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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This will be my first attempt at keeping a tank journal! I hope to document everything in painstaking detail. I don't have much so far but a stand, and my intentions.

So Here's the stand - It's a Sedona Stand made by Marineland. It's made for 75/90G tanks, but shares a compatible footprint with the ADA 120P.



And these are my intentions:

First, the tank will not be located where the stand is sitting now (by the TV). As soon as I can, I'm going to move my 45G and put this stand where that is - It will have its own wall. The 45G has been transformed into a farm tank to grow plants for the ADA tank. I intend to "build up the 2 inch opening that the tank would normally sit IN, so that the tank is just about flush with the top of the trim. I'll use MDF and an ADA Garden Mat to do this. I'll have to install locks on the doors and drawers so my daughter doesn't drink the ferts. I have the canopy, but obviously that's not going to go over a rimless! I may try to use it as a "housing" for the Teklights.

I will plumb as much as I can using PVC in the stand. My Auto Water Changer, and Fert Auto Dosing Systems will be hard-plumbed into the new setup. I also intend to put my temp and pH probes inline to get them out of the tank.

Filtration: Eheim 2128 (which will also heat the tank) and Eheim 2217. I'll use ADA Lily Pipes on the 2128, and CalAqua Labs Lily Pipes on the 2217. This is not to save money, but to vary the flow of water in the tank. There will also be a Coralife 18W Turbo-Twist UVS inline.

Lighting: Teklight T5 4x54W. Still deciding on the color rating I'm going to use. Probably 6500K only - maybe half 10000K...not sure yet.

Substrate: ADA Aquasoil Amazonia with PowerSand Special-M and Tourmaline BC.

CO2: Pressurized via ADA Beetle 40 diffuser. I'm considering adding a second diffuser. CalAqua Labs is going to be coming out with what I'm told are some VERY unique diffusers in about 2 weeks. I'll decide when I see what they look like.

Water Changes will most likely be 10% daily, fertilization will be such to maintain the following levels:

NO3 15-20ppm
PO4 - 3-4ppm
K - Enough
Micros - Enough
GH 4-6
KH - well, out of the tap is 2, I won't be adding anything to that most likeley
CO2 - 30-40ppm based on Drop Checker.


The tank is on its way, should have it late this month. Same with the substrate. The lights have not been ordered yet. The filters are already running on the 45 to get a bacterial colony building up.

I am having a VERY hard time finalizing a decision on hardscape! Wood or rock?!?! Leaning toward wood for the past few days.


I'm getting very excited about this tank! Any comments questions or suggestions will be appreciated!!!
 

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sounds great, Sergio...I look forward to seeing it in person!
 

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Very nice start Sergio. What exactly is the size of the ADA 120P? Is it pretty much the same as a 90g? Anyway, I like the stand. I've never really seen a nice finished stand like that w/ handles and everything. Looks better than the flush look of the ADA stands. It's all in what your looking for I guess. You won't be disappointed with the Tek lighting. I just hooked up a 6x54w tek for my 90g and so far am impressed. Keep us updated!
-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, today I was able to get another component for the tank setup:


I know - what is it?!? Well, its the contraption that's going to keep some instrumentation out of the tank. It will be plumbed into the outflow of the 2217. It is an adaptation inspired by Steve (scolley)

It starts here with a 1/2" barb x 1/2"MPT adapter:


Next to this, which is a 1/2" FPT x 3/4" slip cemented to a 3/4" slip x 1 & 1/4" slip cemented to a 1 & 1/4" x 1/2" FPT reducing "T." I went with this size to reduce or negate the flow reduction the instrumentation will cause - the other end is exactly the same, but reversed, and there is a "T" between them with no adapters. All are connected by the rubber clamps:



The tops of two of the T's have this adapter. It's essentially a compressible rubber seal that gets smaller as you tighten it. One of these will accept the pH probe, and the other will accept the temp probe. Some of you may have seen them in Steve's threads...


Continued below:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is what it looks like tightened all the way ( Thanks for the heads up on these fittings Steve - they're great!):


The center "T" accepts a 3/8" JG x 1/2" MPT adapter. The ferts and feed water from the water changer will come in here:


This is what it looks like completely assembled:



How it will work: The water will come in from the left, pass over the pH probe, this way ferts and potentially cold feed water won't contact the probe so directly. Then it will pass though the T where the ferts and feed water come in. The last T is the temp probe. Cold feed water will hit it during the water changes to ensure the heater in the 2128 kicks on.

I'm expecting air to get trapped in the T's from time to time. I intend to deal with it by periodically loosening the "compressor" seals to vent the air out, similar to what is done with some CO2 reactors.

I think it will work well!!!
 

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I just started my photo period within the last couple days. It's a brand new set up. I was thinking I'd start with 4 x 54w for 8-9 hrs and have the other 2 x 54w come on for 2-3 hrs in the afternoon. I could always increase or adjust it later if I need more/less. I think all 6 on for the whole time would be too much.

Ryan, if you don't mind my asking, what's your photoperiod with the 6x54w?
 

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What? You're thinking of covering teks?
A light with that kind of prestige can't be covered!
J/k, but i love the look of teks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I got the 4x54w Teklight yesterday. Small problem - It only had one plug! Truth is, I ordered it from a hydroponics company assuming it was the same one you get from the aquarium companies. But alas, it is not. I should have known something was different, it was almost $100 less expensive where I ordered it from. It DOES have two separate ballasts and two separate switches to turn the two separate banks of lights on and off independently - but MANUALLY. Now anyone who knows me knows that this just will not do!

Upon inspection, it is obvious that Sunlight Supply uses the same housing for their hydroponic and aquarium versions, as there is a plug over what would have been the second cord grommet:





My solution to this problem:



Add a second cord of course!


I opened up the fixture to take a look inside and what I found was that on this particular version, they actually spliced the power cord to that it powers BOTH ballasts. It would be easy enough for me to add the second cord, and un-splice so that each ballast received power from it's own cord.




I started by making a hole in the plug:





I actually had a black appliance extension cord (rated for a load greater than BOTH banks of lights) that I was not using - so OFF WITH ITS HEAD!





I fed the cord through the hole I made, and grounded it first:





Then I made all of the connections so that each ballast, and in turn each bank of lights was powered by its own cord:





I put a zip-tie around the new cord INSIDE the fixture, close to the "plug" in the housing that I drilled so the cord could not slip back through the hole, and closed everything up.



I tested everything out and it works GREAT! I will probably be going to Home Depot this weekend to pick up a piece of Plexiglas that I will cut to fit over the bulbs/reflectors.
 

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Sergio, Looks terrific. Nice job on the RO/John Guest connection.

BTW, how did you get to the inside of the Tek. I had a terrible time getting mine apart to do the same thing - I too mistakenly ordered the hort version.

Did you end upcoming in from the middle or through the end piece? Its been a while since I did that, but I do remember I wasn't too happy with my jury rig going through the little second unused power hole etc. I kind of feel the need to redo that again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bob, Mine had 6 square head screws around each side of the fixture. and 2 Phillips head screws on one end holding what I believe is a piece of metal to act as a stop for your acrylic cover. I took ALL of them out. Then if you hold the fixture by the sides and push the end with your thumbs it should move just enough so that the opposite end "clears" the housing. Once that other end is "out," you push back on IT, and your initial end will be free as well. Mind the wiring while you do this. It's a little tough to explain - I hope this is clear!
 

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Sergio,

Have you thought about a sump? I know some are concerned about CO2 loss but I have not found that to be a problem. I have a 10 lb CO2 bottle and it has been going for 3 months now with very little drop. It doesn’t run at night. It’s just my opinion but I think the advantages far out weigh any disadvantages. Then of course, I don’t see any disadvantages… :D It certainly made my automatic water changer solution easy to implement.

Regardless, so far you have been doing a great job!!!

JT
 

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Sergio - great thread! Thanks for sharing this, and can't wait to see where this leads. And it's great that you documented how people can save a bit of cash with a DIY on a single cord 4-bulb Tek. Great work.

I'm intrigued with your novel John Guest fittings - kind of a manifold really. Very cool. But I'd think you might want a check valve where this enters the your 3-in-one contraption. Unless I'm missing something, without a check valve at the base of that 4-2-1 fert manifold, if you lose a connection at any point on any of those 4 lines, you are going to drain your tank. Something to think about.

Also, on the 3-in-1 contraption, why did you chose the black flexible hose instead of PVC? I'm sure there's a good reason. ;) Do share it with us please.

And as to those nifty little fittings for your probes, I see you have the kind that has the little sliding iris bits. There are two type out there - one does not have those, and they can (sometimes) work better. But their range of hole size is smaller. They just have a O-ring that gets compressed and expands. But sizing them can be tough. I use the kind you are showing too. But I have found that sometimes, depending on the fitting size and the probe size, that I can get a better fit if I wrap stretchy rubber pipe sealing tape around the probe (making it a bit thicker). The rubber tape gives the fitting something to bite into for a better seal.

Good luck! I really look forward to following your progress.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Steve - thanks for the kind words. As I've mentioned to you before, YOUR work and style of documentation has inspired many - myself included.

I guess I never really thought about adding a check valve closer to the PVC unit because of the four I added slightly "upstream" to prevent the ferts from mixing up. I've never lost a JG connection - crap - I'd better knock on wood. I will see what adding one there will do to the back-pressure on the peristaltic pumps pushing the ferts into the tank. I'm a bit concerned about this already.

As far as the black rubber hose; nothing earth-shattering really. I figured the unit would be easier to clean if I could take it apart. If I used PVC, I would have had to cement it, because the T's weren't threaded on the ends.

Glad you had a chance to take a look!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
JT - Thanks! As for the sump, I haven't given it much thought. I know it can be done, but I've already invested quite a bit of time and money designing the system that will run on this tank around 2 canisters. It would make the water changer I use currently unusable without some serious reconfiguration - I think. Oh boy - the thought of it is making me dizzy...:eek5:
 

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Sergio - Thanks pal. You are building something really cool here. And with a good bit of innovation! The extra wire for the Tek, and that manifold are way cool IMO.

In my testing at check valve adds no loss of flow to what you are doing - more work for the peristaltic pump to be sure - but the pressure can't get back to the source reservoir (due to the way the peristaltics work) so it doesn't slow it down. And IMO, if you have a peristaltic on the end of all 4 of those lines, you have no threat of draining your ferts if something slips. It's just that one connection to the main return line that has me worried.

I don't have a lot of experience with John Guest lines. They work great for me in my drain/fill solution, but I still have a solenoid on each of the lines so that any leak in a JG fitting (if it happens :eek: ) won't drain my tank. Same issue IMO where your 1-2-4 fitting connects to the main return flow.

Thanks for sharing the reason for the rubber. Good solution. I put in a T with a great big screw cap so that I can unscrew it every year, shake out the bio balls, and wash them out. And guess what? I've done that twice now, and they were so clean, I kicked myself for not just making it a straight piece of PVC! Instead of having that big giant "T" on my diffuser. Here I thought I was being clever, but in fact it appears to me that cleaning the inside of a diffuser is completely unnecessary. Or so it seems. Maybe it's good to have that option, but is unnecessary unless something goes very, very wrong inside your lines.

Here's another thought you might not want to hear though... Will all that CO2 degrade that rubber? I dunno - could be safe. Clever solution anyway. :thumbsup:
 
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