DIY Dosing Pump with Aqua Lifter - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Dosing Pump with Aqua Lifter

Well I saw that a few people had been playing around with this so I thought I would give it a try. I had a few of these around the house and I thought if I can have my ferts dosed automaticly than that would be great. So here is what I came up with. I need to get a timer that I can set for a short time frame but other than that its done. The container is a G2 20 oz container with two 3 / 16" holes drilled into the top. One is for the feed line and the other is for a check valve to release pressure as the aqualifter sucks out the liquid. I went with a check valve because if the container is tipped over it shouldnt leak. Both the feed tube and the check valve are really in good. I made two of these one with clear tubing and one with black tubing. The black tubing is silicone based and is more flexiable were the clear is not silicone based and is a little stiff. I made a custom piece at the end to act as a hanger and outlet for the liquid fert. I think it turned out pretty cool but I will have to test it when I get the timer. I will do a follow up in the next couple of days.

Last edited by ZID ZULANDER; 10-21-2008 at 06:53 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 10:59 PM
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It's been discussed before here, but never with pictures!

Thanks.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 12:56 AM
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i used a brinks 7 day timer from walmart.
one thing that's frightening is that if you set the timer wrong on one day and mix up am's or pm's the setup will dump the entire container...
so i am extra careful when i play with the timer.

also it seems that the aqualifter might be prone to clogs, esp. if it dries out a little bit, then the dissolved ferts probably crystalize on the inside.
after just a short while you will see that they crystalize on the end of the outlet tube.
another is it's extreme dependency upon the head pressure, but this may also be an asset because with digital timers only capable of one minute intervals you can simply adjust the height of the pump or the container in relation to the tank rim height, so that you may easily set it up with a little bit of testing to dose x ml solution in one or two minutes.

good luck!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 09:18 AM
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Bumping an old thread.

Because i actually think that the aqualifter looks promising at this point.
The deal is that i more or less want the tank to take care of itself as much as i can have. So i am picking up where i left off almost 4 months ago and giving the autodosing another attempt.


This time i think i will be sucessful with the aqualifter. previously i was having some issues, now i have had the time to really get down and start working the bugs out. tonight, after the addition of the Toms aqualifter prefilter chamber and an airline valve, i think i have got this thing figured out.

I can just mess with the airline valve and measure in ml the drops that come from the output tube over 1 min, then adjust accordingly. then i set my timer, and it's all done.

I dont have to F with teaspoons or bags, droppers or bottles every day anymore. Only about once a month do i have to fill the resivoir, and if i wanted i could even find a larger container that would only need filling say every 3 months, or more...

So it works for now, we'll see how it holds up in the next month or so. i will post my thoughts in a few days.

Zoolander, what ever happened with this?

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 11:16 AM
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FWIW, I have used these before and had limited success for the one time I actually used it.

First off, you need to realize that the aqualifter is very sensitive to the reservoir level. It will dose very different volumes from when the reservoir is filled or almost empty.

I ended up using a very very dliuted solution when I did this to compensate for this, so the fluctuation in volume had a limited concentration change when it dosed.

If you don't believe me, fill up a huge jug and set up a timer to dose for one minute into a measuring cup. Now dump jug so its almost at the bottom (but leaving enough to run for the minute) and run the same test. Guarentee you will see a very different volume.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 04:25 PM
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If you use it as loop into/out of the tank you dose, you can add a small tee witha valve that sucks the solution out and you can control pretty easily(I'd suggest a decent needle valve) the rate for really low flow.

Timers also work but I like continuous flow. The tee's and valves can get gunk in them, so use a small in line air filter that also works in water to filter small stuff out.

You can simply place a 1 day, 2 day, 3 day or week etc volume's worth of dosing solution into a cup by the dosing pump.

Most of the water the pump uses is from the tank and this small low flow side loop does the rest.

You can set the rate really small.

You also can branch off multiple tee's to dose seperate solutions witha single pump,say Traces, PO4 and NO3 and evaporation top off.

A float valve can be attached to the dosing pump for top offs.
Very simple.

You may also hook the dosing pump as mentioend to a timer as well and still dose multiple items or control them further with the needle valves.

80$ for the pump and set of 3-4 valves can set you up pretty snazzy.
Small and can pump most anywhere/place the reservior anywhere.

You can use those cheapy plastic air line valves as well, or IV drop valves, but they will not be as accurate, but you might not care that much either.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-11-2009, 01:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
If you use it as loop into/out of the tank you dose, you can add a small tee witha valve that sucks the solution out and you can control pretty easily(I'd suggest a decent needle valve) the rate for really low flow.

Regards,
Tom Barr

aahh...
this raises my curiousity if this loop in/out method could be rigged in line with a canister somehow. im working on a 125 and Everything is to be plumbed from underneath like your 180, with the exception of my auto dose, i thought.

So you are saying that the T will act as a venturi?

I am going to experiment with this tomorrow a bit.

Mccreedy, i did not notice that the reservoir level made a difference but it make sense with how sensitive this pump is. I have actually been using a 500ml bottle for a reservoir filled with a solution that is very concentrated, just a bit under the limit of solubility, i think. it should last about 22-25 days depending, it doses 20ml per day into a 55 gal. tank, these are macro ferts. i dose micros by hand, until i go buy another timer.

So i will test that out and see how different the dosing is with the 500ml bottle whether it's empty or full. If i dont like it then i may compensate using a diluted soulution and gallon jugs or similar. but we'll see what happens.

I am excited about this.

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