Since i got my co2 system at the end of jun, I have been using a ph pen probe from amazon in order to monitor my ph and roughly estimate my co2 levels.
Well today i was doing some water parameter testing and decided just for fun to see what my api liquid ph test shows vs my ph pen probe. well the numbers were way way way off. liquid test kit shows 7.4 and ph pen was reading 8.2.
I then decided to use one of the calibration powders that came with the probe to test it against the probe and api liquid test. sure enough the liquid test was near bang on and the probe was way off (again about .8 off).
Because I have been using my ph pen, it has lead me to overdosing co2 which I can confirm based on some observations which are all making sense now.
1. i always had a hard time (using cerges reactor) reaching the desired ph levels that I was aiming for. This was because when I was trying to reach 6.9ph based on my kh this would give me around 40ppm I would of actually been at around 6.1 or somewhere around there. My point is I would of been at very high co2 levels, much more than I thought.
2. I have been posting about always requiring such a high bps rate to achieve the co2 levels. I always though it was due to a leak or cerges reactor not working right. but since I now know I was actually way above my target 30ppm co2 it makes sense that I needed that much bps to get there.
3. my fish since I started co2 have been sluggish and some even drunk looking. on several occasions I has some deaths and gasping. I normally corrected the gasping by doing a huge 60+% wc. because i added new fish at aeround the same time I assumed the deaths were due to a disease and treated the tank because of it. its likely was due to co2 poisoning...
4. i needed to maintain such a high level of surface agitation in order to not have my fish gasping all the time. this now also makes a ton of sense, i had to off gas a lot of co2 since the concentration was way higher than original thought.
5. also had some micro bubbles which i assumed was just a cerges reactor problem and because it wasn't working right. knowing how much co2 was in the water now, this makes sense too. the water was soo saturated it couldn't absorb any more co2.
6. burned through my 15lb co2 tank in just 2.5 months
7. huge air pockets were always trapped in the cerges reactor only a few hours after the initial turn on.
8. i use aged water which i have in a 55g food grade barrel that is heater to 75 which is exactly what my tank is. I have a 900gph pond pump in there that circulated the water and created a ton of splash. I run it for about 10 hours overnight prior to a water change in the morning of the next day. every time i perform a water change my fish (all 60+ fish) go to where the new water in coming in and stay directly in it. i know understand way they loved that new fresh water soo much.
I clearly wasn't looking into all the red flags enough to catch this sooner but I am glad that I finally did this morning. Now I want to correct the issue and this is were you guys and gals come in.
During this process I never used a drop checker as I thought the ph pen was enough. Would a DC be the best and easiest solution at this point to get the right level of co2?
Should i just use my liquid test kit for ph to come pare to my kh and go that route?
I want to ensure I am at around 30ppm co2 and don't want to spend a ton of money to do it.
thanks in advanced for helping