33 Gallon Mr. Aqua Dry Start Method - First Planted Tank
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:47 AM   #1
VB SUP
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33 Gallon Mr. Aqua Dry Start Method - First Planted Tank


I haven't had a tank in over 20 years, wow have things changed. I recently set up a 12 gallon Fluvial Edge and got the planted tank bug. After much research I decided on a Mr. Aqua frameless 33 gallon. I'll do my best to capture the build but I'm as new to online journaling as I am to planted tanks. My first post helped me sort out getting the proper equipment and I was ready to fill it up and just go for it till I read about the dry start method (DSM) aka emersed start up.

Equipment:
Tank - Mr Aqua 33.6 frameless – availability and shipping costs drove the decision to go with this brand over other similar sized options
Stand – Custom made – When I bought my tank I had no clue how hard it would be to locate a stand with the correct dimensions. Orlando of GLA recommended getting one built locally which is working out for the best. I just don't have the time to build one so it's money well spent.
Filter – Eheim 1117 – I relied heavily on the input and postings of others on this site.
Substrate – GLA Natural Black Lava covered with UP Aqua Soil from GLA
Lighting – Ecoxotic 18” Panorama Pro LED Fixture with tank mount – I liked the modular design, integral dimmer, low heat output. I ordered from the company and they did a “custom” order for me so I go the light strips I wanted. Customer service there was top notch. Choosing the lighting was the most difficult purchase so far.

Flora:
Dwarf Hair Grass (Eleocharis Parvula) on the right side of the tank.
'Narrow Leaf' Micro Sword (Lilaeopsis Mauritana) on the left side of the tank
Mini Rose Moss (Blepharostoma Trichophyllum) on the slate wall.
Willow Moss (Fontinalis Hypnoids) on the Manzanita wood
Cryptocoryne Petchii for the back
This is as far as I've gotten. I'm sure I'm going to add more but my design has changed slightly after figuring out the placement of the Manzanita last night.
I'm going to redo the moss soon. It looked great initially but in my defense I may have been influenced by an adult beverage or two.
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Last edited by VB SUP; 07-20-2012 at 01:28 AM.. Reason: Wanted a more accurate title
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:41 AM   #2
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Very nice. Look forward to seeing this with water in it. Fingers crossed on the dry start up method!
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:45 AM   #3
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I have several components of a pressurized CO2 system bit it's not complete yet.

1. Any advice on where to get a good solenoid, one that doesn't get very hot.

2. The needle valve I have is a Swagelok SS-1RM4. Will it work for this application?

http://www.swagelok.com/search/find_...t=SS-1RM4-S4-A

3. I don't have a bubble counter. I like the simplicity of the JBJ but read about issues with them breaking. Is there something better out there or are these issues just isolated events?

I'm excited about getting the CO2 system working, there's no rush just yet. I still have several weeks till I'll add water. With luck my tank stand will be done this week so I can get my tank off the dinner table. I'll post pix when I get it.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:01 AM   #4
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This weekend I've doctored up the manzanita since I didn't do a very good job the first time. Good thing that gordonrichards sells such large portions. After reading about using CO2 for interior gardening being beneficial at up to 1500ppm I decided to try to include that with my Dry Start. Has anyone else tried this?

I'm short on components for my pressurized system at the time so I made my first DIY system using:

2 Cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon yeast

In less than an hour it was bubbling consistently. In addition to adding CO2 I'm giving the plants 14 hours of light a day. Any ideas on how better to optimize growth? Miracle grow maybe???
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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Nice setup so far. What do you plan on filling the "river" in with? Light sand?
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:59 AM   #6
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River or in my mind more of a creek was originally going to be a light colored sand but I'm afraid that keeping it clean will be a lot of work. A darker color may be less work, I'm up for suggestions. I've been thinking about siliconing a plastic divider to keep the Up Soil from sliding into the creek. The slate wall has tons of hiding places for shrimp and other little guys.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:30 AM   #7
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Did you know you could have used this:



Instead of this:



The only solenoids I know of that don't get warm are the miniature ones. All of the ones I can think of have 10-32 connections though. What's wrong with a Burkert?
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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I'm not sure what that part is that's in the picture. So far I've just been using spare parts I had laying around for my CO2 system. If that part's inexpensive I can pick one up. Having fewer parts on a compressed compressed gas system makes trouble shooting easier among other things.

I don't know anything about CO2 solenoids, I'm new to this hobby. I've read that some lesser quality solenoids get really hot and I wanted to make sure I avoided them. If the Burkert is the way to go where do you recommend purchasing one?

Thanks again for the feedback. I'm pretty excited about this tank so far.

Cheers,
Rob
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:00 AM   #9
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That black part is a paintball tank to 1/4npt fitting. As far as solenoids go , burkerts are among the best. There's a link where to get them in the how to build a regulator sticky in the equipment forum.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:17 AM   #10
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Does screwing the paintball tank onto that 1/4npt fitting depress the the plunger and pressurize the system?

I'll check out the sticky, there's so much info on here sometimes it's hard to find what you need. So easy to get sidetracked too.

Thanks again, I'll post what I end up doing. Hopefully it helps someone else out in the future.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:00 AM   #11
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Yes, it does open the pin valve when you screw in the tank. It just replaces the ASA valve you have there. I cam send you link of where to get it if you want. Seeing as how you have already got that part figured out, I guess it would just be an extra cost. Good luck with getting it all figured out
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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If you have a link to where I can find that part it would be great. I think it's going to be a better setup without the ASA valve. I read the info on regulator builds, lots of great info there but I have 2 questions not covered in there you may be able to easy answer.


1. The sticky equipment note thread describes bubble counters by stating:

“It's made of brass and plastic and has an integrated check valve. This check valve is prone to failing and I highly recommend using another check under it when installing. While this style of bubble counter is convenient for the user, I don't really recommend them. There's a lot less that can go wrong with a cheap glass in-line counter.”

Can you add a picture of the inline bubble counter that you recommend?



2. The flow coefficient of my SS-1RM4 needle valve

http://www.swagelok.com/downloads/we.../MS-01-164.pdf

is much greater that than the listed flow coefficient for the SS-SS4 series valve.

http://www.swagelok.com/downloads/we.../MS-01-164.pdf

In your experience it that difference so significant that I should buy a metering (needle) valve? Again, at this point I haven't invested any money on the CO2 system yet because I've was just using spare parts I happened to have on-hand.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:29 AM   #13
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I've seen my LFS Neptunes Aquatic sell this tank, http://www.neptuneaquatics.com/ - and I'm 99% positive they have a stand for it. They had one for my Mr Aqua 25g cube tank.

So if you've not yet built the stand, send them an email and see if they will ship one to you. I doubt they have it on their website but they're very helpful if you just send them an email. The stand for my 25g was unfinished so I had to stain and finish it, but easier than cutting wood and making it all yourself heh.

edit - saw that you're already having it built so look forward to seeing it gl!
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VB SUP View Post
If you have a link to where I can find that part it would be great. I think it's going to be a better setup without the ASA valve. I read the info on regulator builds, lots of great info there but I have 2 questions not covered in there you may be able to easy answer.


Can you add a picture of the inline bubble counter that you recommend?



The flow coefficient of my SS-1RM4 needle valve is much greater that than the listed flow coefficient for the SS-SS4 series valve.


In your experience it that difference so significant that I should buy a metering (needle) valve? Again, at this point I haven't invested any money on the CO2 system yet because I've was just using spare parts I happened to have on-hand.
They all pretty much look like this:



As for the needle valve, yes. There is a big difference between those two. The smaller the minimum cv rating is, the better the control will be. There are a couple of other things that play into that but the main thing is the minimum cv rating. The valve you already have will work. It would just barely be cracked open though and you won't have much control over your bubble count.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:47 AM   #15
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I should be able to pick up the stand NLT than Friday. The guy does great work and for less than 500 bucks it's well worth it. Especially since a proper finish is as much work as building the piece.
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