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Ok as some of you know I just got my Pressurized co2 system and have been hearing alot about a PH Controller. Now I know the basics as to it hooks up to your Co2 Tank
and You set the desired PH as to my understanding it meets that pretty accurate. Now I was wondering if someone could break down this whole process to me on how it functions, your likes and dislikes of this, where to buy and How much these suckers go for? Thanks
 

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Whenever the ph is above the set point the little box you plug the solenoid into lets power through. This lets co2 go into to aquarium. When it hits the set point it turns it off. This is the best way to maintain a constant co2 level in an aquarium. They work great. You have to check/recalibrate occasionaly and you need to check your kh occasionally to make sure your set point is still the right ph. Buy them online for under $100. If you scour the net to find the best deal, which changes locations, you can get one for about $80. Also check ebay.
 

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A pH controller is a useless waste of your money. It makes no difference what the pH is in the tank, within reason, and controlling the CO2 with a pH controller causes the ppm of CO2 to fluctuate constantly, going above the set point, then being driven below the set point, then back above the set point, etc. This can trigger algae. If you restrict the bubble rate to avoid this problem you might as well just use the bubble rate to control the CO2, as most of us do. With the money you save by not getting a pH controller you can afford a better quality regulator, needle valve, and a bigger CO2 bottle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Are you serious Hoppy? haha Its funny cuz I was thinkin in my head wouldnt that
flactuate your Co2 ppm alot causing BBA to come lol Yea I thought so, I mean if thats
the case, then why do people buy them? Alot of people recomend them, have you ever
tried one yourself Hoppy ? Also I could use a spare Co2 Bottle lol
 

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A PH controller is not useless. I have 11 tanks with pressurized CO2, 5 tanks with a controller and 6 without. I would think anyone stating they are useless never owned one. They serve a purpose, if that purpose fits your needs, get one. If I could convince my bride I really needed them, I would buy 11 more controllers and and a few more regulators/cylinders for my other tanks........DC
 

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More a hassle that use, I think. For a optimal setting you will adjust your bubble count to a rate that your controller will never turn off the solenoid, co2 24/7. A controller is a nice "backup" gadget, which you have to maintain regularly to work properly.
 

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I have two pressurized CO2 aquariums. One uses a simple bubble counter and a solenoid on a timer. The other uses a pH controller. Both setups usually perform exactly like I expect them to. A pH controller is far from "useless", but both methods have pros & cons.

The whole principle behind a pH controller is that pH is a surrogate measure of CO2 concentration. AFAIK, nobody in FW applications uses them for the singular purpose of maintaining the aquarium's pH. As long as you understand the inherent limitations of the device it can be a useful tool for keeping CO2 within a very narrow range. The "swing" between "solenoid on" and "solenoid off" setpoints in my system is about 0.1 pH units - arguably close to the limit of our ability to measure pH with hobby-grade components. It's certainly controlled well enough to avoid inciting any algae issues. Also, my particular unit closes a second circuit if the pH drops too low. Hooking this up to an audible alarm provides a small safety net.

Those who use a pH controller would be wise to consider some fail-safe measures. First, the bubble count should be kept within reason so that if the solenoid happens to stick in the "open" position it doesn't nuke the tank - ask how I know this. Also, you don't want the solenoid cycling on and off every few minutes. Second, the whole unit is worthless unless it is calibrated frequently and replaced when necessary.

Is a system with a good quality needle valve with a drop-checker just as good? Sure. Maybe. It depends. It's certianly cheaper and simpler.

For my 180g tank a controller makes perfect sense. The water chemsitry is closely monitored and the tank is mature and quite stable. The lighting is intense so a careful balance of CO2 and nutrients is needed. I know the exact pH that starts to produce stress in the fish and shrimp. Knowing this, I can quite safely back off the setpoint a couple of tenths of a pH unit and expect precise control without daily fuss or concern. I calibrate the probe every month or so and replace it when it no longer holds steady.

In my other aquarium, lighting is much less intense and I'm not particularly worried about keeping the CO2 exactly steady. A little light, a little CO2 and it purrs along just fine.
 

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Hoppy have you ever used one ?
No, of course not, since I consider them worthless. If they cost $20 I would have tried one, and possibly would use one, but not at the price they do cost. The biggest inaccuracy in ppm of CO2 in the tank is probably the fact that you always measure pH at one location only, and the ppm will vary depending on water circulation and how fast the plants are growing.

Of course I am expressing an opinion only, not some hard scientifically proven conclusion. I'm not alone in that opinion though.
 

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Thing I never understood about using a PH controller is that most of us change a significant amount of water weekly. For example, my tank's PH is around 6.2-6.4 during the day, but my tap is 7.5, so whether or not you have a PH controller isn't your tank seeing a big change in co2 concentration when you conduct your water change. For example, my tank's PH would go from 6.2 to around 6.8
(1/2 of the difference between 6.2 and 7.5 within a mater of minutes). I'm not necessarily talking about one individuals tank that might have a continuous water change system, but I'm referring to most tanks. I have never seen any ill effects to plants or fish based on this.
 

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Wow, this thread is a little bit unusual.

I have 2 aquariums using the pressurized controllers. They use the SMS 122 controllers. They work great. Pinpoint CO2 controllers are more expensive, but I couldn't afford one.

I am very please with these Milwaukee controllers. They don't have to run 24/7. You can cut them on when the plants need CO2 and you can cut them off when the plants don't need it.

I've found that the easiest method for me is to have them set of a 6.3 pH level for 24/7.

Left C
 

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But what Im asking is this....why would one need one ?
But you asked this in your post, "Now I was wondering if someone could break down this whole process to me on how it functions, your likes and dislikes of this, where to buy and How much these suckers go for?"

I asked Mr. Google why would one need one and got these hits:

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/controllers.html
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/june2002/chem.htm
http://aquaticconcepts.thekrib.com/Articles/AFM_CO2.htm
http://www.bghydro.com/BGH/static/articles/0406_tdspH.asp
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After reading this I'm convinced...Hoppy was right, waste of money:

I think Dave was questioning the policy of using a pH
controller, not the technical details. His question is (and it's a good one);
your fish don't need it, your plants don't need it, so why do you need
it?
Two possible reasons come to mind. You can get it to help
prevent end-of-tank dumps. Or you could get it to keep CO2 from
getting too high at night. I suppose you could also get one to amuse yourself
or to relieve yourself of some heavy and otherwise useless cash.
 

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If "can you get along without it?" is the criteria used to determine if something is "a waste of money" then a few hundred other items come to mind too. Substrate, heaters, transparent aquarium sides, hardscape materials, filtration, and even CO2 injection can be done away with. Even fish are optional.

Your goals are your own. To generalize that CO2 controllers are of no value to the hobby is too broad of a statement IMHO.
 
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