Drop Checker and kH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Drop Checker and kH

Hey all,

I understand the basics of using a drop checker, now I don't usually use one after I dial in a decent CO2 schedule (following algae/plant growth instead of drop checker color), but during this process I can never really get a drop checker to work correctly.

I use a 4dkH solution with some pH indicator from my CO2 kit, I can sometimes see it wanting to change from blue to green, and I'm definitely cranking the CO2 in.

Question: Because the color in the drop checker is dependent on pH, and pH swings are dependent on kH, does high kH aquarium water not allow enough of a pH swing from CO2 to have an effect on the drop checker color, even though there may be sufficient CO2 levels in the water?

Question: Can I use API's pH reagent? How often should I change the solution in the drop checker?

I'll be testing my before and during CO2 pH values later today, if that helps. (usually aim for a 1.0 pH drop?)

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-16-2018, 11:26 PM
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What is the pH indicator from your CO2 kit? Do you know if it is bromothymol blue?

How long are you waiting for the drop checker to change colour?

Yes, you can use API's pH reagent (the normal pH test kit uses bromothymol blue)

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2018, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
What is the pH indicator from your CO2 kit? Do you know if it is bromothymol blue?

How long are you waiting for the drop checker to change colour?

Yes, you can use API's pH reagent (the normal pH test kit uses bromothymol blue)
Okay, so I set up the drop checker using a 4dkH solution and the normal pH reagent from API, I am waiting well past 2 hours for my observation.

pH before CO2 is on, 7.4 (estimated because it is slightly darker blue than 7.6 on low range, but way lighter yellow/brown than 7.4 on high range test)
pH during peak of photoperiod, 1 hour before CO2 shuts off, 6.8

kH 5

According to the charts (kH-pH charts) I am in the green. Next thing is to measure pH as soon as lights come on to reference....

but....

drop checker is still a bright blue.

4dkH solution is 4 years old (keep it in a sealed bottle), added a few mL fresh to the drop checker with 1 drop of API pH reagent and placed into the tank 8 hours before my observation.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-17-2018, 11:38 PM
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I am assuming that the pH and kH that you are measuring are of your aquarium water? While the kH-pH-CO2 chart is useful, it assumes that carbonate/bicarbonate are the only contributing species to carbonate hardness.

Assuming your drop checker solution is still OK, and is functioning properly, it is probably safe to slowly increase your CO2 levels.

Anthony


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2018, 12:07 AM
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I had trouble going by the charts. Everywhere I read suggests it's not entirely accurate, especially as you start getting into higher KH ranges. You will probably be just fine with a .8 PH drop... which will more than likely be closer to your target range. As Darkblade48 suggested... bump up the CO2 flow a bit, but slowly. You will then have a little wider swing in PH that will be noticeable with your drop checker. I use up to 5 drops of the API reagent in my DC for a more vivid coloration.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-18-2018, 01:44 AM
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Have you tested the kH of the 4dkH solution? Can we get a pic of the DC? And maybe one of it's placement in the tank too?

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