Hello everyone, on the advice of other members here I am starting my tank Journal as a way to share what I am doing and to keep a record of things I have done with our tank. This forum is a fantastic place to get great advice and information and I look forward to learning, enjoying and hopefully pitching in when I can!
M family and I inherited a tank and stand from my Father-in-Law. He had had the tank for a few years but gave up on the hobby and it sat for a long time collecting dust. Prior to moving houses, I had a 500 gallon Salt Water tank with a 150-gallon refugium. I was working a huge amount of hours and away from home for weeks at a time, so we had a company that came in weekly and manged the tank for us. When we moved into our current house, we really didn't have room for the setup and so we got rid of it. Years later, when my father-in-law offered us his old tank we decided to give freshwater a try and my personal goal was to do it all myself as opposed to having an outside company come in to manage the tank for us.
I am a pilot by occupation but a tech geek by hobby. When we rebuilt our pool some years ago I could not find a decent automated pool system so I wrote my own
. Now several years and over 6,000 lines of Python/C++ code later it has full Alexa integration, automated acid dosing, automated filling, filtering, pH, ORP and temperature monitoring, web interface and more. Using Raspberry Pis, Arduino clones and Linux I have an amazing pool control system. My family thinks I am crazy to spend so much time on that project, but it is my
way of relaxing.
So when we decided to put in a new tank, I knew that it would eventually be a high-tech tank. I wanted to have it all monitored, managed, tracked and graphed the way our pool has been. But first I needed to get the tank up and running.
After doing some reading and research, I started out by deciding not to use the two smaller Fluval filters that we got with the tank, although I would eventually add back in the 406. It was a Fluval 306 and 406 and instead went with the Fluval FX6. Taking a cue from our saltwater system I decided to install a RODI system on the tank so all that I had to do was hook up a special hose I put together, empty some water and turn on the hose and the tank would top off or refill with RODI water. Our water here in Phoenix is very hard so I thought this would be the best place to start.
So here is what I have on the tank (and have coming) as of today (1/1/2020):
Installed June 2019
Tank: 75 Gallon Curved Glass with wood stand
1 x Fluval FX6 - Installed with tank
1 x Fluval 406 (added October 2019) (Biomedia Only (Seachem Matrix Biomedia))
2 x Fluval Plant Spectrum Bluetooth Freshwater Light LED (Version 3.0) 6,500K
1 x Fluval Advanced Electronic Aquarium Heater (300 Watt)
1 x Inkbird ITC-308 Digital Temperature Controller 2-Stage Outlet
1 x Seneye Reef System with Web Server and 2 x leak detectors
1 x Jebao Programmable Auto Dosing Pump DP-4
1 x Aquatic Life Twist-in 100 GPD 4-Stage Ro Unit
1 x 20# CO2 Tank
1 x CO2Art Dual Stage CO2 Regulator System
1 x DIY CO2 Reactor
1 x GKM 24W UV Lamp (Installed 1/10/2020)
Substrate is CaribSea Eco-Complete 20-Pound Planted Aquarium, Black
Several rocks and some wood purchased from our local fish store
Tracking and Management Software
So I was looking for some kind of tracking software that was free or inexpensive and could track expenses, water changes, dosing, etc.
I looked at a bunch of different programs but we finally landed on this one, it was like $10 a year and workes on our computers and
Water Readings from 3/2/2020
kH - 2
gH - 8
PO4 - 5
pH - 7.1
Nitrate - 50
Nitrite - 0
Ammonia - 0.013
EC - 539 ÁS
TDS - 296 ppm
kH - 7
gH - 16
PO4 - .25
pH - 7.4
Nitrate - 0
Nitrite - 0
Ammonia - 0
EC - 780 ÁS
TDS - 400 ppm
All test completed API test kits!
I don't know the names so I will have to fill this in later
I don't know the names so I will have to fill this in later
So here are pictures of the tank and setup from oldest to newest:
Trying to decide if I should use both filters...
Just getting started!
Mounting the RODI system under the cabinet...
Mounted and tested
Starting the fill process
The RODI line comes up the back of the tank and into the tank by the filter return
It took the better part of the day to fill the tank, here it is a few days later..
Adding more plants and a few fish...
HOY COW! What Happened?
Came back after a flight to find the tank looking like this....
At least I know I am good at growing algae!
We eventually got control of it, three days of blackout took care of it...
Back to looking good...
Everyone in the family likes the new fish tank....
The tank was looking good, I thought we had it all figured out!
But then we started to lose fish! But the weird thing was that we could never find the bodies of the fist, they were just disappearing.
Then one night we were in the living room watching tv when one of our cats jumped up on the fish tank, reached in the opening next to the filter return,
scooped up one of our angelfish and art it before we could even comprehend what had just happened.
losing the fish but we were laughing so hard we soon forgot about the fish and now we knew where the fish were going. So we had to make a slight alteration to the tank to fix the glitch:
The fix is in...
All was right with the world but then we started having issues with our plants:
Which in turn resulted in THIS THREAD
So I am currently (as of 1/1/2020) waiting on my CO2 system and getting ready to hit some water changes pretty hard to get control of my water readings. I am also going to start the PPS-Pro
method of adding and dosing ferts into my tank. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I am really
excited to moot only have the tank but also that I found this amazing forum. I look forward to sharing my progress and to watching other tanks for great ideas!
Oh, I wanted to add some information about the Seneye system. It was pretty inexpensive for what it actually does. I have a lot of experience
with monitoring and management of pool water and what it takes to get accurate readings on a regular basis so when I started with my tank I wanted to do the same for it that I do with my pool control system. I looked around for some cool solutions and thought I had hit the motherload when I ran across Open Aquarium
. This was an Arduino based microcontroller solution that did everything that I wanted it to do. It was awesome and amazing and more importantly, I already knew how to program the Arduino since my pool control system utilizes a bunch of them.
Unfortunately, the company that made Open Aquarium stopped selling it and it is no longer available.
There were other solutions based on the Raspberry Pi, but none of them were really prime-time ready. I am more than happy as a DIYer but I was not really sure I wanted to take on another big programming project. The closest thing I was able to find that may end up working out for me was an open-source project called reef-pi
. On the end, I decided to start with an inexpensive monitoring solution called Seneye. For less than $500 I get temperature, pH, ammonia, NH4, dissolved oxygen, and PAR and LUX monitoring along with two water leakage sensors and a water level sensor. All of those items can be set to alert me if something happens or goes past the threshold that I have set for them.
My guess is that I will eventually build my self a version of the reef-pi because those types of projects really interest me, but for the cost, you cannot beat Seneye as a monitoring device.