The U.P. Aqua CO2 atomizer is a tiny gizmo to inject CO2 into your planted tank. It works with a canister filter and pressurized CO2.
I recently purchased the U.P. Aqua CO2 Atomizer to replace my no-name internal CO2 diffuser. I chose the UP because it had good reviews on Amazon, and I wanted something that sat inline with my canister filter and not in the display tank itself.
Here’s a link to the product on Amazon: UP Aqua Atomizer on Amazon
Just a heads up: if you use that link, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale price as a commission. Don’t worry, it costs you the same either way 🙂
The first thing that caught my attention was how small this thing is. I’m used to diffusers with a lot of real estate to give the CO2 time to dissolve into the water. This thing fits in the palm of my hand.
The way it works is pretty straight forward. Inside that contraption I’m holding is a core not unlike in-tank ceramic diffusers. Water from the canister filter’s outflow goes through the tube. CO2 is held outside the ceramic center under pressure which pushes the CO2 into the water stream in the form of micro bubbles.
Installation is pretty straight forward. You cut your return hose and place the atomizer inline. The intake is at the bottom of the atomizer and output is at the top. There’s a port for the CO2 hose at the top of the device.
All connections including the CO2 intake are barbed with lock nuts ensuring nothing will slip off while in use. This being a direct from Asia sort of product, its barbed connectors are metric. That happened to be perfect since I use a Sun Sun canister filter, which is also metric.
If you’re just going to put this setup inline hanging from your hose, it’s pretty straight forward. I decided to get all fancy, however. I already have an inline heater (another awesome thing to have) and adding the CO2 gear along with that outside the tank was getting a bit excessive. I took a detour and routed my output hoses and inline gear along with my CO2 setup through my tiny storage area in my aquarium stand. It was a lot more work, but I can’t argue with the results.
With everything in place, I turned on the system. The first thing I noticed is how much I had to crank up the pressure to get the CO2 to diffuse. A DIY CO2 system won’t do at all here, you need some serious pressure. It takes a little more pressure to get going at first. The first time I started the system I cranked my valve so high, I blew the lines off the bubble counter.
It took a few hours for the ceramic core to break in and I got the gas flowing at around 1.5 bubbles per second. At that setting, I can see a very fine mist of micro bubbles coming out of the filter’s output and into the water column.
That means that there’s less than 100% CO2 absorption going on there. But, based on the bubbles I see, there’s definitely some absorption going on there. I did play with the CO2 output. The mist seems to almost completely go away at around 1 bps.
My old in-tank setup also let some gas escape. It output larger bubbles and you could see them spit out every once in a while. These bubbles are much more fine in the new system. Because of that I’m not sure I can really compare the rates between the two.
What I do know is it looks one heck of a lot nicer than the old setup, so I think I’ll stick with it.
For under $20 it’s a pretty good option if you have a canister filter and a pressurized CO2 setup. Here’s that link to Amazon again: UP Aqua Atomizer on Amazon.