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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2005, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Need to ask a few

Hi, friends. It's been so long since I last visited the site. I have a few questions to the experts in this board.

I just completed my DIY CO2 system setup for my 75gal tank. Here are some questions.

1) What is the best action to be taken when the power goes out? My system synchronizes with the timer and I am worried about in the event the power fails due to storm or lightning.

2) My substrate is not ideally deep enough because I miscalculated at the beginning. I use a mixture of laterite and regular gravel. The tank was setup 3 years ago and the plants are doing OK (needs more CO2). Is it safe to add more substrate in the established tank to change the depth and landscape a little?

These questions may have been asked by some other people but I will appreciate if somebody can give me a good advise.

Thank you,
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2005, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chippy
1) What is the best action to be taken when the power goes out? My system synchronizes with the timer and I am worried about in the event the power fails due to storm or lightning.
First off I am not even close to an expert here, just some one up late at night and got to answer the post first with the timer i dont know that much about them other then the one i have set up on my lights. If you are super concerned about a power outage you can always get a UPS. Uninterupter Power Supply Unit. They ussaly are sole for PC's and when the power goes off your equipment then runs off of the UPS for anywhere 1/2 to hours depending on how much money you got. Last i looked at them they were pretty spendy though
Quote:
Originally Posted by chippy
2) My substrate is not ideally deep enough because I miscalculated at the beginning. I use a mixture of laterite and regular gravel. The tank was setup 3 years ago and the plants are doing OK (needs more CO2). Is it safe to add more substrate in the established tank to change the depth and landscape a little?
I think you would be alright to add some more, not for sure, but i added about 1\2 inch to my tank after it was set up for a week but it may be different for your since it has been up for so long.

Oh and welcome back to the board.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2005, 06:20 AM
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By DIY Co2 system, do you mean yeast and sugar or do you have a compressed system with components you hand picked? Since it's 75 gals and you mentioned it was synched with a timer, I'll assume you are running pressurized and have a solenoid? If your yeast/sugar is synched to a timer, then I assume you mean you have your venturii pump plugged into the timer. Either way it doesn't really matter. If the power goes off, your Co2 either cuts out completely or stops being diffused and just bubbles out, depending on your setup. Either way, no power means no Co2. This shouldn't be a problem because when the power is out, so are your lights. No light means your plants aren't in high photosynthesis, so they don't need Co2. No lights means that algae shouldn't be actively growing either, so it's ok that your light and Co2 are low because you won't need the plants to out compete algae for nutrients. The Ph will likely climb as the Co2 outgasses to the atmosphere and reaches an equilibrium of about 3ppm in your water. This Ph swing shouldn't make much of a difference because it doesn't involve a change in Total Dissolved Solids, it's merely a function of acids and base buffers exchanging dominance. Your only concern would be that your plants could suffer if the power was out for many days and they got no light. They might grow a little leggy, but if the power is out long enough to kill them, then you have bigger problems on your hands, like trying to stay alive yourself. If it's winter, your heater would not have power and the temp would really drop unless you had a gas heater or something to keep the room warm.

My pressurized co2 system seems to handle thunderstorms well. The solenoid clicks off like every other electrical appliance, but unline my alarm clock, the solenoid goes right back to working condition once the power returns. As far as surges or electrical damage during a thunderstorm...I had to plug a powerstrip into my timer anyway to get two lights and solenoid running off it.

So really, dead of winter, no gas heater, power out for 6 days...you'd have a big problem, but it wouldn't be about your tank. Now, if your Co2 cut out and your tank lights somehow stayed on, then you could have an algae outbreak, or if your Kh was really low and your lights died but your Co2 stayed on, then you could possibly have dead fish problems if you were running very high Co2 levels and playing on the edge of disaster in the first place.

I don't see why it would be unsafe to add clean "same" substrate to your old tank. It might be inconvenient to have to uproot plants and have the water clouded, but as long as you are able to do a good water change afterwards to dilute any crap and excessive nutrients you disturbed up into the water column, it should't hurt anything. If I were willing to uproot my glosso, I would add another bag or two of flourite to mine.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-19-2005, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the timely advise. You are right, I forgot about lights would be turned off if the power outage happens. My area, northwestern PA, gets occasional heavy thunderstorm/lightning during the summer time. As a matter of fact, it happened about a month ago and power went off for about 6 hours. The longest we were out of power was 2 days but my fish tank was OK (of course I did not have CO2 pressurized system). I just want to be cautious as this setup will be my first and I am new to the advanced system.

I work for fitting and valve company and my DIY system was almost over spec. We make an industrial use needle valve and instrumentation fittings here and I spent only $30 for solenoid (valve and fittings free). I have a high grade industrial use check valve (free) connected and got a regulator from beveragefactory.com, $38. Our company has a regular fire extinguisher training and I got an aluminum pressurized CO2 cylinder for $48 (5lb.)and the refill will be $6. So cost wise, I spent a total $116 plus bubble counter/diffuser, $9.90. I would have spent a few hundred dollars if I bought a conventional CO2 kit but I saved a lot!!

I would post a photo when my DYI system is hooked up.

Thanks again for your advise.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 01:57 AM
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Wish we all had connections in the business

Yeah, I'm the same way. I wanna know every little thing about anything I'm working on and I totally respect the power of screwing up. I don't trust myself as much as I should, but I'm getting better about it.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-20-2005, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Hope there will be no power problem in the near future..

I think I will try to add more substrate to modify the landscape.
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