Drop Checker - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Drop Checker

I'm looking to add a drop checker to 3 of my tanks. I'm looking for the most common drop checker I believe its a Rhinox drop checker I would like to buy the 4 dhk solution with the drop checker. Is my best option Amazon?

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55g BN Breeding Grounds, Peacock Gudgeons, Panda, Pygmies, & Smudge Spot Cories, Rili Shrimp
10g RCS and show guppies

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 01:40 AM
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I find the best source will vary and sometimes almost hourly so it takes a bit of checking and knowing what price is agreeable so that the order can be placed at that time. I don't often find Amazon to be the cheapest but it is often the easy choice.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 09:01 PM
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I just made my own solution using Distilled water and baking soda. Hoppy provided instructions for doing it in this thread:

Calibrating Test Kits - for non-Chemists

Look down at post #14. It's pretty simple and super cheap.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 09:31 PM
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This is how I made my 4dkh solution. Don't know if better or worse than Hoppy's but here's how I did it =

First measure out 2.4 grams of baking soda. Then measure out 2 liters of distilled water, or 2000 mL. Next mix the two together and measure out 50 mL of this mixture. Mix the 50 mL of this solution, which is 40 dkh fluid with 450 mL of distilled water to get 4 dkh solution.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:19 PM
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After finding a lot of "4 dKH solutions" to be way off, I've going with mixing it myself. You'll find that if you mix it once, you'll get a amount that will last for months or even years.

It's really not difficult.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
Be careful with the Rhinox brand, they sell drop checkers which are fine, however the reagent they sell is not 4dkh based. They suggest using tank water which will be very inaccurate unless your water also happens to be 4dkh. Look for a good setup which also includes the 4dkh fluid. There are some on amazon, I am unable to link due to forum rules, but pm me if interested.
This may be a borderline self promo for you but since it is not you asking, can I do it anyway? I find doing business with you has been a good deal so may I ask which drop checker you favor and what features it has that you like?
I recognize that we may all have different priorities for things but I would like to consider a "knowledgeable opinion"!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 12:00 AM
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This may be a borderline self promo for you but since it is not you asking, can I do it anyway? I find doing business with you has been a good deal so may I ask which drop checker you favor and what features it has that you like?
I recognize that we may all have different priorities for things but I would like to consider a "knowledgeable opinion"!
You are correct i have to be very careful what I say here, but its not the drop checker that is the problem, they are all pretty much of the same quality and they all pretty much look the same. It has to do with the use of 4dkh fluid or rather the lack there of. If you look at the Rhinox brand they have a bottle of reagent, which I believe to be bromothymol blue(I have never purchased from them so I cant say for sure though) which is the same as the liquid ph test kits. They then suggest to use tank water with a few drops of their reagent. This lends to a very inaccurate measurement of co2(before someone says anything I understand that even with 4dkh fluid its still a rough guesstimate, but it is better than an unknown value). That is unless you also happen to have tank water that is 4dkh.

If you water is soft in the range of 1-2dkh it will show a green/yellow color at a concentration well below 30ppm. If you have a high kh such as 10dkh it will show a blue color even if you have 30ppm of co2 in your water.

When looking for a drop checker kit look for one that specifically says it comes with 4dkh fluid. If it doesnt say it includes 4dkh fluid it probably doesnt. I cannot suggest a kit due to forum rules. If you have any other questions please pm me. Thanks.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nilocg View Post
You are correct i have to be very careful what I say here, but its not the drop checker that is the problem, they are all pretty much of the same quality and they all pretty much look the same. It has to do with the use of 4dkh fluid or rather the lack there of. If you look at the Rhinox brand they have a bottle of reagent, which I believe to be bromothymol blue(I have never purchased from them so I cant say for sure though) which is the same as the liquid ph test kits. They then suggest to use tank water with a few drops of their reagent. This lends to a very inaccurate measurement of co2(before someone says anything I understand that even with 4dkh fluid its still a rough guesstimate, but it is better than an unknown value). That is unless you also happen to have tank water that is 4dkh.

If you water is soft in the range of 1-2dkh it will show a green/yellow color at a concentration well below 30ppm. If you have a high kh such as 10dkh it will show a blue color even if you have 30ppm of co2 in your water.

When looking for a drop checker kit look for one that specifically says it comes with 4dkh fluid. If it doesnt say it includes 4dkh fluid it probably doesnt. I cannot suggest a kit due to forum rules. If you have any other questions please pm me. Thanks.
Oh yeah! Now I remember! I have not been using a drop checker but have been on a PH controller but now I remember why! The drop checker never really gave me good info. My fish go belly up long before I can get the drop checker to move off blue.

I've never really gotten a good firm read on my KH as it is off the chart on the high side.
I remember going through the charts and deciding that was not useful either as it indicated something like 60PPM of CO2 and my fish were still doing okay and breeding. The CCR gives me a tap water level of 21 grains that is most likely the cause of several of my problems with drop checkers and nitrate reading as well.

This is one of those points where I sometimes wonder but now I remember that I found it better to just let the fish tell me, rather than attempt too many tests which lead me off into the bushes.
I'm turning up a couple new tanks and without a PH controller for them so it prompted me to wonder about drop checkers. I think my best move might be to go back to sleep and not ask questions when I'm not willing to go into changing my water!
Thanks for the info.
Maybe I should write it on the back of my hand this time?
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Oh yeah! Now I remember! I have not been using a drop checker but have been on a PH controller but now I remember why! The drop checker never really gave me good info. My fish go belly up long before I can get the drop checker to move off blue.

I've never really gotten a good firm read on my KH as it is off the chart on the high side.
I remember going through the charts and deciding that was not useful either as it indicated something like 60PPM of CO2 and my fish were still doing okay and breeding. The CCR gives me a tap water level of 21 grains that is most likely the cause of several of my problems with drop checkers and nitrate reading as well.

This is one of those points where I sometimes wonder but now I remember that I found it better to just let the fish tell me, rather than attempt too many tests which lead me off into the bushes.
I'm turning up a couple new tanks and without a PH controller for them so it prompted me to wonder about drop checkers. I think my best move might be to go back to sleep and not ask questions when I'm not willing to go into changing my water!
Thanks for the info.
Maybe I should write it on the back of my hand this time?
That or your forehead!!!!!
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 01:50 PM
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Just an observation,I often see the drop checker's mounted high on the glass near the surface where CO2 gas would be a much higher value than lower in the tank.
This lead's many to assume that levels are closer to the value they want than they really are.
Would were it me (and it ain't),want drop checker lower on the glass, and at oppisite end of tank from where the gas is being diffused/entering.
Drop checker is more of a visual aid, to give an idea as to CO2 concentration at a glance,but right solution in drop checker and lower placement might be consideration for me .
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:13 PM
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What about the Fluval Drop Checker? It comes with a solution that doesn't need to mix with anything else. Any comments or experience with this one?
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:09 PM
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Since drop checkers are just a different way to measure PH (drop?) and we know that there are questions about keeping them filled with the correct fluid, I now wonder about a different method. Seems the little cheap PH pens are now about the same price as drop checkers so is there value in them?
I see some problems with getting a reading lower down in the tank but if seems like a simple way that would not take nearly as long to see the results.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Since drop checkers are just a different way to measure PH (drop?) and we know that there are questions about keeping them filled with the correct fluid, I now wonder about a different method. Seems the little cheap PH pens are now about the same price as drop checkers so is there value in them?
I see some problems with getting a reading lower down in the tank but if seems like a simple way that would not take nearly as long to see the results.
Indeed. I went that direction years ago. Much better and faster results.

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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jlugo89 View Post
What about the Fluval Drop Checker? It comes with a solution that doesn't need to mix with anything else. Any comments or experience with this one?
I've used the Fluval DC, I can't recommend it. Pro: low cost, easy to read. Con: cheap plastic, an o-ring on the base provides the seal for the reagent chamber. The Fluval eventually started leaking water into the reagent chamber, diluting it. After a few months of use I was having to replace the solution anywhere from 2-4 weeks, the reagent color faded and it became difficult to read. I replaced the Fluval with a much more attractive looking glass model. I change the reagent fluid only when the DC needs a thorough cleaning, about every 4 months in my tank. I use the premixed reagent fluid from GLA, works great.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 11:42 PM
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I got the Yagote which is identical to the Rhino, and I mean identical for about $5 cheaper. Then you can either just make your buy some 4DKH on Ebay for next to nothing from a reputable buyer and PH testing solution is readily available.
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