Official DIY disaster thread - post your blunders!! (lots of pics) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Official DIY disaster thread - post your blunders!! (lots of pics)

As I surf around this forum, I'm a bit skeptical of the 100% success rate. It seems every tank is immaculate without a speck of algae, every DIY project works out perfectly, and every ambitious build functions flawlessly.

REALITY CHECK

I've doodled out a lot of crazy aquarium designs, invented new equipment, and most of those ideas never go farther than a conceptual sketch. Typically if a project gets off my drawing board it's a success, but not always; let's check our pride at the door and show off some "It seemed like a good idea at the time" pictures.


Rules: No making fun of each other. This is really embarrassing but should be a good learning experience of "what not to do."

************************************************** ******

I'll start off the action. I did an LED build using "super bright" strip lights that come pre-assembled on an adhesive backing. The instructions were to Just solder on 12v leads and stick it down. Once I finished putting in the 5 LED strips into my hood, the results were pathetic.

**AFTER** I was done, I researched the product specs. The total light output: 136 lumens. (about as much as a 3w CFL) Idiot!



************************************************** ********


My other screw up was trying to make my own filter inlet. The concept was that I wanted a place to dump dry ferts / chemicals and get them mixed into the water without risking the fish. (I accidentally killed a tiger barb when he ran over and ate some soda ash I threw in to raise the Ph)

I put a ton of work into milling and welding up this 316 stainless filter inlet. The idea was that this setup would cause the incoming water to swirl and thereby mix the dry powders before the canister pulled it down. It worked too well, it swirled so hard that air kept getting pulled down into the filter. I managed to get it usable, but this project was a disaster.









This is how I ultimately salvaged it from the scrap heap. I cut up a big red party cup and jammed it in there. The baffle prevents the water from doing cyclonic flow. Ugly but effective...

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pH..._fail_fixc.jpg

Last edited by proaudio55; 08-11-2012 at 06:41 PM. Reason: new picture
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 05:19 PM
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I kinda like your second idea would make adding fertz super easy.

My fail would have to be my DIY canister filter...worked ok eventually but for the same price an Eheim would have worked better.


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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 05:24 PM
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should have used PVC pipe for your 2nd method, metal is always risky.

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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 07:44 PM
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After looking at the DIY stands thread here ... tried building a stand for myself for a tiny 10 Gallon, i ran to home depot all exited and grabbed everything i would need, built a crappy looking stand and called it a day. For the amount I spent building it, I could have just purchased one. Lesson learnt, building a stand isnt easy, requires planning, tools and most importantly SKILL.
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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 08:23 PM
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After looking at the DIY stands thread here ... tried building a stand for myself for a tiny 10 Gallon, i ran to home depot all exited and grabbed everything i would need, built a crappy looking stand and called it a day. For the amount I spent building it, I could have just purchased one. Lesson learnt, building a stand isnt easy, requires planning, tools and most importantly SKILL.
and you get that skill from screwing up and learning. if you did something perfectly the first time, you'd have learnt nothing.
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-10-2012, 10:01 PM
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As I recall all of my DIY threads here have been posted as I build, so I note any failures as I go along, plus what I try to do to fix them. But, my biggest "failures" were my tries at new methods to support light fixtures above the tank. So far none of them did everything I wanted very well, with the possible exception of the last one, made with a pair of drawer slides. The biggest failure was with a cantilevered parallelogram linkage with springs to counterbalance the weight of the fixture. The darned thing tended to twist to the side very rapidly, scaring me so much I removed the springs. Usually I keep trying until I make things work, but that hasn't always been the case.

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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 02:00 PM
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and you get that skill from screwing up and learning. if you did something perfectly the first time, you'd have learnt nothing.
I agree, I definitely learnt from it.
1. I should have planned it better.
2. The right tools save you tons of time and effort.
3. Patience is key. A good stand is not built in a matter of hours.

Hopefully my second attempt draws from my first screwup.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 04:25 PM
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should have used PVC pipe for your 2nd method, metal is always risky.
300 and 400 series SS are considered food safe. However I understand the motivation because I've killed a tiger barb the same way as the OP...
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 05:08 PM
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All my DIY's have been successful thus far but that doesn't mean I haven't had my blunders. When I got my first canister filter, I didn't really understand how they worked. Mine was very noisy so I thought I could try to manually purge the air out by opening the top (while still connected to the tank). I didn't realize they were fed by a siphon to begin with. I really didn't understand how hard it would be to get the top back on.

I didn't drain my tank like the picture but I did dump at least 5 gallons or more on the floor. I ended up having to tear down my tank to get the carpet up, etc.

By far my biggest blunder to date.


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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 05:59 PM
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Broken siphon in an overflow box, on multiple occasions. I will never use a siphon overflow again (drill baby, drill! ).

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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-14-2012, 06:52 PM
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Mostly it's just me doing WC's and I just stick a hose in my tank, suck and drain into a 5gal jug but sometimes either watching what I'm sucking up in the tank or talking and then my feet get wet. Normally just half a gallon or something.

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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 06:54 PM
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Mostly it's just me doing WC's and I just stick a hose in my tank, suck and drain into a 5gal jug but sometimes either watching what I'm sucking up in the tank or talking and then my feet get wet. Normally just half a gallon or something.
I've always been amazed at how much more water it seems once it's on the floor, lol! 'Just' only applies before it's on the hardwood,

4/26/2012, lost the finest man. Rest easy Pops...
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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:34 PM
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Mostly it's just me doing WC's and I just stick a hose in my tank, suck and drain into a 5gal jug but sometimes either watching what I'm sucking up in the tank or talking and then my feet get wet. Normally just half a gallon or something.
ahahahhaha... my tank is right behind a window which gets almost 0 light thoughtout the day.

so i just stick a tube out the window... and let the water dump to my backyard... :P

i bet the grass loves that... i noticed its been growing really well on that part of the grass...
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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:47 PM
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giggling at the thread title. May I contribute my "Mineralized Top Soil capped with large gravel=ammonia explosion" debacle? lol Not exactly DIY, but not quite off-the-shelf either.
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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:52 PM
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I plumbed hot & cold water supply lines into my system so I could do water changes and topoffs really easily. It works just great. But two weeks ago my downstairs tenant called me up at work to say "there's a steady stream of water coming down into the basement." You got it: I left one of the faucet valves open juuust enough to drip-drip-drip water into the tank. Eventually it overflowed and made a big old mess. I care enough about my stand that I had to take everything apart to dry it all off and put a fan in the cabinet for a week to make sure I wouldn't warp anything.
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