DIY CO2 regulator - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 01:57 PM
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Yes, there is a lot to be said for feeling something is better as we can then move on to other things and there are always points we may want to improve.
Ferts is a point that I found not nearly as hard as it sounded at first as it seemed really risky to start dumping stuff into the tank after years years fighting to keep the tank clean. The whole point of fish keeping used to be to tear down the tank and get it totally clean---until we came around to knowing about the nitrogen cycle and all that good bacteria we need to take care of the ammonia.
Seemed just really dumb to vac a tank of every speck and then see folks use DIRT in them?
So now I look at the big three ferts, N, P, and K with a bit of the micros added on another day. So finding that there choices can normally be down to three chemicals to get the big three macros and then a simple one item (cms+b?) to do the micros helped me to cut through a lot of the confusion from all the chemistry. I look it as pretty close to the difference in my cooking versus my wife. She can figure out what each ingredient does and have a far wider range of cooking but for me, I can do a few items, taste it and get near enough for the level of cooking which makes me happy without really knowing what each item does in a cake. Since I never really want to do a cake or anything requiring great skill, I'm happy with not knowing!
So the calculator lets me plug in tank size and what item I might want to use. Most use KNO3 as a way to get some of the potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) and what dosing method I like. I use EI as an estimate and it spits out how much KNO3 to add. It tells me how many PPM but I only look at how much in teaspoons and dip it out of the bag to mix in my cup of water before pouring it in! Some of the micros will make some of the macros settle out if we add them at the same time so I do macros one day and micros the next and just go through the week alternating and if I am gone and miss a day, I ignore the break as my plants are not all that fussy.
I am certain that I am not getting the true high level growth but then I don't bake that cake!!! I'm more a low level, happy to see something good and do a little trimming here, a little algae fight all the time and set by to not worry it too much! As long as I don't tell them how screwed up the tanks are, the visitors are highly impressed, so I just keep my mouth shut on that point.
Most sources can provide a simple big three macro and a micro mix to make it easy to get , until the time when you may want to bake the big cake? I'm more a "ham and eggs" sort and buy the cake if I need it.
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post #32 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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So now I look at the big three ferts, N, P, and K with a bit of the micros added on another day. So finding that there choices can normally be down to three chemicals to get the big three macros and then a simple one item (cms+b?) to do the micros helped me to cut through a lot of the confusion from all the chemistry. I look it as pretty close to the difference in my cooking versus my wife. She can figure out what each ingredient does and have a far wider range of cooking but for me, I can do a few items, taste it and get near enough for the level of cooking which makes me happy without really knowing what each item does in a cake. Since I never really want to do a cake or anything requiring great skill, I'm happy with not knowing!
So the calculator lets me plug in tank size and what item I might want to use. Most use KNO3 as a way to get some of the potassium (K) and nitrogen (N) and what dosing method I like. I use EI as an estimate and it spits out how much KNO3 to add. It tells me how many PPM but I only look at how much in teaspoons and dip it out of the bag to mix in my cup of water before pouring it in! Some of the micros will make some of the macros settle out if we add them at the same time so I do macros one day and micros the next and just go through the week alternating and if I am gone and miss a day, I ignore the break as my plants are not all that fussy.
After feedback from you and visiting other posts, I feel much more comfortable dosing with dry ferts. I think I am going to just buy a kit and learn as I go. Working with the calculator a bit, I now have a pretty good understanding of how it works. It the very wide range of options for ingredients and each one supplementing different things that seemed intimidating. I think if I just get a good kit, Input each ingredient and volume of my tank and add it into the mix.

One question, I believe the EI method depends upon a large water change once a week. I run my tanks with a continuous drip water change. For example, my 180 gallon has an actual volume of around 170 gallons (including filters). I have a 2 gph continuous drip going in which adds 48 gallons every 24 hours. This comes to around 1/4 water change every day. It may seem like overkill, but my water starts out at about 10 ppm nitrates and I kind of have to keep a high flow going to keep it under 20 ppm. I tried switching to 1 ghp and my nitrates rose to almost 30 ppm. Before I put in the continuous drip, I was struggling to keep it under 40 ppm and it was a ton of work. Once I went to continuous drip I could never go back. I only have to do water changes when something gets out of balance or I just feel like I need to do some house cleaning.

I will probably start out with 1/2 gph drip on my 54 gallon. This will change 12 gallons a day at a bit over 22% of total volume daily. How do you think I should adjust for a system like this? If I simply add the 12 gallons (for the first day) to the 54, I would be dosing for 66 gallons. This would start out strong and gradually taper off as the water changes. Since I would be dosing every other day, it would start off high and end up low after the second day. The plants will probably consume a lot of the nitrates allowing me to go to a much lower water change rate (maybe 1/4 gph) or it might even be easier to not do drip at all and do water changes since the tank size is more manageable. Does anyone have experience dosing with a setup like this?
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post #33 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 12:23 AM
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Each "color" has a meaning..
AFAICT.. Blue was electrical safe
analytical series is light blue..
O2 white
Corrosion resistant grey.
Yellow w/ "H" for high flow..

https://clippard.com/downloads/PDF_D...e%20Valves.pdf

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post #34 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AguaScape View Post
After feedback from you and visiting other posts, I feel much more comfortable dosing with dry ferts. I think I am going to just buy a kit and learn as I go. Working with the calculator a bit, I now have a pretty good understanding of how it works. It the very wide range of options for ingredients and each one supplementing different things that seemed intimidating. I think if I just get a good kit, Input each ingredient and volume of my tank and add it into the mix.

One question, I believe the EI method depends upon a large water change once a week. I run my tanks with a continuous drip water change. For example, my 180 gallon has an actual volume of around 170 gallons (including filters). I have a 2 gph continuous drip going in which adds 48 gallons every 24 hours. This comes to around 1/4 water change every day. It may seem like overkill, but my water starts out at about 10 ppm nitrates and I kind of have to keep a high flow going to keep it under 20 ppm. I tried switching to 1 ghp and my nitrates rose to almost 30 ppm. Before I put in the continuous drip, I was struggling to keep it under 40 ppm and it was a ton of work. Once I went to continuous drip I could never go back. I only have to do water changes when something gets out of balance or I just feel like I need to do some house cleaning.

I will probably start out with 1/2 gph drip on my 54 gallon. This will change 12 gallons a day at a bit over 22% of total volume daily. How do you think I should adjust for a system like this? If I simply add the 12 gallons (for the first day) to the 54, I would be dosing for 66 gallons. This would start out strong and gradually taper off as the water changes. Since I would be dosing every other day, it would start off high and end up low after the second day. The plants will probably consume a lot of the nitrates allowing me to go to a much lower water change rate (maybe 1/4 gph) or it might even be easier to not do drip at all and do water changes since the tank size is more manageable. Does anyone have experience dosing with a setup like this?

This is the thing that makes each if us choose how we want to do the dosing. Some prefer to not test and just go with doing lots of water change with the idea of "rest" on the overdose of ferts we are adding when doing it EI. I started EI but then found that I was always too high on nitrate and way to high on phosphate and this is when dry ferts seemed better as I was able to totally stop dosing potassium nitrate and cut way back on phosphate. I don't mind the testing and each tank does act a bit different, so my situation comes down to doing the testand after some time, as I see how each tank settles in, I adjust what I am adding and I also find that tanks do change as the fish and plants are always growing dying or changing in some way. The sub is also prone to change as it collects more debris or we move things around. At one point, I was working the idea of keeping up on vacing the surface but as I got more into dirt from falling out of pots and spilling, the idea of vacing well enough to keep that dirt out was just not going to work and it is far less work to just leave it and adjust my ferts as the whole tank changes much like the garden outside.
The garden is always changing as plants and trees change so that light and growth changes. Maybe that's why they call it a hobby? Because we never run out of "fun" things to do. Like trim the weeds in the tank!!!

One small hint that is easy to miss if you get a Clippard is the way it is put together so that the top can be rotated to better fit how the wires, etc come out. Okay to rotate the body but recommended NOT to take it apart as it may not fit back just right.
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post #35 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-13-2018, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Each "color" has a meaning..
AFAICT.. Blue was electrical safe
analytical series is light blue..
O2 white
Corrosion resistant grey.
Yellow w/ "H" for high flow..

https://clippard.com/downloads/PDF_D...e%20Valves.pdf
Great Link! The options have my head spinning. I am especially interested in the manifolds as it would allow me to start different tanks on different photo periods without having to tee off and hang even more parts in space.
I believe the one I have ordered in the Diyco2regulator kit is the EV-3M-12 (standard) with a plug attached to the ends of the wires, and matching manifold.

My kit arrived. Turns out the model is the ET-3M-12. It has spade terminals and it comes with a lead connector to adapt from spade to the connection to match the power supply.

Question: the manifold that arrived with the solenoid is the 15490-5 which has two ports. What is the purpose of the two ports? redundancy? All of the multi solenoid manifolds seem to have one port. Would it be a problem running ET-3M-12 solenoids on a single port manifold?

Last edited by AguaScape; 11-14-2018 at 03:33 AM. Reason: ports
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post #36 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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This is the thing that makes each if us choose how we want to do the dosing. Some prefer to not test and just go with doing lots of water change with the idea of "rest" on the overdose of ferts we are adding when doing it EI. I started EI but then found that I was always too high on nitrate and way to high on phosphate and this is when dry ferts seemed better as I was able to totally stop dosing potassium nitrate and cut way back on phosphate. I don't mind the testing and each tank does act a bit different, so my situation comes down to doing the testand after some time, as I see how each tank settles in, I adjust what I am adding and I also find that tanks do change as the fish and plants are always growing dying or changing in some way. The sub is also prone to change as it collects more debris or we move things around. At one point, I was working the idea of keeping up on vacing the surface but as I got more into dirt from falling out of pots and spilling, the idea of vacing well enough to keep that dirt out was just not going to work and it is far less work to just leave it and adjust my ferts as the whole tank changes much like the garden outside.
The garden is always changing as plants and trees change so that light and growth changes. Maybe that's why they call it a hobby? Because we never run out of "fun" things to do. Like trim the weeds in the tank!!!

One small hint that is easy to miss if you get a Clippard is the way it is put together so that the top can be rotated to better fit how the wires, etc come out. Okay to rotate the body but recommended NOT to take it apart as it may not fit back just right.
I'm sold. It will be much easier to make adjustments. Especially since my water already has high nitrates out of the tap and I will have to adjust my dosing for my automatic drip.

In regards to testing. I have the API freshwater master test kit (the smaller one). I am guessing I will need to get KH, GH, Phosphate, and Fe (Iron). Is there any need to test for Mg or anything else?

Thanks for the tip on not taking the solenoid apart. I have a tendency to want to see how things work. Haha.

I have already played around with loosening the collar to rotate the terminals (nice feature btw.). It is obvious that the Clippard solenoid is a quality piece of equipment.

My regulator body has been delayed. It appears that the ETA on arrival has been pushed out to next week... <frowny face with tears>

Last edited by AguaScape; 11-14-2018 at 03:39 AM. Reason: delay
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post #37 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-14-2018, 02:59 PM
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On test sets, I'm kind of divided as I have trouble getting a good reading with the API nitrate and found the Salifert brand has a pink color which works much better for me. Never found why but the API reads okay up to about twenty, even when I mixed distilled water to known amounts of nitrate for 5, 10, 25, 50 PPM. I had really fish heavy stocking and nitrate has always been something of a problem but when I went into plants, I felt I needed to know more but the tests were showing always 80 + even when I did back to back 50 % water changes for several days in a row. The written info says African cichlids have to have clean water like 20 PPM so I had always had some doubt as they were fat, happy, and breeding at what tested to be 100! I went through the idea that I was not shaking the bottle enough so went to a new bottle and built a shaker on my reciprocating saw but still got wrong answers until I choked up and bought the more expensive Salifert which I could see 50% drop when I did a water change. Weird chemistry thing?
But the others, like GH/KH, etc. are okay. I do not test for iron but do have some on hand and have used the fert at times. I live in one of those areas where the water comes out of limestone and has more than 300 hardness, so I do not need calcium nor magnesium. But at one point I did use some Epson salt as a handy way to see if magnesium would change the results. Since plants are rarely bothered by too much of any fert, it was simple to just try it.
I'm not a chemistry sort and the last study I did was in high school which I immediately wrote off as unneeded!! But I am able to look at plants and see who needs help, so sometimes it works and sometimes I switch out the plants. If they don't want to grow, they have to go!
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post #38 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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On test sets, I'm kind of divided as I have trouble getting a good reading with the API nitrate and found the Salifert brand has a pink color which works much better for me. Never found why but the API reads okay up to about twenty, even when I mixed distilled water to known amounts of nitrate for 5, 10, 25, 50 PPM. I had really fish heavy stocking and nitrate has always been something of a problem but when I went into plants, I felt I needed to know more but the tests were showing always 80 + even when I did back to back 50 % water changes for several days in a row. The written info says African cichlids have to have clean water like 20 PPM so I had always had some doubt as they were fat, happy, and breeding at what tested to be 100!
I apologize for the side tracks that this thread has taken. I originally intended for this thread to be focused on the regulator build, but I have so many questions and this thread seems to provide the best answers to those questions. Thank you to @PlantedRich and @jeffkrol for being there to provide such great information.

I have pretty much the same results with the API kit. The nitrate test is pretty easy to judge in the 0-20 range, but it seems very difficult to judge the color in the high range. Until I got my nitrates under control with continuous drip, it was always scary red with no way of really knowing if it was around 40 ppm or closer to 100+.

I will be buying the Salifert Nitrate test. Debating getting the Salifert Master Reef Testing Combo Kit as it also has Ca, KH/Alk, PO4, Mg tests (also pH which I already have). I may not need to use them all the time, but it would be nice to know where I stand on all of them. Hopefully freshwater does not read differently as these are designed for salt water.

I did some research on recent water quality tests for my district. TDS is 289 ppm. Water hardness is 219 ppm (Ca+Mg+Carbonate). Ca is 44 ppm, Mg is 30 ppm, which would leave 145 ppm for Carbonate. Additional measurements are , Chloride 11 ppm, Sulfate 24 ppm, Sodium 19 ppm, and Chlorine >1 ppm. (all numbers are averages and rounded to the nearest whole number). According to my calculations (which I made at two decimal places), there is ~13 ppm of unidentified dissolved solids.

Copper, Lead, Arsenic, Barium, Uranium, Vanadium, Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic acid, etc are in the ppb range totalling about 1 ppm. I think those could be considered negligible.

Nitrate Nitrogen is claimed to be at 1.06 ppm average with a range of 0-1.97 ppm. Nitrate = Nitrate Nitrogen x 4.43, so that would come out to less than 5 ppm Nitrate. All my tests of Nitrates in tap water reads over 10 ppm. This could be due to inaccurate tests or the drought condition in California, as measurements were averaged over the 2015 to 2017 range. Makes me doubt the rest of the numbers are correct in current conditions.

I know you said that Chemistry was not your strong point PlantedRich and I still insist on throwing up all these crazy numbers, but does anything stand out to you as something that needs to be concerned about? For that matter. Anyone who is more chemically minded. Same question. Perhaps this is something that should be posted on a different thread.

Regardless. I am committed to learning as much as I can and getting the proper test kits to really understand where I stand and what I need to do to be successful in my quest to have a successful high tech aquarium build.

I have been waiting for my regulator body to start posting photos of my build. Hopefully it will be here on Monday. All the other parts have already arrived, but since everything kind of revolves around the regulator I think it will be better to start once it is here. Then we can get this thread back on track.

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post #39 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-15-2018, 02:37 PM
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The water reports are something that I'm somewhat used to reading as it was a once my job to monitor a community well and putting out the report was part of that. Thankfully the tests and results were done with samples we turned in to the state and I never had to go too deep into that part, only compile the report and post it. Maybe look on the report for an item called "total turbidity" as it will have some effect on the TDS. Total dissolved solids can also include weird little things like MUD! I was asked at a neighborhood meeting to explain what turbidity meant and I (being the blind fool) mentioned that it was the amount of dirt or mud in the water. Since we used wells and wells are in the ground, I kind of thought having some dirt in the water was normal. That lady sure set me straight and let everybody know I didn't have any idea what I was doing since their water came out of pipes, not the ground!
The main problem for us using the CCR is that it gives us high and low levels and sometimes average but that doesn't mean the water on any given day will match the report as it can change at different times, especially weather causes. CCR is written from a health point and only somewhat important to tank use.
The nitrate is higher than some as it is an objective to have none in drinking water but it is also not at all high enough to be a real hazard and it does happen reasonably often in areas which are heavily farmed. One of the things we are going to see come to a head is that we are polluting water faster than we are cleaning it. I might guess that you would be found in the Central Valley area but that isn't to blame the local farmers as we all live downstream from somebody and if you are on a well, the surface water is kept from entering the well directly, so that means the nitrate in your water may be from hundreds of miles away and any the local farmers add, may come out in Arizona!
I am currently near Austin, Texas and one of the big issues for the future is water. We recently had a massive flood and the treatment plants in Austin were not able to filter the dirt out and there was a several weeks long boil order. Your water has a little nitrate but you can still drink or shower in it!
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post #40 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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The water reports are something that I'm somewhat used to reading as it was a once my job to monitor a community well and putting out the report was part of that. Thankfully the tests and results were done with samples we turned in to the state and I never had to go too deep into that part, only compile the report and post it. Maybe look on the report for an item called "total turbidity" as it will have some effect on the TDS. Total dissolved solids can also include weird little things like MUD! I was asked at a neighborhood meeting to explain what turbidity meant and I (being the blind fool) mentioned that it was the amount of dirt or mud in the water. Since we used wells and wells are in the ground, I kind of thought having some dirt in the water was normal. That lady sure set me straight and let everybody know I didn't have any idea what I was doing since their water came out of pipes, not the ground!
I was wondering about total turbidity. Once you mentioned it, I decided to try and figure out what it is. It seems to be a pretty elusive subject with an odd way of measuring it. It is measured in Units (NDU and formerly JDU) which is a measurement of refraction of light by the undissolved particles in water. The benchmark is 1 ppm of silica = 1 unit which seems to be deceptive since silica is highly reflective. No way to really know how that equates to actual ppm because different substances refract light differently. Still it is very interesting. The range for my area is NDĖ0.69 with an average of 0.18. Seems kinda low since my water is sourced from wells.

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The main problem for us using the CCR is that it gives us high and low levels and sometimes average but that doesn't mean the water on any given day will match the report as it can change at different times, especially weather causes. CCR is written from a health point and only somewhat important to tank use.
The CCR does give high, low, and average measures. I used the averages in my quoted values. I feel that many of the readings are probably currently higher than average due to drought in California.

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The nitrate is higher than some as it is an objective to have none in drinking water but it is also not at all high enough to be a real hazard and it does happen reasonably often in areas which are heavily farmed. One of the things we are going to see come to a head is that we are polluting water faster than we are cleaning it. I might guess that you would be found in the Central Valley area but that isn't to blame the local farmers as we all live downstream from somebody and if you are on a well, the surface water is kept from entering the well directly, so that means the nitrate in your water may be from hundreds of miles away and any the local farmers add, may come out in Arizona!
You hit the nail on the head. I do live in the Central Valley. Marysville is surrounded by a levee and has both forks of the Yuba river on two sides and Rice fields surrounding the rest. I am sure that the water table is a combination of river water and runoff from the farms. I believe that the Yuba river was not used for city water because of Mercury in the water from the Gold and Silver mining upstream. Interesting note, the rice grown here is highly sought after in China and Japan because of the very low Mercury levels.

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I am currently near Austin, Texas and one of the big issues for the future is water. We recently had a massive flood and the treatment plants in Austin were not able to filter the dirt out and there was a several weeks long boil order. Your water has a little nitrate but you can still drink or shower in it!
I agree that water is our future and we need to do all we can to protect it.

My regulator arrived and it is a beast. Much larger than I anticipated. Will post a photo of my parts in next post.
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post #41 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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OK. I feel like a noob now. I thought I could drag and drop or copy/paste images into a post. Apparently I cannot. It requires a URL to post photos. Can anyone suggest a good photo share app or site that will be compatible with this site? Easy to use would be a bonus.
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post #42 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 04:40 AM
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OK. I feel like a noob now. I thought I could drag and drop or copy/paste images into a post. Apparently I cannot. It requires a URL to post photos. Can anyone suggest a good photo share app or site that will be compatible with this site? Easy to use would be a bonus.
I've been using imgur.com for a long time now. Simple and no issues.


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post #43 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 01:22 PM
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Clicking "Reply and then scroll down a few to attach files, Click manage attachments, gives drop down to choose photos, Click choose and mine goes to photos, then click upload?
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post #44 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. Here is my parts. The regulator body is a hulking chunk of brass. I will definitely need to strap my tank. It appears that I will need a street 45 coming off the regulator body.

Assembly is being put off till Monday. I have guests coming and it is never a good idea to have small valuable parts sitting around when others are milling around.

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Last edited by AguaScape; 03-26-2019 at 06:27 AM. Reason: photo removed
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post #45 of 196 (permalink) Old 11-16-2018, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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I've been using imgur.com for a long time now. Simple and no issues.
Thanks. I signed up for Imgur.

I may come across as a know-it-all. In reality, I have no idea.
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