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For those of you with pressurized CO2, do you count the bubbles to determine appropriate CO2 levels? Or, do you use a pH monitor? Tables?
 

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I did count the bubbles years ago when I first setup my CO2 system. Now I have Milwaukee PH controller and I would never setup a show tank without one. This very user friendly toy would put those LaMotte test kits to shame ;).
 

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Jay, I agree. I had to save for quite a while to get my pH controller but it was worth it!

It is so nice to always look at the pH and it is hovering around 6.8 all the time.
 

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While I don't have a controller yet, I still find that counting bubbles is rather useless, actually I don't even have a bubble counter anymore. I think it's good for adjusting your needle valve to get the same bubble rate you had before messing with it, or before getting a refill, but can the number of bubbles tell you anything about the CO2 concentration in the tank? I don't think so. At times for example my reactor gets a little clogged with leaves and the CO2 concentration drops, bubble rate is obviously still the same. Or when water level drops a little too much or the suction cups that hold the filter return come off and I end up with some extra unwanted surface agitation... again only a PH test kit, controller or similar can tell you the actual concentration in the tank.

One of these days I'll buy a PH controller, I gave away my solenoid as I run the reactor off the light timer and didn't need it. I may set one up in the new tank however.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Kevin,

I purchased mine from Premium Aquatics, but they are widely available. I think they range from $150 to $300+ for the more feature rich ones.
 

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Go to aquatic-store.com, it's for $90...Aren't pH controllers a pain to maintain...with all that buffer, and probe changing?
 

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Raul-7 said:
Aren't pH controllers a pain to maintain...with all that buffer, and probe changing?
Raul,

So far I have yet to have any problems. I never had one before so I basically went with what people told me. Buffering is fairly easy. Take probe, dip it in 4 and 7 solution and calibrate (screw on the back and front). This process takes few minutes. Some people have their probes for a long period of time and report no need for calibration.

Probe changing ?

Don't know about that.
 

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Sir_BlackhOle said:
Where did you guys get your ph controllers and about how much do they run?
A pH controller should be IMHO on the very bottom of your to-buy list. Do you have nothing else to purchase? A different substrate than the neon red gravel for example. :mrgreen:

I use pH and KH test kits to get [CO2] in the 25-30ppm range, and take note of how many bubbles per minute are required. That's it. As long as the bubble rate stays the same, there is no reason why [CO2] should deviate from what I had initially measured. I don't touch the system until the CO2 bottle needs refill. When that happens, I'll employ the pH/KH test kits again.
 

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Yes there is always plenty of other stuff to buy! I was just curious about the price. Replacement for the neon gravel is on the way :wink:
 

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i started counting bubbles at fisrt like 3 bubbles a second now i have the milwakee ph controler and it a very nice thing to have in a planted tank
 

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I don't know CS, neon red gravel, with hot pink and purple highlights. Put in some of those genetically engineered flourescent fish and you could start a new tank type classification! :lol:
 

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I don't count bubbles myself, only if I feel something is not right I may turn the filter off and count how many bubbles I see running up the semi-clear intake tube, mostly to verify that the needle valve is still set correctly. But in general if my PH tells me I have the right amount of CO2 in there I don't need to know how many bubbles I have.

I did however just run into a slight problem that could have been avoided with a bubble counter. My CO2 lasted only 6 months this time rather than the usual 10-12 months. I got it filled and counted the bubbles when I hooked it back up, the needle valve had indeed been bumped or something and the rate was higher than usual. But for some reason PH and CO2 levels remained the same regardless of the extra CO2 being pumped into my canister. I did notice some extra burping than usual but thought nothing of it. I would probably add a bubble counter if I had one lying around, I wouldn't spend $20 on one, that's more than 2 CO2 refills for me.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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I agree with CS on this one. I know I was on a budget when purchasing a pressurized system. I opted to not get a controller to save a few dollars. I haven't had to adjust my needle valve in months (since I got it setup). I have soft water so I have to buffer up my KH weekly via sodium bicarbonate. I just make sure I buffer up to the same degree weekly and I have zero problems maintaining the same level. I leave mine on 24/7 as well. I'm sure it wastes more co2 this way, but it's not like refills are very expensive ($7 for a refill). I basically count the bubbles. I'm a musician so I use a four count in the same tempo each time. I've figured out if I keep a bubble on each quarter note I end up with 25-30ppm all day long. Guess it's a weird system but works for me.

Matt
 

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I never count bubbles but always check the pH.
With the prices of controllers being so low it's a very tempting thing to buy.

--Nikolay
 
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