The Planted Tank Forum banner

81 - 100 of 217 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,711 Posts
Thanks Chris, it is definitely a lot of fun to put the plumbing together. Can't imagine my life without Sched 40 fittings. :wink:

Well, if anyone sees any fatal flaw it's a good time to speak up now. :)
Here's a flaw: It's not at my house.
How did you know my name was Chris? lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
Wasserpest exelent job ive been waiting for this to come together. I see nothing wrong once you get it up and running you will make the right adjustments and everything will work fine.

When do i get to see the diy T5 lighting go together will you do a step by step on the lighting if you have time? I have lots of ideas how im gonna light my tank but they are all verry expensive.
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Here's a flaw: It's not at my house.
How did you know my name was Chris? lol
I think I sent you some plants before... Didn't you win the famous WP Grand Random Act Plant Lottery? :fish:

Wasserpest exelent job ive been waiting for this to come together. I see nothing wrong once you get it up and running you will make the right adjustments and everything will work fine.

When do i get to see the diy T5 lighting go together will you do a step by step on the lighting if you have time? I have lots of ideas how im gonna light my tank but they are all verry expensive.
Yep, I am ready to write up some lighting steps, should give you some good ideas. Wow... what a productive day.
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Lighting it up

I build all my own canopies, and my goals are two-fold: I want them as invisible (slim) as possible, and I want to get the max in efficiency (lumen per watt). If I can pull it off cheaply, it's a big plus.



So, onto construction of my super-slim canopy. It is so slim that it actually goes inside the tank. I like that visually, plus it brings the bulbs as close to the water surface as possible without them getting wet.

It all starts with an appropriately sized piece of 0.4" thick plywood, a good balance between too heavy and too floppy. Sorry, getting a bit clampy here. :)



For the sides, I use mostly 2x1's which are cheap and light, and give the canopy enough lateral strength. They also provide just enough room to fit T5 endcaps and bulbs in there. Since I had them left over from the tank build, I glued some of the 45 degree pieces which add more strength and reflect some light downwards.



To keep moisture out of this, I glued some plastic profiles along the rim, which will hold a piece of Plexiglas. I can pull that out whenever I need to change a bulbs. Not sure what those things are normally used for, but they are cheap and seem to be made just for my purpose. Talking about glue, that new Liquid Nails stuff is horrible, they used to have a clear adhesive that dried pretty fast and held up well, somehow I ended up with something resembling wood putty.



Normally I prefer to use nice and shiny reflectors, but to save a few bux right now I will paint the canopy white. First I primed it somewhat with a base color, then we'll move it up a notch with Ultra Pure White... does it get any purer and whiter than that?



To manage the heat that 4 HO T5 bulbs generate, I cut a nice big hole into the center of the canopy, and added an Antec TriCool 120 mm fan. The cool thing about the TriCool is that it has a high (Summer), medium (Spring/Fall) and low (Winter) setting. Since temperatures in my garage fluctuate with the seasons this comes in handy. Sure, I could use some sort of temperature controller, but this fan costs about $4 and it should work great. T5 bulbs work best at ~35C so I'll double check to make sure my assumptions are close.



On the other side of the hole, I installed some round plastic thing with some spacers to 1) cover the hole and 2) reflect some more light down and 3) pull out only the hottest air from the top of the canopy. If you look closely, you will see four smaller holes which will allow air and ballast wires to enter the otherwise closed canopy. I am planning to put some sponges into these holes to keep dust out and reduce the need to clean or repaint the canopy.



I have the ballast (Fulham Workhorse 7) on order, expecting it to arrive next week. Couple of hinges will attach the canopy to the tank, and bingo, done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,628 Posts
Out of curiosity, any concerns over moisture or humidity contact on the "untreated" back wall of the lower tank or underside of the upper tank?


Edit: Ninja'd

Where did you get the T-5 wiring harness and stuff?
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Out of curiosity, any concerns over moisture or humidity contact on the "untreated" back wall of the lower tank or underside of the upper tank?
The backside shouldn't get moist, it will face the garage wall insulation, and there will be a bit of air exchange with the rest of the garage.

Good point I forgot to mention - I am planning to use vinyl hose as a strip between the canopies and the tank, which will make it pretty airtight. I don't want to increase the humidity in my garage.

The underside of the upper tank, along with all the other non-epoxied wood surfaces incl canopies are painted with PU Spar Varnish, should be a fairly good barrier against moisture entering the wood. We shall see...

Where did you get the T-5 wiring harness and stuff?
What's a wiring harness? I usually just shove ballast wires into endcaps. I got the endcaps at Reefgeek, and the ballast at 1000bulbs.com.

This weekend I'll try to prepare the electrical connections and finish up the lower tank cover (no canopy right now). Then it is time to clean up the garage and think about how to suspend the beast in the air, over the concrete base, to apply some thinset and then lower it onto its hopefully straight destination. No ideas so far, heh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
464 Posts
I have never used a workhorse 7. My workhorse 5 will run two 54watt T5ho bulbs.

You are running all four bulbs off one workhorse 7?

So one workhorse7 ballast does the same as two workhorse5s?

The only difference is there is only one switch or one plug instead of two? Am I thinking right?
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #90 ·
LOL. Ok, where do you get the end caps. I know you shop around and find the cheapo deals, so spill the beans.
I do, I do, shop around and spill beans. :)

I got the endcaps at Reefgeek, and the ballast at 1000bulbs.com.
Those little end caps are NOT waterproof, but for an enclosed canopy like that it isn't an issue, and with $2 a pair vs $8 a pair, there are substantial savings.
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I have never used a workhorse 7. My workhorse 5 will run two 54watt T5ho bulbs.

You are running all four bulbs off one workhorse 7?

So one workhorse7 ballast does the same as two workhorse5s?

The only difference is there is only one switch or one plug instead of two? Am I thinking right?
Yep, you are correct. The WH7 can do up to 220W, four T5HO bulbs max it out. I might run only 3 bulbs, not sure yet. True that with two ballasts and switches you can do a more gradual lights on and off, but my plants never complain... :fish:

I considered buying two cheap Advance ballasts from Home Depot... the 4 bulb flavor does 128W, so it can handle 2 T5HO four footers. But, I got a decent deal on the WH7 ($42 shipped), and my 100gal tank uses one for the last 6 years and it can't hurt to have another one as a backup. Plus in the future I am planning a larger tank that will use two WH7 ballasts.
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #93 ·
9 Moving it into place

This was a bit of a challenge for me, how to move this onto its concrete socket without destroying the tank, the socket, and my back.



After much pondering I figured out a solution, and with a couple of uninterrupted hours and some good luck it worked pretty well. I temporarily attached a 2x4 board to each side of the tank, trying to hit the center pretty well. This board would extend beyond the concrete socket and give me something to work with and lift it up.



For some reason I have a lot of chopped up karate boards in my garage :icon_eek: and they came in very handy. After pushing the tank in place, I raised it up, one by one, supporting all four corners, and using the center boards to push it up and up and up. Once at the right height, I pushed it all the way to the wall.



Some magic, and bam, it's floating in air!! Not quite that easy, but the 2x4's did what I thought they would do, and gave me some space to add a layer of thinset. Lowered the tank, pushed it all the way to the wall, making sure it stayed fairly level. Worked out pretty well. I filled in the gap where concrete was missing, and now it already looks like it's always been there. :fish:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
Great idea on how to lift it. If you or anyone else does that again leave the 2X4's shorter and you can fit a car jack under them and then it would require less effort and could go up each side all at once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
I have my fingers crossed for the big day when this gets filled with water, both tanks, with all the plumbing connected. It will either be a triumph for the ages, or a Homeland Security alert type disaster! But, who wants to live a dull life???
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #98 ·
Great idea on how to lift it. If you or anyone else does that again leave the 2X4's shorter and you can fit a car jack under them and then it would require less effort and could go up each side all at once.
Very good point. I was playing around with car jacks, but compared to a flat board they give you much less stability. If you lift a car that still has two wheels on the ground it's not an issue, but with a wooden box with a high center of gravity, dangling in the air on two car jacks... :icon_eek:
 

·
Are these real?
Joined
·
15,714 Posts
Discussion Starter · #99 ·
I have my fingers crossed for the big day when this gets filled with water, both tanks, with all the plumbing connected. It will either be a triumph for the ages, or a Homeland Security alert type disaster! But, who wants to live a dull life???
Haha, not me! Well here it is:



Yesterday I finished up the last epoxy. A few smallish things still remain to be done - add some silicone to corners, give the exposed wood a last layer of varnish, build the lower canopy, and add some vinyl airline gaskets around the canopy sides to seal the moisture in.

A week from now I will probably start to add some water. I have a lot of confidence in the structure. And I think the epoxy is good stuff. I am a bit paranoid about having covered all of the nooks and crannies with epoxy. Adding the filter compartments definitely made that a challenge.

I was going to do some testing to see if the epoxy poses any danger to the animals, but at this point I am just going for it. My 100 gal tank is in great need of a plant reduction, and it has been going downhill for a few weeks due to lack of circulation. That is what pushes me a bit to get the new tanks ready.

I think all the equipment is pretty much lined up... for filtration and circulation I am going to use an AquaClear 70 powerhead. I built a little CO2 reactor, but I might be able to just inject the CO2 into the AC impeller.

And I've got my usual substrate mix already lined up...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
933 Posts
Very interesting project. I am interested in your substrate. Will you share it with us all the steps?
Joe
 
81 - 100 of 217 Posts
Top