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Saturday, 20 April 2013

Review: JBL CO2 Permanent Test

A quick review and a look at the JBL CO2 Permanent Test.

I purchased one of these to help keep an eye on the CO2 content in my aquarium, and has so far proven that it is utterly deficient in this area, so my battle continues.

I have had it installed throughout the first months worth of usage of the JBL ProFlora Bio 160 to ensure it wasn't over dosing the system, more on this to follow in another post.

There are several of these “devices” on the market and come in all shapes and sizes, notably the glass drop checkers that look like an inverted bulb with a flared end. I do also own one of these but found it to be a slight pain when replacing the regent every now and then.

So i picked up the JBL Permanent Test from my LFS…

1-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.12

In the box you find the following…

  • The in tank checker
  • Enough regent to last around 12 months (these can be bought separate when you run out)
  • ID stickers for quick visual checking
  • Instructions

2-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.56

It is a very simple thing to install…

First attach one of the scale stickers to the checker itself, you can choose between pH and CO2 saturation. I obviously chose the latter…

3-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.57

Next separate the two halves and fill the clear half with around 30drops of the supplied regent…

4-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.25

Next the two halves are reassembled, by putting the black part into the inverted clear part and then rotating it the correct way up, keeping the fluid in the front half, as there is a slot in the rear for the diffused CO2 to make its way in…

5-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.11

Then simply attach it to the inside of the glass where there is some reasonable flow.

6-JBL Constant CO2 pH Drop Checker.34

You need to give the regent around 24hours before it will start to indicate the CO2 content in the water.

There is an air gap separating the regent fluid (if your interested it is called bromothymol blue) and the aquarium water. CO2 will naturally diffuse out of the aquarium water over time, so the air gap will collect the diffused gas which will then mix with the indicator solution and then turn its colour.

I like the white background piece in this type of checker as it gives you a very clear colour. Glass bulb checkers don't have this and the colour can be off depending on the type and intensity of your lighting. So a nice touch from JBL.

Unfortunately for me its stayed dark blue for the last month, indicating my CO2 is barely budging into the acceptable levels. Of course as per the scale around 20mg/l is the ideal, and the point where the fluid will turn a green colour. On a positive note it does confirm the reasonably high pH level in my tank, confirmed by the Apex systems pH probe.

As a result i would say the Bio 160 system is not putting enough into my system and i really need to push now to get a pressurised system in there. I will do a follow up review of the Bio 160 very soon.

The two small suckers have done a good job of keeping the checker in its position, it hasn't made a bid for freedom despite being in a reasonable level of flow!

If you are interested, the regent (bromothymol blue) should not have any detrimental effect on the life in the tank should it somehow become released into the water. If it does happen, I'd run an elevated level of carbon and do a a good water change of 30-50% just to dilute it out and make any impact completely minimal.

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