The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think my drop checker is useless. This is my first time having one and the color never changes. I believe it is due to the fact my ph is already low, around 6.5. Am I doing something wrong?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
Are you using tank water or 4 dKh water? You have to use the later in order for it to be accurate. It also lags by an hour or so. You may also not be injecting enough CO2 for the color change.

Ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Are you using tank water or 4 dKh water? You have to use the later in order for it to be accurate. It also lags by an hour or so. You may also not be injecting enough CO2 for the color change.

Ben
Yes I'm using the 4dkh fluid. Co2 has been off for 12 hours now and the drop check is yellow. Should I try and change the fluid?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
It should not be a problem with the fluid if you are still seeing the color. Have you tried checking the pH of your water when the CO2 is off and when it is on. If you are getting CO2 into the tank, you will see a drop in the pH. If you are getting a drop by measuring the pH and the drop checker is not changing, then the drop checker is not effectively working and you can look into reasons for that.

The first thing I would do is check for the pH drop before trouble shooting the drop checker.

Ben
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It should not be a problem with the fluid if you are still seeing the color. Have you tried checking the pH of your water when the CO2 is off and when it is on. If you are getting CO2 into the tank, you will see a drop in the pH. If you are getting a drop by measuring the pH and the drop checker is not changing, then the drop checker is not effectively working and you can look into reasons for that.

The first thing I would do is check for the pH drop before trouble shooting the drop checker.

Ben
Ok, I'll check ph now and again later after the co2 has turned on and report back.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
Also, it is very helpful to start the CO2 about an hour prior to the lights coming on (and turn off an hour before the lights) so you get effective levels for the plants once the photoperiod starts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,806 Posts
Yes I'm using the 4dkh fluid. Co2 has been off for 12 hours now and the drop check is yellow. Should I try and change the fluid?
If the drop checker is yellow, that would indicate a very high level of co2.

I would change the fluid. It should be blue after you mix it. If it turns from blue to yellow, I would say it is working.

Like others said, might be good to measure ph on some degassed tank water vs. co2 injected water. The ph drop should help determine about where you are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If the drop checker is yellow, that would indicate a very high level of co2.

I would change the fluid. It should be blue after you mix it. If it turns from blue to yellow, I would say it is working.

Like others said, might be good to measure ph on some degassed tank water vs. co2 injected water. The ph drop should help determine about where you are.
I jad a second drop checker due to Amazon sending one without fluid. I added the second one 5 hours ago. It is blue and has not changed color. Tap water ph is 6.0, when I tested earlier before the co2 came on it was 7.6(not sure why it's rising). Tested just now and the ph is around 6.6.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
What is your KH ?

So the color of the drop checker is yellow when CO2 is off and blue when CO2 is on ? Are you sure it is not the other way around ?

To get the accurate, degassed pH of the aquarium you will need to get a sample of the aquarium water and leave it for 24h.

Keep in mind, the first time you put the drop checker in the water after it was exposed to air it will take longer for the color to change. The rest of the time it would have a lag of 1-2hours.

The pH of the tap water might be lower because it has higher CO2 than your aqurium or something in the aquarium increases the pH, either way I would not worry about a specific pH. It is the combination of the pH-KH that gives a hint of the level of CO2. The drop checker adds a second level of control in case your KH/pH measurement was otherwise influenced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What is your KH ?

So the color of the drop checker is yellow when CO2 is off and blue when CO2 is on ? Are you sure it is not the other way around ?

To get the accurate, degassed pH of the aquarium you will need to get a sample of the aquarium water and leave it for 24h.

Keep in mind, the first time you put the drop checker in the water after it was exposed to air it will take longer for the color to change. The rest of the time it would have a lag of 1-2hours.
No it's yellow at all times and the KH is 4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
I added the second one 5 hours ago. It is blue and has not changed color. Tap water ph is 6.0, when I tested earlier before the co2 came on it was 7.6(not sure why it's rising). Tested just now and the ph is around 6.6.
No it's yellow at all times and the KH is 4.
Previously you said it is blue and did not change color.

Just to be clear, the KH of the aquarium water is 4, yes ?

If you have a pH of 6.6 and KH of 4 you would be around 30ppm and the dropchecker should be green. Meaning that either you are underestimating the KH of the aquarium (unlikely) or the overestimating the pH (more likely) or something is wrong with the liquid/drop checker. What method are you using for measuring the pH.

If the liquid is yellow it means to much CO2. Try this:

take it out of the water, expose the liquid to air. What color does it turn and how fast ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Previously you said it is blue and did not change color.

Just to be clear, the KH of the aquarium water is 4, yes ?

If you have a pH of 6.6 and KH of 4 you would be around 30ppm and the dropchecker should be green. Meaning that either you are underestimating the KH of the aquarium (unlikely) or the overestimating the pH (more likely) or something is wrong with the liquid/drop checker. What method are you using for measuring the pH.

If the liquid is yellow it means to much CO2. Try this:

take it out of the water, expose the liquid to air. What color does it turn and how fast ?
Let be back track a bit. The original drop checker installed in the tank is yellow and never changes color. I checked it this morning and the co2 had been off for 10 hours and it was still yellow. I tested the water before the co2 came on earlier and the ph was 7.6 and I checked again about an hour ago and it was 6.6. The co2 had been running for about 4 hours during the second test.

I had a second drop checker here, so I installed one earlier before the co2 came on. That drop checker has remained remained a blue/green color and has been in there with co2 running for 6 hours.

Yes, the KH is 4 and was tested yesterday.

I have pulled the original drop checker(yellow one) and its been out for 5 minutes now with no change in color.

Is it possible I mixed the solution wrong? I filled the 4DKH fluid to the lined indicated on the checker and put in 5 drops of the co2 solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,273 Posts
It might need more than 5 minutes, more like 30min-1h. drop checkers react very slowly.

It might be that the drop checker was contaminated with residues. So wash them in RODI water and dry it, then remake the solution. When in air it should be blue, put it in a high CO2 water and it should turn green and then yellow. If this does not happen the solution was wrong. I mostly change the solution in the drop checker because it gets contaminated with aquarium water...

Based on the ph-KH chart you would want to add CO2 until you have a pH of 6.5 at KH 4. The drop checker would then turn a shade of green. Until you figure out what is happening with the solution of the drop checker you may want to base your CO2 values on the ph-KH values.

CO2/pH/KH table - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,806 Posts
I jad a second drop checker due to Amazon sending one without fluid. I added the second one 5 hours ago. It is blue and has not changed color. Tap water ph is 6.0, when I tested earlier before the co2 came on it was 7.6(not sure why it's rising). Tested just now and the ph is around 6.6.
Your tap water more than likely contains lots of co2. I would take some tap water, and leave it out for at least 24 hours, then check ph. It rises because eventually becomes degassed.

For instance, my tap water comes out at 6.85ph, and degassed is at 8.25ph.

Also are you testing with test kit or meter? A calibrated meter is more trustworthy than a test kit. I've done them side by side, and the test kit is really an educated guess, and can really vary depending on how you interpret the colors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
You are right about one thing. Drop checkers are useless. Invest a hundred bucks in a good pH monitor . I have a high tech heavy planted tank. I bought the best drop checker money could by. Needless to say , its in the trash now. They're always an hour or more behind. And if it's not placed right in your aquarium it will never read correct. It will keep you wandering and adjusting. Get a good pH monitor with good tank circulation is the answer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
For me, I use the drop checker as a quick and easy monitor. I have used it for so long that I know what/when things change color. If I see a difference one day, I can trouble shoot it.

I personally would only use a pH meter if I were trying to run my CO2 to the max OR if I used is as a safety to turn off the CO2 in a end of tank dump like situation.

From a minimalist point of view, any CO2 monitoring equipment is really not needed. I can watch my fish to determine if CO2 is too high and watch the plants to check for too little CO2. The equipment is only useful if I choose to act on what I am seeing (which I can do with visual inspection of the tank anyway).

If I had very expensive fish, I would have a pH controller as a fail safe to prevent death if I am not around to observe for CO2 toxicity.

This hobby can be as complicated as I want it to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I was kind of feeling like my drop Checker was useless too. Bought the Fluval checker. No mixture to it, just at the solution that comes with it basically has stayed blue no matter what I've done
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
I wouldn't describe them as useless. You just have to understand how they work and understand their limitations.
Ben
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,866 Posts
I think useless is close to accurate. Try and count how many posts comment on issues that clearly are co2 related but state how that can't be because their drop checker has the right color. But, others will disagree.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
606 Posts
Definitely different strokes for different folks.

Ben
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top