Simple DIY Drop Checker (V2 is Alive! 3/31)
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > DIY


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-29-2011, 01:32 AM   #1
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default Simple DIY Drop Checker (V2 is Alive! 3/31)

So I had some ideas for drop checker designs that I wanted to make out of acrylic, but I don't have any right now. But it's raining out, and I'm bored so I made this one instead. Probably the easiest design I could think of, but with the small opening it's not going to be the fastest responding version out there.

Supplies:
1. Little glass container - $1.00
2. Clear tubing - $0.33 p/ft
3. Suction cup - Free from old heater


The glass container should be able to be purchased at a hobby store or general store. The one that I used actually came as a Scented Reed Diffuser that was purchased at Dollar Tree. Here is what it looked like incase anyone wants to look for the same one, just make sure that you wash it really, really good. Who knows what's in that stuff.
http://www.dollartree.com/catalog/al...=false&index=0

Clear Tubing from Home Depot or Lowes. Take your newly purchased glass container with you and find some tubing that fits very tightly in the opening of the glass.

Suction Cup from LFS I guess. Like I said, mine was leftover from a heater I'm not using anymore.

Materials Collected




Put your Tubing in the glass container and cut off the extra. It should be hard to force it in there for a tight seal. Don't cut it flush with the bottom or you won't be able to get it back out when it's time to change your solution out.




Add Your Suction Cup




Fill it with your solution and stick it in the tank. (Sorry for the color, I don't have any solution right now so I just put Flourish in there so it had a colored liquid in it for illustration purposes)


There you go. A drop checker that costs $ 1.33 (additional for a suction cup), that anyone can assemble without any tools (technically you will need scissors to cut tubing). I'm sure it won't be the fastest to respond to changes because of the small opening, but it should work ok if you really need one. Plus I don't think it looks too bad at all in the tank personally. I hope to be making some that will respond quicker when I can get some acrylic.



Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the death or injury of you or any living thing within any radius of you or your drop checker.

Last edited by Loop; 04-01-2011 at 12:42 AM..
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2011, 03:39 AM   #2
NatCh
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Jackson TN, U.S.A.
Posts: 470
Default

Very interesting. Now my own noggin cogs are crankin'. Thank you!
NatCh is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2011, 05:01 AM   #3
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

No problem. Just trying to throw out an idea I had incase anyone was interested. I wanted to find something that was cheap, easy, and reasonably atractive. I think I'm going to look for a container with more than a 1/2" opening so it would have more surface area for a quicker reading, but it might be hard to find that on such a small container. I thought about just using something with a funnel shape on the end, but I think it would be getting too bulky at that point. It's already about 3" tall so I didn't want to make it any bigger.
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2011, 03:52 PM   #4
scapegoat
Planted Tank Guru
 
scapegoat's Avatar
 
PTrader: (15/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: philadelphia, pa
Posts: 2,230
Default

i saw those items at the dollar store when i went searching for a DIY drop checker... i looked at it and looked at it... and wondered how i was going to use it.

now i know... i over thought it, this is so simple
__________________
scapegoat is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2011, 06:10 PM   #5
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat View Post
i saw those items at the dollar store when i went searching for a DIY drop checker... i looked at it and looked at it... and wondered how i was going to use it.

now i know... i over thought it, this is so simple
I knew being simple-minded was going to payoff some day
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 04:12 AM   #6
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

OK, so boredom hit me again this evening, and I was staring at my drop checker thinking what can I do to make this work better. So I would like to present to you

Simple Drop Checker V2

I didn't like having such a small surface area to the water with a 3/8"ID tube because I was sure that the response time was going to be pretty slow to changes in CO2. I was still daydreaming about the things I want to try when I get some acrylic tubing, and I remembered the methods used here for making the DIY acrylic lily pipes and wondered if it would work on vinyl tubing as well. Well it does.



I took some of my leftover tubing that I had, and gave it a try. I took a piece about 6" long, and capped off one end of it. I heated the tubing in about a 3" long section with a heat gun on low. Keeping it moving so I didn't burn, blister, or discolor the tubing. Heated it until it felt a little soft and sticky, and blew into the open end of the tube. At first I had to blow a little hard to get it to start stretching, but once it did it stretched faster. On the first try, it started slow and then got big and popped a hole in the tubing. The second try I just let it stretch a little, heated and blew again slowly about 3-4 times until it got to a decent size, and I didn't think it would safely go much larger. Then I cut the tubing in the middle of the blown area, and cut the other end of the tube to the length that I needed. Then just install in the glass container again like before.

This is a little more work, but it's not too bad and it solves two problems. Now you can't push the tube in too far to get it back out later for changing your solution. Also the surface area is much larger for faster readings. The original tubes inside diameter was only 3/8". Now the diameter is 13/16". If my math is right that means that the total surface area has increased to about 369% over the original design (<-someone smart check that math). Hopefully it is a little faster now. I'll test as soon as I get some more solution to see how long it takes to change.

Here is a size comparison of the standard tubing vs blown tubing




Whatcha think?

Last edited by Loop; 03-30-2011 at 07:44 PM..
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #7
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

Bueller.......Bueller.......Bueller

No Comments?
"Terrible idea"
"Good job"
"Loop's a moron"
"Might work better if _____"

I'm willing to accept any of those
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 10:41 PM   #8
farmhand
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
farmhand's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Central California
Posts: 532
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loop View Post
"Loop's a moron"
We don't know yet???
__________________
farmhand aka Clifford aka Grandpa
20gal Tall
farmhand is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 10:40 PM   #9
Betta Maniac
Wanabe BKK Herder
 
Betta Maniac's Avatar
 
PTrader: (17/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: IHella<3Oakland
Posts: 2,159
Default

Very cool!
__________________
Betta Maniac is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 10:42 PM   #10
tuffgong
Wannabe Guru
 
tuffgong's Avatar
 
PTrader: (40/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: DC/MD/VA
Posts: 1,453
Default

Nice work! DIY drives this hobby for me!
__________________

Dollar Store Dirt Tank - 20g - Albino Sterbai Cory Fry Tank
Fraternity of Dirt #30 - SunSun Pimp Club #20 - Eheim Pimp Club #412
tuffgong is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2011, 10:48 PM   #11
redfishsc
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Wake Forest NC
Posts: 1,121
Default

Again, this is shamefully simple and awesome! Nice work!


This theoretically could be reproduced using acrylic instead of tubing (you'd need a dab of silicone to permanently seal it) if you have the right shape to heat-form it,.


I've seen people make bowls out of acrylic scraps by putting a ceramic bowl in the oven, with the acrylic sheet laying on top of it, and as the oven gently heats the acrylic, gravity causes it to droop and conform to the bowl. Removing it and letting it cool leaves you with something that's fairly smooth and nearly flawless in shape.


A metal funnel would probably work well for this but it would have to be a tiny one, and I don't know where you'd find such an animal.
redfishsc is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-31-2011, 12:08 AM   #12
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redfishsc View Post
This theoretically could be reproduced using acrylic instead of tubing (you'd need a dab of silicone to permanently seal it)
But if you glue it in, you can't pull it back out to change the solution out.
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-31-2011, 05:43 AM   #13
Loop
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
Loop's Avatar
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 388
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redfishsc View Post
A metal funnel would probably work well for this but it would have to be a tiny one, and I don't know where you'd find such an animal.

This comment got me to think again about the funnel idea. I googled "glass funnel" because I thought it wouldn't look too bad if there were any small ones. I found these on Amazon that you could probably use for the bottom if they make some small ones. Not sure what the outside diameter is of the skinny part of the funnel though. Might be a problem if it's too fat to fit the tubing, but would give you a nice large size opening on the bottom. I'm sure there are some pretty creative drop checker desings that could be made using these funnels as a starting point also. I've already had a few ideas while typing this.
Loop is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-03-2011, 05:59 PM   #14
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (75/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,913
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loop View Post
This comment got me to think again about the funnel idea. I googled "glass funnel" because I thought it wouldn't look too bad if there were any small ones. I found these on Amazon that you could probably use for the bottom if they make some small ones. Not sure what the outside diameter is of the skinny part of the funnel though. Might be a problem if it's too fat to fit the tubing, but would give you a nice large size opening on the bottom. I'm sure there are some pretty creative drop checker desings that could be made using these funnels as a starting point also. I've already had a few ideas while typing this.
Here is one way, involving a little work, to make a good DC from that funnel:


Cut off the stem on the funnel, cut off the top of a small glass bottle, and silicone them together.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-31-2011, 12:25 AM   #15
redfishsc
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Wake Forest NC
Posts: 1,121
Default

Flip the bottle right-side up, pour the fluid in through the tube or acrylic.

Tile the bottle sideways carefully, until it's upside down. Some may dribble out, but you don't need a large amount of the indicator solution.

The amount of solution you end up with will be a function of how much fluid it will hold sitting sideways (ie, halfway to the "upside down" position). With the way you have it designed, it looks to me like this would still be plenty of indicator fluid.
redfishsc is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012