1st Attempt at Autodosing - Failed... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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1st Attempt at Autodosing - Failed...

I thought I would take a stab at auto-dosing - and set out to acquire the goods...

- 2x Tom Aquatics Aqua Lifter (pumps to move water)
- Various piping pieces to Tee from the outflow of one of my canisters
- Check Valves
- 2x reservoirs (micro/macro)
- 2x digital times that could run that run 1 minute intervals

First step was to test the aqua lifters to with the timer to see how much water is moved in one minute... after a number of tests, things seemed to settle at 225ml/min.

Next step was to modify my plumbing. Basically just added a Tee in one of my canister outflows - running a 3/16 line in to add the ferts from the aqua lifter. With one setup for testing - it looked like this:





Well - ends up the these little aqua lifters don't have enough power to push the water into the outflow. I guess the outflow creates too much back pressure for these little things to deal with... If I blow in the end of the tube I get air out of the filter, but no liquid...

So I guess I will either need to run the lines up the back of the aquarium directly into the tank or find a more powerful pump... Ughhh Seemed like a good idea...
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 03:34 AM
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Rather than rebuilding with new pumps, why not swap the tee over to the canister inlet? You'll have to recalibrate your dose volumes because the negative pressure on the inlet side will actually suck in to some degree.

One potential problem, I guess. If your pump (I'm not familiar with those) dose not seal the line closed when off, all of your ferts will get sucked in. If you're thinking about switching pumps, I would consider a peristaltic pump. It'll give a slower flow rate and better control as a result.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 04:34 AM
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it can work with having it drip directly in the tank....the flow will be alot lower than 225/min though at that height.

One setback I've found with the aqualifter is that it seems to 'clog' up and have decreased flow after some time....

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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These pumps siphon without a check valve - so I am pretty sure that they inlet side would suck all of the ferts right through - though I will double check tomorrow. I may try and set two up in series and see if I can get them to push some liquid in. Peristaltic pumps are quite a bit more money - right?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 05:15 AM
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APT Instruments makes pretty inexpensive peristaltics for DIY ...

APT Instruments

Start at $62 each. Not too much dough ... I have two!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dapellegrini View Post
These pumps siphon without a check valve - so I am pretty sure that they inlet side would suck all of the ferts right through - though I will double check tomorrow. I may try and set two up in series and see if I can get them to push some liquid in. Peristaltic pumps are quite a bit more money - right?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Would a Peristaltic Pump push liquid into my outflow - or is that a flawed concept?
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapellegrini View Post
Would a Peristaltic Pump push liquid into my outflow - or is that a flawed concept?
Should not be a problem. Peristaltics are self priming by nature and have relatively high head/pressure capablility. They are also anti-siphon by nature and work like a check valve. I would probably put another check valve inline just to be safe. Do a search on this forum for APT instruments. There are several others that use these. Most have the AC powered ones. I bought a DC model because they are basically open/unsealed units and I just felt more comfortable with them being DC powered, just in case it got a little wet. Another advantage is that varying DC voltage to them allows you to adjust the pump's flow rate, just in case you want that added flexibility.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 05:32 PM
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I would not recommend to use peristaltic pumps to push the fertilizer into the canister outflow! With my APT pumps, I noticed a little bit of siphoning even without any back pressure.

Unless you have a sump, the only way to make this work is to run a direct line to the tank rim.


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Unless you have a sump, the only way to make this work is to run a direct line to the tank rim.
That's what I was afraid of... It was quite a bit of effort jamming all of those hoses onto the adapters and I was hoping for some payback. I can run the dosing pumps up to the tank just fine, just hate adding more equipment up the back of the tank - which will soon be replaced with an ADA 120-P...

I use a check valve to hold the outflow pressure back from the actual pump, but then the pump would need to be strong enough to inject the water through the check valve at whatever pressure that might be...
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
I would not recommend to use peristaltic pumps to push the fertilizer into the canister outflow! With my APT pumps, I noticed a little bit of siphoning even without any back pressure.

Unless you have a sump, the only way to make this work is to run a direct line to the tank rim.
Guess I'm a little confused.

If it's on the high pressure side, what I'm referring to as outflow, wouldn't a check valve prevent tank water from siphoning out and through your peristaltic pump and then into your dosing reservoir?

If it's on the low pressure side, what I'm referring to as inlet (pump inlet), mine seem seems to be working quite nicely without any excess ferts being sucked out of the fert reservoir. I have a check valve installed inline also, so that water doesn't siphon out of the tank, even if the peristaltic pump failed.

I don't have a canister, I have the ferts plumbed to the inlet of a pump and the pump feeds external inline filters, but this shouldn't be any different for a canister, except for maybe less pressure extremes on the inlet and outlet sides for a canister setup.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-18-2007, 11:53 PM
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I'm struggling to see a peristaltic pump leaking fluid either way, I would hope a municipal water source wouldn't over pressure it. I guess its possible.

On the other hand a good check valve between the pump and the outlet side of your canister should prevent back flow into the fertilizer reservoir. I see no way for the material in the reservoir to make it into the out flow lines from your canister...simple pressure only flows one way. Just need a good control valve...one of Rex's dealies.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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From what I understand, Peristaltic Pumps mechanically push liquid through a tubing around a gear of sorts - no liquid running directly through the pump. As long as it can push it through into the 350gph outflow of my canister I would be fine... Just don't want to blow $100 to find out it doesn't work.

On the inflow, I can't help but believe that my filter would suck the fert resevoir dry in no time. I guess I could give it a go... just the hassle of pushing new pipe fittings on...
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-19-2007, 02:25 AM
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The pieces around the tubing are intended to both keep the rate constant regardless of head/suction and stop any inflow/outflow from the pump. In theory anyway.

There are several posts on the board here with the consensus appearing to me to be:

1. Pump outlet into canister outlet
2. Checkvalve to stop any chance of siphon into reservoir on pump leak or failure.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 06:31 PM
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Oh I see what your trying to do is have your ferts dosed in line with your filter to prevent other things from entering the tank. Unfortunately I have no idea how you could do something like that. I use 2 aqualifter pumps to dose micros and macros to my tank but the output of both go direct into my sump tank which is not pressurized like your canister filter. I have both of my pumps plugged into the same timer. But your method of 2 timers allows for the option of dosing on opposite days. You would have to have a good check valve in line and the dosing pump would have to pump low volume and generate more pressure and than the canister filter for that to work, but can't picture that type of setup being very reliable.


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 08:40 AM
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Vidiots... just curious how well your aqualifters are holding up? Just curious what I am in for, will be setting them up soon for ferts.


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