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post #16 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-10-2020, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ProndFarms View Post
What a fantastic read. I always find the most exciting journals to be those that incorporate a sense of 'personality' into them - you sir, have done a wonderful job of this. (I may need to take a few notes on this myself, haha).

Subscribed and following along!
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Now that's how you do it!

Love the start to the journal. Engaging and a very good all around read. Like a good book, I couldn't put it down!

Every new tank has bumps and bruises, but it looks like you are well on your way now.

Keep the updates comings, looking forward to seeing where this goes from here.
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the read. I had fun going through old notes and especially old photos in order to put it together.

I'm sure there are many more mistakes and painful and/or expensive lessons to come.

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Originally Posted by Ken Keating1 View Post
Great start on your tank journal!

I really like how the black paint worked out on the reactor, it turned out great. I need to do this to mine, it'd look much better painted. I also like how you mounted it outside the tank, definitely a discussion item.

Regarding the scale on the tank, did you happen to read my post regarding weighting CO2 and determining dosing rates in ppm? I'm curious what your ppm dosing rate is.
I love the ease of working with PVC, but I have always felt it looks unfinished unless it's painted. This is the first time I've tried painting it, and I love how it turned out.

I have read your whole journal, Ken. I have taken several ideas from you already, and there are more to come. Thanks again for sharing them!

I bought the scale primarily to gauge when I'm going to need my next refill, but I will calculate my ppm eventually (thanks for reminding me), after I get things dialed in. I still feel like I have a good bit of work ahead to tune CO2 as well as lighting.

I had to work in the office today (we're on a minimal rotation due to COVID), and all day I was thinking about how I probably have a CO2 leak somewhere. The flowmeter was a little bit bouncy when I was adjusting it yesterday, and that's an indicator of an unstable system. In my case, that means I probably built a weak link into it somewhere. Sure enough, I came home to find it not only leaking, but the hose had blown off a barb fitting where I had used a cheap airline gang valve to extend the silicone tubing a few feet. I took that segment out and hooked everything together. Soon after, the reactor was 2/3 full of CO2, confirming my suspicion that a leak was causing it to be ineffective.

I was stuck on a conference call all day today, so I'll have to figure out a better solution tomorrow. I'm going to look at alternatives to the silicone; it's too elastic for the job. Poly "RO water" tubing for CO2? The 1/8 OD stuff is probably enough capacity for CO2, right?
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post #17 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-13-2020, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 dial-in in the 36 continues. I will be running 1/8" OD poly tubing in place of my 1/4" OD silicone tubing from laundry room to all 3 tanks next week after the last of my parts arrive. The silicone is working, but I have had a few connections pop loose lately. My pH pen is a piece of junk, but it looks like my pH drop from degassed is about 1.5 in the 36 now (from 6.4-ish to 4.9-ish).

Here is the overgrown 36 on Wednesday before a Thursday evening trim and redecorating. R.wallichii and Tonina fluviatilis were hidden behind H.'Sunset' which grows like a giant weed, so I took a weed whacker to the middle of the tank.



I moved Limnophila indica (ambulia) from the 20 to the back-left corner. From there to the right: Hygrophila polysperma 'Sunset', Rotala wallichii, Heteranthera zosterifolia (stargrass), Bacopa caroliniana. I'm hoping it will look better as that back row fills in, but the left corner may have too much flow for L.indica to deal with gracefully.

Up front, the larger Erio 'Vietnam' is melting a bit in the center. I need to keep an eye on that. Limnophila chinensis and Oldenlandia salzmannii are starting to settle in. I don't intend to keep L.chinensis up front for long.

Here it is today, a few days later.



I have been battling green dust & slime in the 10gal for a few weeks now. I don't think I changed water frequently enough when I first installed the Landen soil. Its location leads to less attention than the others, and it gets appropriately de-prioritized. I am using this tank primarily for healing and propagation.

Syngonanthus macrocaulon ‘Giant’ are recovering from their stint in the high-KH 20gal. The new growth looks much better than the old brown skirts they still wear, and they are branching nicely. Soon I will have many more stems. Staurogyne repens suffered a meltdown last week, but it appears to be hanging on to life.



My last couple stems of Ammannia Senegalensis are tucked away behind L.cardinalis. I have not been able to make this plant do anything but stunt and grow roots. If it ever comes around, I would love to give it a more prominent place.



I still have AR in all 3 tanks, and it looks like some form of crap in all. I think this picture is more flattering than real life.



I ripped out most of the dwarf baby tears / AKA HC / AKA algae-velcro. That felt good.

Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form' is looking sturdy. There's still a bit of green dust leftover from last week. I am hoping to get this pair to multiply, but I haven't had much luck yet. I love the look of this plant, and I think it has a future on my bar in that low 20gal Long tank if it can handle a little KH. The lone Buce in this tank half melted this week. 10gal FTS:

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post #18 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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The CO2 VVReactor has been up & running for 10 days now. This morning, I switched from the very elastic silicone 1/4" OD tubing to 1/8" OD PE tubing from the laundry room to the tanks to prevent leaks & loss, and so that my flow rate changes will take effect faster.

I'm not entirely happy with this reactor as-is. The diffuser puts out very fine bubbles, and that seems great. However, I still get bubbles making it out of the reactor into the tank.

I feel I either need to reduce the flow rate from my canister (Penn Plax Cascade 700), add more bypass capacity, or increase the size (diameter and/or length) of the reactor chamber. Maybe I should add a 3" section? I'm going to mull this over for a bit.


I caught Tiger Face eating my smallest Amano shrimp this afternoon. I smacked his fin and said, "Bad Tiger Face!" I don't know if he cared. The middle-sized shrimp is still around, and we can't find the biggest one right now. I don't know if the loach actually killed the shrimp, but it was absolutely trying to dispose of the body.

Maybe I should feed them more.


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post #19 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2020, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by zivvel View Post
The CO2 VVReactor has been up & running for 10 days now. This morning, I switched from the very elastic silicone 1/4" OD tubing to 1/8" OD PE tubing from the laundry room to the tanks to prevent leaks & loss, and so that my flow rate changes will take effect faster.



I'm not entirely happy with this reactor as-is. The diffuser puts out very fine bubbles, and that seems great. However, I still get bubbles making it out of the reactor into the tank.



I feel I either need to reduce the flow rate from my canister (Penn Plax Cascade 700), add more bypass capacity, or increase the size (diameter and/or length) of the reactor chamber. Maybe I should add a 3" section? I'm going to mull this over for a bit.



.
This is exactly what I was afraid of when I heard about this reactor design from Ken...micro bubbles escaping the reactor!

To me that is inevitable, because tiny bubbles don't have enough buoyancy to stay inside the reactor, against the downward flow of water.

Here's what I recommend you try out.........

Temporarily, remove that in-line diffuser...so that you get full size bubbles in the reactor. (Maybe you could simply and quickly remove the ceramic diffuser inside the diffuser). Not sure how is yours is manufactured, in mine, I can easily remove...but mine is an el-cheapo model from Amazon.

Then, tune the flow so that the big bubbles don't escape the reactor.

Let's see what happens then.

I wonder if the bubbles will eventually get dissolved....from what happens in a cerges reactor, they should dissolve.



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post #20 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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This is exactly what I was afraid of when I heard about this reactor design from Ken...micro bubbles escaping the reactor!

To me that is inevitable, because tiny bubbles don't have enough buoyancy to stay inside the reactor, against the downward flow of water.

Here's what I recommend you try out.........

Temporarily, remove that in-line diffuser...so that you get full size bubbles in the reactor. (Maybe you could simply and quickly remove the ceramic diffuser inside the diffuser). Not sure how is yours is manufactured, in mine, I can easily remove...but mine is an el-cheapo model from Amazon.

Then, tune the flow so that the big bubbles don't escape the reactor.

Let's see what happens then.

I wonder if the bubbles will eventually get dissolved....from what happens in a cerges reactor, they should dissolve.
That's an interesting idea. Unfortunately, the ceramic in my diffuser is not removable. I could run the CO2 in through the burp valve, but I don't think I'll end up with the bubbles I want there, either. Eventually the CO2 pocket would be large enough that the flow would break it into bubbles, but at that point the reactor will get noisy. I do have more 5/8" tees and hose and clamps. I would just need a 5/8" barb x 3/16" barb (or x 1/4" OD push connect if I'm lucky) to try this.


I'm looking at a cart on flexpvc.com that has a 10" long segment of 4" clear PVC & 2 4x2 reducers. And I'm asking myself: Would it work? And is that experiment worth cutting my 2" segment? And is it worth $62.35 shipped?


Probably, but not right now. I'll sleep on it at least once.


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post #21 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 03:14 AM
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Well, lets look at it via the laws of science/physics...tiny bubbles are easy to push down...they have little buoyancy....even the 4" tube may not be of real help in preventing them escaping the reactor.

We need more buoyancy.

(just for testing) I recommend feeding co2 through the burp valve. The water flow will carry the bubbles down into the reactor, you will have to tune the water flow to make sure that happens, probably will have to increase the flow. Then the water will hammer down the co2 bubbles until they get dissolved.

This should work something like those cerges reactors. Only if the bubbles do not get dissolved will a large bubble will form at the top and get noisy.

PS: you may want to put a short section of airline tube on the inside of the burp valve.

-Raj

Last edited by rajdude; 06-18-2020 at 02:06 PM. Reason: added info
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post #22 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 02:22 PM
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For inspiration....please take a look at this guy's cerges reactor....

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11307239

-Raj
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post #23 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 08:31 PM
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You should be able to adjust the flow through the reactor such that the bubbles fully dissolve while in the reactor, but there may be a potential problem with the location of the gate valve. With the gate valve fully open, is the water through the reactor too fast? What may be currently happening is water sees the large diameter of the reactor as the path of least resistance and the majority of water flows through it as opposed to going through the bypass. If so, then flip flop the location of the gate valve and upper T-fitting and see if this helps with better flow control through the reactor.


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post #24 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 08:42 PM
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I use this tubing, and highly recommend it...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q7YSVNC...p_mob_ap_share

Quote:
Originally Posted by zivvel View Post
I'm going to look at alternatives to the silicone; it's too elastic for the job. Poly "RO water" tubing for CO2? The 1/8 OD stuff is probably enough capacity for CO2, right?


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post #25 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2020, 08:44 PM
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Hmmm, it linked the black version. I have the clear version of that tubing.

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post #26 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-19-2020, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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Well, lets look at it via the laws of science/physics...tiny bubbles are easy to push down...they have little buoyancy....even the 4" tube may not be of real help in preventing them escaping the reactor.

We need more buoyancy.

(just for testing) I recommend feeding co2 through the burp valve. The water flow will carry the bubbles down into the reactor, you will have to tune the water flow to make sure that happens, probably will have to increase the flow. Then the water will hammer down the co2 bubbles until they get dissolved.

This should work something like those cerges reactors. Only if the bubbles do not get dissolved will a large bubble will form at the top and get noisy.

PS: you may want to put a short section of airline tube on the inside of the burp valve.
I can possibly figure something out there, but I feel like I should be able to dissolve the tiny bubbles. And more quietly than larger ones. I'm not ready to give up on that yet.

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Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
For inspiration....please take a look at this guy's cerges reactor....

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11307239
I love @fftfk's tank & journal. His, @Greggz's, and several others here make me very jealous of houses with basements.

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Originally Posted by Ken Keating1 View Post
You should be able to adjust the flow through the reactor such that the bubbles fully dissolve while in the reactor, but there may be a potential problem with the location of the gate valve. With the gate valve fully open, is the water through the reactor too fast? What may be currently happening is water sees the large diameter of the reactor as the path of least resistance and the majority of water flows through it as opposed to going through the bypass. If so, then flip flop the location of the gate valve and upper T-fitting and see if this helps with better flow control through the reactor.
I had a vague thought in this direction the other day, but something shiny distracted me and made me forget it. This sounds like an interesting idea with simple implementation. What if I swapped the gate and the lower/output tee instead of the upper/input one? Would that potentially generate a bit more pressure in the reactor chamber? I ask because that's closer to your original VVR design.

Either way, if I'm already running with the gate full open, it can't hurt to move it elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
I use this tubing, and highly recommend it...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q7YSVNC...p_mob_ap_share
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajdude View Post
Hmmm, it linked the black version. I have the clear version of that tubing.
It went to the clear one when I followed your link. I replaced the 1/4" OD silicone with this 1/8" OD LDPE tubing, and I love it. Half the diameter means it's less noticeable where I can't tuck it into a wall easily, and it also means faster delivery from flowmeter to tanks. I have runs of about 15', 26', and 32' for CO2 from the laundry room to the tanks where it goes back to 1/4" OD PE to fit check valves and diffusers.



P.S. While I was at work today, my daughter found the big Amano shrimp. 5 feet from the tank tangled up with a spiderweb.

That means we're definitely down to one. And it also means that either my water is not good for them, or the loaches are murdering murderers.
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post #27 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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Today is the day I say goodbye to dust in the 20 on the bar.

Pulled all the plants.



I took the tank outside and hosed it out. Naturally, I broke 3 teeth off my hand made overflow. 2 of them had been previously broken and glued, but this time I lost one out in the lawn. I had to cut a new weir and glue it in.

Here's the pump-to-CO2-diffuser-to-return visible without the cover on. I normally have it covered with some black plastic that used to be very cheap binders and/or folders from Target.



First, a thin layer of Stratum just because I still have some. Seiryu stone hardscape backfilled with some lava rock to bolster the plateau.



This shot is half Stratum and O+, and the higher half has some Landen over the Stratum + rocks and some O+ as well.



And then several hours later, after planting all the stuff that was in decent shape. The Buces are gradually melting. None are completely gone, but they are not looking great. Today I found that most all of the roots are wasted away. I even threw a few stems of R.wallichii in to see if it fares better with this dirt over the other dirt.



The tank took just under 15.5 gallons to fill. After fill, I dosed 30:12:35.82 NO3:PO4:K and .18ppm Fe via custom micros.


Just a few updated pics of the 10.



The Syn giants are looking downright perky. Some still have their burnt skirts from their time in the 20.

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post #28 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Some quick hits...

I'm back down to zero shrimp. Again, I did not see it happen. The thing was swimming around merrily this afternoon, and then we suddenly found it dead and clown loaches looking for a 2nd meal.

Daily 50% WC continues on the 20, though it's only testing at about .5ppm total NH3+NH4.

I am starting to scale back my NO3 dosing a bit. I have been dosing 15ppm NO3 from KNO3 after WC, along with 6ppm K from K2SO4. My PO4 dosing has been based on tested levels, and it's the only macro I have been dosing between WCs. When a test shows 1 or less ppm, I dose 3-4ppm.

Newly-aquasoiled tanks get much more PO4: 8-10ppm after WC, and 4+ppm whenever test shows < 2-ish.

Algae in the 10 has been nonexistant since I threw a single large dose of Excel in there after a big (percentage-wise) WC. No algae in the 20 yet, of course.

The 36 has miniscule amounts of BBA occasionally on the struggling AR and sometimes on the Helanthium bolivianum 'Angustifolius'. I think a couple blades on the Erio 'Vietnam' are starting to show it as well. I'm also still seeing the green slimy stringy stuff in there. I may try a big dose of Excel after next WC. Airstone at the ready.
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post #29 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 02:39 PM
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Sorry about the shrimp....fortunately my lone yoyo loach doesn't care about the few amanos in my tank
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Last edited by rzn7z7; 06-26-2020 at 02:39 PM. Reason: typo
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post #30 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-27-2020, 08:29 PM
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I faced the same issue with shrimp before after some replanting. Suddenly, everything is dead with no explanation. It is really sad. Anyway, could you share with us the model of your return pump, please? I have a similar setup and could upgrade to the same one eventually.


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