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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got myself a new drop checker. One less thing in the tank! I hope it's accurate. One issue is that the smaller surface area might cause this to change color a lot slower than a regular drop checker. But I already know my levels, so I don't need a reading every day. If anyone has used one of these before, pls let me know what you've thought of it so far. Thanks!





 

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Don't you get lots of condensation in those when there is a large temperature differential between temps inside and outside the tank?

I have no experience with these but I would think there would be a bigger condensation issue with the tank itself. The drop checker water should be somewhere between room temp and tank temp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Nordic @Kubla The room and tank temp are both 78 F, but I actually did notice a bit of condensation within the drop checker this morning. I guess I'll keep an eye on this and report any flaws w/ this little thing. One thing I'm happy about is not having a huge drop checker in my tank. (Huge because this tank is < 10 gallons.)
 

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I just don't get why people always slap the thing straight in the middle of the sides, if I were to bother with one, I'd stick it in a corner in the back somewhere, where I can see it if I look for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just don't get why people always slap the thing straight in the middle of the sides, if I were to bother with one, I'd stick it in a corner in the back somewhere, where I can see it if I look for it.
That works for a bigger tank where you can pretty much put things anywhere you please. For a nano tank, it blocks plants and light towards the back, so the middle of the side is the only choice (depending on your scape). Room is very limited and valuable in a nano.

Some people who have big tanks and put them in the middle of the sides prob either like the look or don't want to have to look too hard for it. Most of the time though, you don't need a daily reading once you have your levels set.
 

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There is also the thought that you do want to get the best answer as to how much CO2 is in the whole tank rather than in one corner. IF there is a circulation problem, it may be more pronounced in corners.
When using drop checkers, I also found them to be ugly and a distraction. My solution was to cut a notch in the back side of wood so that the "intake" of the counter was about all that showed. I felt I could then put the counter where I wanted but still have it mostly hidden until I stuck my head around the backside to look.
 

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I see a bit like a smoke detector then... you also don't put those in corners.
Yes. I had not thought of it but I see water flow in our tanks as being close to air flow in rooms. My actual reasoning went more in line with the larger amount of plants being in the middle so I wanted the best reading to be where they were as well.
But then it may not be all that critical as our plants are different from plant to plant so getting everybody the same may be much wasted effort at best.
 

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I though you were supposed to put checkers towards the bottom of the tank as c02 rises. Putting it at the bottom confirms you have enough c02 at say the level of you carpet. I have mine about an inch above the substrate. Am I misinformed?
 

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I though you were supposed to put checkers towards the bottom of the tank as c02 rises. Putting it at the bottom confirms you have enough c02 at say the level of you carpet. I have mine about an inch above the substrate. Am I misinformed?
CO2 dissolved in the water doesn't rise, but the constant loss of CO2 from the water surface will set up a gradient in CO2 concentration from bottom to top. I have no idea what the gradient will look like - it may be only in the top half inch of water, or a continuous drop in concentration from bottom to top, or a large gradient at the top with the slope of the gradient approaching zero towards the bottom. And, the difference, from top to bottom, may be very small. It would take a lot of testing and attempting to calculate the theoretical gradient to be sure. My opinion is that, because we can't measure the ppm of CO2 very accurately anyway, we might as well put the drop checker where ever it is convenient for us.

Theoretically, if the drop checker bulb is outside the tank, and is cooler than the tank water, there will be distillation taking place and the water level in the bulb will rise, dropping the KH of the test liquid as it rises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Theoretically, if the drop checker bulb is outside the tank, and is cooler than the tank water, there will be distillation taking place and the water level in the bulb will rise, dropping the KH of the test liquid as it rises.
So water from the tank will evaporate into the drop checker and then condense back into the drop checker chamber?
 

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I have both this on the left side of the tank and one large GLA checker inside to the right of the tank. So far I dont see any condensation with the hanging checker and there is a noticeable difference with the hanging checker which slower to turn green but by about 10mins. This could be because my inflow is pointing at the large checker and the flow have to cycle back around to the hanging checker.
 

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That's where worry about theory can take a lot of the fun out of the hobby. IN Theory, things can happen lots of times but for our practical use, it doesn't matter all that much. As Hoppy noted, it isn't all that precise to begin with so I just look at the drop checker as another guide, not the final report.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·


Well, it seems to be proven now. There's definitely some condensation in there. This looks to be evaporation from the solution itself. But once it condenses, it'll go back to the chamber, right? But as @PlantedRich said, drop checkers aren't 100% reliable and should just be used as an approximation. In any case, I'm glad to have less in the tank. Could the solution evaporate entirely at some point?
 

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Well, I take the point that it might not matter that much, but we don't know how much it matters until we test for it... No need to introduce error when you can control for it, nature alone will produce enough randomness. Then again, maybe my scientific background conditioned my thinking in this manner :D

Before I jump in with my thought process, ....

@bereninga you could try to attach a piece of tubing that goes all the way to near the substrate without changing anything else in your aquarium. This will give you the chance to measure the level at the bottom of the aquarium, granted the response delay may be even greater.

I like the idea of having it outside as the water coloration/light reflections from plants does not affect your reading. You could even isolate the checker in a whitebox, with controlled light and a camera with WB on manual, compare the hexadecimal codes ... in this way you would get even more granularity of the relative level of CO2.

I suspect the same process described by Hoppy takes place at a lower pace for in-tank drop checker which leads to increased sensitivity or 'yellowing' over time, even though a new liquid will produce lime green. This assumes(wrongly) that evaporated aquarium water has 0 KH, thus the KH of the solution will become lower over time and the pH will change from a lesser amount of dissolved CO2.

As for the gradient, once you destroy the gradient or Matrix you should have no problems with CO2 levels :). Is CO2 conc. low at the bottom of the tank where you have a carpet of HC that uses all of it ? Is it low at the top where you have high water-air exchange ?

The issue here is that water( and the gas dissolved in it) is constantly moving in our aquariums, so no gradient should be discernable. However, most of us have many 'deadspots' where water current does not reach, such as behind a big rock or at the very bottom behind a heavy patch of plants. CO2 and other nutrients are limited in those areas, which leads to plant melting or slow growth. Once I identify such deadspots, that is the place to put your drop checker.

Lastly, all the tests we have do nothing to protect our fish and shrimps. If you decide to increase the CO2, watch how they react.
 

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This assumes(wrongly) that evaporated aquarium water has 0 KH, ....
Why does water evaporated from the aquarium have a KH above zero? It would be distilled, so the mineral content of the aquarium water should not be in the evaporated water.

The photo of that drop checker by bereninga should be showing evaporated water from the aquarium. Only if the water in the drop checker was above room temperature when it was first put in the aquarium should any condensate from the drop checker fluid show up there. Otherwise the fluid and the glass bulb would be at the same temperature so no condensation would occur. (However, if the room temperature drops significantly there might be condensation of drop checker fluid, so in that case it could be the source.)
 
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