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Drop Check compared to Kh/Ph chart?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by RlxdN10sity, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    I found this while searching for a drop checker....


    This has aroused a lot of interest for me. The idea that the indicator/water solution would not be tank water was very intriguing since that would seem to get around the acidity/alkalinity variations in tank water that are not associated with CO2. So, I emailed Jeff Senske at ADG. I asked:

    Quote:
    I am very interested in this method for measuring how much CO2 is in
    my aquarium. So, I have a few questions:
    1. On APC this was discussed and it was said that this uses pure
    water, with no KH, plus the reagent in the bulb, leading me to
    believe that the CO2 indication is independent of the contaminants of
    various kinds in the aquarium water. This would eliminate the effect
    of alkaline substances or acid substances in the water. Is this true?
    2. Does the color chart with the unit tell you the pH or the ppm of
    CO2? The information on the website leads me to believe that all it
    does is indicate "acceptable" if the solution color is greenish. If
    so, what ppm of CO2 does that indicate and with what accuracy?
    3. How often do you have to replace the indicator solution?
    4. When will they be back in stock?
    Thanks in advance for any information you can provide on this very
    intriguing new device.

    As I expected, I got a quick, informative answer back this morning:


    Quote:
    1. Actually you fill it with aquarium water.

    2. It tells you pH. There's no ppm indicated and the "accuracy" is more in
    terms of telling you that you should add more or use less CO2. It's based on
    a simple idea of acidity vs. alkalinity and the need for slightly more or
    slightly less CO2.

    3. I will have to check to see how often the reagent is replaced. I have
    never personally used it for more than an initial test to confirm the CO2
    supply in a newly set-up tank. It is not something I use routinely.

    4. ADA is currently out of stock on the Drop Checker. I tried to order a few
    last week. I do not know for sure when they will have more. Likely in the
    month or so.

    You're welcome. It's not really a new device, though. These types of
    checkers and this one from ADA in particular have been around for many
    years.

    So, for me it is back to the drawing board. This is just a very elegant form of the in-tank pH testers that are available from other manufacturers at much less cost, but also much less esthetic appeal. But, no more dependable.


    Q: Is this true?
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is neither true nor false. Amano does not use a drop checker, nor does Jeff Senske - I asked him about this before I started my experimenting with the device. So, as far as ADA is concerned, this is just a way to measure pH of the tank water. But, if you use distilled or DI water in the device, instead of tank water, and if you adjust the KH of that distilled water to 4 dKH, the water will be green when the drop checker water is at a pH of 6.6. And a pH of 6.6 with a KH or 4, with nothing in the water to affect acidity or alkalinity except CO2 and carbonates or bicarbonates, means the water has 30 ppm of CO2 in it. The air gap between the water in the device and the tank water makes the ppm of CO2 in both bodies of water be the same. So, the drop checker is measuring the amount of CO2 in the tank.

    The only company that recognizes the above, as far as I can tell, is Dennerle, who sells their drop checker with the 4 dKH fluid and pH indicator reagent already in it.

    The accuracy of the drop checker is very good compared to every other way of determining how much CO2 is in the water. Consider: you can tell the difference in the color between a green that is slightly yellow (pH=6.5) and a green that is slightly blue (ph=6.7). You can set the KH to 4 +/- about .2 very easily. So the range of values for ppm of CO2 when you think it is green is from about 25 to 40 ppm. Both extremes are acceptable for the plants and the fish.

    I have left the fluid in mine for 3 weeks and longer without seeing any problems, other than that the glass slowly builds up biofilm, so it needs cleaning. So, if you did routine solution changes every 2 weeks you should have no problems with it.
     
  3. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    thank you for clearing that up. I just ordered a Red Sea brand CO2 indicator because the ADA brand will not be in stock for purchase for a few weeks. Will this one come with the 4 dKH fluid and pH indicator reagent you mention above? You say the only company recognizing this application is Dennerle, does this mean that the Red Sea product is not intended for this?
     
  4. dapellegrini

    dapellegrini Lifetime Charter Member
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  5. RlxdN10sity

    RlxdN10sity Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Dapellegrini, that was a very helpful and informative thread. I like the pics...
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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  7. dapellegrini

    dapellegrini Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ya, I would have posted my whole process up on this board, probably in that thread, but it wouldn't let me use more than 4 pictures in a post (files that I am hosting)...
     
  8. dapellegrini

    dapellegrini Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think I got things a bit mixed up there... Just read that thread VaughnH (thought it was something else).... Looks like if you are going to make your own solution, the prior thoughts were inaccurate... Good news is the new measurements are a bit easier. Instead of 4.99g baked Baking Soda, use 6.00g and don't bake it... From what I understand that should be accurate enough for our purposes... Right?
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I made up a new batch of "4 dKH" water yesterday, using the 6 gram number and it worked ok, based on my KH test kit agreeing that I had 4 dKH water. So, I think that is the number to use. I found that it is easier to do this by weighing the baking soda and mixing with a liter of distilled water, then diluting that water down to 4 dKH, than it is to try to do it by relying on the KH test kit and adjusting until you reach 4 dKH. I did it by using 6 grams of bicarbonate of soda in one liter of distilled water (200 dKH), mixing 10 ml of that with 90 ml of distilled water to get 100 ml of 20 dKH water, then mixing that with 400 ml of distilled water to get 500 ml of 4 dKH water, which is the size of my bottle. Pretty straight forward. My test kit said I had just a bit less than 4 dKH, but that could be either my error in mixing or an error in the kit. It is close enough for my purposes anyway.
     
  10. detlef

    detlef Subscriber

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    Want a good laugh?

    Tried to figure yesterday wether my ref. KH still reads 5 KH after 1,5 months of storing in a bottle - searched for the solution and found the empty bottle amidst the exact same sized bottles to be taken back to the super market.

    Must have filled the solution into the coffee machine eventually :) :) :)

    And no, the coffee didn't taste too bad at all.
    Hell, I've to do the mixing again...



    Best regards,
    Detlef
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Well, all that monkey business with the making and weighign is about out the window.

    The 10ml 25,000ppm NIST certified reference samples will likely be sold through Greg Watson, still waiting to hear back.

    This way you no longer even test KH at all, ever again.

    No need.
    Then you only measure pH with a meter/O2 membrane or with the drop checker.

    3.489 liters of pure DI water added to the 10 mls will make about 3.5 liters of 4 KH solution.

    If you can measure 3.5 liters or a a tiny hair shy(use the 10ml bottle the ref solution comes in to remove the water or to get an idea how much 10mls is), your accuracy is still 99.984% for each 1 ppm of KH.
    That assumes the volume you add is within 10mls or so.

    I do not think anyone will require more accuracy.
    Buying a 500ml volumetric flask will allow precise measure of 3.500 liters of DI water(7 fill ups basically), and you can use it for other standard ref solutions you might want to make for NO3 etc. They also make good stoarge solution containers.

    3.5 liters of ref solution will last about based on 2 week changes and 5mls per drop checker, 26 changes per year x 5mls= 130 mls.

    3500mls/130mls = 26 + years of accurate CO2 measurements and no KH test kits.
    Saves money, time, reduces work load, highly accurate, easy.

    Cost: about 10-12$ for the ref sample, 10$ for a 500mls flask, whatever the going rate for pure water might be, and shipping.

    Still, about 50X cheaper than all the KH test kits you'll go through and time you waste measuring.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. dapellegrini

    dapellegrini Lifetime Charter Member
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    Man, I hope you make all kinds of noise when that reference solutions is out and available...
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No, I probably will not, if folks see and go to Greg's site and want it, it'll be there.
    Folks here can tell where they got it.

    I'll post a blurb on it when it's available.
    Depends on Greg truthfully.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Would it help if we do one of those on-line petitions, where we might get 100,000 or so signatures? Maybe only 10,000?
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Go bother Greg.:D

    I do not sell direct, I gave that up with CO2 reactors many years ago, I cannot keep shipping straight and don't like having to ship stuff.

    Greg is much better at that.
    And I am much better haggling what makes a plant grow than Greg, so together it'll work out.

    Greg also needs to see the future in this idea and product, he really has not been paying attention due to school demands, so helping him understand what this is all about and why it's good for the hobby and he should sell it is another issue.

    Note, both this and the trace dry mix super sauce I've developed, but have not made in a commercial quantity will both be sold through Greg's site.

    I'll likely have a few other items by summer as well, including a red inducing system for plants, even ones that are normally green can be turned redder and it does not limit any nutrients or require more light etc.

    So we shall see what happens, but a nagging email might help.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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