Stylish or Ugly $2 Diy Drop Checker...you decide - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-19-2011, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Stylish or Ugly $2 Diy Drop Checker...you decide

I was at walmart looking for dvd's when I came across this small vase looking thing, I'm guessing for flowers, and thought to myself this might work as a drop checker. It was also only 97 cents. I inserted a $1 dropper into it, sealed the opening with silicon, added some magnets to hold it to the glass and I was done.






The biggest help that I've found in getting these drop checkers to be accurate is from this website. Using two drop checkers you can actually get a standard deviation of 2.5 to the parts per million you're looking for. For me that's about 20ppm.

I just choose 1 gallon as my mixing solution and the calculator tells me how much baking soda I need to add to it. No more measuring water. Spectacular.

Hope this helped, cheers
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-19-2011, 02:55 PM
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Very nice, BJ! Thanks for sharing! The variety of things that can be repurposed as drop checkers is pretty amazing.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 05:31 AM
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I like it, they look almost natural in the tank itself.
Only question though, how do you change the solution?
Is it easy to remove the dropper or do you syringe it out to replace it?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Ya, I didn't really think about that when I was making it..lol. I ended up using an oral syringe with some extra tubing attached to it. Worked out great.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 11:09 AM
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Forgive me for I am new to keeping aquariums, got about 6 months under my belt, but I learn fast. That is the coolest looking cichlid! What kind is that?
I have 2 ballons, (lots o controversy about them), 4 German blues and 2 cockatoos...

Great design on the drop checker. I just got a thourogh grasp on the relationship between Kh, and pH, and just started injecting CO2. From what I understand the higher the co2 the more it'll lower my pH. pH has been steady at 7, kH stays @ 5 or 6 with the help of some crushed coral.

I've been using the CO2 "chart" to determine my cO2 levels. Believe it's about 17ppm. But if pH drops to 6.8 w/my current kH it jumps to 28ppm. wow... I recently had a breakout of BBA, and this stuff is really hard to shake. Trying to get the cO2 up a litttle to battle it. Next I'm gonna try to starve it out using a ton of stem pants...

wow... talk about HiJacking a thread... Sorry. Beautiful fish and smart idea using 2 drop checkers. I'm about to use ur idea since i dont want to wait for one to come via mail.

Thanks for the knowledge!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 11:28 AM
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You say you sealed the opening? You mean you sealed the dropper into the vase, right, not actually sealed the entire hole?

The calc doesnt seem to work for me?. Keeps saying:

Your values are such that we cannot accurately measure CO2, since the resulting low range and high range would be less than 1dKH.

????

Target CO2 - 20ppm
Margin error 2.5

Not sure about how many gallons to mix the solution in.
just said 1.

and picking the color green. Get an error everytime.

I thought i just used enough H20 to level the drop checker and added baking soda(or seachem alkaline buffer)to it, then tested it untill I got about 4dkh, and used that as the agent in the checker....


A bit confused here since it sez add the contents to the checker.... thats a lot of solution for a drop checker. WHat did I miss?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Forgive me for I am new to keeping aquariums, got about 6 months under my belt, but I learn fast. That is the coolest looking cichlid! What kind is that?

wow... I recently had a breakout of BBA, and this stuff is really hard to shake. Trying to get the cO2 up a litttle to battle it. Next I'm gonna try to starve it out using a ton of stem pants...
Thanks! It's an electric blue jack dempsey. They're a lot less aggressive than regular jack dempsey's, but still hold there own and will eat anything that fits in their mouths.

I here ya on the BBA! I recently found out that light is the main contributing factor to algae. Apparently algae and plants don't compete for the same nutrients since most algae's are autotrophs "(organisms that produce their own food), usually driven by photosynthesis, where carbon dioxide is changed into sugars."-Wikipedia. Just cut out as much of that bba as you can and lower the amount of hours that your lights are on.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-05-2011, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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You say you sealed the opening? You mean you sealed the dropper into the vase, right, not actually sealed the entire hole?

The calc doesnt seem to work for me?. Keeps saying:

Your values are such that we cannot accurately measure CO2, since the resulting low range and high range would be less than 1dKH.

????

Target CO2 - 20ppm
Margin error 2.5

Not sure about how many gallons to mix the solution in.
just said 1.

and picking the color green. Get an error everytime.

I thought i just used enough H20 to level the drop checker and added baking soda(or seachem alkaline buffer)to it, then tested it untill I got about 4dkh, and used that as the agent in the checker....


A bit confused here since it sez add the contents to the checker.... thats a lot of solution for a drop checker. WHat did I miss?
Ya, just the base of the dropper.

I get the same error. I think it's because it can't give you a result with a 2.5 margin of error. The closest it can get to 20ppm is between "12.6 - 31.7 ppm CO2".

Just adding baking soda to distilled water and testing it until you get to 4dkh works also. I think at 4dkh your drop checker will be green between 20-50ppm. If you enter in 30ppm, 2.5 margin of error, 1 gal, green, into the calculator you'll get 452.1 mg of baking soda in 1 gallon of distilled water will give you a 3.98 dkh solution.

Once you have your (whatever)dkh solution, just add a 2-3 drops of bromothymol blue(ph solution) to the dkh water inside your drop checker.

Since I'm scared to overdose my fish I used a smaller PPM somewhere between 15-20ppm and two drop checkers to reduce the margin of error.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for your Help... That is a cool looking JD. My LFS has a tiny little Electric white JD. He is literally less than an inch long. ($28!) He'd kill all my fish.... I know it. Even though hes very small, he's an aggressive cichlid, and one that I'd only keep maybe with an oscar.

OK, So I made me a small Drop checker... Here it is:


Very simple using what I had in the house. Not as elagant I dare say, as yours. Just a small glass bottle, cut down wine cork, a plastic 3ml syringe barrel, a pc of copper wire and a clear suction cup. THe construction Is rather self explanatory.


I had no trouble making the 4dkh solution, 1.2gms seachem alkaline buffer(just a hopped up version of baking soda) 1Lt of distilled water. Then I poured off 50ml of that solution into a bottle to which I added 450ml of distilled water and Voila! 500ml 4dkh solution!

Here's my problem.... I use a pH test kit made by Sera, and as near as I can tell it is not made with BTB! I think it's Phenol Red. It turns the solution green no matter what. Never blue. Im going to buy the API pH kit later today but this makes me wonder... I wonder if it will still work with the sera, Just I'll get different colors rather than the standard Blue and yellow. My pH chart is orange red for acidic, and green to dark freen for alkaline.

So Sera pH Reagent will not work like the BTB reagents. That sucks, but whatever. I'm going to make another and test my theory that you will get diff colors other than blue and yellow.

What do you think???

My 29gal PLanted before ading the cannister filter and co2:

You can see the 2 Balloon Rams, But the cockatoos are hiding...

Also... I'm afraid I may have to remove ALL the plants, scrub the rocks, and replant fresh to get rid of that damned BBA! I'm not using a timer, Im buying one today, and the lights are on a very sporadic schedule. I'm just afraid IT wont go away. I have to pick it and trim leaves daily to keep it at bay.... sucks.

Thanks for your help!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 11:46 AM
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I saw a comparison chart on one of the forums once before.
The color relates to a certain ph so as long as you know what that ph/color is you should be fine.
I was using a different brand initially so I had red for excessive and orange for optimum (I think it was that way around) but I bought a test kit and followed the trend too, making it green that is
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 01:57 PM
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Very simple using what I had in the house. Not as elagant I dare say, as yours. Just a small glass bottle, cut down wine cork, a plastic 3ml syringe barrel, a pc of copper wire and a clear suction cup. THe construction Is rather self explanatory.

Slightly 'eek' about the copper wire...


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 07:53 PM
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Slightly 'eek' about the copper wire...
A piece of copper shouldn't do much of anything in a fish tank. Its outer layers will oxidize fairly quickly and it's not soluble in water. Maybe if you've got a particularly acidic tank?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 09:14 PM
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A piece of copper shouldn't do much of anything in a fish tank. Its outer layers will oxidize fairly quickly and it's not soluble in water. Maybe if you've got a particularly acidic tank?
Cool.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-06-2011, 09:37 PM
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