount of carbon dioxide immediately and without any difficulty.
The reason why it is essential and practical to purchase the best CO2 reactor is that these devices serve a very vital role in naturally adding carbon dioxide into the fish tank. For a fact, it has been proven that it can work wonders in providing risk-free and efficient means of ensuring carbon dioxide and oxygen balance.
As you might already know, when O2 and CO2 are balanced, this could help make your aquarium pets thrive and enjoy their dwelling place. Considering this, you might be contemplating what carbon dioxide reactors will work best for your needs and style.
Continue reading the rest of this article and explore more on the different carbon dioxide reactors reviewed below. In so doing, you can reduce the stress and time wondering what type of CO2 reactor would best solve your concerns.
With the following product reviews below, you can learn more about the features and functions that you need to ponder on in order to get what’s suitable for you.
- Best CO2 Reactor Reviews 2020
- 1. Gulfstream Tropical AGU00529 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor
- 2. Sera Flore Active CO2 Reactor
- 3. ISTA 80076 Co2 External Reactor
- 4. Awesome Aquatics Inline CO2 Atomizer Bubble Diffuser Reactor
- 5. Gulfstream Tropical AGU00528 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor for Aquarium
- 6. ISTA Turbo CO2 Reactor Diffuser 12/16mm External for Aquarium Plants
- 7. JARDLI Glass Inline CO2 Atomizer Diffuser System
- 8. WuyouChy CO2 Generator System Carbon Dioxide Reactor Kit
- What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium CO2 Reactor
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best CO2 Reactor Reviews 2020
1. Gulfstream Tropical AGU00529 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor
If you opt for a CO2 reactor aquarium that is compact, efficient and lightweight; then this is the right match for you! Indeed, you can get this item at a pocket-friendly price tag and it can be instantly sealed if you prefer.
This device comes with a patented impeller design that makes it quite adept at reducing carbon dioxide bubbles. In the same way, its Max Mix Reactor has the capacity to exhaustively dissolve carbon dioxide into the water.
This is user-friendly too. So, even if you are a beginner in this hobby, it is a piece of cake to set up and use. You won’t even need to prepare some tools to install it. All you need to ensure is that you follow the assembly procedures accordingly.
Unlike other models out there, this device won’t give you a hard time when cleaning and maintaining it.
On the other hand, this CO2 reactor comes with a removable bottom but this makes it a little leaky, and to solve this problem, you may consider permanently sealing it using an epoxy or silicone. Also, this product appears frail especially at the hose connections.
2. Sera Flore Active CO2 Reactor
Are you feeling exhausted searching for the most appropriate CO2 reactor for planted aquarium? It is true that shopping for one may be tricky. Luckily, Sera Flore Active CO2 Reactor can satisfy your requirements in keeping your fish and plants healthily thriving inside the fish tank.
This device is made of durable acrylic materials. There is no need to worry about installing it since setting it up and disassembling it is painless. You can instantly mount it internally or externally. As compared with other models, this operates without generating any irking noise and it can guarantee a leak-free operation.
Once purchased, it already includes hose connections that come with fastener and suction cups. This does an excellent job at mixing carbon dioxide into the water with the aid of a return line from an exterior canister filter. What is more, it is capable of breaking the bubbles up quite well.
In essence, this unit won’t let you down if you are aiming for a superior performance when it comes to totally dissolving carbon dioxide into the water.
However, you need to be aware of this device’s downsides that include the useless hose union nuts, maybe just consider utilizing hose clamps instead. And, when using it, be sure to use a strong filter.
3. ISTA 80076 Co2 External Reactor
This model is deemed as one of the topnotch aquarium CO2 reactors available these days. In order to enable it to operate silently and smoothly, it calls for a lower flow rate. This is known for having the capability to provide superior overall performance even though it may produce audible sound at first.
In addition, once the reactor is full right after tuning up the filter, the audible sound luckily goes away. This operates quite well and you will be surprised to see a fascinating carbon dioxide level in the tank without those soda-like bubbles. You can get this at a very affordable price tag which makes it even more of a great deal to try since it can provide many years of service.
Still and all, please be guided that when you operate this carbon dioxide reactor, there is a possibility for it to generate some noise, although the sound is not too annoying, it is loud enough to be heard. Aside from this, it may considerably lessen the flow rate of the canister. These are just a few of the flaws that you need to check out about this model.
4. Awesome Aquatics Inline CO2 Atomizer Bubble Diffuser Reactor
This device is a must-have. It comes with top-drawer features that you could ever ask for in a carbon dioxide reactor unit. If you’re going to inspect its overall construction, you’ll see that it is made of premium quality materials making it last for many years of usage. You can immediately mount it internally or externally since it is designed with a wall mount bracket.
More than that, this CO2 inline reactor is also good at immensely reducing the likelihood of algae accumulation inside the fish tank. As you know, this would be of great help in keeping your aquarium pets safe, happy and healthy. With its exceptionally upgraded availability and absorption of CO2, it could efficiently guarantee successful plant growth.
Whether you plan to use it in your existing system or for your newly-bought system, this can be easily utilized. In line with this, it is uncomplicated to assemble, and the best of all, cleaning and maintenance no longer need to be an exhausting and time-consuming task for you to deal with.
Regardless, this carbon dioxide inline reactor always necessitates the use of clamps on any hose connections. And, just like other available models out there, a slight noise is to be expected when you start to operate this device.
5. Gulfstream Tropical AGU00528 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor for Aquarium
This CO2 reactor complements the fish tank setup quite well. Furthermore, you can finish the assembly process in minutes and there is no need to prepare any tools to install it. To ensure the precise position of the device, see to it to carefully follow the instructions located on the side of the box. Whether you prefer to mount it internally or externally, this can be easily done as it can fit accurately where you most need it.
You’ll love this CO2 reactor’s durability. As a matter of fact, this is smooth sailing to clean and maintain and it even has the capability to resist any forms of impact and acidity. This is highly recommended for small to medium-sized tanks. And, it does not matter whether you are still a newbie or already a pro in the field of aquarium hobby, this unit is certified user-friendly.
Aside from these, it does not come with a costly price tag. Considering its extraordinary features, it is surprising to get this at a pocket-friendly price. This device’s innovative design allows fish tank owners to be worry-free as it can efficiently diffuse nearly all the carbon dioxide into the water in a fairly distributed manner.
Nevertheless, two of the weak spots that you need to pay attention to with regards to this unit are its being susceptible to leakage problems and some audible noise to be expected when you start injecting the carbon dioxide.
6. ISTA Turbo CO2 Reactor Diffuser 12/16mm External for Aquarium Plants
Are you having a hard time deciding and mulling over CO2 reactor vs. diffuser? Then, you can end your agony with ISTA Turbo CO2 Reactor Diffuser. This device will surely meet your requirements and satisfy your expectations if you seriously wish to provide your fish tank inhabitants with adequate amount of carbon dioxide for them to thrive and enjoy their stay inside the aquarium.
To boot, this unit is not very much like other brands that only give you headache with various leak issues. Likewise, it is easy to put together and you can immediately fasten it into the canister filtering system. Priced with slightly costly selling price, this is still worth considering given its avant-garde features that you can’t find in other units.
Nonetheless, this device must be stringently handled with extra caution. It seems to be brittle so it could be damaged quite easily if not given proper care. The hose barbs appear to be short in length which is contrary to what was advertised. Anyway, if these defects aren’t a big deal to you, then this is a good buy for you to try!
7. JARDLI Glass Inline CO2 Atomizer Diffuser System
This JARDLI model comes with a very durable and well-built glass that makes it stunning, comes with expensive look and is capable of providing a satisfying performance. Apart from this, the inline mounting alleviates the amount of algae accumulation inside the aquarium and tubing that eventually results to a clean and low-maintenance fish tank. Since the glass is solid, it is less likely to get damaged easily. This carbon dioxide reactor can disperse CO2 quite efficiently and it is fascinating to see microbubbles coming out pleasantly.
It is worth noting that what makes this truly a good item to splurge in is that as compared to other models that required to be sealed with silicone or epoxy to stop leaking issues, this device won’t give you the stress dealing with leak concerns because it does not leak at all. You’ll like its simple yet solid design and construction.
For all that, this device is designed with fairly short connecting tube that commonly calls for zip ties or other types of connectors just to consolidate it together. And, it is normal for it to generate audible sound when in use.
8. WuyouChy CO2 Generator System Carbon Dioxide Reactor Kit
If you are eyeing to purchase a professional CO2 diffuser, then this device is worth a try. It is made of a stainless steel bottle that is sturdy and dependable enough to use. This is regarded as a very cost-effective product to invest in mainly because all the necessary accessories to set it up are all included in the package once bought.
What set it apart from other available units available on the market these days are its very solid stainless steel construction and safety valve that opens in an automatic mode when it exceeds the safe pressure. As you can see, this makes it risk-free to utilize even for beginners who are not that insightful in doing the job.
This CO2 reactor is user-friendly. That said, you don’t need to be a pro in keeping a fish tank to operate it. It is easy to use and its simple design is actually what makes it preferable by other long time fish tank keepers. If you hope to keep the carbon dioxide fairly balanced inside the aquarium, then this unit can help you execute that.
Not the less, this isn’t strong enough to handle fish tanks that are larger in size. In other words, its capacity might only be limited to servicing smaller tanks. Furthermore, the actual assembly process isn’t that intricate and can be figured out on your own, in truth, what makes it complicated are the poorly written instructions.
What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium CO2 Reactor
When it comes to buying the suitable carbon dioxide reactor for you, aside from thinking through the price tag of the device, it also matters to opt for the one that can provide you the best possible performance.
In detail, here are the valuable factors or features that you need to look through before you invest in a CO2 reactor:
Budget. Needless to say, the carbon dioxide reactor model that you choose will highly rely on the amount of money you are willing to spend for the device. There are cheaper brands that come with stunning features and there are expensive models that can provide extraordinary performance.
No matter what your preference is, the only thing that matters the most in the end is the quality of the device you decide to buy. Thus, do not only settle on affordability, also inspect if quality is not compromised.
Compact design. This could make the device a lot easier to set up in the tank anywhere you prefer.
Capable of exhaustively dispersing carbon dioxide into the fish tank in a bubble-free approach.
Easy installation process. Luckily, many models these days are no sweat to set up and they do not even require other tools to put them together.
Algae growth blockage. The CO2 reactor must also be capable of inhibiting the proliferation of algae inside the aquarium. This is one efficient way of keeping your fish tank pets healthy and safe.
No leakage issues. The device should be designed to help maximize CO2 output. See to it that it is not prone to leaking.
All installation equipment as well as assembly instructions must be included in the package once purchased. At times, you can also get products that also include the required accessories necessary to operate the unit.
Taking into account all the factors aforementioned prior to the final buying decision will surely help you choose the one that does not only suit your budget but could also satisfy your needs and style. Hence, keep all these reminders in mind when getting yours.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is a CO2 reactor for aquarium? How does it work?
Carbon dioxide is difficult to chance upon in an aquarium precisely because natural components are not affecting the fish tank and it makes it impossible to bring the necessary carbon dioxide along with it. As you know, a fish tank is comparably a confined environment where it is quite complex to obtain anything from the outside world to access it. That said, it is no wonder why getting a carbon dioxide reactor for you is a must to consider if you’re keeping an aquarium.
A CO2 reactor is a practicable device that is particularly built to add carbon dioxide in the fish tank in a natural mode. This unit serves a vital role in that it can efficiently and safely guarantee O2 and CO2 balance inside the tank. It especially aids everything inside the aquarium to live a safer, healthier and happier life. This is why it is specifically important to get the best carbon dioxide reactor that could help you achieve this.
The good news is that different CO2 reactor models nowadays come with innovative design. Therefore, as a fish tank owner, you can finally be at peace knowing that the device could exceptionally disperse all your carbon dioxide into the water and this could be done in a uniformly distributed approach and at the same time, this is executed in a bubble-free mode.
What are the different types of aquarium CO2 reactors?
Fundamentally, the carbon dioxide reactor is deemed as the most costly diffuser that is capable of supplying the greatest output of carbon dioxide; however, this definitely comes at a decent price and it is primarily utilized for large-sized fish tanks.
The best types of CO2 reactors are those that create bubble-free performance, do not come with leakage issues and can evenly distribute the carbon dioxide into the water. Other types ensure a secure and safe performance, and most importantly, these are capable of warding off serious algae growth inside the tank.
Take note that different types of reactors are made in various materials such as solid glass, stainless steel, high quality plastic and the like.
Why do you need a CO2 reactor? (Benefits)
The primary objective of a CO2 reactor is to enable carbon dioxide contact time with the water. This device performs excellently by adding nothing more within the tank.
The use of a carbon dioxide reactor is inevitable in that this device is quite efficient than diffusers or atomizers and this is especially practical for anyone who could not stand carbon dioxide mist inside the aquarium.
Without any doubt, the device’s dissolution and efficiency rate highly banks on the design of the specific CO2 reactor as well as the rate of flow of the pump or canister filtering system that operates it. It is possible to fasten the unit to the filter outputs; however, it slightly lessens the flow.
Bear in mind that reactors could only manage a specific maximum injection rate for their size or design – evidently, this only proves to say that it is definitely critical to pick the appropriate size for your tank.
Using a top quality and reliable carbon dioxide reactor can ensure the following perks:
- Such device could help impede the immense buildup of algae inside the fish tank. Obviously, this is one way of keeping the aquarium free of any harmful bacteria that may endanger the lives of your fish tank occupants.
- This does a great job at helping aquarium keepers ensure a balanced amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the tank. For people who prefer bubble-free mode, this is the best option to consider.
- It is not difficult to set up, use and operate. This unit is actually user-friendly, so newbies in aquarium hobby won’t have a hard time using it even if it is their first time to run it in the tank.
- Various brands or models are generally sold in affordable price tags. They aren’t difficult to find and there are a plenty of sizes, designs and styles that you could freely select from for your fish tank.
- The use of this device helps aquatic plants to happily and healthily survive dwelling in a confined environment like an aquarium. And, this is made possible by a CO2 reactor that aids in supplying the right amount of carbon dioxide for them to flourish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted CO2 reactor brands?
As discussed previously, there are a number of carbon dioxide reactor models that come in various features and functionality. All of them also come in different price range that aids in making the selection process a less challenging task to deal with. There are top rated brands that you can freely choose from and the most notable ones include the following:
- Sera Flore Active CO2 Reactor
- Gulfstream Tropical AGU00528 Ista Max Mix Co2 Reactor
- Awesome Aquatics Inline CO2 Atomizer Bubble Diffuser Reactor
- JARDLI Glass Inline CO2 Atomizer Diffuser System
- ISTA 80076 Co2 External Reactor
How to add CO2 to aquarium?
There are various methods to supply the CO2 in your fish tank. In general, this falls into 2 categories: liquid or gas injection. These techniques are broadly available from nearly all online fish tank specialists on the web.
Take into consideration that the formula will greatly rely on the size of your fish tank. Moreover, carbon dioxide is not dispersed in the fish tank by means of a diffuser, but this is done directly into the water; the reason for this is the inadequacy of pressure.
Hence, it is critical for you to install the system on your own. See to it that the system should be replaced once every few weeks.
When adding CO2 into the water, connect the reactor to the external filter. When the carbon dioxide bubbles already reach the internal section of the reactor, these will be consistently broken down till they are totally dissolved into the water.
A friendly reminder: Please refer to the recommended amount of carbon dioxide to be added in your fish tank. This is usually indicated in the product you buy, or if not, it won’t hurt if you conduct a research about it. Consider the size of your tank and the type of aquarium pets you are presently keeping. As you know, excessive amount of carbon dioxide could also cause danger to your fish tank inhabitants.
How to install?
- Buy a carbon dioxide generator kit. This kit commonly includes the plastic tubing that attaches two caps and also come with a valve and a pressure gauge. At times, the tubing will be attached by a piece of solid plastic.
Meanwhile, the valve and the pressure gauge are especially designed to enable users to keep track of and control the amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the aquarium.
- Tighten the pressure gauge cap to the above portion of the citric acid bottle. Afterward, embed the tubing that comes out of the cap into the bottle that is indicated as B. You may start turning the cap in a clockwise mode till it becomes really tight.
- Then, it is time to tighten the cap that comes with the valve connected to the bottle of baking soda. After that, carefully turn the valve in a clockwise pattern to tightly close it prior to fastening the bottles. Put the tube that comes out the cap with the valve fastened to the above portion of the bottle of baking soda. Lastly, turn the cap again in a clockwise mode to screw it.
- Fasten the end of the tubing to a bubble counter. This is the tiny plastic piece that the carbon dioxide disperses through prior to directly going into the tank. Make sure to supply the bubble counter with water. After that, seize the plastic tubing coming from the valve and embed the end into your bubble counter.
- Attach the bubble counter to the extra tubing. Take the longer tubing in order for it to easily reach the tank’s bottom part. Get the tubing and link it to the output valve found on the bubble counter’s bottom part.
- Fasten the diffuser to the end section of the tubing. Then, you’re done installing your carbon dioxide system setup.
How to use?
Different carbon dioxide reactor models come in slightly different methods of how to use them. By happy chance, the usage instructions and assembly procedure are printed and can be found inside the package once you bought the item.
The step-by-step process on how to set up the device properly is detailed in the manual. See to it to follow the directions by heart to avoid various problems like leakage and other malfunction-related issues brought about by improper installation of the device. Always refer to the product’s manual when assembling it. Also, you may refer to the installation technique or procedure discussed in this article.
How to care & store?
Carbon dioxide reactors are actually a piece of cake to utilize, operate, clean and maintain. On the other hand, it is highly advised to take extra caution when using those made with fragile materials like glass-made versions.
While many of these products are made of superior quality glass materials, it cannot be denied that no matter how solid the glass is, this is still and will always be prone of getting easily damaged. As a result, without extra caution, you end up breaking them.
When it comes to cleaning CO2 reactors, one effective means to remove the dirt accumulated on the device is using chlorine bleach or water solution. Be sure to deeply soak the device in water solution or chlorine bleach for a few hours. Then, wash and rinse the device until it becomes completely free from the cleaning solution.
If you decide to keep the device, it matters to store it in a place away from children and somewhere where it won’t be accidentally damaged. If your device is glass-made, make sure to cover it with bubble wrap or anything that could provide more protection so to keep it from being cracked or broken. This is also to shield you and your loved ones from injuries. Make it a habit to clean the device before you store it.
Where to buy?
Fortunately, carbon dioxide reactors are not quite difficult to find. In point of fact, these devices generally come in distinct designs, sizes, shapes, features and price range. You can begin shopping by checking out nearby pet or fish stores in your area.
Alternatively, if you prefer to shop online, you may visit eBay, Walmart, PetSmart, Amazon, PetCo and a plenty of other legit and credible online shopping sites that you can come across on the web. Be sure to use the right keywords when typing your search so they can narrow down your choices and make it a lot easier for you to decide which one best suits your needs and preferences.
If your aquarium is suffering from vegetation or foliage issues, then one way to solve this problem is injecting the water with carbon dioxide. This will do a wonderful job at enhancing the safety and health of your aquatic plants. However, if you do not prefer buying your CO2 reactor, then you can consider doing it yourself.
To create your own carbon dioxide reactor system, you will need a bottle (preferably 2 liters in size) fish tank equipment and tubing. Instructions on DIY CO2 reactors are available on YouTube, you can check out the one you like best. These guides are easy to follow even for beginners.
Undoubtedly, this is a very cost-effective alternative to buying costly carbon dioxide system from local fish or pet stores and even on the web.
But, the DIY process may be tedious and time-consuming as compared to buying it on the market. Whatever you prefer, you can decide for yourself. What matters most is having a reliable and efficient CO2 reactor that can help supply the necessary amount of carbon dioxide into the tank water.
The living creatures dwelling inside your fish tank especially requires balanced amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in order for them to thrive in a confined environment. And, for you to auspiciously, safely and efficiently add the necessary carbon dioxide into the water, it is crucial to invest in the best CO2 reactor.
Not to mention, by simply utilizing the most outstanding one for your fish tank, your aquarium pets will have everything they require for them to live healthily and happily inside the tank. Through the detailed product reviews above, you can certainly pick out the brand that you think will best match your current requirements and style.
It is worth mentioning that an affordable price tag that is appropriate for all budgets is not the only vital purchasing factor for you to contemplate on. You also need to pay attention to the product’s features and functions as these two will mostly matter in the long run.