Co2 controller on timer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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Co2 controller on timer

I am curious of a couple of things about co2 controllers.

1. What brand/model are people using. Any feedback specific on the weipro controllers would be good as I'm in Canada and that's a relatively cheap Amazon option. But certainly I'm more interested in one that works well instead of just cheap. But if a cheap one works well, then heh I'm all for cheap too.

2. Are people running them on timers or continuous. I've read of both setups. I've also read of killing the power(as I imagine a timer setup working) causing possible calibration issues? So for those using timers it'd be great to hear your experience and how it's set up.

Thanks

45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 06:44 PM
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Following along to see answers.

Amazon has mixed reviews on that controller... probably a good place to spend your budget would be lighting and CO2... save money on ferts / substrate
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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if you read in my sig link to my journal you can see my current setup. First planted tank so I get that's it not 'scaped' to most people's tastes, but I enjoy it.

I've got a decent light, co2, and substrate. I am also on the verge of going dry fertilizer ei dosing. Got everything now(plantguy ei combo) just kind of using up my tropica specialized and been hesitant to make the jump a bit as I'm seeing decent growth as is. I am trying to decide on whether a ph controller is worth adding or not? And to fully understand how people are using them and have them setup.

45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 07:44 PM
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I've liked the Milwaukee controller for a few different reasons.
First is that I ccan set it to a specific PH within .2 and let it get stable there before moving it lower. I feel being careful not to stress my fish is critical to helping them stay healthy, so no matter what PH they are in, I begin to swing it lower very gradually. I my case, I start with around 7.8 and adjust it lower in .2 steps and may take a week or longer to let them get used to any change.
The second point is that it does avoid the end of tank dump when the solenoid and controller shut off the gas when it reaches the set point. No over dosing to the point of killing--at least on EOTD. I've figured other ways to kill them with overgassing!
A controller with PH readout will alert you to any time that something weird like tubing problems comes around. I operate on the controller and let it control the PH 24-7 to avoid even the question of change, even though I know the fish do meet changes in nature. But in nature they can also swim away when they find it too much.
I love the ease and peace of mind in not having to think or act on anything as long as I'm seeing stable but looking at the readout on the meter. No more counting bubbles, just watch the PH?
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 07:49 PM
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I have a Neptune Systems Apex, which could be used to control CO2 as part of its extensive control and monitoring, although I haven't done that yet. It is on the pricey side, though. Note some of the DC control options. I currently use mine for monitoring temp and pH on one tank, as well as filter pumps on five tanks for feeding and maintenance.

https://www.neptunesystems.com

I am keeping my eye on a much cheaper system that is making its way to the market, The CoralVue Hydros Control. Thread here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...s-control.html

I don't know much about dedicated systems just for CO2, but it might be worth considering whether investment in a more generalized control and monitoring system would be worth it for your tank(s).

Cheers
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Last edited by Streetwise; 01-14-2020 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Details
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 07:51 PM
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I run the Milwaukee and really do enjoy it. With my inert substrate I only need to know m degassed pH, and can then find where I want to set the controller and need not worry about gassing my fish, fine tuning the regulator/ flow meter after a new CO2 cylinder, etc.

As for powering it- the controller itself is always on. The powered outlet for the CO2 is where I add a timer to stop CO2 when lights are out. This way I can always see my pH readings in the tank, and the timer will shut off the powered plug for the solenoid during lights out times. So the timer is plugged into the wall, and the controllers powered outlet (the one that controls the solenoid) is plugged into the timer.

Hope this makes sense!
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I've liked the Milwaukee controller for a few different reasons.
First is that I ccan set it to a specific PH within .2 and let it get stable there before moving it lower. I feel being careful not to stress my fish is critical to helping them stay healthy, so no matter what PH they are in, I begin to swing it lower very gradually. I my case, I start with around 7.8 and adjust it lower in .2 steps and may take a week or longer to let them get used to any change.
The second point is that it does avoid the end of tank dump when the solenoid and controller shut off the gas when it reaches the set point. No over dosing to the point of killing--at least on EOTD. I've figured other ways to kill them with overgassing!
A controller with PH readout will alert you to any time that something weird like tubing problems comes around. I operate on the controller and let it control the PH 24-7 to avoid even the question of change, even though I know the fish do meet changes in nature. But in nature they can also swim away when they find it too much.
I love the ease and peace of mind in not having to think or act on anything as long as I'm seeing stable but looking at the readout on the meter. No more counting bubbles, just watch the PH?

Interesting. And this is what I was hoping there would be some discussion on the steady 24/7 on co2 to a set ph vs the timed co2(which is what I do now just with a dropchecker to monitor) presumable daily ph swing. Having things stable makes sense to me. On the other hand my fish seem to be doing fine with having my co2 off every 'night'.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Streetwise View Post
I have a Neptune Systems Apex, which could be used to control CO2 as part of its extensive control and monitoring, although I haven't done that yet. It is on the pricey side, though. Note some of the DC control options. I currently use mine for monitoring temp and pH on one tank, as well as filter pumps on five tanks for feeding and maintenance.

https://www.neptunesystems.com

I am keeping my eye on a much cheaper system that is making its way to the market, The CoralVue Hydros Control. Thread here:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9...s-control.html

I don't know much about dedicated systems just for CO2, but it might be worth considering whether investment in a more generalized control and monitoring system would be worth it for you tank(s).

Cheers

I will check those out. Thanks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
I run the Milwaukee and really do enjoy it. With my inert substrate I only need to know m degassed pH, and can then find where I want to set the controller and need not worry about gassing my fish, fine tuning the regulator/ flow meter after a new CO2 cylinder, etc.

As for powering it- the controller itself is always on. The powered outlet for the CO2 is where I add a timer to stop CO2 when lights are out. This way I can always see my pH readings in the tank, and the timer will shut off the powered plug for the solenoid during lights out times. So the timer is plugged into the wall, and the controllers powered outlet (the one that controls the solenoid) is plugged into the timer.

Hope this makes sense!
That does make sense. And hopefully will make more sense when I look over the photos of the Milwaukee controller again along with your description of the function. . If I was going the timed route I was hoping that that is how it would work. Being able to view the ph reading all the time.

45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 01:30 AM
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The Milwaukee has a body unit that has the settings and reading of what the probe is sending for PH. Then there is a "pigtail" item where the solenoid is plugged into power. This acts like an outlet which is switched on/off by the controller. So one can set the PH on the controller, plug a solenoid into this switched outlet and let it come on/off as the PH moves. This keeps PH steady. Or one can add a timer on the solenoid and have both the timer and the controller maintain the PH. To me, this seemed redundant and I really see little value in adding swings in the PH to save a small amount of CO2 used overnight to keep the swings lower. I save the added complexity of the timer ( they tend to get off on time more than I like) and just go with being happy to have steady PH, day and night. In some tanks, CO2 is lost faster than other tanks and the swings might be pretty big, but that is a question on how each of our tanks operate. I like stable and I'm willing to go with any slight amount of extra CO2 used overnight to keep it there rather than shutting off overnight and then pumping extra when the timer comes back.
Neither method is wrong, just I like to keep it stable as well as simple, when possible. I hate finding I've screwed things up when I forget to reset timers.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 02:13 PM
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@Grobbins48 @PlantedRich

So the Milwaukee doesn't have any alarm function that freaks out when:

Lights turn off for the day.
pH begins to read high.
Controller sends power to outlet with timer plugged into it.
Outlet timer does not allow solenoid to turn on.
Controller 'allows' pH to rise without any fuss until outlet timer allows solenoid to open just before the lights come back on.

Do I have this right?


Is this the pathway?

Wall outlet powers controller -- controller powers it's own outlet -- timer is plugged into the controller's outlet -- solenoid is plugged into timer

??

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
@Grobbins48 @PlantedRich

So the Milwaukee doesn't have any alarm function that freaks out when:

Lights turn off for the day.
pH begins to read high.
Controller sends power to outlet with timer plugged into it.
Outlet timer does not allow solenoid to turn on.
Controller 'allows' pH to rise without any fuss until outlet timer allows solenoid to open just before the lights come back on.

Do I have this right?


Is this the pathway?

Wall outlet powers controller -- controller powers it's own outlet -- timer is plugged into the controller's outlet -- solenoid is plugged into timer

??
No alarm function that freaks out. There are two plus for the controller. One that powers the unit- showing the pH on the screen, and the other plug is considered the controlled outlet. The controlled outlet is the one where the CO2 solenoid plugs into it.

After my CO2 is off for the day (it is a smart plug timer hooked into my Samsung Smart Things) the pH in the tank will rise. The controller will send the signal to the controlled outlet to send power and open the solenoid valve, however, the smart plus is in the way and off, stopping the solenoid from opening. So basically all night the controller is trying to turn CO2 on, but cannot because of my smart outlet.

No fuss or alarms. Works fantastic for me- wouldn't have it any other way.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
@Grobbins48 @PlantedRich

So the Milwaukee doesn't have any alarm function that freaks out when:

Lights turn off for the day.
pH begins to read high.
Controller sends power to outlet with timer plugged into it.
Outlet timer does not allow solenoid to turn on.
Controller 'allows' pH to rise without any fuss until outlet timer allows solenoid to open just before the lights come back on.

Do I have this right?


Is this the pathway?

Wall outlet powers controller -- controller powers it's own outlet -- timer is plugged into the controller's outlet -- solenoid is plugged into timer

??
Yes---Almost! Very straightforward operation with limited other items/functions. There are no alarms as it is assumed(??) that the controller will simply turn on and more CO2 flow to keep the PH at the specific level. Of course we all have to admit that assuming can be dangerous! There are things that can go wrong and the controller won't alarm to tell us. Things like the tubing falling off somewhere is not part of the controller function but they can still happen, controler or not!
Otherwise, it is very much an outlet controlled by the controller looking at PH reported by a probe you place in the tank. On thinking further, one can't plug a timer into the controller as that would cut the power to the timer when controller reached correct PH! That leaves timer getting the wrong time and throws it all off. To use a timer and the controller, one would have to design some way to keep the power to the timer going, while the controller sets how much CO2 is added during the periods when the timer is on.
Had not used that combo and had not thought it through clearly. Sorry! Sometimes theory is easy and has to be tried first!
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Last edited by PlantedRich; 01-15-2020 at 03:40 PM. Reason: corrections
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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@Quagulator This vid shows it hooked up and goes on to explain the calibration and a bit of the functioning.

The controller has its own plug in power. And then it controls another plug that has to be plugged in as well either plugged in to a socket that is live all the time or plugged into a timer that is only live when you set it to be. As Grobbins explained when plugged into a timer the controller is on all the time and will function how set and call for co2. But co2 will only be delivered if the timer is on.

Hope this helps.

Seems the Milwaukee is the one to get from what I've researched so far.
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45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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Last edited by Squisher; 01-15-2020 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Correction
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
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Seems the Milwaukee is the one to get from what I've researched so far.
Mine has been great. The other one that many use is the american marine pinpoint ph controller. The different is that measures and controls pH down to .01 vs the .1 on the Milwaukee one. Cost is about $70 or so more, so decision is based on what you specifically want!

FYI- the standard prob that comes with the Milwaukee one is a horribly ugly yellow and blue. I still have and use it, but try my best to hide it!
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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@Grobbins yes I've noticed and read of the disappointing colour of the probe. I would certainly be looking to hiding it as well. For the price difference I think the Milwaukee one would suit my needs just fine. $70 for you is like $100 for me(cdn) and the Milwaukee is already pushing $200 with tax on Amazon up here.
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45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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Last edited by Squisher; 01-15-2020 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Spelling
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 01-15-2020, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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With a controller is there any concern with multiple on/off cycling of the co2 solenoid?

45g fluval bowfront tank, plant 2.0 light, 2 x 206 canister filters, 5lb co2 art pro se
10g quarantine tank

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