02-25-2013, 07:19 PM
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no a bubble counter and drop checker are two separate things. If you google or ebay CO2 drop checker it will tell you exactly what it is. Measuring CO2 using a GH and KH chart is an old and inaccurate method. A drop checker is glass or plastic and typically sticks to the side of the aquarium. It holds a small amount of water that is separated from the tank by a air pocket. The water used in a drop checker is 4dKH water you can either buy or mix up yourself using RO water and baking soda. To this you add 2-3 drops of pH reagent. The purpose of the drop checker is to indicate CO2 levels. It uses the 4dKH solution as a standard solution for accuracy. With the drop checker the solution inside it will turn green at about 30ppm and this indicates proper CO2 levels. The CO2 you inject into the tank will saturate the air and water in the drop checker in the same amount. The CO2 as we know causes a pH drop, which in turn is monitored by the pH reagent. If it goes too high it turns yellow, when its low it is blue.
Its been years since I have looked at a CO2 chart, so I do kinda forget the flaw behind them. I believe its just the method they use to attempt to calculate CO2 isn't very accurate. They allow for far too many anomalies. Such as if you have driftwood, it will lower pH slightly. Using a CO2 chart your suddenly assuming that all pH and KH change is due to CO2, which its typically not... If you are dosing any fertilizers that effect KH then they become really useless. With a drop checker the only pH change it picks up is from CO2 and the standard 4dKH water they use assures the color change is correct for the proper PPM of CO2.
As far as glassware for CO2 systems go I usually order mine off ebay from china or Malaysia as they are much cheaper, just takes at least 10 days to get them.