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pH monitor vs. Timer

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Bryeman, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    I currently use a pH controller to control my CO2. It's set to run when the pH hit 6.1 and brings it back down to 6.0. I'm having ok results with this method so far, but is using a timer a better method? I've always worried about fish and the 24 hour pH swing that results from a timer, but I suppose such results occur to some degree naturally as well. The problem I don't like with the pH controller is you tend to lose calibration after a certain point and if you aren't on top of it you are then losing CO2 levels possibly, or gaining too much CO2 as the probe gives false readings. Any thoughts? Really tempted to use the timer to see how that works, but really don't want to upset the balance if there's no point to it.
     
    #1 Bryeman, Mar 15, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2014
  2. Tom Barr

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    Just run the controller on the timer to match the light.
    So the controller comes on when the light comes on/off.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just run the controller on the timer to match the light.
    So the controller comes on when the light comes on/off.
     
  4. rjordan393

    rjordan393 Guru Class Expert

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    I believe you mean pH controller to control the CO2. Yes, it is ok to use a timer as that is how I set up my controller. My pH controller is set to shut off at 8 pm when the lights also go off. It stays off untill 8 am. This gives the CO2 a 2 hour head start before the lights come on at 10 am. Your pH may climb as high as 7.00 to 7.30 until the CO2 system kicks in. This will not cause a problem unless your CO2 is a non-pressurize system. Then it would take too long to get your Ph back down to 6.00.
    Using a timer will prevent CO2 waste as plants have no need for it when photosynthesis stops. I also would recommend you set up a power head for overnight surface agitation to provide more oxygen, because during the day, only the biofilter and the fish compete for it. With the added demands for oxygen by the plants at night creates more competitation. What is your current pH in the morning before lights turn on?

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    I believe you mean pH controller to control the CO2. Yes, it is ok to use a timer as that is how I set up my controller. My pH controller is set to shut off at 8 pm when the lights also go off. It stays off untill 8 am. This gives the CO2 a 2 hour head start before the lights come on at 10 am. Your pH may climb as high as 7.00 to 7.30 until the CO2 system kicks in. This will not cause a problem unless your CO2 is a non-pressurize system. Then it would take too long to get your Ph back down to 6.00.
    Using a timer will prevent CO2 waste as plants have no need for it when photosynthesis stops. I also would recommend you set up a power head for overnight surface agitation to provide more oxygen, because during the day, only the biofilter and the fish compete for it. With the added demands for oxygen by the plants at night creates more competitation. What is your current pH in the morning before lights turn on?
     
  5. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    Ok, thanks to both of you. Yes, I changed it to controller. I will use the controller hooked into the timer and see how that works.
     
  6. gparr

    gparr Subscriber

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    I have my pH controller that I bought from Tom set to come on 1 hour before lights on and shut off 1 hour before lights off. Since doing this and adjusting for a longer lighting period (6 hours to 7 hours) my plants have taken off. My pH in the morning is usually at 7.5-7.6. The controller shuts everything off at 6.5 and cuts it back on around 6.7. For me it works very well and I do not see any stress of my cardinal tetras nor my rummy nose tetras.
     
  7. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    Yeah, I'll be targeting the 1.0 drop most likely on the pH. Excited to see how much mine dropped over the course of the night.

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    Yeah, I'll be targeting the 1.0 drop most likely on the pH. Excited to see how much mine dropped over the course of the night.
     
  8. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    I only dropped around .4 last night for pH. I'm guessing I need more surface agitation, or maybe it's fine as is? Pretty sure I have enough CO2 during the day though as I don't have algae (besides some minor GDA), use a 4kh and a 5kh drop checker that both are more yellowish than anything, and plant growth has been generally good.
     
  9. rjordan393

    rjordan393 Guru Class Expert

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    The pH should rise even if you do not aerate with surface agitation overnight. Are you sure your CO2 does not come back on during the overnight period. (Faulty timer?)
    Check your KH. Something is not right. I know that you have too much CO2 in your tank and may be the problem. When those drop checkers turn yellow, it means too much CO2. They should be in the green. Some of us do not use drop checkers because there is too much delay before they turn yellow.
    There is a CO2 chart available for download on this forum and all you need is your Kh reading and your pH and where they both intersect would be your current CO2 in ppm. I do not believe its necessary to run your tank at 6.00 pH. I run my tank at between 6.3 and 6.4 pH and my kH is 2.8. This puts my CO2 at about 37 ppm CO2.

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    The pH should rise even if you do not aerate with surface agitation overnight. Are you sure your CO2 does not come back on during the overnight period. (Faulty timer?)
    Check your KH. Something is not right. I know that you have too much CO2 in your tank and may be the problem. When those drop checkers turn yellow, it means too much CO2. They should be in the green. Some of us do not use drop checkers because there is too much delay before they turn yellow.
    There is a CO2 chart available for download on this forum and all you need is your Kh reading and your pH and where they both intersect would be your current CO2 in ppm.
     
    #9 rjordan393, Mar 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2014
  10. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    Yeah I'm familiar with the chart. I'll have to check the timer, etc, again. I'm also letting some tank water degas in a cup to see what it goes up too.
     
  11. rjordan393

    rjordan393 Guru Class Expert

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    A 1 quart or 1 gallon container would be better with the use of an air stone overnight. Then see what the pH is.

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    A 1 quart or 1 gallon container would be better with the use of an air stone overnight. Then see what the pH is.
     
  12. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    I'm on it. We'll see what it says. The fish are doing fine though with no signs of stress (otos, SAE, barbs). The drop checkers are more lime green and not a true yellow. I need to pick up a new test kit for KH/GH as my current one has expired and I'd rather limit the chance of false info. I also have driftwood and run high on the PO4 so the KH/pH chart alone isn't going to tell me everything and might be biased quite a bit for any CO2 calculations. I think seeing what the off gassed readings are tomorrow evening will tell me more than anything.
     
  13. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    Plus, I have a lot of mist when my CO2 is running and that may be messing with the drop checkers. I have both of them almost at substrate level now and in areas with the least amount of mist I can find, so I'll check them in a while to see if that changes things.
     
  14. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    The two containers of tank water that have sat for 36 hours with me stirring them frequently show 7.44 and my tank pH controller keeps the pH at 6.0 to 6.1 during the photo period. No signs of stress, but I guess the drop checkers don't lie. The question I have is should I leave as is or maybe raise the pH controller so it keeps it between 6.1 to 6.2? The only fish I've lost were some very small BNP a couple of weeks ago. They were less than an inch and they can be tough to keep when they're that small. They actually lasted for 3-4 days but never seemed to do anything but hide even at night and were acclimated for 3-4 hours with basically the drip method. Otos, SAE's, etc all appear to be doing great and have never shown signs of stress.
     
  15. rjordan393

    rjordan393 Guru Class Expert

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    All drop checkers do is tell you that the pH is changing; not what the actual level is. As mentioned before, they are slow to respond to the actual levels. So by the time you see green, you may have a higher level of CO2. This is why I discontinued using it. I rely on the CO2, KH, pH chart to give me the actual levels.
     
  16. Bryeman

    Bryeman Lifetime Members
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    I catch what you are saying, and understand it, but I've always heard that's not necessarily accurate either given the potential spread between actual pH and what you're measuring plus the KH readings themselves. Like I said, I have driftwood, etc in my tank so I doubt my KH reading (won't have new test kits until Fri.) and pH reading intersection on the chart will be completely accurate. I think if I took the potential +/- error using that chart I'll have potential CO2 of 20-50ppm or something like that. Not arguing, just skeptical to buy into that fully although I'm certainly spending the money on test kits to try and find out! :D I hear you on the drop checkers, although if I have my pH constantly running 6.0 to 6.10 during the day and I know what my pH was during the last couple of hours it should give me a general idea of "I'm too high" or "I'm too low". I realize it's not an exact science and is time lagging, but it should give me ballpark ideas. Those are my thoughts. Could be completely wrong and I'd be the first to admit that. I've had several planted tanks and all have done alright, but trying to get to the next level. Added a bigger Koralia 400gph in place of the 240 to get more flow too, and also rescaped a bit. I'll probably post some pics in a different section this weekend to try and get ideas. My Hygro species are still lagging for some reason. Just can't figure it out. I'm horrible at scaping, but don't care right now. Just want to achieve a very healthy tank with great overall plant health and then I'll worry about the looks more. This is more or less practice until I get another 240 or 180 later this summer or next year. Thanks for the feedback and ideas. I'll post my KH once I get it tested. I did up the min. pH to 6.1 for now and will leave it be probably until I do some tests and let things settle for many days.
     
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