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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Automation

So what kind of automation do you use if you need to leave town, or finally get a vacation, or even if you don't leave town? Being a programmer of sorts, I love automation anyway, and enjoy pondering mechanical automation.

I've been reading some threads related to water parameters and related rituals, and it looks some can barely get away for a few hours, let alone days!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-16-2006, 03:42 PM
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I use automatic heaters, lights and CO2 on timers, and auto-dosing of nutrients.

I set up a semi-automatic water change which takes all the work out of it, but I still need to open a ball valve to initiate it. No problem, since I can leave tanks for ~4 weeks without water change, and haven't found a way to get longer vacations than that.

All of this frees up time to just enjoy the tanks (and prune and clean the glass... not sure how to automate that part yet).


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 03:36 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...stem-idea.html

My hairbrained idea, in that post, to reinvent co2 injection wasn't all that great, but the links there for automation products might be of some help. PLC's are an extreamly reliable and flexable way to automate anything. A PC even running Linux isn't. Here's a few links to give you an idea of whats possible and to show that the actual PLC isn't that expensive- its the sensors and transmistters that are expensive.

http://www.automatedaquariums.com/ht...DirectLogic_05


As has already been said by some very ingenius people (take a min to search automatic water changes and fert dosing)..timers and DIY can be just as effective.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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I love that idea! Although I was mostly thinking feeding and chemicals when I posted the question.

I have several friends that do automation for a living, and we often sit around and ponder cool automated tasks over beers. We spent quite awhile talking about an automated lizard feeder using crickets and air pressure, but thinking about purging a system like that was kinda disgusting and funny at the same time, let alone shooting crickets.

To bad the sensors ARE so expensive. I was just at link somewhere that had USB pH senors for like $339. Thats a bit much. But like you said, with a cheap laptop, you could code up a something to gather the sensor data into a database and make it available to the pcl software as thresholds.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 02:55 PM
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Auto water changes set up for easy tank enjoyment. I did mine ala Sergio's thread with an Eheim 1250 pump, two RO type lines with electronic solenoid valves, and one float switch with relay to shut off the fill cycle for around $260 per tank - using digital timers. I have two timers per tank with on off sequences - first for drain cycle and then a longer, slower fill cycle. I used a tee out of the canister filter's return line to start the drain. It runs to the Eheim hobby pump and solenoid. They are plugged into the digital timer which kicks off the show. The drain run is about 21 feet to my utility sink's drain pipe using a $5 "drain saddle" sold by ROwatersystems.com. The drain cycle takes about 24 minutes to pull a bit over two inches off the top of my 90 gallon. I use 3/8 O.D. BLACK polyethelene tubing for all of the drain cycle (and most of the fill's) except by the fill's solenoid which requires 1/4" OD tubing. Also all the plumbing fittings and checkvalves are (mostly) John Guest brand available at either ROwatersystems.com or US Plastic.com.

After the drain cycle is complete, another digital timer opens a different solenoid valve on 3/8" polyethelene tubing pressured by my house's cold water tap. I have two in-line heaters running full out for an hour to keep the temp up. On five nights each week, I drain about 12% of the tank, then it fills back up on the second cycle.

I have a ball valve shut almost all the way on the fill tubing to extend the fill cycle's time. The float switch powers off the solenoid after the tank is filled up. A minute later the power to the float switch powers off, as a fail safe (I HOPE!). Both solenoids are the normally closed variety, meaning if they lose power, they close the valve.

Works like a charm.

I used some RO tubing fittings made by John Guest which plumb into my utility sink's drain and cold water line into the sink. So there is no plumbing involving copper and brazing etc. They are all plastic parts - available at ROwatersystems.com.The drain sequence's solenoid was around $75 (Asco 3/8 inch with 5/16 orifice from Grainger Inc.) and the other 1/4" solenoid was from Autotopoff.com ~ $35.00. I also purchased the float switch and relay from Autotopoff. The 3/8" and 1/4" OD polyethelene line was from US Plastic. 100' of 3/8" BLACK (no algae that way) polyethelene was around $12.00

You can read up on many of these components on Sergio's excellent thread. Both Scolley and Sergio use X10 modules to control their solenoids off a PC computer. Caveat with X10. One has to disable "local control", or you might get some very wet floors!





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......

Last edited by Betowess; 11-17-2006 at 08:24 PM.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Wow... I could run drain lines and fill lines right under the floor to the basements utility room. I think I need a second job...
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Betowess,

How hardy are those float switches? Without seeing anything, that sounds like one of the bigger failuer points. I have yet to read the thread you mentioned yet.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 07:05 PM
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They are a high quality float switch made in Ohio by Madison.They are said to be very reliable and are encased in a PVC housing with holes drilled into for water entrance and "snail guards". Auto topoff recommends checking/cleaning once per month. Another forum member has used them for years without probs. Also, the timer powers off the fill solenoid one minute after the tank is topped off as a failsafe. The only way I could have an over flow is if I had a power outage on part of the drain, (then power come back on) and then a float switch failure on the fill cycle on the same day, something I believe/HOPE is unlikely to ever happen. I also start the drain at 9PM so I'm usually around to check up on things. Here's a link to Autotopoff.

AutoTopoff.com





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 08:31 PM
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BTW, that was pretty funny about "shooting crickets"!!





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Betowess View Post
BTW, that was pretty funny about "shooting crickets"!!
Indeed!


Is there anything for autodosing dry ferts?

And is there anything for autodosing flourish excel? Eheim luquidoser good for anything?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 01:12 AM
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Never used the Eheim, but Sergio has. And I believe he is working on something for ferts to. Also Scolley has stuff on his thread on dry ferts made into liquid and dosed with a peristaltic pump like this one from Aquamedic which can be used for ferts.
Aqua Medic Dosing Pumps - SP 3000 (Niveaumat) & Reefdoser - Marine Depot - Marine and Reef Aquarium Super Store





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 12:51 PM
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I have seen some of the projects done with those peristaltic pumps... but if your dosing micros macros and excel seperately you'd be talking a few hundred bucks just for 1 tank worth of autodosing equipment! Not sure if you want to mix it all together either. I was wondering if one of the automatic feeders you can get for cheap could be modified somehow for dry ferts. I really havent givin it much thought though, sounds like something I could work on in the future but got way too much going on now.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 04:26 PM
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Sergio was using a auto feeder or something like that (Rondomatic?) for dosing Equilibrium for GH in his RO water setup, but had problems with it not dispersing and mentioned he was working on something. There are some threads on cheaper auto dosing around, by Wasserpest and magicmagni I believe. Also Bharada has something. Just some that came to mind, besides Scolley. I suppose that's next on my agenda, maybe. You might want to check those guys threads out.

I suppose one could try to get to a PMDD mix and just get one peristaltic on the cheap, then maybe add phosphates and Excel separately. Excel is so easy to dose with a syringe anyways. But with my rich Aqua Soil and a moderate/heavy fish load, I can't dose much of anything without getting spanked, so far.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 07:57 PM
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I suppose one could try to get to a PMDD mix and just get one peristaltic on the cheap, then maybe add phosphates and Excel separately. Excel is so easy to dose with a syringe anyways.
Its not so much the ease of dosing I am concerned with, its for when I am out of town for a week or more.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 09:59 PM
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I hear you. Some guys just turn off a bank of lights and/or shorten the photoperiod and crank it back up when home.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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