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Drop checker insanity

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by nero82, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. nero82

    nero82 Junior Poster

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    Hi everyone,

    Just signed up for this forum the other day, and suddenly have a bit of an odd question for you all.

    I'm on pressurised Co2, using a drop checker. I have some 4dkH solution made up for it, and up until now it seems to have been working well. However I have increased my co2 slightly in the last few days, and now the checker is showing yellow. That was fine until I noticed it wasn't returning to blue at night. I took the checker out of the tank, and it turned blueish over about 30 minutes. Put it back in the tank that day, it went yellow again. It's now early morning, co2 has been off for 12 hours, and the checker is still light green.

    I retested my solution... it is still 4dkH. I refreshed the drop checker. Same results. Put it in my goldfish (no co2) tank: checker went blue.

    The fish in my planted tank seem ok. I tested the pH in the tank, but now I'm not sure of my ph meter. It was reading 5.4. I then tested with a reagent test, and it was suggesting somewhere over 6. (I've now ordered some recalibration solution for the meter)

    Am I going insane? What is going on here?! Let me know if there is any more information I can give that would help solve this dilemma.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas,

    Nero
     
  2. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Hi Nero

    It might be that your KH is just high enough so that you have enough buffering capacity in your aquarium to overcome "fast" pH swings.

    The difference between your pH meter and your bromothymol blue test could either be out of date calibration fluid or just a "normal" difference between the two measuring means.

    I don't think that your are going insane. It sounds to be rather normal.

    Take care,
    Left C
     
  3. nero82

    nero82 Junior Poster

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    Well, i'm probably still insane, but that is unrelated to the drop checker :D

    My gH and kH both seem to be around 6, I didn't think that was particularly high?

    I'll recalibrate the pH meter when I get the new fluid.

    If I'm aiming for a higher co2 and the fish seem fine, should I be using a 5dkH solution in the drop checker? I'm misting the co2 in, and the checker turns yellow really easily.

    Thanks for the reply Left C
     
  4. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    That's funny! I'm pretty sure that I fall into that category as well.

    The 6 dKH is what is keeping the color from changing back to blue quickly. I wouldn't try to lower it. I would just tune the CO2/pH level.

    A GH of 6 should be fine too unless it is practically all Ca and no Mg.

    Maybe you should move your drop checker around in your aquarium to see how evenly the CO2 is distributed.

    Going to a 5 dKH .... I wouldn't try this until you move your drop checker around. Even then, you may not want to go with a 5 dKH solution.

    I haven't tried misting. Since the drop checker turns yellow quickly makes me think that it is in an area where it gets plenty of the CO2 mist. This is another reason why I suggested moving it around.

    I don't think that I helped you. I'm basically saying that things are basically very close to being OK.

    Good luck!
     
  5. nero82

    nero82 Junior Poster

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    You have no idea how much that helps me... this tank has been on the go now for 4 months and I've very nearly thrown the whole thing out the window a number of times. I'll move the checker around a bit and see what happens. I've got another one on order so might try the dual drop checker technique.

    I am dosing Mg, so I don't think thats going to be a huge issue. I am adding Potassium Bicarbonate at water change to keep the kH up, because I did have a pH crash at one point. I'm not really sure if it's the right thing to do, but in any case my tap water seems to be about 4 anyway, so I haven't raised it too much I think.

    Im currently battling hair algae, and did have a problem with BGA earlier. I swear, if the BGA comes back I will cry. If the algae situation isn't looking up in about a week, I might post for help on that too! From what I can gather from Toms posts though, his main answer is "more co2" (or at least, more stable co2)!

    Cheers,
    Nero
     
    #5 nero82, Mar 20, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2011
  6. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I haven't tried wet's dual drop checker method, but I like the concept. I don't know if this is what you have in mind or not.

    Anyway, having drop checkers in different locations may help you to see what is going on. Be sure to move them around a bit to get a good idea of your situation.

    As far as your algae problems, I am no help at all. Some other folks will have help you with that.

    Again ... Good Luck!
     
  7. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    You may have an issue about CO2 lingering in the tank. Try increasing surface
    ripple or using airstone at night or a surface skimmer to improve gas exchange.

    (Tom usually says) give it at least 2 weeks.
    But that is Tom. For me, it will be longer than that, 3-4 weeks. :)
     
  8. trd1

    trd1 Junior Poster

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    I sympathise with nero82. I have just installed pressurised CO2 in my tank as well about 4-6 weeks ago. I was having the same problem as nero82 regarding the drop checker staying green overnight & becoming yellow during the day. Initially my tank ph crashed to well below 6 & the fish were not very happy at all swimming at the bottom very distressed & a few died.

    My KH has now been stabilised at about 6-7 dkh (I use KH stabiliser, as our water is extremely soft 2 dkh) & ph 7. I now have installed another Koralia 2 (now I have one at the top & also bottom of the 400lt tank). I turned the CO2 down very low after the initial crash & have slowly increased it over the last 2 weeks above the initial level that caused havoc. All seems well (apart from the white gunk forming in the drop checker at the tank water level-but that will be for another post).

    I have also put a drop checker 10cm from the top & also another at the bottom of the tank. The bottom is now green & the top is also green with a tinge of yellow after raising the CO2. My ph is about 7. Fish are happy.

    So I assume I jumped in too soon with too low a kh & the whole thing went under.
     
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