CO2 Systems for Hydroponics
Introduction to CO2 Systems for Hydroponics
CO2 systems for Hydroponics are used to enrich a grow room with CO2. CO2 is a vital component in the process of photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, light interacts with CO2 and water to form complex sugars, which are then processed during the night time (or when your grow lights are turned off) to form natural polymers for growth. To ensure that your plants can grow it is important to make sure that your plants have a constant supply of CO2. If you are growing your plants indoors, there are two ways to ensure a constant supply of CO2. The first is to make sure the room is well ventilated, the second is to inject up to 1600 ppm (parts per million) of agricultural grade CO2. The second method will provide by far the greatest results.
How Much Difference does CO2 enrichment make?
The positive effects of increasing the concentration CO2 into your growing environment have been widely documented in agricultural research journals. Depending on the quality of your CO2 enrichment system, your plants can increase their growth by 25 - 40%. Other benefits include, increased number of flowering and budding sites, increased stress resilience, improved nitrogen fixation and increased water efficiency.
Are Fans Important in Grow Rooms?
Yes, especially for large grow areas! When your lights are off CO2 is not utilised by plants, and so it is important to circulate oxygen (which is required by plants) into the room. It is important to remove excess CO2 as levels above 2000ppm are toxic to your plants. Fans are also beneficial when used whilst your lights are on. Most CO2 controllers have fan controllers which will quickly remove hot air and/or excess CO2 which have built up in your grow room. If your controller does not have this, then temperature activated fan controllers can be purchased separately or simply set your fans to run on a fixed time cycle which you know will effectively remove hot air and excess CO2.
Air should be circulated through your grow room at a rate of five times per hour (if your room is 20m3, then you need a fan rated for at least 100m3). Ideally your set up will include two fans. One fan, the induction fan will be set up low down at one corner of your grow room, and the other fan, the exhaust fan will be set high up in the opposite corner.
Different types of CO2 Systems for Hydroponics
There are a number of different CO2 Systems for Hydroponics depending on the size of your grow room. For larger grow rooms we recommend controlled injection via a pressurised gas bottle, using the Harvest Master CO2 Easi Auto Dosing Unit. These products can be ordered in by Aqua Gardening. Please contact us if you are interested.
For smaller grow rooms we recommend the CO2 Enricha which is light green powder that when mixed with water produces CO2 gas for enrichment.
Pressurised Gas Bottle CO2 Systems for Hydroponics
If you are injecting CO2 into your grow room via a pressurised gas bottle for CO2 enrichment, then you will need to plan ahead a little. Gas bottles can be rented from BOC (ph# 131262 Australia wide). Monthly hire of gas bottles is about $10*, though this must be paid one year in advance. Refill of a large gas bottle will cost about $25* and this should last about a month for an average sized room. FOG grade gas should be used as this is designed specifically for horticultural use. Once you have arranged your gas bottle you are ready to purchase your CO2 controller.
*Prices mentioned here are based on current Australian prices and are an estimate only.