DIY drop checker/ The Body Shop Style - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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DIY drop checker/ The Body Shop Style

this may be a little pic heavy, but I was bored today and wanted to build my own DIY drop checker. So I used an old scented oil container, mixed up a batch of 4dKH and went to town. Here's some photos. My only concern is that the modified plastic tube is too small and will take a long time for the gas to change the color of the ph reagent. I'll wait till tomorrow to see what becomes of it. But since I've put it in, I haven't been noticing any real significant change in color. Could it be that even with the pressurized setup, I'm not pushing that much CO2 into the water? Will I have to kick it up a notch? stay tuned.....

Here's what I did:



took the plastic wrapping off, boiled it and scrubbed all the oil off of it.


removed the oil distributor, my idea being that I could use the small pin hole channel for the gas to travel up and into the basin.



took some sun cure resin that I use to repair the dings on my surfboards and filled in a hole on the distributor. (this one comes with two channels. One that is positioned in the middle of the plastic, and another one that is positioned deeper and travels the length of the plastic shaft. If you happen to see one of these containers, twist off the top and look at the holes and you'll see what I mean.
Here's what I used to seal the one hole so that I could create a basin.

Here's the section I filled in:

used a suction cup setup that you can get at your LFS that will fit around a 1"heater. Fit like a glove. Then stuck it to my window in my dining room...just for good measure.

You can see the plastic channel better here.
got some distilled water

mixed in some baking soda and tested and tested and tested until I got roughly 4dKH-4.5dKH. Added .2ml 4dKH water with a baby dosing syringe and 4 drops of pH reagent.
Then carefully put it in my aquarium.



finishing touches...


Now, the issue that I'm having is that the drop checker solution is still blue and does not look like it has changed. It's been roughly 3 hours. I'm about to hit the hay here and will revisit the project in the morning. I have another option that I can use, but I like the way that this looks compared to some other diy setups that I have seen. I may run the second one I made next to this one to see if the gas really is making its way up the chamber. I used .2ml 4.5dKH and 4 drops pH reagent for the solution. I moved the drop checker to the far left corner under the glass and cranked the filter up to move the bubbles around. so far so good. just wait...after running the pressurized for this long, I'm gonna be kicking myself a little if I find out that I need to add more....at least the fix is an easy one. Just open up the needle valve a little and see where that takes me. After all...it's only moss were dealing with here.

Thanks for looking,

-el g

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 06:48 AM
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I think the problem with the delayed response (if there is a response) is due to the super small surface area... Or more clearly, the interface between the gas in the DC and the water. Even with the relatively large interface area of normal DCs, it takes an hour or so for enough carbonate (?) to move into the gas phase (attempting to reach an equilibrium), and then to dissolve into the liquid phase of the checker solution.
I think the response time would be proportional to the area of water exposed to the "air" in the DC.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 07:31 AM
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Probably the small tube the gas has to travel through. Can you make it any larger?

Really nice way to do this! That little bottle looks good, IMO.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your comments stripe157 and Diana. I was contemplating making the hole bigger. However, when I woke up:

Overnight Success!!




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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 02:48 PM
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Sweet! Definitely on the to-do list. Thanks!

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 03:09 PM
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That looks great!
A friend of mine made a similar DIY drop checker, but with a smaller vial. I believe it was an insulin vial, with the plastic cap from a syringe inserted into it. It had more surface area, and a larger opening. He made a couple for me, and it sure saved us a lot of money.
Nice job, again.


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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this still works like a charm. Probably gonna change the fluid at the end of the month.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 01:26 PM
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Looks good, I had the same problem with delay from a DIY checker I made from an old bubble counter, from my Milwaukee 957. Same problem was my passageway was too narrow and took forever to transfer gasses. Great idea though and it appears to be working!


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler79durdan View Post
Looks good, I had the same problem with delay from a DIY checker I made from an old bubble counter, from my Milwaukee 957. Same problem was my passageway was too narrow and took forever to transfer gasses. Great idea though and it appears to be working!
thanks tyler79durdan. I was contemplating making the passageway hole bigger too. Maybe I'll tinker with it a little...but...if it ain't broke don't fix it right? best- el g.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 03:05 PM
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Such a slow responce may not be as helpful as having more current information. As slow as this responce time is, it suggests that some time during the night the CO2 was up that high. I think I would make a larger opening so the results are more current.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-23-2010, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Such a slow responce may not be as helpful as having more current information. As slow as this responce time is, it suggests that some time during the night the CO2 was up that high. I think I would make a larger opening so the results are more current.
I understand your thinking. This drop checker took about 6-7 hours to change color. That may be a little long. I'm not too worried about it now though. It's been 20 days since I've installed it and all systems are go in the tank. But it definitely would be beneficial to have a speedier response time. Now I'm beginning to wonder if the color in the drop checker now is actually the levels in the tank from 6-7 hours before. Or is the chamber at an equilibrium with the tank now? Anybody have any insight into that? I was for some reason under the impression that once it is submerged and the gas fills the chamber, than that chamber is at an equilibrium. I could be way wrong.

With this tank, I had been running a pressurized setup for months and measuring the levels with pH and KH. However, with the addition of some of the rocks, my GH began to fluctuate a little, so I needed a better way to check the levels in the tank. This, albeit a little slower, reaffirmed for me the amount of co2 I thought I had in the tank was agreeable with the flora and fauna. But I agree, I think making a larger passageway would lead to a quicker result time for this style of drop checker. I may tinker with it today. Just need to find the right tool to expand it.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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If you can tell as of recently, I've had a lot of free time the past couple of days. And with the rain in NYC, I've been spending a lot of time working on the aquarium. I wasn't happy with the drop checker chamber so I decided to make it bigger, without making it over complicated. It was taking way too long to get readings with the drop checker and I felt like it was because the gas wasn't traveling very rapidly into the chamber with the reagent. So I removed the cap, and took half inch airline tubing, cut it to size, and fit it through the opening in the glass vial, filled the container with approximately 3ml dKH4/4.5 H2O, added 6 drops pH reagent, tested the seal, and placed it in the aquarium. It went a little something like this.

,,,,,


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 02:01 AM
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Looks fantastic I will be copying your design soon.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Success in just under 3 hours!!

The new modification works like a charm:

,
,

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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this new modification works so well.

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