CO2 timer vs controller ph swing poll - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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CO2 timer vs controller ph swing poll

Ok, I'm curious. What type of PH swing do those of you that use CO2 injection systems on a timer experience? After searching some posts I found that some folks that use controllers use a timer to shut them off at night. I'm thinking of trying this but I'm interested in any feedback concerning ph swings and their effects on inhabitants. In my case I have never seen fish gasping at the surface or in any way looking distressed in the morning or middle of the night. I have my controller on 24/7. Also for you drop checker fans what color is your checker in the AM? And lastly where is a good source to buy one. I used to use a DUPLA model years ago until it broke.


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 12:34 AM
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I run my co2 on a timer. To be honest, I've never measured the ph swing, because the ph changes caused by co2 aren't really harmful to fauna. Fish are more sensitive to changes in things like TDS. My drop checker usually returns to a light blue color by the am, but I have my co2 come on before the lights, so it gets back to the proper range by then

Mike


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 02:20 AM
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pH swing could also depend on buffer present in water column. Buffer is useful in a way that they maintain pH in a certain range. Without buffer, your pH would be inconsistent.

It is true that pH don't affect fish as it does not cause osmosis shock. However, too much CO2 injecting could cause osmosis shock, fish cant exhale out CO2.

I don't turn off CO2 at night. Just run my powerhead to accelerate surface agitation; O2 get in, CO2 get out.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 04:09 AM
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The issue with too much CO2 doesn't have anything to do with osmotic shock, which you're correct about in regards to TDS. You do have the general idea correct, so consider this more of an "additional information" post.

The issue is that once CO2 levels are too high in the tank the fish can no longer "exhale" the CO2. The CO2 increases in the fish blood, causing acidosis and reducing the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. If the CO2 is too high for too long they'll suffocate. The condition is known as hypercapnia.

In regards to the OP question, I use a timer, it's set so it comes on along with my first bank of lights. The drop checker is ever so slightly blue-green when the lights come on and it starts getting yellow-green when the lights go off. I'm in the process of upgrading my timer system (going for an Aquacontroller Jr) and at that time I'll switch the CO2 on a little earlier than the lights and then switch it off before the last bank of lights go off.

I've never purposefully tested for the pH swing because it's not relevant/important.

I think most of us using drop checkers bought them on eBay, at least I did. They're a lot less expensive these days though as compared to when I bought mine. ADA also sells one, but it carries the ADA price premium too of course.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-25-2008, 03:37 PM
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I use a controller, along with a drop checker for verification. So far my tank parameters are constant. I think a lot of people think a controller is an easy way out but in reality it is more difficult and harder to properly set IMO. I dont need to run a controller, its just an added feature that I happen to have and performs other functions as well. I could easily set it to monitor and have it alarm if the pH gets beyond a limit or shut it off at low limit if something were to happen like my needle valve getting bumped. It comes in handy also since my needle valves seem to wander a bit. With the controller I can set them higher than I need, and the controller just shuts em off for a while if it gets to high. if I ever get better NVs then I'll probably use the controller more as a monitor and emergency shut-off.

But to answer the question. I get about a 1 point swing from day to night. My controller is programmed to maintain pH from 45min prior to lights on until 15 minutes before lights out, after that the solenoid is set to shut off. I have enough surface movement that my tank appears to totally off gas by morning. So my drop checker is dark blue in the morning, then is green during lights on. With the rate of CO2 I am using, its definitely a good idea to shut it off at night, that will give me about 3X the service interval, plus gives the fish a break at night. I could target a lesser co2 level overnight, like say 15 or 20ppm, but after talking with Tom Barr he seemed to think it was unnecessary and just shutting it off is usually the way he goes.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by crazy loaches View Post
I use a controller, along with a drop checker for verification. So far my tank parameters are constant. I think a lot of people think a controller is an easy way out but in reality it is more difficult and harder to properly set IMO. I dont need to run a controller, its just an added feature that I happen to have and performs other functions as well. I could easily set it to monitor and have it alarm if the pH gets beyond a limit or shut it off at low limit if something were to happen like my needle valve getting bumped. It comes in handy also since my needle valves seem to wander a bit. With the controller I can set them higher than I need, and the controller just shuts em off for a while if it gets to high. if I ever get better NVs then I'll probably use the controller more as a monitor and emergency shut-off.

But to answer the question. I get about a 1 point swing from day to night. My controller is programmed to maintain pH from 45min prior to lights on until 15 minutes before lights out, after that the solenoid is set to shut off. I have enough surface movement that my tank appears to totally off gas by morning. So my drop checker is dark blue in the morning, then is green during lights on. With the rate of CO2 I am using, its definitely a good idea to shut it off at night, that will give me about 3X the service interval, plus gives the fish a break at night. I could target a lesser co2 level overnight, like say 15 or 20ppm, but after talking with Tom Barr he seemed to think it was unnecessary and just shutting it off is usually the way he goes.
Thanks for sharing the info. I believe I'll follow suit and shut CO2 off at night with a timer. I do like the end of tank dump protection that a controller affords so I will continue to use it for daytime operation. The savings in CO2 will be nice as I have a wet/dry trickle filter/sump set up that although it's sealed probably off gasses some CO2.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ashappar View Post
I ran controllers on my tanks for about 5 years, then decided it wasnt as good as a constant and sane bubble rate. I also switched from CO2 reactors to mist and wish I'd done that from the get-go.
Why do you feel that a mist system works better? Is it because the plants surface comes into contact with CO2 in gas form and not carbonic acid? Does this method use less or more CO2? Lastly, what CO2 ppm do these mist systems run at? Thanks for the info.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2008, 12:59 PM
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Thanks for sharing the info. I believe I'll follow suit and shut CO2 off at night with a timer. I do like the end of tank dump protection that a controller affords so I will continue to use it for daytime operation. The savings in CO2 will be nice as I have a wet/dry trickle filter/sump set up that although it's sealed probably off gasses some CO2.
I run a sump that is completely flooded and still off gas a ton of co2, mostly because I have ~1500 gph rolling over the overflows, plus durso standpipes that suck a little bit of air down with the water too. If I had to do it all over I might try to the 'Herbie Method' which does not suck any air and forms a complete siphon going down to the sump, but you still have the overflows off gassing.

I was planning on seeing how the controller would handle an EOTD since my first tank was nearing end. Surprisingly though, I didnt get any EOTD.


^Still running for a couple days after photo.
Worked fine until tank was empty, constant low side pressure and bubble rate, and thats just using the cheap $10 clippard NVs. It does seem to help though in normal operation since the NVs are really touchy and seem to wander from day to day although that seems to be dependant on what they are hooked to (reactor, etc.) lately with the current setup they arent wandering as much.
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