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I'll be interested in hearing from more and more people on how these drop checkers work. I'm also thinking of ordering one but may wait a bit longer.
 

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For a faster response time, couldn't you hook up a small air pump to pull air from inside the checker and into the water in such a way that it bubbles back into the checker?

I'm not sure if the diffusion times for CO2 from water to air would be enhanced enough to warrant going through the trouble, but I thought I'd just throw it out there.
 

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Ok, that signature file got me intrigued. I think George Bush would classify that as "fuzzy math".

First, I have no idea where the 390.6 miles³ came from. Please help me out with that. Volume by definition is length x width x height. I see a width, I see a height, but I see no length. So how did we end up with 390.6 miles³ as a volume? And what is multiplied by what to yield 5.75 x 10¹³ ft³?? (390.6 x 5280³ = 2,062,368,000 ft³)

If we assume 5.75 x 10¹³ ft³ as the total cubic feet of the canyon, given an average width of 6 miles and given an average depth of .3 miles, the length would have to be 217.0169 miles.

As taken from the National Park Service and also listed at The National Park Foundation, the canyon is 277 river miles long, an average of 10 miles wide, and a maximum of 1 mile deep. Multiplied out, that is 4.07738327 x 10^14 ft³ or 81,547.67 ft³ per person. Given an 8 ft ceiling height, my new house in the Grand Canyon is 10,193 ft² (Sign me up!). Of course, I will have no yard and no roof above my flat 8ft high ceiling. I probably won't even be able to open my frond door due to the neighbor back wall being shoved up against my house. Oh well, you can't win them all!
 

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OK, I've been running this for a week now. I love it! At first I set it up with 4dKH. Today I cleaned it out and made a 5 dKH so that I can bump up my CO2 up to around 40ppm for some algae issues (along with Excel).

Once it's in the tank and working, it really doesn't take more than a hour to start to see the color change.

When I first mix it up and install it, the solution is dark blue, and it takes a couple of hours to get down to a green or yellow color. After that, it seem to respond fairly quickly.

This is a great little gadget.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I'm still very pleased with mine too, but the same bubble rate entering the tank seems to take longer to change the indicator color to a good green. I can't see what, if anything, has changed, but now I get to green in mid afternoon or later, where as I recall it was early afternoon before. My indicator KH is 5 dKH too.
 

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I'm still very pleased with mine too, but the same bubble rate entering the tank seems to take longer to change the indicator color to a good green. I can't see what, if anything, has changed, but now I get to green in mid afternoon or later, where as I recall it was early afternoon before. My indicator KH is 5 dKH too.
I don't have this problem since I'm running my CO2 24/7. It is only slightly greenish/yellow in the morning. About an hour or so after the lights come on it's nice and green.

One thing that I do notice is that with all the green plants in my tank the color seems to look green. To get a really good reading I have to put a piece of white plastic behind it to actually see the color. I may need to move it directly under my light. Right now I've got it more towards the front of the tank?

It may not be exact, but it seems to do the trick.

Brian
 

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One thing that I do notice is that with all the green plants in my tank the color seems to look green. To get a really good reading I have to put a piece of white plastic behind it to actually see the color.
Thats one positive thing about the cheap little read sea unit. The cone in the center that is actually inside of it.... Is white.... making it pretty easy to see what color it really is.... for 8 bucks i am pretty pleased with my cheapo verson ;) haha... now is it were something that I was planning to keep in my tank all the time I would go for the more sexy glass work ;) however for just playing around with it to get a feel for if it works well.... and setting up CO2 flow after getting a tank refilled... it is serving its purpos well for me....

I to am running mine with a KH inside the "bell" of 5 degress.... seems like thats where people using these are leaning..... are you guys seeing proper CO2 levels going this route? good growth, little algae, BBA not appearing nor green spot? I know my fish seem to be just fine with it.... however I cant really comment about algae or plant growth.... its been... well never since I had anything good in that area ;) lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I notice a very few little spots of BBA on my heater, and on one plant leaf, so even with about 30-40 ppm of CO2, BBA can still grow. The plants are doing very well though, good strong color and consistent growth.
 

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This works because a sealed container of air in contact with water will reach an equillibrium amount of CO2 that is at least proportional to the ppm of CO2 in the water. So, two containers with their water in contact with the same sealed container of air will reach the same ppm of CO2. The "drop checker" has distilled or DI water in it, with a known KH obtained with bicarbonate only - no other source of alkalinity, and no source of acidity. That makes the equation that is behind the pH/KH/CO2 table work correctly (see Chuck Gadd's website). So, if we can measure the pH of that little bit of water in the "drop checker", and we can, by using a pH indicator solution, we can accurately calculate how much CO2 is in that container of water, which will be the same as is in the tank water, since they are connected with a sealed air column. At KH=4, and 30 ppm of CO2, the pH will be 6.6 which turns the bromothymol blue indicator, used in almost all pH kits, green. So, green means you have the right amount of CO2 in the water, and yellow green means you have too much, while blue green means you have too little.

There is no way for the indicator solution to migrate to the tank water, since there is an air gap separating it from the tank water. If it did get into the tank water, it would be about 4-8 drops of a 4% sodium hydroxide in water solution with a little bit of bromothymol blue dye in it. It wouldn't be desirable to have it mixed into the tank, but I doubt it harming anything if it were mixed in.

So, to use this:
First, get some distilled water from the grocery store.
Using clean glass container, pour about a cup of that water into the container.
Next, add a very small amount of bicarbonate of soda - baking soda - Arm and Hammer soda, etc. to the water and stir it up with a very clean stirrer.
Test the KH of that water with your test kit.
Most likely it will be a higher than 4 KH. So, add some more distilled water and repeat the test. (If the first KH comes out to 8 degrees KH, double the amount of water. If it is 6 degrees of KH, add 50% more water, etc.)
When you get close to 4 degrees KH, repeat the test using twice as big a water sample in the vial as the kit calls for, then count each drop of KH reagent as being half the degrees of KH that the kit normally says - for AP test kit, that makes each drop equal to .5 degrees KH. I found I can get very near "exactly" 4 degrees KH by doing this carefully.
Use a syringe to squirt some of this 4 degrees KH water into the bulb of the "drop checker". Fill the bulb about 2/3 full of the water.
Add a few drops of your pH test reagent - use enough to get a strong blue color, but not so much that the water becomes opaque with the blue dye.
Use the suction cup on the "drop checker" to suspend the device two or three inches below the tank water surface, with the "horn" of the "drop checker" pointing down so it traps air in the horn.

After a couple of hours or so the color of the "drop checker" fluid will be at about the equillibrium color, and that should be green if you have 30 ppm of CO2 in the water. If the color is yellow, you have at least 70 ppm of CO2 (and your fish are in serious trouble!). If it is blue, you have about 10 ppm of CO2, which is not nearly enough.
is the color will be the same of PH test color??

and the water inside the DROP CHECKER with KH of 4.. i do add 7 drops of PH test.. and do i've to add KH test drops?
 

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You need to look at one of the pH/KH CO2 charts and figure out where you want your CO2 levels. At a KH of 4, and a pH at 6.6, you have 30ppm of CO2. At a KH of 5 (what I'm running) you have a CO2 of around 38 to 40ppm. The pH regent will be green at a pH of around 6.6.

You need to use pure water (RO/DI, distilled, etc) and add enough baking soda to get your water to whatever KH you want (this is the fun part - trust me, it doesn't take much baking soda). You then put this water in the drop checker and add a few drops of pH test regent. You want it dark, but not so dark that you can't see through it.

It will be BLUE when you first put it all together. After about 2 hours, you will see that it has changed. If green, your good. Yellow, to much CO2; still blue, not enough CO2.

I noticed in my ADA catalog, they say to use your aquarium water. This won't give you an accurate measurement because of other contaminates in the water. I guess it would give you some kind of idea?

Brian :pop2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
is the color will be the same of PH test color??

and the water inside the DROP CHECKER with KH of 4.. i do add 7 drops of PH test.. and do i've to add KH test drops?
The color will be the same as for the pH test kit, since that is what you are doing - measuring the pH of the bit of water in the bulb. It works because that water is "perfect" water for using the pH/KH/CO2 chart, unlike the tank water, which is far from "perfect". Don't add any KH test reagent to the bulb.
 

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The color will be the same as for the pH test kit, since that is what you are doing - measuring the pH of the bit of water in the bulb. It works because that water is "perfect" water for using the pH/KH/CO2 chart, unlike the tank water, which is far from "perfect". Don't add any KH test reagent to the bulb.
OK.. im understand

SO i put 5 ml of water with KH of 4 and 7 drops of PH test.. as written in my PH test kit,

then.. i can't get this glass of drop checker.. it's not available in my country..

and till now.. i didn't find anything mach it.

could you help me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
OK.. im understand

SO i put 5 ml of water with KH of 4 and 7 drops of PH test.. as written in my PH test kit,

then.. i can't get this glass of drop checker.. it's not available in my country..

and till now.. i didn't find anything mach it.

could you help me?
Page 1 of this thread shows one way to DIY one. Another way is to use clear plastic tubing, about a half inch in diameter. Bend a small "U" shape. Cement a plug in one end of the "U". Attach a suction cup to the side of the "U".

Another way to DIY one: Get a piece of one inch diameter clear plastic tube, about two inches long. Cement a disk of clear plastic on one end to seal it. Make another same size disk of clear plastic, except with a half inch diameter hole in the middle. Cement that on the other end. Get a piece of half inch diameter clear plastic tube, about one inch long. Cement it in the hole, with all of the tube sticking up into the big tube. All joints have to be water tight. Attach a suction cup to the side. Put the 4 dKH distilled water and reagent in the outside, big tube. Put it in the tank with the small tube opening facing down into the water.

I'm sure there are other ways to DIY one of these.
 

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I used a propane torch to bend the test tube from a pH kit. It takes a little practice but the tubes are like $.50 so you can get a few extras. Teh trick is to spin it as you heat it and to make the bend, keep spinning it while pulling slightly apart and forming the bend.
 

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I used a propane torch to bend the test tube from a pH kit. It takes a little practice but the tubes are like $.50 so you can get a few extras. Teh trick is to spin it as you heat it and to make the bend, keep spinning it while pulling slightly apart and forming the bend.
Oooh, I like this idea! =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
I did some glass blowing in college, many years ago, but I still recall it being a lot of fun. You could actually make a usable version of this that looks almost like an ADA product, just by starting with that same test tube and heating the closed end until it shrinks a bit, then blow a bubble - not too big - heat the neck and bend it, then anneal the whole thing by heating all of it and letting it slowly cool. You could then heat the open end and use a carbon rod to open it to a larger diameter. Of course you could burn yourself, the garage, the house in the process, but it would still be fun for awhile!
 

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I did some glass blowing in college, many years ago, but I still recall it being a lot of fun. You could actually make a usable version of this that looks almost like an ADA product, just by starting with that same test tube and heating the closed end until it shrinks a bit, then blow a bubble - not too big - heat the neck and bend it, then anneal the whole thing by heating all of it and letting it slowly cool. You could then heat the open end and use a carbon rod to open it to a larger diameter. Of course you could burn yourself, the garage, the house in the process, but it would still be fun for awhile!
Hmmm.. that's way to dangerous!!!
 
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