Co2 Drop checker accuracy question
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:11 PM   #1
ChadKruger
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Co2 Drop checker accuracy question


I had my co2 regulator maxed for the last few days to combat algae. As expected the drop checker was yellow. This is a plant only tank right now. I turn the co2 off with te light cycle. I checked my drop checker this morning and it's still yellow.
Is it possible that the co2 concentration in the tank is still that high after 12 hours of being off? There is 0 surface agitation. Or it it more likley that my solution is bad. It's bought not diy solution.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:51 PM   #2
bsantucci
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I believe it can be possible the color wouldn't change all that much w/o surface agitation. I never got a large swing in my co2 levels until I added a powerheard agitating the surface. I see a full point swing daily now since doing so though.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:59 PM   #3
Solcielo lawrencia
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It's more likely that the concentration is still high considering no surface agitation. A pH meter would tell you with greater accuracy what the actual pH of the water is and you can figure out the concentration using the pH/kH chart.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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drop checkers are not very good at giving accurate results. Your best solution is to measure degassed PH, and then gassed PH. This will tell you PPM of CO2.
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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The same thing happened to me when I was testing my reactor setup. I got it to turn yellow in a few hours and it stayed that way for days. I think the surface agitation comment is the reasoning - the CO2 has no way to leave the water. It's just the way the science works behind drop checkers I guess.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:57 PM   #6
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Pull the drop checker out of the aquarium for an hour or so, it should turn blue again. Once its blue, put it back in and within another hour or two you'll have your current measurement.

There is no truly accurate hobbiest-friendly way of measuring CO2. I've found using your fish as a guide and stopping attempts to be scientific about it yielding the most peace of mind for me; drop checkers, PH swings, etc. are all inaccurate to an extent and will only provide guidelines.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:19 PM   #7
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Took the drop checker out like you guys said and after a hour or so (wasn't paying attention) it turned blue.
I appreciate it. Now I just need to dial in the bps I need to keep it in the green area
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:50 PM   #8
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I actually find my drop checker to be fairly accurate. When it's blue, my CO2 is out. When it's yellow, my fish are gasping. When it's green, not quite enough CO2, when it's lime, I am at my limit. Not saying that's all I trust but they have a reputation for being inaccurate, for 3 (well 4 colors IMO), it's as accurate as can be. It's like having a speedometer that says, Slow, Medium, Fast, how can you fault it being "inaccurate".


That said, I give a minimum of 6 hours to trust my readings, often a day to be sure. Many times they will change more quickly but that's about the time I trust it. Meaning, when I adjust my CO2, even if it comes down from yellow to green, I won't touch the needle valve (unless my fish are gasping) until the next day, even for the finest adjustment. Then readjust finely the next day. It's super tedious but usually gets me to where I want to be much more quickly.
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