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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. the solenoid-controlled CO2 regulator is only on for 8 hours per day
2. there are no PH sensitive fish (e.g. discus?) in the tank

is there any reason to use a PH controller?

thank you very much for the replies :)
 

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I have a fully stocked (rainbows-tetras) tank which I just fully planted and added CO2. I don't have a PH controller. I have the CO2 on a timer.

My KH was low (1.6) and I've since got it up to 4.5 using baking soda. The higher the KH, the less likely having a large PH swing.

I use a drop checker to aid in the regulation of CO2. I don't see a need for the added cost of a PH controller. Some say a controller will prevent problems with "end-of-tank-dump". Others say this (the dump) is not a problem with a "good" needle valve (I have a Swagelok).

A controller IS another added safety device in a stocked tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One thing about a pH controller. The probes (~$50.00) have to be replaced about once a year. A drop checker and fresh fluid once in a while seems a better investment.
any reason for this? maybe they get dirty/corroded when submerged?

thank you
 

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In my opinion, there is really no need for a pH controller in your case. It would be a luxury item.

As smp mentioned, using a drop checker with a quality needle valve will ensure that CO2 levels don't go to extremes.
 

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any reason for this? maybe they get dirty/corroded when submerged?

thank you
I'm using American Marine controllers on three of my tanks and after about a year the probes start to register changes slower as the globes become contaminated with mineral deposits. When calibrating (checked every 4 months at my house) if a probe takes too long to settle when going between reference solutions I change it out.
 

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No, they're a useless and inaccurate expendature that will only lead to algae issues, a solenoid and drop checker are all you need, acids and other organic matter will build up tricking the probe, you'll under inject co2 and you'll get algae, there's a reason next to no one uses them in the uk hobby anymore and those that do are newbies who sadly got tricked by the shops or uninformed hobbyists and as such end up with algae and a large chunk of their money gone.
 

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garuf, I can agree with automated control not being necessary but you might want to include a timer with that solenoid or why install it?

Other than agreeing on being able to maintain a tank without it and being completely uninformed on whats done in the UK I disagree with nearly the entire post.

Auto dosing, top off systems, substrate heating, UV sterilizers and light timers aren't necessary for a successful system either just more convenient.


Added expense true but over time I've enjoyed having them on my tanks (easily affording the additional equipment) without the first algae issue that can be attributed to the controllers. Drop checkers are a must (IMO) regardless of system regulation type manual or automatic. Another point that rubbed was that acid can build up as a film on anything in the aquarium LOL. Actually the post rubbed as completely inaccurate regarding the equipment and a bit inflammatory, not what I'm accustomed to seeing on the site. (IMO)

I probably should have refrained from responding to this but if I error in my information conveyed on the forums its an honest mistake and if I don't have a helpful answer I usually keep to myself. Monitors/Controllers are not 'tricked' simply not properly maintained.
 

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I did imply to mention a timer with a solenoid.
Ph controllers have been regarded as a hangover from the dennerle and jbl systems that have now lost favour.
Don't get me started on substrate heating or all the ada penac w rubbish, snake oil r us.
I personally think light timers and co2 timers are vital, they're much more acurate than people and it's best to have stability, that's just my opinion though.

Here are some threads that much more ellequantly explain why I don't think they're a good idea.

http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=3701&hilit=+controller
http://ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=6718&p=76020&hilit=+controller#p76020

I do think they can be used effectively but I also think that for most peoples purposes they're rudundent, a good deal because of ignorance of proper use, you have to have lots of experience behind you to make the best use of them.
 

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Was this post meant to gain more members on the ukaps.org forum? No one can read it without being a member? LOL

I have to agree with wkndracer's post. It's an automation tool, use or don't, personel preference.

BTW I just bought one because I want more accurate PH readings and like the safety shutoff it brings. Calibration is no big deal to me. I like more control not less. That's a personel preferrence.
 

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hmm, no it wasn't, you used to be able to read without being a member.
The main issue is with a ph controller you don't actually have more control, they're swayed by elements within the tank where as a drop checker isn't. Fish waste, rotting matter, calciferous stone, tannins. They'll all change the readings, even within the space of a day.
 

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The reason I say "at this time" is because it's necessary to get a better understanding of CO2. It's not impossible to use the controller, only that the CO2/KH/pH relationship that the controller tries to use is broken in tank water, and adjustments need to be made. Other acids affect the reading and the result is a surge of gas then a curtailment. This cyclic behaviour of CO2 injection causes concentration level instability which gives rise to some forms of algae. It's better to learn how to inject gas in a stable manner before using the controlling function of the meter. Neither fish nor plant care about pH stability, and pH stability comes at the cost of CO2 stability which you clearly can see affects fish and plants alike.

Cheers,
The pH/KH/CO2 relationship in a tank is nonexistent. The reason for this is that there are other acids in the tank water which are not related to the Carbonic acid being produced by the CO2. Your pH controller has no idea where the pH reading is coming from and it cannot separate pH effects of the Carbonic acid from the effects of these other acids so in effect it is constantly reading a false high CO2 concentration level. You yourself reported that the dropchecker revealed that the CO2 level was lower than previously thought. This should have been an indication that the controller has no idea about CO2 levels because the one-and-only parameter it uses to determine CO2 levels is corrupt. The tank produces nitric acid, phosphoric acid and may other types of organic acids naturally and these acids destroy any fidelity of the pH reading. This is precisely why we use an uncontaminated sample of distilled water adjusted to a known KH value in the dropchecker - to isolate it from the tank water, so that it's pH reading can only be attributable to Carbonic acid and not other acids.

If you believe nothing else, believe that algae cannot be starved. Plants require about 1000X more nutrients than algae so there is no conceivable way of starving algae without first annihilating the plants.

Remember that not only does the CO2 concentration level have to be adequate, but the concentration levels must be stable as well. If the concentration level fluctuates too much this affects the plants ability to use the CO2 and algae is then induced. Stable pH has absolutely nothing to do with stable CO2. Your best bet is to forget about pH because neither plants nor fish care about pH or pH stability. Worry more about stable and adequate CO2 injection rates and good flow. This is why a simple ON/OFF schedule for the solenoid will work better for you. Pick an injection rate, turn the gas ON 2 hours before the lights go on and turn the gas OFF two hours before the lights go off. When lights go on dropchecker should be lime green or yellow (depending on your flow and distribution).

Simplify you life by forgetting about bogwood, forgetting about pH, forgetting about KH and just concentrate on making sure that you have a stable and decent injection rate while not gassing the fish.
There's a particularly massive one which layed out all the science with for and against but I can't find the things anywhere.
 

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A drop checker is always required in my mind and I would rather push a button on the controller to set (an arbitrary PH target which may not be 100% accurate due to calibration of the meter) than play with a needle valve and monitor the drop checker. The controller simplifies this and avoids constantly tinkering with the needle valve which I see many people making posts about drifting BPS due to low quality needle valve.

I see the controller as a tool. All the info you posted may be valid but it does not in any way prevent anyone from using a ph controller successfully to help manage CO2.
 

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any reason for this? maybe they get dirty/corroded when submerged?
thank you
The probe has a membrane that degrades or mineralizes over time.
If you were running a "high tech" set up with pH sensitive flora or fauna a probe and meter setup would make sense. It make a lot of sense for documenting scientific testing. It makes sense if you are a publishing writer. It would make sense if you were making a living selling what ever is growing in the tank the meter is on.

For most planted tank hobbyists our money would be much better spent on a quality needle valve.
 

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If you have the money, then buy the controller. If you don't, then don't.
It is definitely a luxury item. but one that makes a big difference.

I have an Aquacontroller Apex that I use to not only control everything on 2 planted tanks (a 75g and a 265g), I use it to do automated water changes, and also control the lighting in my house, my ro system, and a few other things via x10 from anywhere I can get internet access.

None of this is necessary for a successful tank, but is sure makes my life easier.
 

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We seem to hold this debate about every two months, and I doubt if any of us ever change our mind, but the debate is always interesting.

It isn't true that a controller can be set for a target pH and left alone to do the work for you. The reason is that as the plants grow the amount of CO2 needed will go up, requiring adjusting the target pH. As the water parameters change, such as with tannins, slowly dissolving carbonates, carbonate eating plants, etc. the pH will change independent from the ppm of CO2 in the water, so the target pH will have to change to keep the same amount of CO2 in the water. I think you have to accept that tweaking either the needle valve or the controller setting will always be desirable. You do get to choose which one you want to tweak though.
 

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We seem to hold this debate about every two months, and I doubt if any of us ever change our mind, but the debate is always interesting.

It isn't true that a controller can be set for a target pH and left alone to do the work for you. The reason is that as the plants grow the amount of CO2 needed will go up, requiring adjusting the target pH. As the water parameters change, such as with tannins, slowly dissolving carbonates, carbonate eating plants, etc. the pH will change independent from the ppm of CO2 in the water, so the target pH will have to change to keep the same amount of CO2 in the water. I think you have to accept that tweaking either the needle valve or the controller setting will always be desirable. You do get to choose which one you want to tweak though.
That's why I use my controller to control a ph swing of .5 to 1.0. The solenoid is on a timer. I use a drop checker as well and put it in different spots in the tank. I use the ph of the tank in the morning as a baseline to go from. I feel that the controller gets the tank to 30 ppm as quick as is safe and does not waste CO2. I have a sump and need to run a pretty high bubble rate so I feel it helps to do it safely.
 

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Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but trying to account for other acids in the tank led me here. And I have an idea: why not take a sample of tank water and aerate it or let it sit until it equilibrates (sp?) with the atmosphere and gasses out all the extra CO2 you've been adding. Then measure it's KH and pH. Go to the formulas or charts to figure out what it's pH *SHOULD* be at equilibrium of 3-4 ppm CO2 at it's measured KH. And note that difference with it's *ACTUAL* pH, giving you a real good idea of the effects the other acids in the tank are having on your water besides the carbonic acid. You could then dial your pH controller down by this difference to compensate for other acids in the tank, and confirm with your drop checker. For this to work it would assume your water is buffered only by carbonates and that the other acids in your tank are relatively stable.
 
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