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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All-

I would like to know if anyone is using a C02 system with a ph regulator. Is this a good or bad way to control ph in a planted tank..I just started with planted tanks and would like opinions both pro and con..Thanks so much
 

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Hi chipster55,

You just opened the "big can of worms"! You will find several threads on APC on the pros verses cons of PH controllers. If you are just starting out, keep is simple; Light, DIY CO2, inert substrate like gravel, basic fertilizers. As you get more advanced, you will be able to make your own decision! My plants and fish are doing great, no PH controller here!
 

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"Would like some opinions"....:confused:

Nope, I don't think you're going to find any here. Just kidding...what I meant to say is that you won't find any two alike...so sit back relax and pick the one you like best, because Seattle said, you opened a can of worms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So by your responses I guess some swear by it and others despise it...I'm having a conversation on another forum with a guy (who seems very knowledgable) that says they are no good because of the C02 coming off and on..I just came across info (just getting into planted tanks) about drop checkers..Do these 3 things work together or would i be better off leaving the ph meter out and just using the DC..
 

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My advice is to stay away. Aside from their maintenance (calibration with pH solutions), the possibility of them overinjecting CO2 and killing your animals outweighs any slight convenience they offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After doing a search on APC on this subject I see there are no right or wrong answers...Actually it was very interesting (and sometime humorus) reading. I guess I should have done a search on this before asking..Thanks for your input..
 

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my 2 cents. I have found using a pH MONITOR and watching the pH (and using the pH/kh chart) works just fine. Don't have a drop checker. Been doing this for years with no problems whatsoever.
 

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Hi chipster55,

After several months of DIY CO2, and seeing the excellent plant growth results, I eventually went to a pressurized CO2 system with tank, regulator, and needle valve. For a reactor, I feed the CO2 in through the input of the HOB filter. I use a drop checker with a 4dH indicator solution to verify approximate CO2 levels. Not fancy, but it works! Got the 5# aluminum tank and 2 gauge regulator off of Craigslist for $85. I have seen complete CO2 setups with bubble counters, solenoids and PH controllers on Craigslist for under $120. Hope this helps!
 

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I don't use a monitor nor a DC. I had a DC at one time but took it out to clean the glass and never got around to putting it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for your opinions..I am going with the Green Leaf Aquarium choice C02 system. I also am getting the CAL AQUA "Oracle" Drop Checker. Orlando (green Leaf Aquarium) is great to work with. As I am new to the planted aquariums this seems to be an easy way for me to learn the system of aqua-scaping.. I have been busy the last few nights reading others opinions of the ph meter vs dropchecker vs just watch your fish..All of these have valid points...I feel at this point that this seems to be the best way to go for me...Besides Orlando is very helpful with an questions I have. I am still open to any suggestions anyone would have concerning this set-up..
 

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My advice is to stay away. Aside from their maintenance (calibration with pH solutions), the possibility of them overinjecting CO2 and killing your animals outweighs any slight convenience they offer.
What possibiltiy is that actually? Is it a possibility or a probability?

pH controllers aren't required by any means. The downside is the maintenance and cost. The upside, assuming proper use, is that it safely regulates co2, allowing you to maximize your co2 without waste. I've done it both ways, in fact, I still do it both ways. However, I prefer the controller because of how easy it is to set, and how relaxed I feel knowing there is something there watching over my tank.

I would definitely put it in the future convinience pile of things to purchase, not in the requirement pile
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What possibiltiy is that actually? Is it a possibility or a probability?

pH controllers aren't required by any means. The downside is the maintenance and cost. The upside, assuming proper use, is that it safely regulates co2, allowing you to maximize your co2 without waste. I've done it both ways, in fact, I still do it both ways. However, I prefer the controller because of how easy it is to set, and how relaxed I feel knowing there is something there watching over my tank.

I would definitely put it in the future convinience pile of things to purchase, not in the requirement pile
What ph do keep yours at...Also my tap ph is about 8 and so far I'm having problems getting it to drop..I've had mine going for a couple weeks and it's only down to 7.6..
 

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What ph do keep yours at...Also my tap ph is about 8 and so far I'm having problems getting it to drop..I've had mine going for a couple weeks and it's only down to 7.6..
Well, the short answer is mine is set at 6.4.

The long answer is that every tank is different, so that one value is great for my tank, but maybe not for others. With my hardness and source pH, 6.4 is good for me, but as mentioned, I figured that out through a lot of trial and error, utilizing a drop checker, pH vs KH chart, pH controller, as well as a handheld pH/TDS tester I have.
 

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What ph do keep yours at...Also my tap ph is about 8 and so far I'm having problems getting it to drop..I've had mine going for a couple weeks and it's only down to 7.6..
I use a pH controller and really like it.

There are two things to work with to inject enough CO2 to lower the pH reading in the tank. First, you have to be sure you have the regulator and needle valve set high enough that it is able to inject enough CO2 to reach the pH you're wanting. One bubble per second won't work. You have to dose more than that regardless of whether you use a pH controller or not. So that's the first step.

The second step is to set the pH you want. Usually, about 1 point drop (from 8.0 to 7.0) is said to dose around 30ppm which is a good target. However, I would not simply set the pH controller to 7.0. Instead, try 7.4 (since 7.6 isn't harming your fish). Wait at least one night to make sure your fish are fine. Then drop it to 7.2. Watch again. If all is good, try 7.1. Then, 7.0. I managed to get mine set at 6.8 pH, starting with an 8.0 pH. However, I was also fighting BBA so I had a strong need for cranking it up.

You want to dose as much as the fish can tolerate. So keep inching it down until your fish show signs of stress (hanging out at the top because the CO2 depleted the oxygen in the tank). At that point, raise the pH setting up a notch and watch again. Eventually, you'll be able to find just the right settings to dose a high level of CO2 without harming your fish.

I strongly recommend a drop checker so you can get a visual idea of how much CO2 is actually in the tank. I got a double check drop checker since it has 2 bulbs, one for the normal solution which will change colors with the pH and a second one that simply has the green color you should try to match.

I have managed to get my pH drop checker to turn more yellow than green. I find this to be a really good setting for my plants, and my fish don't seem bothered with it at all.

Once you get it set up and adjusted, you'll know just how to adjust it in the future. It's just that starting point when you really need to learn the ins and outs of your tank and fish.

Also, do not forget to clean your probe. Calibration is a breeze. Just get some pH 7.0 calibration packets. Open one and put the bag in something to hold it up (I use a glass). Put the probe in and check the reading. If it's still 7.0, rinse and use. If it's off, do a quick adjustment to correct the reading to 7.0. Rinse and use. The whole process takes less than a minute.
 

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1 BPS has been working for me
How much ppm of CO2 are you dosing? I can't get mine to 30+ppm with 1 bps. Perhaps my plants suck up more CO2 so I have to dose at a higher bps rate to keep the CO2 at 30ppm.
 

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How much ppm of CO2 are you dosing? I can't get mine to 30+ppm with 1 bps. Perhaps my plants suck up more CO2 so I have to dose at a higher bps rate to keep the CO2 at 30ppm.
Have no Idea, seems good for plants and fine for fish. I have not bothered to put a dropchecker in yet. Your right, 1 BPS wont be 30ppm.

No one ever said you have to keep 30ppm, many people used to keep 15ppm in the past and still do with very nice tanks. 30ppm is just talked about as the highest you should go to be safe, some go higher(well according to the dropchecker, charts)

I'm not saying that 1bps is the best, just saying it works so far for me but more is prob better. More is always better right?

If you have crazy high WPG like 3+ of T5HO's(like many do) then yes you prob have to keep 30ppm to avoid issues. For me with lower lighting 1 BPS is great.
 
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