When should you turn off CO2?

Answered by Tom Adger

When it comes to turning off CO2 in your aquarium, timing is key. One of the top tips is to turn off your CO2 about 1 hour before the lights go out. This allows for a gradual decrease in CO2 levels and ensures that there is enough remaining CO2 in the aquarium for your plants during the last hour of the photo period.

Why is it important to turn off CO2 before the lights go out? Well, during the day, plants use CO2 and light to photosynthesize and produce oxygen. However, at night, plants switch to a process called respiration, where they take in oxygen and release CO2. If you leave the CO2 running overnight, it can lead to excessive CO2 levels in the aquarium, which can be harmful to your fish.

By turning off the CO2 an hour before the lights go out, you give the plants a chance to use up the remaining CO2 in the water before they switch to respiration mode. This helps to maintain a more stable and balanced CO2 level in the aquarium, which is beneficial for both the plants and the fish.

It’s important to note that every aquarium is different, and the exact timing may vary depending on factors such as the size of your tank, the number of plants, and the intensity of your lighting. Observing your plants and monitoring CO2 levels is key to finding the right balance for your specific setup.

Additionally, it’s a good practice to gradually increase and decrease CO2 levels throughout the day. This can be achieved by using a CO2 regulator with a timer or by manually adjusting the CO2 flow rate. By gradually increasing the CO2 in the morning and decreasing it in the evening, you can mimic the natural cycle of CO2 uptake by plants and prevent sudden fluctuations in CO2 levels.

Turning off your CO2 about 1 hour before the lights go out is a good rule of thumb to maintain a stable CO2 level in your aquarium. This allows the plants to use up the remaining CO2 during the last hour of the photo period and prevents excessive CO2 levels overnight. Remember to observe your plants and adjust the timing and intensity of CO2 accordingly to find the optimal balance for your specific aquarium setup.