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Old 06-02-2012, 04:02 AM   #16
Anhvu
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Originally Posted by CalmSeasQuest View Post
8,000K True Lumen Pro. At 23W with surface mounted emitters and without secondary optics, I'm hoping for decent spread and PAR ~80 on this tank.

$130 for the light, $45 for the power supply and $17 for the tank docking mounts.
I'm stuck between the 12K and 8k now. Please give us the review when you get it
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:40 AM   #17
CalmSeasQuest
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I'm stuck between the 12K and 8k now. Please give us the review when you get it
I had the same struggle - My background is Reefs and it's hard to accept 8,000K as an ideal - to my eye, the 12,000K+ blue looks much better but...

I know just enough to know I don't planted (yet) so I trust those that say 8000K is the color.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:43 AM   #18
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The Mr. Aqua stand turned out to be more work than anticipated. Virtually every piece needed work having gaps in many of the the board seams and finger joints that needed filling. I managed to get to get it filled, sanded, stained and 2 coats of Helmsman Spar Urathane applied.

The stand is finished in a wabi-sabi like style. The ebony finish appears aged or slightly distressed (which also hides some of the many flaws in the cabinet )

I'm hoping 2 coats of Helmsman will suffice so I can get it assembled and the tank placed tomorrow.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:35 AM   #19
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Hey Tom, did you test the light yet? Any pic for us?
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:29 PM   #20
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Hey Tom, did you test the light yet? Any pic for us?
I got the stand completed (finally.) The Mr. Aqua stand required so much finish work, I would have been far better off building one from scratch (not to mention the missing hardware.)

I only had a few moments, but I put the tank on the stand, grabbed a few quick photos and PAR measurements. I'm very pleased with the results. My guess at PAR was pretty close. If needed (largely depending on the aquascape) I can dim these to lower the PAR output. The quality of the light is better than I had expected.





I used an Apogee MQ-200...




These PAR measurements were taken in "open air". Based on my experience, they will differ little when measured with water in the tank. The fact that these lights use surface mounted emitters without any optics might provide different results through water - I'll remeasure once the tank is wet.

I had originally planned on setting this up as a peninsular, dividing the kitchen from the family room. I found that it's just to small and didn't provide balance to either room. Instead it's set up behind a couch on the opposite side of the room from the reef tanks.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #21
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A few updates...

Moved the the stand to the garage for a few days to allow it to "outgas" The fumes from the oil-based stain and Helmsman were still a bit much.

I don't like the way the black power cords are so noticeable on the TrueLumen Pro - especially since the fixture itself mostly disappears. I'm painting the the docking brackets white and ordered some vinyl stain to make all the exposed parts of the cords (above the black stand) white and hopefully less noticeable.

Decided on frosted glass (cling film) for the back of the tank

I've been thinking through the aquascaping (I guess it's "hardscape" in planted speak ) I might vary a bit from my interpretation of a traditional Iwagumi design. I really love many of the the Manzanita/Moss trees that I've seen created and would like to try one. I found an interesting piece of Manzanita shaped in a manner I think I can emulate a cliff-side, wind-swept Cypress...


I still have to research the best mosses/plants to use in the creation of the tree.

I also stumbled across some petrified wood tailings that I think might have a couple interesting uses. I'm hoping my DFS-100 (diamond blade band saw used in Fragging corals) will make quick work of these allowing me to create custom sizes/shapes....



At some point I have to start thinking about a planting plan. Likely HC for most of the foreground. I want to maintain some negative space, so, from what I have learned thus far, the challenge will be balancing enough plant mass to avoid algae against - the minimalist design I have in my minds-eye. I'm also trying to come up with a balance between my water options (horrible, tannin-laced well water and 0 TDS RO/DI) with a livestock plan and how I might be able to include a couple shrimp species.

I've decided to hold of integrating my Apex until I get some experience with the tank wet and see just what is needed or desired. I do have a couple extra Cole-Parmer peristaltic pumps that could easily be used to automate the top-off.

One other observation for anyone considering the the Mr Aqua stand - It has a very small interior with only ~7" usable depth. It will take some finagling just to get the 2215 and it's water lines in there.

Should be fun
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:56 PM   #22
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A few shots of the completed stand. The finish has a "tortured" look to it - Just image the resulting offspring if a black-lacquer baby grand piano mating with a wooden shipping pallet...

Yup, that pretty much describes it







The shelf has to be removed in order for the 2215 and 5# CO2 bottle to fit. While this is not a type of finish I would have normally chosen, somehow it seems appropriate for a Wabi-Sabi style cabinet. The shelf has to be removed in order for the 2215 and 5# CO2 bottle to fit. While this is not a type of finish I would have normally chosen, somehow it seems appropriate for a Wabi-Sabi style cabinet. The only somewhat disappointing part is that many hours or work went into creating this and it ends up looking like it was made from a left-over shipping crate
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:10 PM   #23
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Looks great! I really like the stain on the cabinet. I am also envious that you have a 12long I want one so bad. This is going to be an awesome build!
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:01 PM   #24
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Looks great! I really like the stain on the cabinet. I am also envious that you have a 12long I want one so bad. This is going to be an awesome build!
Thanks tenzero - I'll get used to it

I finished testing my water sources this morning. Still trying to decide my options. I was hoping that between my well water, RO-only water (for drinking and ice cubes) and zero TDS RO/DI (Reefs) I would have something close to what I needed for this tank. In looking at the results, I'm not so sure...

Water Parameters - API Liquid Tests

------Well----Sink RO----RO/DI (aged)
pH --7.6-----6----------6.4
Gh --< 1---< 1----------0
KH --20------2----------0
TDS 310-----21---------0

If I'm interpreting this correctly, it looks like my best option will be to buffer the RO/DI? I was hoping I'd have an out-of-the-tap option

I've been trying to come up with a shrimp plan, and after reviewing the individual species needs and pairing down what I like - Initially I thought I would target 7.2~7.4pH, 4~5KH, 6~8GH. It appears that would that will provide for the greatest options in shrimp species BUT - It appears that most plants including my intended hc carpet need lower pH levels. Am I better off targeting lower pH and going with CRS like values?

I'm hoping others can provide some advice and offer up recommendations as to specific products or processes. I think I'll try posting this in the water parameters section to see if I can get someone with more experience to assist in coming up with a plan
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:27 PM   #25
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That's a great looking cabinet you have there. I also like the petrifed wood. Can't wait to see this tank up.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:39 PM   #26
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Nice stand!
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:07 AM   #27
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That's a great looking cabinet you have there. I also like the petrifed wood. Can't wait to see this tank up.
Thanks, I received the petrified wood on yesterday and it's amazing. I'm really excited to see how what I have in my "minds eye" translates into this build.
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Nice stand!
Thanks - Initially I was less than pleased, but it's growing on me. One challenge is it will be a tight fit. I got the 2215, CO2 bottle with the AP Carbon Doser in the cabinet and I'm hoping to have space to install a top-off tank. It's going to be a tight fit. I also placed a thin piece of a dense foam yoga mat below the tank. It's probably not needed on a tank this small, but as I've used it on every other build - old habits die hard.

I made a bit of progress today. I managed to get the sections of the lighting power cords that will be exposed painted white. It really helps blend them into the background. They will also be further hidden by running them along the backside of the TrueLumen and down the back corners of the tank - they should all but disappear. I also applied the etching to the back of the tank. I'm very pleased...







Hopefully the ADA order will come in this week and I get started on the hardscape.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:56 AM   #28
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Another decision - I was leaning toward not bothering to incorporate my Apex controller on this tank but - as I've got a lot to learn about freshwater parameters and want to create an environment conducive for shrimp - I've decided to bite the bullet and add the Apex. I'll need to order a long Aquabus cable (basically just a long male/male USB cable) another EB8 and an PM1. That will provide 8 controllable circuits, temp and pH monitoring. It will also provide the piece of mind of having a fail-safe for the heater.

Now I just have to figure out how to hide the probes. I can probably bury the temp probe, but the pH probe will probably be seen At least it's a pretty shade of blue
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:53 AM   #29
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I love the tank. Great set up.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:14 PM   #30
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I love the tank. Great set up.
Thanks GV, I'm really enjoying this build thus far.

I thought some might enjoy this - Below is an excerpt of a post I wrote in one of my favored reefing forums. In it, I try to explain my first impressions (and how wrong they were) about planted and what I've learned thus far in the journey...


...I'll admit the planted learning curve is steeper than expected. I incorrectly had the expectation that for anyone successfully keeping Reefs, planted tanks would be relatively simple - Wrong. In marine we take a few things for granted namely water/nutrient levels. We have it relatively easy - just start with 0 TDS water and the salt mix and feeding the fish takes care of most else - maybe some 2-part or CA/Alk adjustments but they are easy to measure and control. In fact, we spend more time trying to remove nutrients form the water column. In planted, pH, Kh and Gh levels are often managed for specific species, as are various nutrients which cannot be easily measured/monitored and there are a thousand different ways to do so - EI, ADA, PPS, PPMD.. plus dozens of other dry and liquid dosing schemes AND the substrate is often another variable that has to be accounted for.

The use of technology in monitoring/controlling all of this appears to be less often used in FW/planted. This is perhaps due to the costs, but also that planted tanks can be very simple - heck often a heater is not even used. As most planted builds don't use sumps instead choosing canister filters finding a place for equipment (probes, heaters, ATO...) is another challenge. Lighting - for plants, 8,000K is about ideal, but not very much. Anything higher than about ~60PAR is considered high light. Perhaps the biggest dichotomy of all is CO2 - In reefing we work diligently to remove CO2 from the water column in an effort to support pH levels (degassing calcium reactor effluent, CO2 scrubbers...) In planted, you intentionally add TONS of CO2 as a carbon source for the plants and to suppress CO2 levels, bubbling the stuff directly into the water column, with many tanks running with pH levels of ~6.

Learning curve aside, there are some wonderful differences in planted and freshwater over marine tanks,

Cost - Virtually every facet of planted is significantly less expensive than maintaining a saltwater tank. Fish typcially range from $2-$10 with plants about the same. Many complain about the cost of ADA products (one of the preeminent brands in planted), but even those pale in comparison to the costs paid by reefers in virtually every way.

More relaxed and less Hype - The general feeling seems a bit more relaxed. No name games, "Limited edition" plants or the elevated pricing associated with it (I fully admit to being part of the name game having a Frag tank full of "gotta have" corals.) Because many get their start in FW, there are more kids involved in the hobby. It's refreshing seeing someone ponder or save up to purchase a $3 plant

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto....

I would wager that when many (perhaps most) reefers think of a planted tank - they picture an aquarium simply full of plants and perhaps a few guppies or tetras. I too largely had this image hearkening back to my youth and keeping freshwater fish. Let me show you how I see planted tanks now (1080P/full screen is best)...

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Here's an image that portrays the "style" that I'm striving to acheive...


So much of this is foreign to a long-time reefer, but I'll admit I'm enjoying every new challenge
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