JBL Pro Flora u501 Co2 Kit- finally installed

Hi Guys,

Now I have had this CO2 Kit for a few months now and just didn't have time to set it up. Something always got in the way. Having five kids seems to distract me from the aquariums from time to time. However, I did find the time recently and wished I had just done it months ago. It took me less than 1 hour to fully install and run the Pro Flora u501 kit from JBL.

When  you choose to use live plants in your aquarium, wether its a full on aquascaped tank or simply some bunches of plants for decoration, care is required to insure your plants remain healthy and look their best.

Aquatic plants breath in carbon dioxide (Co2) and exhale oxygen. They find food sources from the water and soak in in via their leaves. They also require light in same way trees do.

We can provide all these factors by introducing high output lighting, liquid fertilisers and by installing Co2 Kits like the one above. I am no expert on any of these subjects. This installation was the first time for me and I was a little intimidated at first. Once i opened the instructions and read them, I realised it wasn't anywhere near as difficult as i assumed.

So the first thing you install is the diffuser which sticks on the inside of the aquarium glass. This is used to "diffuse'' the Co2 and release it into the water. Once you rinse the diffuser under some water to clean it, you simply attach it to the glass using the suction pads with the tubing sticking out the top.  Feed the tubing back out the tank down to where your going to have the Pressurised canister.

With the diffuser in place, your next job is to fit the bubble counter. These cheeky little devices are great. They are basically a little chamber which you fill with a little water and when the Co2 travels into the water through the tubing, it creates a bubble. This bubble is used to count how fast the Co2 is going. Installing this part is fail safe. On the connection marked 'out', attach the tubing thats coming from the diffuser. On the other connection marked 'in' you attach tubing and run that towards the Co2 canister.

This is a vital part of a Co2 set up as you don't want to have the Co2 going into your tank too fast and killing your fish. Also, too slow and you will be doing no good at all.

Next up is the Co2 Test Kit. There are many different ways to keep an eye on the Co2 levels in your water. Ive seen bubble level kits and drip tests but JBL have included a nice test kit here. this gets attached to the inside of the glass, ideally at the opposite end to the diffuser to gauge the most accurate reading. The kit comes with some very simple assembly instructions which take only a few minutes. Once assembled you attach the kit in a position where you can see  the liquid inside. it will change colour according to the Co2 levels. you need to give the test kit time to read the levels so don't worry about the colour for the first 24 hours.

OK so now everything is in place in the aquarium, here comes the fun part. The pressure regulator and canister assembly was a stage i was a little nervous about. I was not sure if it was going to give off a huge big hiss and start flying around my living room. Thankfully, this was no problem at all and with only a light split second puff as the needle valve connected with the pressure regulator and that was it ready.

With the tubing thats coming from the bubble counter, I connected this to the pressure regulator and that was the kit ready to go. You can introduce a solenoid which would connect in between the bubble counter and the pressure regulator which i have done. this is a good way to set your Co2 to start before your lights switch on. Building up the Co2 levels before the lights come on means the plants can gorge on the co2 as soon as they wake up.

Im really impressed at the simplicity of this kit. I honestly thought it would be complicated and I've put it off for so long. My only experience of Co2 kits was a DIY sugar/yeast kit. (view the video here) so I approached this from a complete novice level.

If your looking to get into running Co2 kits, While there are many options, you are spoiled for choice. Having used this one now, i can say it was easy, well made and worked first time round.

For the full details check out the JBL website

I will be using the provided fertilisers to see how effective they are and will update you as i go along.

Thanks for reading guys

bye for now

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