DIY CO2 KIT – High Pressure Canister Tank for Aquarium

CO2 Becomes Affordable

Aquarium DIY CO2 KIT
A typical DIY CO2 high pressure reaction canister with single stage regulator.

When I first saw this DIY CO2 kit on Taobao, it just blew my mind away.

As a DIY CO2 planted tank owner, you will know the bane of low or inconsistent pressure produced by existing kits in the market. And most DIY CO2 setup will hardly last a week.

Furthermore, DIY CO2 kit lacks the pressure to deploy atomizer diffuser. (Atomizer diffuser can produce really nice micro bubbles. Micro bubbles dissolves into water much faster and efficiently than large bubbles.)

GOOD NEWS!

This DIY CO2 reactor kit is now available for North America!!!!! Via Amazon!

It cost USD$85 with free shipping. The good thing about this DIY CO2 kit is that it has got everything you need to start injecting CO2 into your aquarium. Unlike typical pressurised system which requires you to research and buy your separate regulator and solenoid.

PRICE ATTACK/UPDATES

Update: 19 September 2019

2L Canister: US$55 with free shipping!!!

Source: AliExpress

This is by far the cheapest price I have ever seen. It is almost as cheap as buying directly from TaoBao store. Though the brand of the manufacturer was not disclosed.

Content

Single Reaction Canister
Construction
Kit Content
How to buy
Shipping Issues
Where and how to get it
How to Set up
Operation

Single Reaction Canister

This new type of DIY CO2 kit canister replaces your soda bottles A and B. It is now a single phase reaction camber. The pressure produced is good for any kind of diffuser in the market and the pressure is consistent enough to provide weeks of stable CO2.

Bye bye squeezing of bottle till your hand cramp. No more priming. Just pour the ingredients in and tada! CO2!

CO2 in seconds

When you have become familiar with this kit, you can get CO2 up and running within a few minutes. High pressure CO2.

For those using pressurised tank CO2, this can become an emergency CO2 contingency plan. The high CO2 supply can last till you get your pressurised tank refilled or replaced at your LFS.

growing HC with diy co2
Growing HC carpet with DIY CO2 is now possible.

DIY CO2 Kit: Construction

The tank is made of high grade stainless steel. The tank also received a good high shine polish.The overall build quality is very good and sturdy – very untypical of Chinese made products.

In fact the tank looks so good that you can have it displayed alongside your aquarium without being a sore-eye.

The recommended safety level is 25kg/cm2, which is 5 times of those soda bottles. A standard reaction will create 20kg/cm2 of pressure for a 2L tank and can last more than 2 weeks for typical use.

I do not recommend exceeding the recommended amount of ingredient of 200g citric acid and 200g baking soda.

growing dwarf hairgrass with diy co2
My Dwarf Hairgrass in a 60cm low profile tank.

DIY CO2 Kit: Items

A typical kit will come with the below items:

  • a set of 6 sets of baking soda (200g) and citric acid powders (200g).
  • a bubble counter with built-in check valve.
  • airline tube with suction cup.
  • a base stand.
  • a small 300ml plastic measuring cup
  • a small funnel.
READ  Dosing Using Seachem Fertilisers

There are options (combo) for an electric solenoid, ceramic diffuser, co2 checker, etc. They will usually label them as “set meal A, set meal B, etc.”

Updates: Powder ingredients will not be shipped. 

Tao Bao?

For readers who resides in US or Europe, the words Tao Bao may sounds foreign to you. Tao Bao is the largest online store in Asia. It used to be the only place you can buy this high pressure canister.

Furthermore, the site is in Chinese only! Although Tao Bao has begun selling and shipping to customers overseas, they will not ship this canister to customers residing overseas.

You will need to engage a third-party purchaser. Read on.

DIY CO2 Kit: How to buy

Good news! This reactor is now available on Amazon US!

In Asia, third-party Tao Bao purchasers are blooming everywhere. These third-party purchasers will purchase items on customers’ behalf and ship items to customers residing overseas.

Typically you will need to sign up on the purchaser’s website. Then you will copy and paste the Tao Bao’s URL of the item you are interested in buying. The purchaser will then require you to make a payment for the item.

Once payment is made, the purchaser will proceed to place the order under their account. The item then gets shipped to the purchaser’s warehouse in China.

Once they have received your item in their warehouse they will notify you and you will then need to make a second payment for shipping.

I have compiled a list of third-party Tao Bao purchasers here.

Shipping Issues

Two of my third-party Taobao purchasers refused to purchase this item on my behalf. Only one shipping agent agreed to ship for me after a lengthy description of what the item was and what it does.

You will need to inform your purchaser that the canister is an EMPTY tank. There is no pressure inside the tank. It also helps to inform them that this tank is for aquarium hobby or for DIY CO2.

And I also had to discard the accompanying baking soda and citric acid powder because it will highly impede port clearance speed. (As of May 2017 all agents prohibit shipping of powder substance of any type.) Any powder that accompany with other items WILL be detained for inspection. So if I want, I had to ship the powder separately and had them declared separately.

Air freight is not possible due to international shipping regulation.

It took about 2 weeks by sea freight to reach me. And that must be the longest wait in my life. But when I got it, the feeling was tremendous.

growing hc and ar mini with diy co2
Another HC tank!

Where and how to get it

Currently, to my knowledge, there are only two a few online retailers you can buy the canister from. AliExpress, Tao Bao, and finally on Amazon US!

DIY CO2 Kit: Amazon US

Finally! I managed to find a retailer on Amazon to sell this reactor. It is not cheap as compared to the original price in China, but a cool $85 with free shipping. Better than having to arrange for a third-party purchaser to buy and ship on your behalf.

READ  Where to buy cheap: Aquarium Essentials

It is the Wu You 2L version. And already garner great reviews.

DIY CO2 Kit: AliExpress

Please be warned that the prices on AliExpress is 3~4 times more expensive than Tao Bao although they are perceptually the same merchants. The variety and number of merchants selling are also extremely limited.

The AliExpress merchants will settle for you the shipping. Shipping cost is usually not included for USA and Europe. Shopping on AliExpress is safe and they have insurance and dispute centers. So far I have not encountered any problems since I started purchasing items on AliExpress.

Click here for the link to the AliExpress merchants selling the canisters.

DIY CO2 Kit: Tao Bao

Tao Bao is a maze to navigate. It lacks navigational studies and its website is extremely cluttered.

I understand a lot of my readers are non Chinese so I have created some links below so you can jump immediately into the link and use it for your third-party Tao Bao purchasers.

Feng Kuang Shui Cao

Feng Kuang Shui Cao
疯狂水草CO2钢瓶水草DIY二氧化碳发生器

Aquarium DIY CO2 KIT

Available in 1L, 2L, and 4L canister tanks.

Cheapest starts from USD50.

Source city: Beijing

URL: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.6.3cd8762bZx1qMG&id=562557848008&cm_id=140105335569ed55e27b&abbucket=12&skuId=3900574307548

CHOFA

CHOFA
臣凡 二氧化碳发生器 diy自制反应钢瓶

Aquarium DIY CO2 KIT

Available in 1L, 2L, and 4L canister tanks.

Cheapest starts from USD34

Source city: Wenzhou

URL: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.20.3cd8762bZx1qMG&id=557486907742&ns=1&abbucket=12#detail

Wu You

Wu You
无忧鱼缸二氧化碳CO2发生器

Aquarium DIY CO2 KIT

Available in 2L canister tanks.

Cheapest starts from USD42

Source city: Beijing

URL: https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a1z10.5-c-s.w4002-21116352494.16.34509e35TxuUFB&id=534870751535

Wan Jia Bao Bei

Wan Jia Bao Bei
玩家宝贝CO2钢瓶水草DIY二氧化碳发生器

Aquarium DIY CO2 KIT

Available in 2L canister tanks. Available in single or dual stage regulators.

Cheapest starts from USD44

Source city: Guangdong

URL: https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.15.6c8522f30NSoGc&id=574850706844&ns=1&abbucket=12&skuId=3764061888575

DIY CO2 Kit: How to Set up

To get things going, the setup is very fast and easy. Much faster than the Bottle A + Bottle B citric acid baking soda setup.

how to setup

Step 1: Unscrew the regulator from the tank.

Step 2: Pour in 200g of citric acid powder.

Step 3: Pour in 200g of baking soda.

Step 4: Pour 300ml of water at a 45 degree angle.

Step 5: Screw back the regulator.

Before you pour in the water, make sure the regulator is readied by your side. The moment the water hits the ingredient the reaction is instantaneous.

Immediately you could feel the tank turning cold! Cold enough to have condensation around the tank. The pressure gauge shot to 10kg/cm2 instantly. After a few hours I managed to get 20kg/cm2 of CO2 in the tank! Holly cow!

The screwing back of the regulator can sometimes be challenging especially when you can feel the pressure gushing out. PANIC!

Stay calm and make sure the regulator’s thread fits the tank nicely or you risked damaging the screw threads.

One trick is to use ice instead of water. Measure 300 ml of water and pour them into small tray that makes small cubes. So the reaction will only start when the ice melts.

READ  Over head Sump Tank

This way you can take your own sweet time to screw the regulator back in place. However, do note that if you use ice instead of water the pressure build up will take about 1 hour to reach 10kg/cm2, and no less than 4 hours to reach 20kg/cm2. This is because of the low temperature. When the canister return to normal room temperature is when the pressure will reach 20kg/cm2.

DIY CO2 Kit: Operation

20 kg/cm3 pressure

The regulating valve knob is also very smooth and precise. I can fine tune it to achieve 1 bubble per 4 seconds! And it held the rate true throughout the day weeks in operation.

When I changed from using an atomizer to a reactor to inject CO2, I managed to get 22 days of CO2 running at 2 big bubbles per second for 14 hours per day!

This is because when using an atomizer, towards the end of the tank the pressure will drop below the minimum working pressure to power an atomizer. However, the pressure within the tank is still sufficient to power a reactor for another 4 days at least!

Good luck!

[Update March 2018]

I have since upgraded all my soda bottles DIY CO2 to the high pressure canister tanks!
[Update May 2018]

After converting from diffusers to a CO2 reactor, I managed to get 22 days of CO2 running at 2 big bubbles per second running for 14 hours a day for my 20 gallon, and 23 days for my 11 gallon running at 1.5 big bubbles for 14 hours a day!

Check out my commercial CO2 reactor review here. When using a diffuser or atomizer, towards the end of the tank the pressure will drop below operating pressure for ceramic diffuser or atomizer. However, if you use a reactor, the minimum working pressure is low and you can actually get another 4 more days or more!
75 gallon Grass Jungle
75 gallon Grass Jungle with DIY CO2

Tanks details in this page

Dwarf Hairgrass tank equipment list

Tank size: 60cm x 30cm x 24cm 43 litres or 11 US gallon
Light: Aquael Slim Leddy
Filter: Fluval C3
CO2 Diffusion: INTENSE fine mist Atomizer
CO2 Indicator: UP Aqua CO2 Indicator
Substrate: ADA Amazonia
Water pump: 180L/H
Cooling fan: Dymax Vortex Cooling Fan
Surface skimmer: Eheim Skim 350 Surface Skimmer

Iwagumi tank with HC equipment list

Tank size: 60cm x 30cm x 24cm 43 litres or 11 US gallon
Light: Chihiros A Series
Filter: Fluval C3
CO2 Diffusion: INTENSE fine mist Atomizer
CO2 Indicator: UP Aqua CO2 Indicator
Substrate: ADA Amazonia
Cooling fan: Dymax Vortex Cooling Fan
Surface skimmer: Eheim Skim 350 Surface Skimmer

Cube Tank equipment list

Tank size: 45cm x 45cm x 45cm 91 litres or 24 US gallon
Light: Aquael Slim Leddy
Filter: Fluval 206
CO2 Diffusion: INTENSE fine mist Atomizer
CO2 Indicator: Generic Glass Drop checker
Substrate: ADA Amazonia
Circulation pump: 180L/H generic water pump
Cooling fan: Dymax Vortex Cooling Fan
Surface skimmer: Eheim Skim 350 Surface Skimmer

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial