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In preparation for an upcoming
vacation I've decided to automate the dosing in my tanks to
eliminate the need for any pet-sitting services (from family
or others). The method I've chosen involves the use of peristaltic
pumps (APT Instruments SP100 OEM).

Here's the setup on my 125g
tank. The reason for 5 gallon buckets is that these pumps will
be adding both ferts as well as top-off water to the tanks.
I've calculated the weekly evaporation rate and the 10 gallons
of solution should leave me 3-4 gallons short of full after
a three week period..which will be just in time for a return
from vacation water change. The white bucket is for macros (N-P-K)
while the yellow is the micros (in this case, TMG)

Yellow Glass Fixture Plastic Lid


Here you see closeup of the
pump on top of the bucket lid. The lid is mainly to keep solution
evaporation down to a minimum. The acrylic tube serves the purpose
of keeping the draw tube inserted fully to the bottom of the
bucket (as seen in the next picture). Also in the bucket is
a small water pump to mix the solution while it's being dosed.

Cable Wire Tan Electrical supply Electronics accessory

Plastic Paint Teal Bucket Nail


Here's the setup for my 40g.
Same as for the 125 but with smaller buckets (3.5 gallon).

Wire Toilet Plastic Gas Toilet seat


Here you can see one of the
drip tubes held in place with a rubber-band clamp. The clamp
has just enough tension to hold the tube in place without the
risk of constricting it. The drip tube's end is submersed to
eliminate the possibility of any of the ferts crystalizing and
clogging the opening while the pumps are off.

Machine Cable Wire Transparent material Steel


Here's the permanent setup on
my 20g tank. Since this tank is closed top I don't have to worry
about adding water to top it off so this setup is much cleaner.
Solutions are stored in 500ml water bottles. No acrylic tube
is needed for these since the draw tube is so short. The wrapper
around the rear bottle is to keep light off the micro solution
(CSM+B) since the back of the cabinet is open.

Plastic bottle Cable Wire Technology Aqua


The solution (PPS standard +
Flourish Excel) for the 20g tank is being dispensed into the
HOB filter.

Teal Peripheral Plastic Corded phone Cable


Once the vacation over, and
I can dose the open top tanks without concern for top-off water,
I'll mount their pumps inside their stands, too, and store the
solutions in smaller bottles.

As for the actual dosing regimen,
the past three weeks I've been logging the amount of ferts dosed
to each tank while doing no water changes. Unsing this data
I was able to calculate the total amount of each fert needed
for a three week period. These were added to the bucket and
topped off with water. The total amount of solution is based
on the water added to top off the tanks over the past three
weeks. So in the case of the 125g tank, it took 12g of top-off
water so five gallons of macro solution and five of micros should
leave me just a little short of full when I get back. Of course
these pictures are of my three week trail preceeding the actual
vacation so I'll be able to make any necessary adjustments before
I leave.

Each pump's flow rate was measured
by running it for five minutes then dividing the output by
five to get the ml/min delivery rate.

This article was graciously donated by
Bharada.
Check out his website here for more great information and pictures.

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