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Decided to remove and modify the sump. Left full volume in all of the tanks... and just emptied both sump sections.

View attachment 1028665

Both sections removed... All display tanks are isolated (in/out valves are closed on each display tank) and just on airlines for the next two hours or so to keep the fish happy... Wave pumps are on in each display tank to keep water moving as well..

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I want more flow between the two sump sections. Best way is to drill another 1 7/8" whole in each section, install 1" bulkheads and a 1" adjoining tube.

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Sumps are joined by 3 1" lines now... The water levels are very similar between the two. I redid one of the connections as well by removing the bulkheads that had the barb sections held in with silicon.... I used pvc glue instead this time. Good fit. It's quite easy to connect them this way as the 1 7/8" holes give you a bit of play and adjustment as you are aligning the two sections of the sump.

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I also installed those second and third solenoid valves so that each level has it's own valve, allowing me to remove those anti-siphon valves (check valves) that were really slowing things down. It really is much better now... Picture is blurry, but you can see the brass solenoid valves just below each level of display tanks. I mounted them on brackets that are drilled into the block wall. All 3 solenoid valves work off of the same relay from the DIY aquarium controller... so it didn't require any extra i/o to do it this way. Happy to have it faster now to drain.

View attachment 1028669

Finally installed the new waterproof submersible probes (was waiting on sma to bnc adapters)... I'll take photos of those tomorrow with detailed photos of the sumps.

While I was working on the Sump Sections, I had all of the poret foam and ceramic media in two large coolers with water that I had removed from the sump... Air lines were placed in each cooler to keep the healthy bacterial alive in all of the media.... Of course the whole system benefited by the 35 gallons of water that was changed out after I through the water away from the coolers and added 35 gallons from my RO water (remineralized of course) to the sumps when I brought it all back on line this afternoon.

Fun stuff.
Nice update and interesting that you have all 3 solenoids on one relay and not set up individually. Why would you not want to set them up individually?

Would be great to see pics of the hummingbird/butterfly garden too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 · (Edited)
Nice update and interesting that you have all 3 solenoids on one relay and not set up individually. Why would you not want to set them up individually?

Would be great to see pics of the hummingbird/butterfly garden too!
Simply becuase there is just 1 i2c relay expansion board with 8 channels attached to my controller. Someday soon a 2nd relay board will be added and the solenoids can be separated. The relay boards used are high quality and run about $80usd (not including shipping). Presently, just one relay open now (it used to control the ecoxotic stunner strips, but then the system was upgraded to the ecoxotic e-series that is fully automated).

That relay realy will be used to shut off tempered water supply to my RO Unit when the water gets to 55 gallons. The mechanical/pressure system that shuts off at 58 gallons makes allot of racket for the final hour or so before fully closing off the supply. The mechanical system will be kept in place as a fail stop... But it's going to be the level switches inside of the RO storage that turns on/off the tempered water supply... much quieter...

A second i2c 8 channel descreet input board will be purchased to wire in a few more devices (spill alarm on the floor, dosing container low level switches, master system flow switch, hihi alarms on both sump sections). The master flow switch is needed becuase the 1" flow meter had to be eliminated becuase it choked the flow too much... it really felt like a full 20-25% was lost. A non-envasive flow switch will be employed that won't go in the actual water stream. It is nice to know that water is actually moving, not just that system is telling the relays to latch to run the pumps.

Finding space on the FishNook equipment panel for the 8 channel relay board and the acommpanying outlets, as well as the 8 channel discreet board will be a challenge.

At the moment, no flow meters are being used and I just hate to be wasting that pair of $40 EZO-Flow circuits from Atlas-Scientific; especially after begging them to add connectors for a 3wire flow meter to a new version of their Tentacle-T3 carrier board. They did and I am beta testing it now. it's a nice piece of kit. The Mark II version is definitely nicer than the Mark I version. Therefore, a 1/2" flow meter may be installed in the transfer line from the RO Storage to the FishNook. No real concern about the transfers bieng slowed down just a bit with the introduction of a flow meter. Again, useful information that says water is moving and it's not just the controller commanding the relay to latch to run the transfer pump.

It might be nice to automate the remineralization of the RO water when it is transfered over to the fishnook. There is a 3rd dosing pump in the FishNook... perhaps a solution can be mixed up that can be added to the sump during water changes?

Okay, enough musings.... It's monday morning... back to work. (and I'll do a photo of the hummingbird/bee/butterfly border garden)
 

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Simply becuase there is just 1 i2c relay expansion board with 8 channels attached to my controller. Someday soon a 2nd relay board will be added and the solenoids can be separated. The relay boards used are high quality and run about $80usd (not including shipping). Presently, just one relay open now (it used to control the ecoxotic stunner strips, but then the system was upgraded to the ecoxotic e-series that is fully automated).

That relay realy will be used to shut off tempered water supply to my RO Unit when the water gets to 55 gallons. The mechanical/pressure system that shuts off at 58 gallons makes allot of racket for the final hour or so before fully closing off the supply. The mechanical system will be kept in place as a fail stop... But it's going to be the level switches inside of the RO storage that turns on/off the tempered water supply... much quieter...

A second i2c 8 channel descreet input board will be purchased to wire in a few more devices (spill alarm on the floor, dosing container low level switches, master system flow switch, hihi alarms on both sump sections). The master flow switch is needed becuase the 1" flow meter had to be eliminated becuase it choked the flow too much... it really felt like a full 20-25% was lost. A non-envasive flow switch will be employed that won't go in the actual water stream. It is nice to know that water is actually moving, not just that system is telling the relays to latch to run the pumps.

Finding space on the FishNook equipment panel for the 8 channel relay board and the acommpanying outlets, as well as the 8 channel discreet board will be a challenge.

At the moment, no flow meters are being used and I just hate to be wasting that pair of $40 EZO-Flow circuits from Atlas-Scientific; especially after begging them to add connectors for a 3wire flow meter to a new version of their Tentacle-T3 carrier board. They did and I am beta testing it now. it's a nice piece of kit. The Mark II version is definitely nicer than the Mark I version. Therefore, a 1/2" flow meter may be installed in the transfer line from the RO Storage to the FishNook. No real concern about the transfers bieng slowed down just a bit with the introduction of a flow meter. Again, useful information that says water is moving and it's not just the controller commanding the relay to latch to run the transfer pump.

It might be nice to automate the remineralization of the RO water when it is transfered over to the fishnook. There is a 3rd dosing pump in the FishNook... perhaps a solution can be mixed up that can be added to the sump during water changes?

Okay, enough musings.... It's monday morning... back to work. (and I'll do a photo of the hummingbird/bee/butterfly border garden)
Thanks for the update.

$80 for an eight channel relay is quite costly. What brand is it?

Are those ecoxotic e-series lights something you had from new or did you score them on ebay or something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Thanks for the update.

$80 for an eight channel relay is quite costly. What brand is it?

Are those ecoxotic e-series lights something you had from new or did you score them on ebay or something?
The Relay Board is from NCD (National Control Devices.. also known as ControlAnything), as is the discreet input board.. I selected their board because it was 1. well constructed. 2. had supported i2c libraries under NodeRED 3. was reasonably compact. They took time via videos to explain how to defeat unwanted induction and so forth from motors, solenoids that can impede communications... no other inexpensive hardware that was considered offered that. I've installed .56uF capacitors for the outlets that supply inductive loads (my solenoid valves and large pumps). Obviously they are not employed for the resistive loads (heat). Just had more confidence in buying their stuff. After almost a decade in IoT and Arduinos and RaspberryPIs and BeagleBones, I've played around enough with cheap addon hardware and components to have had my fill. So, no sweat spending a bit more money on Atlas-Scientific, WhiteBoxLabs and NCD stuff to provide functionality for the DIY aquarium controller.

Those Ecoxotic E-Series lights were purchased on a closeout directly from Current USA about 2 months ago... $29 each (they were almost $200 a piece new). I bought 7... 6 for the FishNook and 1 as a spare. They are sufficient. They are run on 'cloudy day mode' for 5 hours.. with just a full daylight mode about 3 hours a day. Each morning begins with 1 hour of moon and end the day with 1 hour of moon... very gradual... no fish scares... As tempting as it was to experiment with pulse width modulation and amplifiers to custom control the previous ecoxotic stunners... well for $29 there was no way to pass that up... saved allot of work and I gained color control... not just intensity alone. They run a little warmer, but they are suspended in open air 6" above the display tanks... plenty of ambient cooling occuring with little heat transfer to the water at all..
 

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The Relay Board is from NCD (National Control Devices.. also known as ControlAnything), as is the discreet input board.. I selected their board because it was 1. well constructed. 2. had supported i2c libraries under NodeRED 3. was reasonably compact. They took time via videos to explain how to defeat unwanted induction and so forth from motors, solenoids that can impede communications... no other inexpensive hardware that was considered offered that. I've installed .56uF capacitors for the outlets that supply inductive loads (my solenoid valves and large pumps). Obviously they are not employed for the resistive loads (heat). Just had more confidence in buying their stuff. After almost a decade in IoT and Arduinos and RaspberryPIs and BeagleBones, I've played around enough with cheap addon hardware and components to have had my fill. So, no sweat spending a bit more money on Atlas-Scientific, WhiteBoxLabs and NCD stuff to provide functionality for the DIY aquarium controller.

Those Ecoxotic E-Series lights were purchased on a closeout directly from Current USA about 2 months ago... $29 each (they were almost $200 a piece new). I bought 7... 6 for the FishNook and 1 as a spare. They are sufficient. They are run on 'cloudy day mode' for 5 hours.. with just a full daylight mode about 3 hours a day. Each morning begins with 1 hour of moon and end the day with 1 hour of moon... very gradual... no fish scares... As tempting as it was to experiment with pulse width modulation and amplifiers to custom control the previous ecoxotic stunners... well for $29 there was no way to pass that up... saved allot of work and I gained color control... not just intensity alone. They run a little warmer, but they are suspended in open air 6" above the display tanks... plenty of ambient cooling occuring with little heat transfer to the water at all..
Great to know about your extensive experience with DIY controllers and IoT. I may be hitting you up when the time comes to build my own. I was a close follower and occasional contributor on the reef pi thread on Reef2Reef. However, I've not been on there for quite a while and I'm sure much has changed.

$29? Did you say, "$29?" Holy moly that's a great deal! Did you buy all of the available lights they had or did/do they have more? I would have loved to have received a little heads up on that sale!
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 · (Edited)
Great to know about your extensive experience with DIY controllers and IoT. I may be hitting you up when the time comes to build my own. I was a close follower and occasional contributor on the reef pi thread on Reef2Reef. However, I've not been on there for quite a while and I'm sure much has changed.

$29? Did you say, "$29?" Holy moly that's a great deal! Did you buy all of the available lights they had or did/do they have more? I would have loved to have received a little heads up on that sale!
Yes. $29-$30... I posted something on some of the threads that were specific to the Ecoxotic E-Series and mentioned it on this build thread on March 31st... They all literally went in four days. I bought the first to evaluate... received it in 2 days.... they still had over 30 of them.... When I went to get the other 6, they were down to the last 7 or 9.. .So just 1 to 3 left after I fully stocked up. Yeah, it was definitely one of those deal of the centuries.... I had a similar thing happen a few months ago when I picked up the Hydor 240gph wavepumps.... I grabbed them at $27 a piece... They would list 2... I would buy them.... 5 minutes later they would list 2 more... etc... I had to do 3 auctions to get all 6.

I post information on this DIY controller on the NodeRED website under it's own thread (user name there reflects my company name: SonoraTechnical). I guess the important thing is the code. Focus on the code I post has been to build a library of flows/nodes in NodeRED to support the Atlas-Scientific sensors and circuits that communicate over i2c (similar to modbus, serial-RS485). I need to make some new contributions. I'm going to submit some basic flows to Atlas-Scientific so that they can make them available for download to customers who buy their products.

Regarding my DIY controller efforts... my BoM (bill of materials) is high... I think it would have been far cheaper to just buy a Neptune Controller, but I guess I kept throwing good money after bad. LOL. It started out with an Arduino DUE and c/c++ code... migrated over to a TI Cortex-4M based board and c/c++ code... then RaspberryPi3B with Win10IoT and C++/C# code... finally to RaspberryPi4B and Node-RED. Orginally my sensors/circuits communicated over multiplexed UART, then Atlas-Sci started to enable i2c in their stuff.... so I upgraded. LOL. This final version I've had in use for sometime and has sooo much more potential... I received some help from MattyP over at Reef2Reef (calibration routines) and we've shared code... he's twice the controls engineer that I am and three times the programmer ... man his stuff looks so professional it's incredible. (by contrast, the guys over at Atlas-Scientific refer to my Fish Nook Equipment Panel as a nice Charcuterie board..)
 

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Hhmmmm... are you sure their user name is MattyP on R2R? Unless they're a recent contributor, I know most of the major contributors on the reef pi thread. I'd be surprised if I didn't know them.

Whenever I do get going on my controller, I'm going to be like a deer in the headlights!
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
Hhmmmm... are you sure their user name is MattyP on R2R? Unless they're a recent contributor, I know most of the major contributors on the reef pi thread. I'd be surprised if I didn't know them.

Whenever I do get going on my controller, I'm going to be like a deer in the headlights!
MaddyP, sorry!
Here is his controller build. A bit stalled at the moment as he just moved and is setting up the tidal wave tank again.

I finally got around to installing, configuring and calibrating the dosing pumps... they fill up that space that I set aside on the Equipment panel perfectly...

Plant Gas Terrestrial plant Computer hardware Machine


I have the containers full of water while I work out the schedules, interlocks, etc... in Node-RED for the real automated dosing. I can't imagine ever needing more than 3 dosing pumps, so that's what I built. The installation gave me an opportunity to work with Lexan and it turned out okay (well I think I did). I bought the square 3-chamber dosing resevoir because it fit perfectly on that shelf, is very stable and well thought out in its design. It was a bit of a splurge item at $40.

Electronic instrument Audio equipment Computer hardware Electrical wiring Engineering


Getting hard to stay focused on the Node-RED programming now as I just want to be outdoors toiling in the gardens all of the time. Here's my expanded patio perimeter garden for attracting birds, hummingbirds and bees. It's already working, but my photo skills are bad, so I can never catch them feeding on the plants... Snapped this photo yesterday as it was a rare rainy April day in our drought strickien desert....

Plant Road surface Fence Brickwork Grass


Got those metal landscape lights for free (along with the transformer)... so I need to get them properly installed. Rocks and little fencing is necessary to keep my dogs from digging up the plants looking for lizards....
 

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Most of your thread is much too technical for me-- but, I can really relate to your garden! Beautiful dog as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Most of your thread is much too technical for me-- but, I can really relate to your garden! Beautiful dog as well...
Zuri, she's a cutie... a mexian stray... border collie mix...

We took a walk around Amado Territories just south of my home to see the bull frogs in the pond. Here she is with Coqueta, my other mexican stray..

Plant Tree Land lot Grass Fawn


Unfortunately for the girls, this bench disappeared as part of my perimeter garden expansion. But they have other places to sit and stand gaurd. Zuri, Grita and Coqueta...

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Zuri, she's a cutie... a mexian stray... border collie mix...

We took a walk around Amado Territories just south of my home to see the bull frogs in the pond. Here she is with Coqueta, my other mexican stray..

View attachment 1028845

Unfortunately for the girls, this bench disappeared as part of my perimeter garden expansion. But they have other places to sit and stand gaurd. Zuri, Grita and Coqueta...

View attachment 1028846
OH my goodness-- what little doll-babies! Love how the cat posed for the picture as well. Who can get their cat to do that--- LOL!

Your pond is beautiful-- any koi in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
OH my goodness-- what little doll-babies! Love how the cat posed for the picture as well. Who can get their cat to do that--- LOL!

Your pond is beautiful-- any koi in there?
Amy,
No, that is not my pond.... it's over at a place where I rented office space for a while... now I'm back to working from home... next to my FishNook.
But yes, that pond has Koi, painted turtles and bullfrogs. Occasionally it's visited by a great horned owl... it's a cool place becuase it definitely has a distinct microclimate, though nestled in the Sonoran Desert.

Grita is an awesome cat. a mexican rescue as well. she takes walks with the dogs and us every morning.

Let me do a little fishroom content on this thread:

I'm evaluating a new piece of hardware for interfacing sensors/circuits to RaspberryPi Controllers... So, I had to setup a temporary flowmeter.... why not just stick a pump in my sump and pump water in a circle...

Electrical wiring Computer hardware Cable Electricity Electrical supply


Here's the piece of hardware I'm evaluating for a vendor... You can see there's a little sidecar on the board for screwing in the 3 leads from the temporary flow meter that I rigged up... I also have an RTD and pH probe attached.

Circuit component Electrical wiring Electronic component Electronic engineering Water


I installed the new fully submersible probes in the sump.... A refief not worrying about them drying out or trapping air during water changes...
I am very pleased with pH, ORP and Conductivity (also giving me TDS and Salinity)... But the Dissolved Oxygen??

I put the Dissolved Oxygen probe on line after performing a 'dry' calibrate... That's where it reads available atmospheric oxygen... nominally 9.0mg/L. I don't need a ZERO calibrate because I'm not interested in measuring dissolved oxygen below 1mgL as all of the fish would be dead anyway. But, I'm not happy with the results.... The data is a bit random, so I need to see what I've done wrong... I have the dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity and ORP probes all electrically isolated, so I shouldn't be getting interference between them. However, I do have two big pumps in my sump.... maybe the noise is just too much, despite the DO probe being electrically isolated. I also have a somewhat long 15' bnc cable, so maybe that's acting like an antenna of sorts? who knows. For now, I've moved the dissolved oxygen probe to the other section of the sump, just to see if it improves... I have it in direct flow so that water passes over the sensor like it is supposed to do. Or maybe this piece of hardware I'm testing isn't providing the isolation that i need. Or maybe the new probe is just bad... Anyway, I'll report back what I find...

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Anyway, fun stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #94 ·
Doing a bit more software work on the DIY Aquarium Controller for the FishNook. Dosing pumps work good now. (And no, I haven't found a water soluable remineralizer for my RO water.... So I will use that 3rd doser for something else). I need to build a user interface for the schedule.... as the scheduler that triggers the 'Start' event is hidden in the code... there are others available for NodeRED, I just have to do a little exploring... Anyway, it's a start...

1029481


That's it for updates today.... still squeezing under the fence for the Tax deadline on Monday... so gots to get busy on that again...
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Here's an announcement that's not so much about my FishNook, as it is about the Software behind my DIY Controller that runs the FishNook. If you've followed the build, it's obvious that I use allot of Atlas-Scientific EZO Sensors, Circuits and Devices. (I'm a poster child for their products... they should offer me stock in the company :p )

Those devices communicate with the outside world via a simple UART (serial) connection or i2c (serial, but multi-drop) connections. Obviously, once you have more than 1 device connecting to your controller, i2c is the way to go. Many of us struggled to get the Atlas-Scientific devices to communicate with NodeRED (the development software behind my DIY Controller) over i2c. Eventually, I cracked it... but it was another hobbyist that just ran away with it (he is 10X the programmer that I am).

Yesterday, MaddyTP (GitHub ID for programmer types), released a piece of software (a node) for NodeRED that greatly simplifies communicating with the Atlas-Sci EZO stuff... I've tested it for simple reads on Temperature (the RTD), pH and EC. It functions well and cuts out allot of programming work. Obviously, he will continue to improve on it... I'm modifying all of my programs and sample code to use.

Here is the announcement:
Announce: node-red-contrib-EZO 1.02 node release
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
Congrats, and I must say what you're doing here for your hobby is pretty amazing! It's one thing to buy hardware for our tanks, but to write the software and program it?....good stuff!
Thank you. It's been fun. I've stopped improving the DIY Controller the last few weeks as I've concentrated on changing up the aquascaping. I think it's starting to look better. Here's an example of the left bottom tank after a scape reduex. (Ha! It's obvious from the photo that I have to tidy up the cords and waterlines behind it). There are about 10 species of plants, with the stems planted in very dense individual groupings. I tired to stay 2" from the front glass and 1 1/2" inches from the side glass for easy wipedowns. I'm a remedial aquatic plant keeper and am learning as I go...but little by little the scapes are improving. This tank has 6 Bleeding Heart Tetras, 6 Pristella Tetas, 4 Corydoras Juliis, 4 Otocinclus Affinis, 2 Amano Shrimps, and 2 Cobalt Blue Gobies. (the two female black phantom tetras in the photo are a mistake... in a moment of iunattention I introduced them to the wrong the tank... their other 4 tankmates are in the adjacent tank).

Plant Plant community Pet supply Organism Aquatic plant


Fish population is big in my tanks, but remember I have the very large dual sumps which add an additional 30% water capacity to the whole system. My water change regimen is right at about 40% once a week... but I'll do minor ones in between as I'll sometimes drain the water down a few inches in a tank to aquascape. Once I fully automate water changes again (not fully automated now as I've taken up remineralizing my RO Water in the Sump as it's added... and haven't found a way to automate that... RO Water has to stay pure in the storage container because I have automatic top off... estimate about 3 or more gallons a day for that)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
Display Tank#3 (this one sits at about 4' height in the fishnook.

This tank has 5 Red Eye Tetras (was 6, but 1 jumped), 2 Emperor Tetras (I had a bad batch and lost several of these the first few months to illness), 5 skunk corydoras, 5 adolfoi corydoras, 3 Otocinclus Affinis, 6 fancy tail guppies (my wife's contribution), 1 bristlenose pleco, 2 amano shrimp (had more, but I think several were eaten).

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Discussion Starter · #100 ·
Display Tank #4.

This one has 6 Serpae Tetras (who don't seem to like bright light at all), 8 Silver Tip Tetras (although dull in appearance, are still a welcome additon), 6 Panda Cories (who doesn't love these guys), 4 Otocinclus vitatus, 4 bloody mary shrimp, 2 amano shrimp.


Plant Plant community Wood Terrestrial plant Vegetation
 
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