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Using this Red Sea Drop Down Checker

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by The Rockster, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    I have been using the Red Sea Drop Down Checker to get an idea of the ppm of Co2 in the water. ( I know that the plants and fish are the real indicators- but am trying to get to around 30 ppm due to algae.) After increasing Co2, and using 4dKH water, in the DC, I seem to be encountering a problem.
    About three to four days of being in the tank, my solution in the checker turns from green to clear.( I do put 2 drops of solution per instructions.) This has happened twice. The first time I thought perhaps the DC itself was not closed or sealed properly and the solution leaked out. Now I see that I still have 1ml of liquid in the DC, its just clear.
    Has anyone experience this?
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Is it possible that it is in fact YELLOW and just looks clear because you are expecting blue or green?

    I know my DC colors are always yellow, and at some angles can look clear.

    If in fact they are clear, I would suspect something wrong with the dye you are using........
     
  3. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    Thanxs for the input,

    I checked the clear color with the wife prior to posting. I have two bottles of indicator solution, both bought less than 6 months ago, both Red Sea.
    I was just wondering if my moving the DC, prior to W/C had an effect on the solution.(Don't think that it would .) I mount it 4 inches from the surface originally,(per instructions) but move it up & down when I do my weekly 50% W/C.
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well, the DC need to be redone pretty much every other week. I usually change my DC solution AFTER a water change.

    Once I attach the DC to the inside glass, it stays there until the next cycle.
     
  5. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    I have read that the solution lasts 2 weeks. I do my W/C every Sunday. I bought the D/C & solution at Big Al's in Tamarac. (Noticed your from S. Florida)

    I will monitor the solution.
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    For the 2-3 days before the clearing occurs, does the DC change from blue to green and back again? Does it 'work' for a couple of days and then not?

    If you are using 4 dkh solution, then maybe the indicator solution is not viable. You can use the reagent from a lot of ph test kits for the coloring.

    Remember too that placement of the DC is very important. Try moving it around the tank every couple days........
     
  7. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, it seems to work for a few days. I am using 4 dKH water that I made with distilled water, and baking soda. Tested with a Hagen KH test kit. Will move DC around in tank. If the problem continues I am thinking of getting the Cal Aqua Double Check Drop Checker from Greenleafaquariums.com (after the holidays)
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I haven't used that Red Sea unit, so I don't know exactly how it is assembled, but this looks to me like it is leaking a bit. When it is in the tank the water inside is gradually diluted with tank water or the indicator dye is gradually seeping out. When I was experimenting a lot with various configurations of drop checkers I often had this type of problem when I had a small leak.

    Here is one of the most practical devices I have seen lately, CAL AQUA LABS - The Oracle. It has the elegance and simplicity of the glass units, with a white background to better see the colors. But, I haven't tried it yet. I did try the double bulb device you mention and wasn't pleased with it after a few weeks. I found it was a real pain to do maintenance on, and the indicator dye fades out in both bulbs just as fast, leaving you having to clean and refill two bulbs each time. There is a lot to be said for simplicity.
     
  9. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    Thanxs for the 411.....
    Have pretty much figured out that the DC is leaking. Did notice the fish around the unit the other day. Just can't believe that 1ml of solution leaks out and 1ml leaks in to replace it..........
    Read on this or another site, that you (Vaugh), were going to try the Cal Aqua Double Checker, and was curious about your experience.

    I have spent a fair amount of money on this hobby. But I don't think I would spend $45.00, on the Oracle CO2 Checker. (Maybe if I can't stop the leak) I like the DC I have. It's got a white center; it's not as weird looking; it is made of plastic (unbreakable- had a glass heater explode once); I think it cost about $12.00. The only down side is taking it apart and putting it together. I will probably lube the center gasket and fix that. The last factor as we all know is that the fish are a better indicator than any DC, so why spend the extra money?

    I really appreciate all of your inputs!! :)
     
  10. Henry Hatch

    Henry Hatch Guru Class Expert

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    I've had 2 Red Sea drop checkers and they both leaked. I now use a tear drop type checker.
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Vaughm

    Simplicity, eh????

    I REMOVED both of my drop checkers last week and now use my Hanna ph meter and visual clues such as pearling, fish behaviour, canister PSI, etc to see if something is off.

    Tank looks better and I don't have to change the solutions either....

    I will see if I need to add them back in at some future point.
     
  12. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    Very Valid Point..............
    How much $$ should I put into this Drop Checker Project??................$75.00?......$100.00?
    How obsessed am I ? Maybe mount 2-3 of the $44.00 ones around my tank...........lol
    for what?:eek:
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well I used mine for months to help me determine my co2 levels and to get them STABILIZED.

    It is worth every penny or $ spent to get a stable and sufficient c02 level.

    I spent a lot more in time and effort attempting various c02 injection methods. Spent much more than the 2 drop checkers, fer sure!
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The purpose of the drop checker is for novices to be able to see that they have about the right amount of CO2 in the water, without relying upon their judgement about whether or not the fish seem stressed. When we rely just on looking at the fish, we tend to get gun shy and stop well short of an optimum amount of CO2. This tendency is aggravated by the fact that the KH/pH method almost always gives a CO2 concentration well above what you really have. Once you learn about what bubble rate gives close to the right amount of CO2 in the water, and you see how the fish react to that, then you can probably do just as well by not using the drop checker. I keep mine in the tank, but almost never look at it now.
     
  15. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    TY for laying it out so clearly. If I understand it correctly, after the learning curve is mastered, and the CO2 is stabilized most DCs are used for reference or for the convenience of visually checking the levels of CO2, or retired. Perhaps, if the goal is to stabilize and max out the CO2,within safety perimeters, the simplest approach for a novice, would be the acquisition of a DC, with lab certified KH water and this new regulator AquariumPlants.com's Electronic Co2 Regulator ( or one like it). Dialing in the proper amount of CO2 would be a lot easier and constant, and would only need adjustment with changing bio loads?
    In any case, thanks for the education!!!
    Best site on the internet!:D
     
  16. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    In Conclusion.... I hope!

    Hi,
    It's been over a month since my Red Sea d/c had an issue leaking. It's been fine since I lubed the o ring, and made sure it was put back together correctly. The regent is lasting 2 weeks, and all seems well.

    Thanks to all!
     
  17. Dmaaaaax

    Dmaaaaax Prolific Poster

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    As VaughnH mentioned above, the kH/pH chart always shows more than what you have. I used a test kit to find the range of my drop checker. It turns green between 10 and 20ppm CO2. At around 20 it starts to turn yellowish, so if you are aiming for 30ppm, the drop checker is just a good indication that you are above ~22.
     
  18. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    I have found that the Chameleons are very easy to see the colour on. I used to use a teardrop one and it wasn't as clear.

    At the risk of noone buying it when it goes on ebay after reading this I can also state that the teardrop also takes longer to react than the chameleon even when using an equal measure of solution and reagent probably due to the small opening compared to the Chameleon's wide opening.

    I did see those Cal ones with the white insert but I just bought 2 Chameleons from HK for £6.50 total shipped (thats total for both not each) and as they are clear to read I can't see the point in paying for the ones with the white insert in them. After all we buy glass products for them to be transparent ;)

    Each to their own though. I know there has been some debate on this on our forum too so there are differing views both sides of the pond :lol:

    AC
     
  19. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm curious: How did you use a test kit to find the range of your drop checker? One way you could do it, if you have a calibrated pH probe, accurate to +/-.1 or less, is to fill a small tank with distilled water, with a bit of baking soda in it so it has a measurable KH. Then add CO2 at a steady bubble rate and use the pH probe and known KH to determine the ppm of CO2 in that small tank of water. Install the drop checker and see how it relates to the first measurement.
     
  20. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    When Cal Aqua started offering the drop checker with the white insert I asked them to change the design to make the white insert conical, to give a larger white surface to view the color against. They said they might change it to that later.
     
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