My Wal-Mart tank...almost.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:43 PM   #1
Zorfox
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My Wal-Mart tank...almost.


I decided I wanted to setup a tank as cheap as possible and try to get everything at Wal-Mart. Everyone has one and lets face it they're cheap!

So here is a list of things from wal-mart

10g tank $13
Organic Miracle grow soil $8
HOB filter $20
Two clip type desk lamps $10 ea. ($20)
3 pack of 6500k CFL 20w/75w $5
Heater $10

$76 Dollars to Wally world.

I bought 15lbs. of FloraMax substrate from Petsmart. I just couldn't do the shiny pebble dance lol.

Grand total $86 for a rock solid low tech tank. Actually $76 but I got an extra desk lamp. I can finally use that crappy CO2 system for small tanks I bought; why? It was cheap! If I remember correctly $30 on sale. Anyway, now I have a high tech planted tank.

I sifted the whole bag of miracle grow soil and added it to the tank sloping up to the back. Added about 3/4 of the bag of floramax as a cap. Added enough RO to barley cover the substrate and planted. Attached the 'Windelov' java fern, java moss, and Microsorum pteropus to a piece of wood I had. Filled her up slowly with pure RO, attached all the hardware and whola!

As it sits today. Two days later, still cloudy. New dirt substrate go figure


Ammonia 0.50ppm
PH 6.6
Nitrates 6.0ppm
Nitrites 0.15ppm
CO2 40ppm
GH 3degrees or 53.7ppm
KH 4.8 degrees
Phosphate 4ppm




The lights wouldn't bend as much as I thought so I needed something else. I had some left over material from installing porch railings. So basically made a small rail for the lights to attach to.






It worked out pretty well. I had to add horizontal legs to balance the weight load of the lamps. The space behind the tank adds much needed storage. Albeit no background yet makes it a tad unsightly.







I intend on replacing many of these plants. I just put in what I had to compete with the upcoming algae bloom!

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Old 02-26-2013, 01:38 AM   #2
raulfd4
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Very cool concept. It really does look nice. Always cool to see what you can do on a budget. Impressive.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:50 AM   #3
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So it's been 5 days and there are a few things to report. The worst of which was I lost my pressurized CO2 this morning, but wait for the picks lol.

I've noticed a huge increase in phosphate. I've not been dosing any at all (only ferts this tank has had was one dose of KNO3 and one of a mixture of Plantex GSM +B and chelated FE). It seems the Miracle Grow organic is loaded. The last few tests are off my scale at 10ppm+ . I want to wait before I do a water change so the nitrogen cycle can finish. Ammonia and nitrate are the food for them why waste it.

Here is how it is today. Cloudier than usual. I just cleaned the fungal scum of the glass. Yes, I know I need to pickup a black background




The HC shows new growth but much has melted. No surprise of course.




Here is an image of the white slime I'm starting to see. I know it's normal but just knowing it will get worse before it gets better really sucks!




This is the BEST knews! As I said my crappy $30 disposable CO2 died this morning. I called around town to the paintball stores. The first guy had never heard of this setup. I am going there tommorrow. Said he had old parts certainly an on/off valve ($10) and full in date 20oz tank ($12). " may have some old regulator lying around we'll look when you get here". The other store I called has never heard of this either. "Come on in, we have alot of used stuff lying around". Long story short this image is what I made from there today. I got the aluminum valve, gauge, and two full tanks for $28! Of course the needle valve at Lowes cost me $8.48 lol.




Here are graphs of my water quality tests. Remember I added KNO3 and trace otherwise this is all pure R/O and substrate changes.






















That about it so far. It's only been 5 days after all lol
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:55 AM   #4
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This is great, I love the graphs. I'll be keeping an eye on your thread. I love cheap.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:00 AM   #5
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awesome concept and I'm diggin it!

Please do tell more about the CO2 setup. Those are old paintball gun regulators?
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raulfd4 View Post
Very cool concept. It really does look nice. Always cool to see what you can do on a budget. Impressive.
Thanks. I simply see no reason a basic setup needs to cost upwards of $300!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannaberooted View Post
This is great, I love the graphs. I'll be keeping an eye on your thread. I love cheap.
I like the graphs to. Thanks for the comment and yes I love cheap as well.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aether View Post
awesome concept and I'm digging it!
Thanks! I have Friends looking for jobs, degreed people working as waitress, live paycheck to paycheck you name it. People just don't have the beans to pour into a hobby. Why not? lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aether View Post
Please do tell more about the CO2 setup. Those are old paint ball gun regulators?
I'd love to. I picked up a valve and fully filled Oz. tank this morning for $20! Guess my 55g gets pressurized! These are images and explanations of those parts I bought this morning.

Below is a standard ASA on/off valve. This screws on top of your paint ball CO2 tank. Notice the two holes on the side? This is where CO2 exits at the tank PSI. This being the system's drawback to a regulator. The needle valve you use must be of high quality to meter so low at high pressures. However, I can obtain 1 drop per second with the valve I bought from Lowe's. That's pretty much the bottom end of my injection techniques.

One of the things that bother me about other examples of this are that pressure gauges should be added. They say one side for the needle valve and the other with a gauge. Paint ball tanks are liquid CO2. This means the pressure will remain essentially the same until the liquid runs out. When that happens the pressure falls quickly. To know how much is left, you need to measure the tank. Now you understand why they measure tanks sizes in ounces. Ignore the gauge! Instead use the other hole for another tank, bigger setup, or cap it.





This is the bottom of the valve. This screws onto your CO2 bottle. When the top knob is turned clockwise the silver pin compresses the CO2 bottle pin letting gas flow .






This is the valve disassembled. The silver pin at the bottom that has an 'O' ring. If your valve leaks from the knob replace this 'O' ring. To remove just unscrew the handle. Push the needle out of the bottom.






Valves and tanks screw together. Here is another place for the valve to leak. The 'O' ring on the tank should be free of defects. Just replace them frequently. A box costs $2 or so.






This is the needle valve from Lowe's. I like this one because the handle of the valve is parallel with the valve making it easier to turn.





Exact size and model number. The valve fitting is 1/8" and the tubing is 1/4".




Use teflon tape on the tank side of the valve. Don't forget to tighten the handle nut. They come loose and will blast gas out until tightened.





Now just attach your tubing to the valve and enjoy.

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Old 03-04-2013, 02:27 AM   #7
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The brown giant has come upon this setup! Three days ago 3/1/13 I noticed the beggining of brown algae. The water color has grown quite dark, tannin colored. It had grown so fast I had to make some changes. I raised my lights to 18" from the substrate. I will do a blackout if the algae does not subside. I added an old power head I had, way over rated for a 10g (160gph). At least it keeps the debris in the water column. Today I did a 95% water change using R/O. My CO2 is up around 80ppm tonight. No inhabitants. I just want to see if it makes an impact on algae without a blackout. So now for the ever important images.


This is the tank before I changed the water.



Here is an image of the algae on some java moss...




The algae on the HC...





Here is what it looks like after only a water change...




This is my HC after water change. Unfortunatley when I lost suction on the vacuum it uprooted some HC...






Now for the ever important water quality tests.....Remember I did a water change today 3/3/13






These phosphate tests have been off the chart! After a 95% water change they are still 9ppm! This miracle grow soil packs a puch.














That's about it for now. Thanks for looking!
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:58 AM   #8
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What kind of algae is that? It looks terrible! Anyways this is a really nice setup for so cheap! BTW I know it says no need to rinse on the FloraMax but you really do need to rinse it just a bit, helped a lot with clouding on my tank.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:08 AM   #9
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Rhizoclonium is a nasty algae to deal with. Adding additional water current (e.g. via a powerhead) seems to help. Otherwise your tank looks great!
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by assasin6547 View Post
What kind of algae is that? It looks terrible! Anyways this is a really nice setup for so cheap! BTW I know it says no need to rinse on the FloraMax but you really do need to rinse it just a bit, helped a lot with clouding on my tank.
As AzFishKid pointed out Rhizoclonium. I agree it does look terrible. I think it is more prone to water with ammonia and nitrite as well. No surprise to see it now.

I didn't read the FLoraMax suggestions. I rinsed it anyway. Last time I bought flourite I thought I would give up!






Quote:
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Rhizoclonium is a nasty algae to deal with. Adding additional water current (e.g. via a powerhead) seems to help. Otherwise your tank looks great!
Thanks for you comment. I think it has to deal with the cycle but who knows. The phosphates are unreal and no KH2PO4 added. It has to all be from the soil. Never the less I wonder if that is not a mitigating factor. The circulation is a bit much atm. I need to order a small one online. Everything around here was too large.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:20 PM   #11
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I not sure why my phosphates are off the scale. My only thought is that it is the soil. I wonder if high phosphates are one of the reasons I have such bad brown algae, btw I started a blackout yesterday. I also started adding 1ml of CO2 booster.

I'm afraid I am going to have to change the water again. I did a 95% two days ago. The water is stained and smells like a pond. I'm at a loss at this point any ideas?














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Old 03-05-2013, 10:07 PM   #12
Brian Mc
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Did you use the potting soil or the potting mix? Love the setup, nice job.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #13
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Did you use the potting soil or the potting mix? Love the setup, nice job.
Thanks for the comment. I used the mix. I detect a reason for the water problems?
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #14
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I'm not a dirt guy but I am pretty sure the mix is what everybody recommends so sounds like you are good there.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:16 PM   #15
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I think I am going to be better off replacing the water. Get it down to a phosphate of 2 or so to control the algae. It will take longer to cycle IMO but won't be a fur ball when it is! There has to be loads of phosphate in that mix. I can't see Flouramax doing that, maybe GH/KH but not phosphate.
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