Can You Create a DIY Co2 Generator for Your Plants with Vinegar and Baking Soda?

We all love to give our plants an extra boost of carbon dioxide (CO2) for optimal growth. But can we do it on a budget? Enter the do-it-yourself vinegar and baking soda CO2 generator! In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of creating your own CO2 generator to keep your plants happy, healthy, and vibrant. So buckle up, as we delve into the nitty-gritty of this popular DIY project.

Now for the answer you’ve been waiting for: yes, you can create a DIY CO2 generator using vinegar and baking soda. This budget-friendly method can provide the extra CO2 your plants need to thrive.

If you’re still wondering whether this DIY project is worth your while, then stick around as we journey through the entire process, and look at some interesting variations to suit your needs. You’re in for a delightful (and educational) ride!

How Vinegar and Baking Soda Generate CO2

The Chemical Reaction

Here’s a fun little experiment for all you science enthusiasts: combine vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and you’ll witness an energetic reaction that produces CO2. This process is known as an acid-base reaction, where the acid (vinegar) reacts with the base (baking soda) to release carbon dioxide gas.

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DIY CO2 Generator: The Basic Setup

To create your vinegar and baking soda CO2 generator, all you need are a few simple tools and ingredients:

  1. One small plastic bottle: This will hold the vinegar.
  2. One large plastic bottle: This will catch and store the CO2.
  3. Baking soda
  4. Vinegar
  5. Tubing and a non-return valve: This will transport the CO2 to your plants without vinegar coming back.

Now, let’s move on to the actual construction process.

Building Your CO2 Generator

Step 1: Prepare the Bottles

Starting with the large bottle, drill a small hole in the cap. The hole should be just big enough for the tubing to fit snugly. Before insertion, don’t forget to add a non-return valve on the tubing, so the vinegar doesn’t flow back into the tank.

Step 2: Add Baking Soda

Next, fill the large bottle with a substantial amount of baking soda. The more you use, the longer the reaction will last, giving you more CO2 to work with.

Step 3: Mix Vinegar and Baking Soda

Finally, fill the small bottle about three-quarters full with vinegar. Place the cap with the tubing onto the large bottle, and then turn the small bottle upside down, inserting it into the large bottle. This will cause the vinegar and baking soda to mix and create CO2, which will exit through the tubing into your tank or garden.

Adding CO2 to Your Aquarium

Your CO2 generator is now complete! Improvise a diffusion system in your aquarium, such as a DIY CO2 reactor or binge ceramic diffuser.

Pros and Cons of Vinegar and Baking Soda CO2 Generator


  1. Inexpensive and easy to build.
  2. Natural, DIY CO2 production.
  3. Suitable for small tanks or indoor plants.
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  1. Not very efficient: The quantity of CO2 generated may be insufficient or inconsistent.
  2. The CO2 production is relatively short-lived, requiring frequent replenishments of baking soda and vinegar.
  3. Messy and requires diligent monitoring to avoid mishaps.


  • How often should I replace the baking soda and vinegar in my DIY CO2 generator?
    • It depends on the size of your setup and the amount of CO2 your plants require. Monitor your CO2 levels regularly and replace the vinegar and baking soda as needed.
  • Is the vinegar and baking soda CO2 generator safe for my fish and shrimp?
    • As long as you manage CO2 levels properly and install a non-return valve to prevent vinegar from entering your tank, it’s safe for fish and shrimp.
  • Can I use other household items for a DIY CO2 generator?
    • Yes, some alternative methods use yeast and sugar instead of vinegar and baking soda. However, each method has its advantages and drawbacks.
  • How much vinegar and baking soda should I use in my DIY generator?
    • Start by filling the large bottle with a few inches of baking soda and the small bottle about three-quarters full with vinegar. Adjust the quantities as needed, based on how long the CO2 production lasts and the needs of your plants.
  • What type of vinegars should I use in my DIY CO2 generator?
    • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar can work for this purpose. They differ in acidity, so you may need to experiment with the ratio of vinegar to baking soda to achieve your desired CO2 production.


Creating a DIY CO2 generator using vinegar and baking soda can be an engaging project on a smaller scale. Though it may not be the most efficient or long-lasting solution, it can be a fun way to give your plants an added boost. Take the time to build it right and watch your plants reap the benefits!

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