Ry's 40B Ultra High Tech - 10/10/16 Update! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Ry's 40B Ultra High Tech - 10/10/16 Update!

This is my 3rd attempt at a planted tank. I have been very successful in my first two attempts but I keep making the mistake of doing small or nano tanks. After getting permission from the wifey to house a bigger tank (she actually thought I was going to get a bigger one like 100g), I decided to get a 40 breeder going and I was going full high tech on this one.

10/10/16 - Latest tank shot



The Setup
Tank: Tetra 40b (from old $1/g sale) - I love the profile of the 40B.

Stand: I made my own custom stand w/ hood that features an automatic hood lift system. After realizing that managing the tank was a pain with the lights being in the way, I figured out a way to life the entire hood and get me full unrestricted access to the tank.

Lighting: 2 x Finnex 36" Planted+ I decided to go for medium lighting with the Finnex Planted+ fixtures.

Filtration:Eheim 2217 filter

Heating:Hydro 200W ETH 1/2" inline heater

Substrate:Safe T sorb - 80lbs - I decided to refrain from doing ADA soil. I used to do Fluval Stratum but I want to give this high CEC substrate a try since I will be very consistent with my water column fertilization.

CO2 System: Matheson Dual Stage Regulator (bought it from a member) connected to a 24oz Paintball tank with a CG320 adapter. It was cheaper to get a a paintball adapter than buying a new 5lb C02 tank and I wanted to get as much in the stand for the top off system. The C02 will be injected into an medium ISTA Mix C02 reactor running at 10 PSI. I'm hoping that with more efficient C02 delivery that I don't need to be injecting more C02.

Fertilization: Custom EI dosing utilizing a Jebao DP-4 dosing pump. I'll be doing Nitrates, Phosphates + Potassium, Micros and Iron on 4 individual pump heads. Fertilization is so much easier if it is automated plus I realized consistent dosing means I can accurately set my water parameters with less guess work. I've done automatic dosing on both me previous tanks and it simply is one if the best investment when it comes to planted tanks.

System Management: Neptune Apex Controller with Breakout Box and Leak Detection modules. I wanted to rid of messy power strips and individual timers so I invested in an Apex Controller. After doing all the DIY stuff to control heater, fans, C02 and lighting, I realized I could get everything managed under one system with all the bells and whistles that I wanted!

ATO: 3 or 5 gallon reservoir connected to a single dosing pump controlled by the Apex controller. The size of the reservoir will be determined once the filter, C02 and dosing system is in place.



03/04/16 - tank shot


02/05/16 - Video of tank as I see it.


02/04/16 - Video of automatic aquarium hood or canopy lift.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UAF9xWxIMI

01/25/16 Update - Current Tank shot




07/22/15 Update - Tank is planted!
I got my plant order from Bartohog (Thank you sir for!) and planted the tank like crazy. I know most people try to do some scaping at this point but I am more focused on plant growth. I want to make sure I've got the C02 dialed in and the fertilization figured out.

IMHO it is easier to scape once you are no longer troubleshooting algae and plant growth issues.





07/20/15 Update - Equipment 95% installed! Tank is flooded
I finished installing the Eheim 2217 filter, C02 reactor, Auto Top Off system and probe and dosing tubing holder. I also did the calibration on 3 of the 4 dosing pumps and bought Nalgene 48oz water bottles as my main liquid fert containers. I flooded the tank 2 days after finishing the equipment install and I've had my driftwood soaking in another bin for 1+ week and I decided to drop the wood in the tank 3 days after it was flooded.

So everything is coming together and I have placed my order for some plants and hopefully the tank will be planted this week.




07/10/15 Update - Apex Controller and C02 install
I finished painting the interior of the stand blue (left over paint for background) and I started working on the side panel for housing the Apex Controller and the different modules. I also finished the spot where the C02 system is going to sit. A ton of hardware is still missing but everything should be here by next week

Funken_A and Funken_A like this.


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Last edited by PortalMasteryRy; 10-11-2016 at 06:24 PM. Reason: New Updates!
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post #2 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Below are pictures of the tank stand showing the lift system for the hood. I bought a 24" 12VDC Linear actuator and used 2 additional 1.5" aluminum tubings attached at the back of the stand and hood as a rail system. The Linear actuator is rated for 150lbs and the total hood weight should be around 20-25lbs. I power the actuator with a 12V laptop adapter connected to a rocker switch that reverses the polarity of the line to the actuator which makes it go up and down.





The picture shows the actuator and the switch box. The actuator is rated for 150lbs so I ended up using only 1 actuator.


The hood is reinforced with an aluminum plate to prevent the back panel of the hood from twisting.


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post #3 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 11:56 PM
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Wow, very nice on the canopy lift! Kinda looks like some of my creativity, LOL.
Anyway, if you 5 gallon is any indication, your 40b should be pretty amazing.


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post #4 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 07:27 PM
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That is crazy cool... I wish I had a tenth of that ingenuity

That tank really tied the room together
Fraternity of Dirt
Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech
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post #5 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
Wow, very nice on the canopy lift! Kinda looks like some of my creativity, LOL.
Anyway, if you 5 gallon is any indication, your 40b should be pretty amazing.
Thanks!

Nice job on the 75 build! How come you have 2 tanks side by side? That custom stand would look awesome with 1 large tank!

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Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
That is crazy cool... I wish I had a tenth of that ingenuity
TBH I have no real experience with DIY stands. I learned most of the stuff from online or youtube.


My Apex controller came yesterday and I spent a good 6+ hours setting up the side panel where the system is going to be mounted. I made sure everything is nice and clean but it is impossible to finish the plumbing and wiring until all of my equipment arrives which should be all here by next week. I also finished painting the interior of the stand which is a nice touch.

Here is a photo of the stand interior


Here is the picture of the side panel that houses the Apex Controller system. The enter panel is just screwed to the side and I can remove it for maintenance and such.


Here is the picture of the C02 regulator and tank placement. At this point I really don't want to use a 5lb tank. I like the size of the 24oz paintball.

Last edited by PortalMasteryRy; 07-10-2015 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Updates
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post #6 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-11-2015, 12:53 AM
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That is bada$$, I'd love to see a video of the canopy in action!
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post #7 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-12-2015, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by The Big Buddha View Post
That is bada$$, I'd love to see a video of the canopy in action!
I'll post a video soon. It's funny that my wife keeps showing the automatic hood every time we have visitors at home. Most of the time I don't want to talk about the tank because it is empty.



More Hardware installation!
I got my Jebao DP-4 dosing pump mounted and ready to go! I will be doing the calibration today. I saw the video on how to calibrate this pump based on a 100ml dose which is a really nice feature. One thing different that I'll be doing when calibrating this pump is making sure the entire tube line is setup including the total tubing length and the check valves to guarantee proper calibration.


I also installed the Netgear wireless adapater for the Apex Controller. The RED WIFI indicator seems off but the system is 100% connected. I also hooked up a magnetic switch and did my first script on my Apex controller. I had my interior stand lights turn ON and OFF based on the magnetic switch status. This is one of the perks of using the Apex system. Leak detection sensors are also hooked up and tested.



Did some more work on the back of the system. I used some wire looms to organize the cables. I had to move the Finnex LED power bricks to the back of the stand to give me enough cable slack so I can lift the hood properly. I also bought these nice tube clamps that guide the cables to prevent them from getting snagged with other equipment and hide them right behind the alum tubing.


Mounted the Apex Display at the front of the hood. Looking nice and sleek!


The tube clamps did their job and it is hard to see the cables for the finnex lights and the Apex display module.


Secured the Finnex lights with some DIY hooks using thick wires (stainless I think?!) and added some cable tie mounts to organize the cables and prevent them from getting snagged just in case I will work on the hood.


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Last edited by PortalMasteryRy; 07-12-2015 at 06:40 AM. Reason: typo fix
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post #8 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-21-2015, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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07/20/2015 - Updates!
The tank has been flooded. I also dropped my driftwood that has been soaking in another bin for 1+ week. I am ready for some plants!

The Safe T Sorb is causing a bit of an issue with the PH and I am currently running at 7 KH to get the PH to stay close to 6.9. I did overdose the GH and I am running at 9 GH because I forgot to check my tap's GH which was 2-3 GH already. I will be doing one 50% water change to alter the GH but I might stay at around 7 KH.







The Eheim 2217 filter, Auto top off, C02 reactor (and bubble counter), and liquid fert containers are all in place. After troubleshooting the ISTA Mix reactor, I am 100% up and running for the plumbing! I have been checking for leaks in the morning and before I go to sleep just in case any of the tubing is slipping but so far so good!

The lose wire in front of the regulator is going to be connected to a float switch which is installed at the cap of my top off reservoir. I want my Apex controller to tell me when my top off water is low.

The lose tubing is also for my top off reservoir. I decided to look for the biggest water container that I could find and I found a Reliance 7 gallon plastic container from REI when I went to pick up the Nalgene water bottles for my liquid ferts. I wanted the 48oz containers since I decided I will be doing 20 ml liquid doses at max 1280 ml per bottle.





I did some work on the hood and reinforced it. I also spent some time waterproofing the inner parts of the hood and painted it with the same blue I've been using for the tank background and stand interior.

Also did a DIY probe holder and tubing holder for dosing pump. I was too cheap to pay for the $40 Apex probe holder and it worked out since I needed something to screw in the auto top off float switch.



The HOB is an HOB with UV sterilizer. I decided to experiment with a UV sterilizer and this is the first time I'll be using it.


Below is a picture of the tubing holder that I made. I also sprayed both probe and tubing holders with Thompson's water seal to make sure they don't get moldy or get any water damage.


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Last edited by PortalMasteryRy; 07-21-2015 at 01:31 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #9 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
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The tank is [email protected]#@!#! planted!

I got my plant order from Bartohog and even bought some plants-in-a-bag from Petsmart. I was not going to do partial planting of the tank since I want to get my C02 / ferts dialed in for at least 50-75% bioload so I decided to get as many plants as I can get.

The plants from Bartohog


Plants-in-a-bag from PetSmart.


It took me 3 hours to carefully sort out the plants and plant them in the tank. The plan was simple! Get the plants planted for now and get them growing in the next 2 weeks. I'll start scaping as soon as all the plants have started to show good growth which should be 2-3 weeks from now.

I ended up seeding the tank with 15 PPM nitrates, 2 PPM, phosphate, 20 PPM potassium and at 3 KH and 6 GH. I did a single dose of micros and will start dosing a little bit of iron tomorrow.

I'm going to dial in the C02 in the next few days. Some of the plants started pearling before the lights turned off which was neat!



The driftwood will need some love. Hopefully I can find some dwarf baby tears and I will anchor it to some lava rocks and simply place them to the semi flat spots on the driftwood. I want to save some spots for some buces later one but I want some sort of carpeting action on the drift wood.



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post #10 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 02:26 PM
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Hey there

Your setup is awesome and an inspiriation for my future high-tech setup (Although probably not as high tech as yours).

Im definitely stealing your idea with the Nalgene bottles. They can store a lot of liquid, and would be real easy to clean plus are about 12 bucks a pop. Just a couple questions -

"I'll be doing Nitrates, Phosphates + Potassium, Micros and Iron on 4 individual pump heads."

Why not combine all of the Macros together? Also, did you just drill small holes at the top of the nalgene bottle for the tubes? Finally, what size tubing is used for these pumps?

Thanks, and I cant wait to see everything grown in.
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post #11 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by vilenarios View Post
Hey there

Your setup is awesome and an inspiriation for my future high-tech setup (Although probably not as high tech as yours).

Im definitely stealing your idea with the Nalgene bottles. They can store a lot of liquid, and would be real easy to clean plus are about 12 bucks a pop. Just a couple questions -

"I'll be doing Nitrates, Phosphates + Potassium, Micros and Iron on 4 individual pump heads."

Why not combine all of the Macros together? Also, did you just drill small holes at the top of the nalgene bottle for the tubes? Finally, what size tubing is used for these pumps?

Thanks, and I cant wait to see everything grown in.
I don't combine my nitrates and phosphates because usually I end up overdosing the nitrates. The phosphates I'm not worried even if I ran close to 5+ PPM. Overdosing the nitrates will force me to do a water change which I try to avoid.

At this point I will monitor my dose and check water parameters. Why? So I can dose enough to keep the parameters at a certain level and tweak them if necessary. Ex. If I want to experiment and increase my phosphates/nitrate ratio then I simply tweak the dosing pump settings.

If I have the nitrates and phosphates combined and I want to tweak the formula then I end up redoing it for both instead of just doing one bottle at a time. I usually end up wasting my phosphates since most of the time it is the nitrates that I am messing with.

I remember on my last tank that my dosing was so accurate that nitrate and phosphate levels were a constant every week so I usually just mess with the C02. The hard part actually is the micros dosing. Very easy to overdose and very hard to troubleshoot.

For the naglene bottle, I used the vinyl 1/4 tubing from Homedepot. I put two holes on each cap. One for the tubing hole and a tiny 1-2 mm hole to let air in and to prevent back pressure from the bottles. I also bought a separate cap (for $2.99) so I can seal the bottles when mixing a new formula.

All I can say is the nalgene bottles are the best liquid fert containers that I have seen. The big wide mouth which makes it easier to put dry ferts in and the level indicator is something you can't get with the soda bottles. Plus the bottles are BPA free =)


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post #12 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 05:28 PM
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I'm not sold on the controller placement. How comfortable with drilling a small hole behind it to pass the wire through are you? The wire catches me eye so much haha. It may be nit picking, but it is about the only 'negative' thing I can find to give a suggestion on. Everything else is super neat and cool as all get out! A very cool set up. If I went high tech, I know I'd go ultra high tech like this!


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post #13 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sold on the controller placement. How comfortable with drilling a small hole behind it to pass the wire through are you? The wire catches me eye so much haha. It may be nit picking, but it is about the only 'negative' thing I can find to give a suggestion on. Everything else is super neat and cool as all get out! A very cool set up. If I went high tech, I know I'd go ultra high tech like this!
I stared at that setup once all the equipment was plugged in and I was not too happy either. I have a plan to change it but I need to find some nice cable grommets. I'll take it down after a month. I wanted a very clean look but IMHO the size of the board is too small plus I need space for the apex conductivity module and maybe the wireless module for the wave pump :P


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post #14 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 09:38 PM
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this thing is sweeeeeeeeeet!!!!! take my money and build it for me lol
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post #15 of 82 (permalink) Old 07-23-2015, 11:49 PM
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Wow, fantastic build! Looking forward to seeing everything filled in!

Old tanks, all torn down:
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Hope to get a new tank (or two) up soon...
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