Drop checker important?

Discussion in 'Carbon Dioxide (CO2)' started by jscoggs27, 14 Mar 2010.

  1. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    Messages:
    37
    I think I have everything apart from the drop checker that is. Pressurised co2 is up and running now.
    My question really is, how important is a drop checker? The only reason I ask is to get other peoples opinion before I shell out more money. does everyone use one/advocate using one?
    If not, what are the alternatives? I cant yet find an economical solution to establishing disolved co2 other than the drop checker, which to me seems a bit of a poor compromise.
    I'm not being mean, I just like to eliminate wastefull spending where possible.
    Your opinions would be much appreciated.
    thanks
    jason
     
  2. Colinlp

    Colinlp Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    ANGLESEY
    It's not essential at all, they're not exact by any means either, to get an accurate measure at any one time you need to test your ph and kh and then use a CO2 table. Trouble is, that's a bit of a chore to do 2 or 3 times a day, the drop checker is an easy way of seeing if everything is in the ball park at a glance as you walk past or whatever. I like to use a combination of the 2 then I know I'm not far wrong.
     
  3. Dolly Sprint 16v

    Dolly Sprint 16v Member

    Messages:
    1,611
    Location:
    Cheshire
    As per the above comment by colin - but the DC's give an indication of residual Co2 gas within the water column and as Colin stated its easy to check the coluration of the checker rather than removed fliud from the tank and adding drops of test fliud to check perameter's.

    I use these http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Drop-Checker-CO2- ... 4ceb794126 and I have not had any bad experiences whilst using them.

    Regards
    Paul.
     
  4. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    Messages:
    37
    Thanks very much,
    Was about to abuse the plastic money again! I might wait a bit.
    So far I havnt noticed any strange behaviour from the fauna. What are the typical indications of co2 overdose? Obviously I dont want to run my co2 till the fish are uncomfortable,just so I can grow plants, that would be cruel.
    Still researching a co2 analyser, if co2 is a function of pH and kH then its possible to do it quicker and more reliable to do it with electronic monitoring. Ill have to set it up as project.
    Probably end up getting a drop checker though cos I is lazy!
    Thanks
    jason
     
  5. Colinlp

    Colinlp Member

    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    ANGLESEY
    If your borderline overdosing you may see your fish gasping at the surface in the mornings, if they're gasping in the daytime your massively overdosing.
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    You'd be well advised to head over to the Tutorials section of the forum and thoroughly study CO2 MEASUREMENT USING A DROPCHECKER

    While you're there it's well worth reading the other tutorial articles in that section.

    Cheers,
     
  7. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    Messages:
    37
    I've read them thankyou, they are very well written and informative. That has no relevance to my question though, so I really dont see the need for such a patronising response.
     
  8. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    Messages:
    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Clive is right, though. Using charts to measure your CO2 levels is not particulraly accurate, as they don`t take in to account other factors that are affecting the pH in your tank. I would have to disgree with the advice given regarding kH/pH charts.

    I use a drop checker when I first set up a tank without fish to make sure that CO2 levels are sky high. Then I use it to bring the CO2 levels back to safe levels for fish, before introducing them. Once things are steady I tend to take the drop checker out, as I don`t like too much hard ware in my tank. Make sure you are confident in the performance of your CO2 kit before considering taking the drop checker out.

    Dave.
     
  9. nry

    nry Member

    Messages:
    1,239
    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    Drop checker isn't exactly expensive though - think I paid a few quid for mine via eBay and the 4DKh water from AquaEssentials last ages. Add in some bromo blue and you're probably looking at £20 all in?

    I used one for ages but gave up in the end for the reasons above. I'm about to re-scape my tank and might hunt the drop checker out again for a while to ensure the CO2 levels are where I want them.
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Relax friend, no one is patronizing you. Many people don't read the articles and ask questions that are already answered in those very same articles. This seemed to be the case here and that's why I assumed you had not read the article. It's clear that either the articles are not well enough written or that you haven't read them well enough.

    Your question has to do with electronic monitoring of pH/KH in order to determine a CO2 value. Is that right? Well I'll pull the response from the same article I referenced:
    Why tank water should not be used in the drop checker

    If dissolved CO2 were the only source of acidity in the tank it would be a simple matter to measure the pH and use the [KH] equation/chart to determine CO2 levels. Unfortunately this is almost never the case. There are many acid and alkaline sources in the tank varying from urine and ammonia to phosphates we ourselves add as nutrients. The pH measured in the tank is therefore unreliable because it does not accurately reflect the acid caused by CO2 dissolving in water alone.

    So is this paragraph from the article relevant? Yes, it is. As Dave Spencer indicated, measurement of tank water pH/KH will not not result in increased accuracy when determining the CO2 concentration. So it doesn't matter whether you measure these parameters electronically. The pH measurement itself will be corrupt because of all the acidic sources in the tank. As a result, the calculation of CO2 concentration will be corrupt i.e. a CO2 concentration level higher than what is actually present will typically be calculated. This is part of the problem with pH controllers, because they do measure tank pH and produce a CO2 level high than what is real. This is not a problem if one is aware of the discrepancy and makes the proper adjustments, but it's necessary to understand this in order to avoid a CO2 shortfall.

    Then article then goes on to explain the benefits of the dropchecker using distilled water adjusted to a known KH values in order to preserve the fidelity of the pH measurement, and in so doing, to restore the accuracy of this calculation.

    I made the false assumption that having read that in the article, the answer to your question would then be evident. Does it make more sense now within the context of this clarification?

    Cheers,
     
  11. jscoggs27

    jscoggs27 Member

    Messages:
    37
    No, my question was.

    I am also implying by this. Is there anyone who does not use one at all and gets by fine.

    I do appreciate that the current use of a drop checker with known values is the most economical indication available now.
    I am however very interested in finding a better method for establishing dissolved co2 content in water. Am I not then allowed to express my desire to find a better way if one exists or at least to have a go?

    So, My question has been answered,
    The drop checker is important. (sometimes)
    They are cheap so just get one.
    There are no alternatives.

    I have also learnt that this is not patronising in any way.
    and
     
  12. paul.in.kendal

    paul.in.kendal Member

    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Kendal, Cumbria
    Honest, Jason, that really isn't Clive being patronising - it's Clive being straightforward and to the point. I've found Clive to be an enormously useful source of info on here, and he takes the time to answer questions in-depth when others might not bother to. It's very easy to read more into a post than is actually there - with Clive you usually find he means precisely what he writes - and nothing more.

    FWIW, I use a JBL drop checker and find it cheap, unobtrusive and very useful. But I can also see that as my experience increases and the tank regime settles in, using it routinely may well become superfluous.

    I dont think anyone's mentioned that moving a drop checker around your tank can help identify uneven CO2 distribution, too.

    Cheers

    Paul
     

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