Drop Checker Test - 'Teardrop' versus 'Chameleon'

Discussion in 'Carbon Dioxide (CO2)' started by GreenNeedle, 21 Nov 2008.

  1. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Not hugely scientific this test but I am just testing to see if there is a different reaction time between these 2 drop checkers.

    Reason being that the 'Teardrop' style uses a tubelike opening for the gas to enter it's chamber which is approx 5mm wide whereas the Chameleon uses the wide approx 20mm 'mouth'.

    I am expecting the Chameleon to be the clear winner.

    Firstly here is the equipment: 'Teardrop' drop checker, 'Chameleon' drop checker, 4dKH solution, AP Ph test drops, syringe. The DCs have still got the previous mixes in them here.
    start.jpg

    Just to go through my changeover routine firstly I use the syringe to remove the old mix, then I take some 4dKH water and syringe it into the DC, slosh it about and let it settle. This will dilute any of the old mix left in the DC and also clean out the syringe of any contaminants. you can see here a slight remnant of blue in each DC after putting in the fresh 4dKH water:
    clean.jpg

    Next I remove this water which I used to clean the inside of the DC and add some more fresh 4dKH water. I am using 1ml in each DC so that they are working with the same amounts. Will give the 'teardrop' a fighting chance:
    1ml.jpg

    Then I add 2 drops of the AP Ph test:
    full.jpg

    And finally put them back into the tank. They are side by side on the opposite side of the tank to the CO2 output:
    11am.jpg

    I have turned both lights on for this photo and will do so for each photo I take so that the lighting doesn't affect the colouring. I will of course turn the lights back off to keep within my normal photoperiod settings.

    Time of this first picture is 11am. CO2 will turn on at 3pm when I will take my next picture. This next picture should show by its colouring what is already in the tank pre-CO2 injection. After 3pm I will try and update every hour just so we can see the change in it's stages remembering of course that each photo will be showing what the concentration was a couple of hours previous to when the picture is taken.

    Not a hugely scientific test but each DC has the same amount in it so should show that the wider 'exchange' area gives a faster response time.

    I do have to add that as you can see in the pictures the Chameleon is much easier to gauge a colour from. This is not because the teardrop is further away or in the shade. It is just much easier to see the colour with the Chameleon.

    Starting Ph of tank water is 7.2 and tap water is 7.4, (according to the same AP test kit used in the DC)
    temperature is 25ºC

    AC
     
  2. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    This is how the tank water reads just before the CO2 starts. has changed from the bright blue when fresh to a lighter murky blue.
    3pm.jpg

    Next post in 1 hour when lights come on. bps is currently between 2 and 3. Ph is still 7.2. temperature is still 25ºC

    AC
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    4,428
    Location:
    Leamington Spa, UK.
    How much water do you use andy? For reasons I can't remember, I use 1.5ml of 4dkh in my drop checker, which fills it about half way (as I believe it's supposed to be?)
     
  4. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I've used 1ml in each from the syringe in the picture but it may be a bit more as I doubt the measurement increments on the syringe include the blunt needle I am using on the end (1mm internal diameter.)

    The first time I used 1.5ml in the Chameleon and used to use 3ml in the teardrop.

    AC
     
  5. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    4pm - 0.9WPG T5HO Lights on - Ph is 7.0 - CO2 has been injecting for 1 hour. Colour is murkier and getting towards a blue lagoon cocktail colour (blue curacao/orange juice) temperature is still 25ºC
    4pm.jpg

    AC
     
  6. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    5pm - 0.9WPG T5HO Lights on - Ph is between 6.8 and 7.0, lighter than last reading but closer to 7 than 6.8 on the colour card - CO2 has been injecting for 2 hours. Colour is now different in the 2 DCs or at least appears to be. Maybe due to the shape!!! the Chameleon is almost grass green whereas the teardrop appears to be a murky blue still. temperature is now just above 25ºC (25.2ish)
    5pm.jpg

    AC
     
  7. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    having the drop checker filled half way means there is more surface area for the gasses to exchange.

    viewtopic.php?f=37&t=2817&p=30415&hilit=drop+checker#p30415

    so with the chameleon havng more surface area, it could change quicker, but then the size of the hole is smaller, so it goes both ways lol.
     
  8. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    7pm - 0.9WPG T5HO Lights on and the noon burst starts 0.6WPG T8 also on - Ph is now 6.8 on the colour card - CO2 has been injecting for 4 hours. Colour is vastly different in the 2 DCs or at least appears to be. Maybe due to the shape!!! the Chameleon is now a light green and starting to get towards the desired limeade colour whereas the teardrop is only just showing signs of getting towards green which is where the chameleon was 2 hours ago!!. temperature is still about 25.5ºC
    7pm.jpg

    AC
     
  9. Behold

    Behold Member

    Messages:
    219
    Location:
    Basingstoke. Hants
    Simple is always more effective.... Goo to know too as Chameleon's are about 3 quid!!!
     
  10. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Yep much cheaper. the teardrop was about £10 delivered from Hong Kong a couple of years ago. this chameleon I bought a couple of weeks ago was £2+£1.50 postage from Malaysia.

    AC
     
  11. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    8pm - 0.9WPG T5HO + 0.6WPG T8 Lights on and the noon burst is half way through - Ph is now 6.6 on the colour card - CO2 has been injecting for 5 hours. Colour is incredibly different in the 2 DCs or at least appears to be. Maybe due to the shape!!! the Chameleon is now lime green whereas the teardrop is only just going green!! temperature is still about 25.5ºC
    8pm.jpg

    AC
     
  12. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Cheers for catalogueing this in such detail Andy. Think it kinda proves what I think we all thought. I bet you'd get an even faster change on the classicly shaped one if the bulb was only half filled too to maximise the surface area of the solution.
     
  13. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    TBH I am carrying on only because I said I would really. I think already it's shown that the Chameleon is vastly superior than the teardrop and I think that is mainly due to the wider mouth at the bottom. The teardrop will have larger surface area inside for the gas to get into the solution.

    I think I will cut off at 11pm which will be 2 hours after CO2 is off. After 11pm it should hopefully start to return to its murky blue/light green that it was at 3pm.

    Its only full because I wanted toput the exact same quantity of 4dKH in each. when I refill it tomorrow I won't measure, just fill it half way.

    AC
     
  14. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    Still, they've taken a while to change, and really you want the solution to be green before lights on.
     
  15. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

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    2,706
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    Assuming the reading is 2 hours behind then the reading at lights on is the 6pm one (2 hours after photoperiod starts and this was grass green. Is the chameleon 2 hours/3 hours/4 hours behind? Does anyone know? If it is 3/4 then it makes it scary to think about using the teardrop as a warning for fish safety!!!

    Maybe this is why I had that CO2 disaster in March 2007. Maybe the Dc was so far behind all the time that I didn't know I was too high. this could be because if it is say 5/6 hours behind then it will be showing me lights on ppm at 10pm at night and then continue increasing!!!

    Worrying but hopefully when I reduce the chameleon to half way tomorrow it will be quite a quick change.

    AC
     
  16. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Other way around Aaron.

    The Chameleon even when half filled doesn't have anywhere near the solution surface area as the teardrop!!!. However the Chameleon has a much larger opening and therfore touches a huge amount more of the actual tank water compared to the teardrop.

    Using TBs process of elimination I think I would be safe in saying that the Chameleon lets more gas exchange into it which is why it seems to work faster.

    AC
     
  17. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    I'm not going to do the last 2. I think I've proved the Chameleon is the one I will use and the one that performs better. Here is a timeline pic of how the DC changed:

    photoperiodfull.jpg

    I may use the teardrop on the other side of the tank just as another indicator but go by the chameleon for the more accurate reading.

    AC
     
  18. altaaffe

    altaaffe Member

    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    Thornhill, Egremont, Cumbria
    An interesting test, but as with Aarons comments, I wonder how the teardrop would have performed if only half filled. My CO2 is on 2 hours before & the drop checker is green when the lights come on and stays the same colour throughout the day (is blue before CO2 injection).
     
  19. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    To 'half fill' the teardrop one takes 4ml of solution. any more and the solution will overflow the inlet part.

    Similarly the Chameleon will only take 1.5ml before overflowing it's inlet.

    Thats why the teardrop with just 1ml in it looks like it so empty whereas the Chameleon with 1ml in looks quite full.

    I'm not too worried what the colour is at lights on. It is widely accepted that there is a delay of 2 hours+ in the reaction which is why I am happy that it being green 2 hours after lights on means that at worst this is the lights on reading if the delay is indeed 2 hours. If it is longer then it is even lighter.

    Also with my lighting setup I have 'low light' of 0.9WPG T5HO for the first 3 hours so CO2 is not used as much. I am wanting the CO2 to be at max 3 hours into the photoperiod when my other light kicks in (0.6WPG T8) and therefore usage is higher.

    The reading I take for 3 hours in when the 'noon burst' starts will be the 5 hours colour which is light to lime green. By the time the 'noon burst' finishes 5 hours into the photoperiod I can allow the CO2 to tail off because it is more than likely that the water now easily contains enough CO2 to last the final 3 'low light' hours.

    In summary My lighting schedule and the readings I take for it are:

    Actual Time WPG/Reading Time/Colour
    2pm (pre CO2) 0/4pm/murky blue
    3pm 0/5pm/grass green
    4pm (lights on) 0.9/6pm/mid green
    5pm 0.9/7pm/light green
    6pm 0.9/8pm/very light green
    7pm (noon burst on) 1.4/9pm/limeade
    8pm 1.4/10pm/limeade
    9pm (noon burst & CO2 off) 0.9/11pm/limeade bordering yellow
    10pm 0.9/12pm/limeade
    11pm 0.9/1am/light green
    12pm (lights off) 0.9/2am/mid green

    Overnight the CO2 reduces naturally and by the next day we are back at murky blue. this of course means that there is still some CO2 in the tankwater otherwise it would return to the lovely blue that you get when you first introduce the solution to the DC.

    What people seem to forget is there is a delay in the reading therefore it is not the lights on colour that matters, it is the delayed reading that matters. How long the delay is has not been tested but taking from your statement it shows your delay is much less than 2 hours otherwise at lights on your DC would only just be starting to change from blue.

    So in summary with my readings; My low light period coupled with a lean dosing regime means I do not need the holy grail of 30ppm. I need ample CO2 supply, more than the plants require so they do not need to adapt to the levels available. I need peak CO2 at noon burst period as the uptake is more so there still needs to be ample supply. I don't need to add for the final 3 hours as the water will already contain enough for the plants that are still needing CO2.

    Proof is in the pudding really. 3 weeks ago I started battling with my setup trying to get the flow right as since my plantmass had grown the flow setup had altered significantly and BBA was attaching like mad. 1 week ago after 12 variations on filter position/diffusion I settled on 1 that worked well. 1 week later the plants are pearling like mad at the end of the noon burst and the BBA is barely there. A few days ago many leaves had 'red' edges as the BBA was dieing. Corys, shrimp and MTS are removing this. they will not eat live BBA but sems to be their preferential algae when it is dieing!!!

    I'll see what colours it goes when half filled today and maybe do a timeline to show the difference rather than posting each hour.

    The teardrop used to have 3ml in it but reaction time was so slow that at the end of the photoperiod it was only just going grass green. Next day could be lime green but in those days I was injecting 24 hours, so who knows how long the delay was. (I killed a full tank 18months ago and I now think it wasn't a CO2 dump as I assumed but more likely just the drop checker not letting me know that the levels were dangerously high)

    AC
     
  20. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Really nice test Andy. All you need to do now is get CalAqua to supply the Oracle DC for comparison with the normal Chameleon (http://www.calaqualabs.com/oracle.html).

    I suspect the 2 hours delay with the Chameleon is more like one hour, but I'm not sure. Would have been interesting if you'd measured the PH in the tank each time you took the photo's - then we could have tried to gauge the real delay based on the PH changes.
     

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