My Automatic Fert Doser (No 56K)
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > Equipment


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-26-2007, 04:19 AM   #1
SuRje1976
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
SuRje1976's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bloomfield, NJ
Posts: 626
Send a message via AIM to SuRje1976 Send a message via MSN to SuRje1976 Send a message via Skype™ to SuRje1976
Default

My Automatic Fert Doser (No 56K)


Ok. I've been asked quite a few times to do this, but never really had the time to write it up. I've been using a dosing system that I set up for about 4 months now. I started using it on my 45G, and then moved it over to the ADA 120P.

The Equipment

It's pretty strightforward. I've got three reservoirs (using two 1000mL separatory funnels, and one 1000mL volumetric flask). I've got a magnetic stirrer to create a "slurry" of Seachem Equilibrium for which the amount I need is not soluble in 1L of water. Three peristaltic pumps deliver the stuff into a "port" on one of the filters' outflow, and into the tank.

So, I'll start with the separatory funnel setup. There are two of them, and this is what they look like:




The funnel is supported on a stand by a ring and a clamp. It's outlet is attached to 3/8" ID Tygon Lab tubing, which is reduced by a series of adapters to 1/8" ID Tygon (same size as standard airline tubing). This connects to the pump.


The setup for the Equilibrium looks like this:




It's a volumetric flask, sitting on a magnetic stirrer. A double bored stopper caps it. Through one of the holes, is 1/8" ID Tygon Lab tubing, the other hole is there to equalize pressure (so the flask does't implode). The tubing connects to a pump.


This is what the whole setup looks like:




It sits in the center of the stand, and the output to each pump connects via 1/4" RO tubing to a check valve which leads (via a series of Y's) into the entry port:








Everything is powered and on an individual X10 timer:





Setting it up to work

Once everything is connected, I need to fill the reservoirs. The micros are pretty simple. The reservoir is basically just filled with a micro solution. I may or may not add iron. To calculate how much KNO3 and KH2PO4 I need (I don't use K2SO4 because I get plenty of K from the Equilibrium), first I need to know how long I want the funnel to last. I'll use 28 days for this example, because I just set it up that way, but once the ADA tank has "stabilized," the macros will be prepared to last 100 days.

Until I can calculate uptake, I'll be dosing EI(ish).

KNO3

1/2 tsp = 2.8g
2.8g x 3(x/week) x 4(weeks) = 33.6g

So, into a spare 1000mL volumetric flask goes 33.6g KNO3



KH2PO4

1/8 tsp = 0.6g
0.6g x 3(x/week) x 4(weeks) = 7.2g

Into the same flask goes 7.2g of KH2PO4


The flask is then filled to the mark (1000mL) with RO/DI water:




And then placed on the magnetic stirrer, and run until dissolved:






Because of solubility issues, Equlibrium is dosed via the flask/stirrer setup, and not more than 30 days worth can be practically prepared at one time. But basically, 45g of Equilibrium is ground in a mortar & pestle and go into the flask, which is then filled with RO/DI water to the mark (1000mL). This goes on the stirrer, which kicks on 2 minutes before the pump begins to draw 30mL of the slurry and feed it into the tank.



Calibration

Now, when I was using this system on the 45G, the pump outputs were feeding directly into the tank, over the top edge. It was easy to calibrate - I just timed how long each pump took to produce 10mL of product into a graduated cylinder, and used that flow rate to set up the timers.

NOW, the pumps are feeding INLINE, and against the back pressure produced by the filter and the weight of the water in the tank above. I could not calculate flow rates the same way I had previously because the output winds up in the flow of water from the filter. This is what I came up with:




It may be a bit difficult to see it from the picture, but I took a 10mL Class A Mohr Pipette, and attached it to the pumps' input. I was then able to calculate how long it would take for the pumps to PULL 10mL of solution (this 10mL obviously ultimately winds up in the tank).



Dosing


Now, I've got my solutions in place and my pumps calibrated. Both the micro and macro pump deliver at a rate of almost exactly 2mL/min. Micros are easy, the timer that runs them will turn on for exactly 5 minutes (which doses 10mL) three times per week.

Macros are just a bit trickier. I've got (according to our calculations above) 4 weeks worth of product, to be dosed at 3 x/week. So I've got 12 doses in there.

1000mL / 12 doses = 83.33mL/dose
Pump outputs 2mL/min

Pump needs to run for 41 minutes and 40 seconds, 3 x/week (for this month - like I said earlier, this will change).


Side Notes

I do not have my Auto-Water Changer hooked into this tank yet. The drain line is still plumbed into the filter running my 45G. This filter will actually be moved to the ADA tank to serve as a second filter once all of the fish are moved over. The 45 is being torn down completely. Once this happens, I will not be doing the 50% weekly water changes, but the system will run 10% daily. Dosing will change then as well. Micros and Macros will be dosed daily based on uptake and the water changes.

I am NOT currently dosing Equilibrium on the ADA tank. When I start, I'll be concerned about the fact that the slurry is gritty. If this grit causes the check valve to fail, I will need to think of something else, or the tank will back up into the flask, then onto my floor! This was not something I had to worry about on the 45, because like I said, the pump output just dripped into the tank, it wasn't plumbed inline I'm thinking of putting a second check valve on each input line just for redundancy (will need to re-calibrate the pumps).

If I have any issues with the system, I will report them here!

If anyone has any comments/suggestions/questions, I'd love to hear them!
SuRje1976 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-26-2007, 04:33 AM   #2
intermision
Planted Member
 
intermision's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 160
Default

Simply amazing. I wish I could affoard to do stuff like this.
intermision is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2007, 05:47 AM   #3
Betowess
Planted Tank Guru
 
Betowess's Avatar
 
PTrader: (27/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Skagit County, Washington State
Posts: 3,199
Default

Smile, chuckle, smile... Sergio takes the cake!
__________________




Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
Betowess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2007, 12:28 PM   #4
tazcrash69
Planted Tank Guru
 
tazcrash69's Avatar
 
PTrader: (22/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Hawthorne, NJ
Posts: 3,207
Default

LOL, I think Sergio's next project involves a lightning storm, a hunchback assistant, and a 7' tall cadaver.



thanks for blazing the trails Sergio.
__________________
Walter
Visit my 125 profile and gallery or my 5 gallon low-tech. Proud member of:


--May the floor under your tank always be dry, and your glass clear!!!
tazcrash69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2007, 12:31 PM   #5
kzr750r1
Wannabe Guru
 
kzr750r1's Avatar
 
PTrader: (9/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tracy, CA
Posts: 1,234
Default

Sergio, Thanks for this post.

The only item I see worth confirmation is pushing the solutions through one of the check valves, just to be sure. I notice on the calibration photo the other end of the pump is open. Not really how your using it any longer as stated. I would assume a bit more resistance with check valve. Haven't used one of these pumps yet so not able to confirm over here.

You have raised the bar beyond the use of ADA products.
__________________
~Sean
55g - Eheim 2026 and 2217 - DIY CO2 reactor - Turbo Twist 3x - Tek Light t5 pendant w/ 2x54 6500k - ecocomplete mixed with Red Sea florabase.
"Better to be shot out of a cannon then squeezed through a tube" - HST
kzr750r1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2007, 03:38 AM   #6
SuRje1976
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
SuRje1976's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bloomfield, NJ
Posts: 626
Send a message via AIM to SuRje1976 Send a message via MSN to SuRje1976 Send a message via Skype™ to SuRje1976
Default

Thanks everyone! The system itself is really nothing new. The inspiration came from threads by some guys on this forum, like Bill Harada and Steve Colley. I originally built the system to be displayed on the wall above the tank, which is why the equipment is so overboard, but a lot of it is absolutley unnecessary overkill!

kzr750r1 - the actual calibration took place with an ouput hose from the pump feeding through the check valve, and directly into the tank - exactly as a normal dosing would take place. The picture is just to show the pipette used. Sorry for the confusion!
SuRje1976 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2007, 05:01 AM   #7
boink
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (67/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 674
Default

Hey Sergio,

As per your PM ill post here. Well i guessi should put up some tank specs:
75 Gallon
ADA Aquasoil
4x54 Tek T5 on 9 hrs a day
CO2
EI dosing
2 2215 with 12mm/16 mm id/od

The reason i wanted to plumb it to the intake was i wanted to minimize back pressure from the water. I assumed the pump would not fail and let the reservoir of ferts empty out due to negative pressure. I want to setup the pumps so they plumb into my filters via a reducing tee, 1/8 x 1/2 x 1/2, but it seems they arent being sold. So i will custom make them it seems.

I would like to set up 3 peristaltic pumps: 1 for macro, 1 for micro and 1 for excel. I was going to get teh 3 RPM pump with 3 mm ID tubing. I will be dosing daily, so depending on the molarity of my solution i will adjust the timing accordingly. I want to dose very slowly over a longer period of time to make it more accurate. Not sure on the timers, i wanted to go with a digital one, but i have not researched that yet.
boink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2007, 03:22 PM   #8
dipan
Planted Member
 
dipan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 189
Default

Sergio, are the cone shaped flasks vented? I see glass stopcocks on the top of them. That could be a problem if not vented with a resulting vacuum and decreased dosing over time because of a decrease in input pressure to the peristaltic pump, no? I have done a similar (way less cool looking) setup with simple polyethylene bottles (1000mL) and decided to drill a tiny 1/16" hole in the caps for venting and to allow influx of air as the volume of solution is depleted. I also used some neat barbed dripless quick connects from usplastics. They allow me to disconnect and refill the bottles without a drop spilled. Only a tiny amount of air is introduced into the tubing when reconnecting. That might be a worthy addition, unless you plan to use a separate 1000mL flask for mixup duties, which would also work ...

Way cool setup, though. Love the lab looks. Maybe you could put a glass window on one of the doors of the cabinet, just to show it off? And a blue light in there to fully pimp it out? Hehe ...
dipan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2007, 04:28 PM   #9
TigerLilly
Planted Member
 
TigerLilly's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: michigan
Posts: 226
Default

I can just see a little man with glasses and a white lab coat running around a laboratory frantically mixing chemicals while muttering to him self hushed whispers of dosing formulas and equations.
TigerLilly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2007, 05:41 PM   #10
boink
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (67/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 674
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by dipan View Post
Sergio, are the cone shaped flasks vented? I see glass stopcocks on the top of them. That could be a problem if not vented with a resulting vacuum and decreased dosing over time because of a decrease in input pressure to the peristaltic pump, no? I have done a similar (way less cool looking) setup with simple polyethylene bottles (1000mL) and decided to drill a tiny 1/16" hole in the caps for venting and to allow influx of air as the volume of solution is depleted. I also used some neat barbed dripless quick connects from usplastics. They allow me to disconnect and refill the bottles without a drop spilled. Only a tiny amount of air is introduced into the tubing when reconnecting. That might be a worthy addition, unless you plan to use a separate 1000mL flask for mixup duties, which would also work ...

Way cool setup, though. Love the lab looks. Maybe you could put a glass window on one of the doors of the cabinet, just to show it off? And a blue light in there to fully pimp it out? Hehe ...
do you have a link for the connections you used and what ID tubing you used with the peristaltic?

thanks
boink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2007, 05:47 PM   #11
boink
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (67/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 674
Default

Also, for those of you with APT pumps, what size tubing and RPM did you choose and why?
boink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2007, 01:49 AM   #12
dipan
Planted Member
 
dipan's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 189
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by boink View Post
do you have a link for the connections you used and what ID tubing you used with the peristaltic?

thanks
I haven't taken any pics yet as it's been in service for four days. Basically I've got an input manifold like Sergio's with three 1/4" JG tee fittings combined to give me a four to one manifold. Each has a JG 1/4" check valve. This is plumbed to the intake side of the filter apparatus. I'm using two APT Instruments SP100 / DC 12 volt / 10rpm / 3mm / Norprene tubing. linky. Tygon R3603 tubing everywhere. I've used the 1/8" tubing in most places with a short 1/4" section to adapt to the JG fitting via a JG 1/4" to 1/4" barb adapter. 1/8" Tygon from peristaltic to 1/8" to 1/4" adapter to short 1/4" tube to 1/4" JG barb to stem adapter to 1/4" JG check valve.

I decided on DC because it is flow adjustable (use a different voltage transformer) and because it was low voltage. Water hitting it's open case will not cause an electrical hazard. I should probably house it or have gotten the encased version, but that would have been more expensive and real estate under the tank is getting short with all these gizmos. My journal has some pics of the setup, excluding the auto fert system at the time of those photos ... linky
dipan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2007, 10:32 PM   #13
boink
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (67/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 674
Default

i think what i will do is find an ac pump with as close to 1ml/min flowrate with 3mm tubing as i can. That way making dosing solutions and setting up timers is easy to do
boink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2007, 11:34 PM   #14
tpl*co
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 594
Default

Ahhh, a fellow chemist in our midst (haven't seen equipment like that since the lab) .

Yes definitely need some way to release back pressure or else those corks will pop! .

Wouldn't a burette work better than a pipette? (or have a burrette deliver things?)

Tina
tpl*co is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2007, 03:20 AM   #15
kkentert
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 137
Default

YOU ARE A CRAZY PERSON!!!!!!
I love it!!!!!
Awesome post...
kkentert is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 04:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012