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The drop checker contains a fluid that responds to changes in pH. The CO2 in the tank is exchanged with the gas in the bubble above that fluid and eventually is exchanged with the drop checker fluid as well. Over time equilibrium is obtained between the concentration of CO2 in the tank and drop checker fluid.

The resulting concentration of CO2 in the drop checker fluid affects the pH of that fluid and it responds with color change.

The advantage of this approach is that no other contaminants of the tank water influence the pH indication of the drop checker fluid.

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