Calibrate your drop checker, CO2 is bad for fish! - Page 9 - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 11-14-2008, 08:54 AM   #81 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calibrate your drop checker, CO2 is bad for fish!

The funny thing about this thread is that everyone has agreed with everyone else on the most basic of principals... plants and fish need to be healthy, and each of us has found a way to make that happen. I digress, Ray has actually tried to tell people that their fish aren't healthy when he's never seen them. I guess that'd be the caveat to that. At any rate, aquariums are not nature, they are emulators. Ph does NOT remain constant in nature, save VERY large bodies of water, and we're not dealing with saltwater here, and by and large, not dealing with the African rift lakes either where Ph is pretty darned constant throughout.

If your fish are healthier than Tom Barr's fish, great! If your plants grow a miniscule amount faster than Tom Barr's tanks fantastic! (although I'd really have to see a side-by-side on this one. no, it wouldn't be "scientific" but doubting the harsh reality of what a side-by-side comparison of methods would do is simply admitting defeat.) From everything I've read (I'm a big forum stalker lol) Barr relies the MOST heavily on observation of plant and fish health/growth to find his sweet spot for Co2. This ability comes from all of his experience and scientific testing, so he's used everything from drop checkers to controllers, gas testing devices, and whatever's in between all this to do REAL scientific testing, with a certified "control." Unfortunately, most of us don't have these years of dedicated testing under our belts to go on, so we must rely on some device other than our eyes to KNOW what's going on in the tank. Most people use the drop checker because it's cheaper. Most SMART people use the drop checker as a START and go from there, and end up with a lush (hopefully algaefree) aquarium with happy, breeding, eating, partying-when-you-turn-the-lights-off fish.

I'm not by any means saying Barr's a "god." There's only one of those, but Barr has certainly put in his time where planted tanks are concerned and had MASSIVE success with them on all levels. I can't remember the last time I heard of Ray-the-pilot's Estimative Index fertilizing methods. I've heard of Barr's though. In fact, I use it with great results, as well as some of his advices on Co2 levels from forums. Heck, that would be a great place for you to copy and paste this thread. I'd be interested to see both points of view come together. (from a scientific standpoint, not a drama one)

my $0.02
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:15 PM   #82 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calibrate your drop checker, CO2 is bad for fish!

Originally Posted by helgymatt View Post
Tom is not promoting people go out and buy a two thousand dollar meter to measure CO2. That would be rediculous. He is only trying to make the point that CO2 varies in a tank more than people think. Because of this variance using a drop checker is not the end all solution to determining if CO2 is right. I know I have said this several times already, but I feel people just don't get this...

I use two drop checkers in my tank, but I use them as indicators that CO2 is in a "range"....Mostly they just indicate to me nothing has gone wrong, like CO2 tank empty or something. Once the checker is green, I bump up the CO2 slowly until I really see the plants happy and fish too. I find I can get a lot more CO2 in the tank even after the drop checkers are green (actually one is yellow, and one is green - indicating unequal levels in my tank!). After figuring out this method of Optimal CO2 I have had much more growth.
two drop checkers... that sounds like a good idea. I have a second one that I might consider doing that with. $2000!? I thought 100 dollars was alot.
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:05 PM   #83 (permalink)
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Default Re: Calibrate your drop checker, CO2 is bad for fish!

This thread is rife with bad science and ill-drawn conclusions...I read the whole thing, there's just too much to comment on.

One thing that glared out at me was whoever claimed that the drop method of co2 analysis was faulty. If you set a cup of tank water out over night(assuming no further contamination) the only thing that will change the pH is absence of co2. Boom, done, co2 measurement. At that point, you can(if you want) use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, as Ray mentioned, to calculate lost co2 concentration. You can also just look at the co2 chart, because, trough trial and error, Chuck's cart is essentially based on this relationship.

I've never had a conversation with Tom pertaining to pH controllers, so I don't care to comment on his thoughts. However, based on my own experiences both using a pH controller and not(I currently have two tanks, one with, one without). A pH controller is, indeed, a tremendous convinence, but is certainly not required.

I have read Tom's thoughts regarding the "30 ppm" guideline. It's exactly that, a guideline, and it certainly belongs in quotes. That number has evolved over the course of the last 20 years, and due to the inaccuracies of cheap testing equipment, the number "30 ppm" really doesn't mean much, unfortunately.

Every tank is different, so one target is certainly impossible to specifiy, hence the guideline. Ray is right about one thing. You should find out what level is safe for your fish. In fact, push your co2 as high as you can, and when you start seeing issues with your fish, back it off just a little. Whether this is 15ppm or 45ppm, this is the level that is safe for your tank. By use of a drop checker, bubble counter, and pH controller, my tank remains at this point for me(which is ~33ppm by the chart, yellow on the drop checker, 6.4 on the pH controller, and my Rams spawn weekly).

I'm sure I'll have more, but I'm at work with too many distractions.

Last edited by jmhart; 11-20-2008 at 02:19 PM..
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