How to Set Up a Planted Aquarium Without CO2

Planted aquariums are all the rage these days. It’s no wonder, they provide a lot of benefits and can be beautiful pieces to your home decoration. They are usually planted with both aquatic plants and woody plants, but keeping them alive without any type of CO2 is very difficult. Here’s a guide on how you can set up a planted aquarium without CO2.

How to Set Up a Planted Aquarium Without CO2?

Aquarium plants need a certain type of atmosphere to thrive, and this is where CO2 comes in. Without it, the plants will not grow or flower. However, you can set up an aquarium without any supplemental CO2 by using various methods. Here’s a list of things that you need to keep in mind!

Hand holding volcanic stones for planted aquarium


The first step is to create a substrate for your aquatic plants. This should be made out of anything that will hold water and provide a little bit of structure. You can use gravel, sand, or even coconut shells. Make sure to mix it well so that the plants have plenty of space to root. The substrate that you use for your aquatic plants does not need to be expensive. You can use many types of substrates without any problems at all. However, if you want to add something extra special to the substrate, then by all means do so! Substrates such as peat moss or even diatomaceous earth are perfect additions and will help promote the growth of your aquatic plants.

The view of freshwater aquarium with tropical fishes, shrimps and water plants

Aquatic Plants

Now it’s time to plant your aquarium! Choose some aquatic plants that you want to keep alive and fit them into the substrate you created. Be sure to water them thoroughly before planting them to prevent any problems. There is no one right answer when it comes to choosing which aquatic plants to put in your aquarium. However, some common choices include Eden plants, Java ferns, water lettuce or loaches, Ludwigia, water lilies, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne.


Aquatic plants don’t need as much energy as other types of live plants, but they still require some to survive. You can provide your plants with the necessary energy by adding artificial light or using a fluorescent light fixture. In addition, you can add a powerhead to your aquarium to provide the plants with additional energy. The powerhead will help create a flow of water and oxygen for the plants, which will make them healthier and more robust.


While aquatic plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer, they will still benefit from it. You can add a floral or general fertilizer to the water at varying levels to give your plants what they need. You can also add liquid fertilizer to the water to give your plants a boost. When it comes to fertilizing aquatic plants, you don’t have to be very strict about how much you feed them. Just make sure that you are feeding them enough so that they stay healthy and continue growing.


Aquatic plants don’t need a lot of light, but they will still benefit from it. You can provide your plants with artificial light or use a fluorescent light fixture. In addition, the plants will need light to grow and thrive. To provide your plants with the necessary light, you can use a lighting fixture or simply turn on an overhead lamp.


In addition to providing your aquatic plants with light, you should also provide them with water filtration. This will help ensure that they can get the nutrients they need and will also keep your aquarium clean. It is important to keep your aquarium clean to ensure that your aquatic plants receive the nutrients they need. This can be done by using a water filtration system or simply changing the water every day or two. You should also make sure that you keep the filter clean.

Water Changes

It is important to keep the water in your aquarium clean and clear. To ensure that your aquatic plants receive the nutrients they need, you should change at least 25% of the water every week or two. This will help ensure that there are no algae blooms and will also prevent fish from dying due to lack of oxygen. In addition, it will also help keep your aquarium clean and clear.


Now that you have planted your aquatic plants, it’s time to decorate! If you want, you can go all out and create an entire ecosystem for your fish tank. This means adding rocks, roots, and other debris to create an environment that is specific to your fish. Be sure to place decorations in areas where the fish will be able to reach them. You can also use live aquatic plants as decoration. Place them in water dishes or on top of rocks so that they can grow and provide a natural environment for your fish.

Goldfish in freshwater aquarium with green beautiful planted tropical

Fish For Planted Aquarium

Before you bring any fish into your aquarium, make sure that they are quarantined for at least two weeks. This is to ensure that there are no diseases present in the fish population. If you are planning on keeping fish in your aquarium, make sure to choose species that are compatible with aquatic plants. Some common types of fish that can be kept in a planted aquarium include Corydoras catfish, catfish, goldfish, plecos, and cichlids.

Final Step

Now it’s time to monitor your aquarium and make sure that everything is going according to plan. Water the plants regularly and check on their health to make sure they are thriving. In addition, you should also check on the fish to make sure that they are eating. If they aren’t, you may need to feed them.

Enjoy your new aquarium! Aquariums are a wonderful way to enjoy the natural environment while keeping plants alive and thriving. Be sure to take care of your aquatic plants by providing them with the necessary energy, fertilizers, and water conditions they need to thrive.