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Discussion Starter #1
Having purchased a ph controller to go with my co2 stuff, it occurs to me now if there is a need for a drop checker or whether that function is covered by the ph controller which controls the solenoid anyway. Is there a benefit in this case to a drop checker other than another piece of cool glassware or is it redundant?
 

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The drop checker is a small device to measure your CO2 levels.
The PH controller is a tool to help regulate PH stability due to plants uptake of CO2 and release of O2. The controller can not measure CO2 levels just your pH levels.
Many people use both tools in there tank to fine tune there levels. The DC is a great little tool to have to be sure your levels are up to snuff.

- Regards, Orlando
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes I understand that the ph controller doers not measure co2 but since it attaches to the solonoid and regulates CO2 wont the level of CO2 be up to the ph controller and not me? Or is the co2 level set by me based on my evaluation of the drop checker colors and the well I am confused. Who is controlling the co2 levels? I know their is an inverse relationship between CO2 levels and ph but as to how the co2 levels are set other then by looking at the drop checker and increasing or decreasing the flow rate (as measured by the bubble counter) by turning the needle valve until the desired color is obtained. By the way that double drop checker is bloody clever.

"The SMS122 is designed to connect to the solenoid of your CO2 system and to regulate the release of carbon dioxide, which is directly related to pH. Once a desired pH is set, the controller will signal the solenoid valve to prompt the CO2 regulator to stop releasing or to release more carbon dioxide in order to maintain the set pH."
 

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Discussion Starter #5
But wouldnt the ph controller then have the power to alter the actual amount of co2 reaching the tank via the solonoid in which case my control is irrelevant or illusory. Sorry to be so thick
 

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"The SMS122 is designed to connect to the solenoid of your CO2 system and to regulate the release of carbon dioxide, which is directly related to pH. Once a desired pH is set, the controller will signal the solenoid valve to prompt the CO2 regulator to stop releasing or to release more carbon dioxide in order to maintain the set pH."
you almost had it there...

You wouldn't adjust the needle valve, that only controls how fast the co2 flows and therefore how fast the changes are.

You would adjust the "desired pH" on the controller itself.
There is a relationship between pH and co2 content, it is not the most relible method of measuring co2, but a drop checker is. If your drop checker shows low co2 you just need to adjust the controller to a lower pH target point.
 

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you almost had it there...

You wouldn't adjust the needle valve, that only controls how fast the co2 flows and therefore how fast the changes are.

You would adjust the "desired pH" on the controller itself.
There is a relationship between pH and co2 content, it is not the most relible method of measuring co2, but a drop checker is. If your drop checker shows low co2 you just need to adjust the controller to a lower pH target point.
Thats it..
The co2 chart via KH/Ph is a little old to use these days but you can use it to get you started. The drop checker is a much more accurate tool for this.
Knowing your proper ph levels helps a ton. You can drop your desired ph setting via the controller to have the controller stay on longer injecting co2. This is where the DC will help. Blue= Not enough co2, green= Good levels, Yellow= to much co2.
These low ph readings from injecting co2 will not harm your fish so you wont have to worry about to low of pH readings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
so the ph controller pretty much kicks in only if the co2 gets out of whack due to major water changes, lighting, fert administration etc. I mean given no recent water change, consistent photoperiod etc. a large tank (125) would not vary by a great deal or would it? If this is of no interest or help to anyone besides me or these answers I am after are sitting in a faq somewhere please let me know and I will go there. If however these are common questions no one is asking lets continue.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So the ph controller is an indirect way to set co2 levels? Its primary purpose is to maintain a set level of CO2 it simply achieves this goal by controlling ph? Why not just use a drop checker alone then. Why go to the trouble and expense of using a ph controller, is a large tank inherently that unstable? Is a ph controller simply a higher level of refinement or precision in water quality control that most situations do not call for? It seems I need to get a drop checker as well in either case.
 

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Some people use both, some people use just a DC with there solenoid plugged to a timer. Either way works fine.
In either case the drop checker is a must have tool for properly reading your co2 levels. It does take more work with a controller to get things dialed in, but your co2 levels will stay stable if used properly.
If you decide to opt not to get a controller have your co2 turn off 1-2 hours before lights on and 1 hour after lights off. That seems to work well for many people.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"When your plants feed up on co2, they release o2. O2 raises pH thus turning co2 solenoid on."

Ahh I get it now. I knew co2 reduces ph, I had not assumed that o2 raised ph. That was the missing keystone. So the plants feeding up on co2 and releasing o2 creates enough of a change in ph to trigger the ph controller and thus alter co2 levels. So plant growth rates in a given sample of time change enough to affect the ph dramatically enough to trigger the ph controller which alters the co2 dispersal etc etc in an endlessly cyclical fashion.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I get it. Thanks for bearing with me. Well now off to the website to pick up a drop checker etc.
 

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"When your plants feed up on co2, they release o2. O2 raises pH thus turning co2 solenoid on."

Ahh I get it now. I knew co2 reduces ph, I had not assumed that o2 raised ph. That was the missing keystone. So the plants feeding up on co2 and releasing o2 creates enough of a change in ph to trigger the ph controller and thus alter co2 levels. So plant growth rates in a given sample of time change enough to affect the ph dramatically enough to trigger the ph controller which alters the co2 dispersal etc etc in an endlessly cyclical fashion.
That's it exactly.

And yes, the change in co2 levels from just before the lights come on to about 5 hours later when the plants are fully photosynthesizing (is that a word :-?) can be a rather large swing, certainly enough to change the pH by a few tenths and kick on the controller. You don't really need one, but once it is set properly you won't have any more adjustments, and you won't even need to think about your co2 until it's time to refill the tank.
 
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