accurately measuring co2 levels?
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:37 PM   #1
WheeledGoat
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accurately measuring co2 levels?


Where I'm at:

just getting into the realm of "hi tech" planted tank
-got Marineland Plant light (w/ timer & rgb lights & moon light & shimmer effect, I love it)
-effectively handled what would have been an algae bloom due to imbalance of extra light & no co2 infusion or ferts (thank you Flourish Excel!)

I've got substrate tab ferts from aquariumplants.com on their way, waitin' on the UPS man...

I want to ease into co2 infusion; I've already got pressurized co2 on hand (beer brewing) but I'm not the kinda guy that's gonna remember to turn it on and off every morning and night... so I want to go low-dose co2 and leave it run 24/7.

but, of course, I'm afraid of gassing my fishies at night... so I want to really dial in the co2 infusion accurately... more accurately than the drop checkers' "blue/green/yellow" zones.

I've seen others refer to CO2 ppm values where typical surface agitation gets you 3-5ppm, and you want to be somewhere around 20 for plants and fish to be happy... but what is being used to get the ppm values??? I can't find anything anywhere!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
Cyanider
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Honestly, your best bet is to invest in a solenoid valve. This allows you to put your co2 on a timer, so it will turn itself off at night.

This will avoid you over/under dosing, and also keep you from wasting co2 at night when nobody's using it!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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I second that. Solenoid is the only way to go. If you had a power outage you would gas your fish. Shutting down the system saves gas & is the safer way to go. Dosage will be harder to regulate when left on even at a slow rate!
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:29 PM   #4
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Get a timer, it'll do it automatically for you.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:45 PM   #5
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Solenoid and a plug it into thew light timer. CO2 is on when the light is on. Plants do not use CO2 except during the light cycle. There's no reason to add it 24/7 and fish do not enjoy it much since the plants do not produce O2 also at night.

If you use the CO2 gas, use it correctly from the start.
Otherwise use Excel or non CO2/enrichment methods.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:54 PM   #6
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well thanks for the replies - i'll look into a "solenoid" valve. I was sure I had all the regulators and valves I would need from my beer setup, but I don't have anything that works on a timer.

Given the unanimous vote for timed co2, I suppose everyone here is against the DIY co2 then??

But I'm still curious - where do I find a test kit that gives me co2 ppm? Or does everybody solely trust those vague blue/green/yellow zones on the drop checkers?
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:06 PM   #7
leonardcarlson
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Goggle co2 aquariums, you will find charts that tell you co2 ppm, depending on your ph and kh, but, also get a drop checker, once you establish the ppm you want, you know the color of your drop checker, and you can look at it for quick reference
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:47 PM   #8
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Brilliant! I think that's the piece I was missing - it's a function of pH and KH! It's all starting to make sense now in my head! Thanks leonard. uda man
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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If you decide to do DIY co2 you do let it run overnight since the amount produced wont gas out your fish. Some people run air pumps at night to displace the extra co2 as well.
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Old 03-22-2013, 12:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for this thread, it's going to help a lot!!!
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:53 AM   #11
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for as much reading as I had done, I somehow hadn't stumbled upon that little tid bit! poolhall, if you're anywhere near where I am, also check out this thread. good luck!

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=111458
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:39 AM   #12
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Do not rely on precision with a Drop checker, it can only show you large differences in CO2 and the response time is SLOW.

A pH meter is a better relative measure to make adjustments with.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WheeledGoat View Post
Brilliant! I think that's the piece I was missing - it's a function of pH and KH! It's all starting to make sense now in my head! Thanks leonard. uda man
WheeledGoat, I only showed you where the water was, it was you who drank, oh grasshopper!
Good luck, len
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