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initial setup

"Now for the questions.  I have not actually started with the C02 yet
but notice the PH rises to about 7.85 while the lights are on and
drops down to 7.6 when the lights are off (12 hours).  Remember this
tank is empty of plants and fish still. Is this normal or is my PH
meter acting up?  And if it isn't normal how do you know if the probe
needs replacing?"

Could be algae on the probe, I had a meter measuring wide swings, about
a full point,  in ph shortly after the lights went on, turned out to be
algae on the probe, probably absorbing the available co2 around it,
giving false readings for the rest of the tank. Cleaned the probe, the
problem went away and the ph swing is back to it's normal range.

Ed Hengel