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220L Build log

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Bishop, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Disclaimer :

    Down here in 'middle earth' we don't have access to much aquascaping supplies and products let alone ADA or other high level brands, so there is really only two choices for me .
    Buy Cheaply made but expensive all in one units or, build my own.
    Building my own works for me for various reasons but I think most importantly I just like to learn to do it myself and be able teach myself a craft.


    I put a budget together and quickly realized due to time and budget , I would be lucky to have a tank by the end of the year.
    This is the progress of me battling to stay within such constraints and making calculated shortcuts to be able to have something worthwhile at the end of it.


    This build is pretty much done now so publishing everything at once.
    The lights and obviously the plants have a long way to go so they will be updated later.

    The plan:
    Current tanks consist of a 120L and 60L. The 60L is my test bed if you like where I test all kinds of random ideas to see if they work and the 120L which is my main display tank, is getting a bit past it.
    I knew 120cm long was what I wanted and I had planned to have it 60cm deep and 50cm tall but the cost was quite a bit extra so I finally decided on 120x45x45 cm.
    Nobody would build my filter pipes as I requested let alone order the right pipe, so again improvised and devised a way to get something made that was useable. In all honesty if I get them anodized black I could have brought a set of glass pipes for the price but they will do.

    PeDvrPA.jpg

    Glass:
    Glass was very hard to come by and nothing in 12mm, but I found a local tank maker who was willing to sell me the glass needed after long conversations about tensile and sheer strength of silicone and how to build a tank.
    I had to improvise again though, as I wanted a thicker base than the sides and nothing over 10mm was available. I was going to just double up on the base pane of glass but that was also adding to costs so settled for just the bracing style on the bottom.

    QYddmpd.jpg
     
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  2. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    I'm following.

    I wanted to build my own aquarium so badly, but the glass costs 3x what the 'already built' tank costs.

    I had a conversation with a 'window and door' installation crew, they said they throw away a dumpster full of glass every week. What a shame. :(
     
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  3. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Know what you mean. Only problem is the handmade tanks available aren't that neat and the pre built manufactured tanks force you into their lighting or filtration etc and plus I think they are ugly, or at least whats available here is ugly.
    I was lucky to find the builder willing to sell me the glass or it would have been 3x the cost.
     
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  4. Mike k

    Mike k Member

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    Following. I think this is awesome


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    The Tank:
    Rimless was the original goal but with only 10 mm glass it wasn't worth the risk so I settled for a half euro style brace that i've used before with no negative results for that piece of mind. This still allows me to have an open top ( although not great in out climate ) and a piece of mind that its not going to break or burst.
    I think I am far to messy when it comes to silicone so I just cover everything in newsprint so save a few hours of cleaning up later.
    Prefer this method of building tanks rather than the all at once style as it means I can take my time and have a bit of quality control.

    ZBjZ1yq.jpg

    All built but seams need a clean up which will come much later.

    RkxdnlC.jpg

    Sorry for the low quality pics. It's usually midnight by the time I get a change to work on it.

    The Stand:
    Goal was something like the ADA style here but the cost of the wood was just over double for that quality and thickness plywood so decided to go for a B/D plywood which means the face is B grade the rear is D grade. Just had to manipulate my plans a little to allow only the face to show through out the build. Because this stuff was much thinner too at 15mm I had to make a skeleton that would hold the weight.
    This method makes a really good combined lateral and vertical strength so I can escape with less thickness and also don't have to focus on structural joins in the plywood.
    So paranoid about the levels that I measured after almost every screw.

    T1f8Oib.jpg
    gPL6DzP.jpg
    BBzAW4q.jpg

    Got the doors on and fitted to size but a pencil line at the bottom of the doors shows I was off on my cut by enough to put my OCD into full swing.

    C62pbJW.jpg

    Doors hung and adjusted, felt like it went well so far. Now to sort the bottom of the doors out.

    0DIEWk2.jpg
     
  6. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Now I have to follow.o_O
     
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  7. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    To paint to not to paint:
    Probably my biggest mistake of the build was working on the wood finish after dark with little light.
    Slight confession is that I used to paint houses for a living and often when painting out of town we would paint though the night so we could all get drunk the on the last day :)
    It seems paint hides a lot or our inspectors were blind and My over estimation of skills led to a few swear words but maybe in hindsight they allowed me to remedy the situation.

    6cH6rEF.jpg

    Few mistakes made other than painting blind. Dog hair everywhere, being cheap with filler and making my own, trying to cut costs by using an all in one varnish/stain and also using waterbased stain, don't do this for inside furniture.
    took a day or two to figure out best route and knew I wouldn't be happy if I left it so only one thing for it...

    9fY4mn7.jpg

    Skip forward a bit. Managed to find some dark thick foam to replace the poly I was using and decided that the little ball of terror that is my son would be able to get past having push latches on the doors with ease so although reluctantly, I went ahead fitted some dark handles.
    I brought some polyurethane and gave the finish a tidy up to try and hide the water based stain but didn't help as much as I hoped, the stain problems are clear to see but thankfully not too obvious to the untrained eye and much much better overall than it was.

    6oYXp3V.jpg

    Personal joke to myself here but at last I have a hung power board.

    6Qy1zWo.jpg

    Made a little holder for my API test tubes which is funny because i'm pretty sure I have never gotten an accurate reading from API kits but they are all that's available here.
    Just ordered a JBL test kit online so hopefully they will be better and that slot fits my sisscors and tweezers nicely too so not a complete loss.

    drzU7Us.jpg
     
  8. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys one more to go and we should be caught up.
     
  9. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Lights:

    There's actually a chunk of images missing here as what I have isn't ready to show for a few reasons. But you can get the general gist of whats going on quite easily. i will update once I have the light hood finished so we can see the mistakes and how I resolved them together in one post.

    I mentioned at the start of this thread my budget. ( Not sure why but I always seem to end up defending that word. ) Well at this stage I was pretty much done and those twinstar units were getting further and further out of my grasp until next year. Again I had options but they were limited.
    I have 4x39w t5 unit I can put over this, is only 90cm long though and the lights are old and crap so that's 4x t5 lights to buy.
    I have a few house bulb fittings I can hang over the tank in the mean time but that's a year of bulky lights I won't be happy with, bulbs are cheap though so didn't want to count that out.
    Had some success with gu10 fittings int he past which I had a few of but the thought of having to wire all that up just to be faced with same problem as previous example meant that idea was squashed.
    Last option I thought about was just getting 2 56w balasts for t5s and just using some old fittings. But I didn't have a hood etc so that's all added costs that doesn't seem logical.

    Just when I was deciding on what 39w t5 bulbs to get I saw that DIY guy on you tube wrapping led strips around plastic tubes. After pointing out to my computer screen all the things he was doing wrong I realized that there actually might be something on that concept.
    So I did the only thing for it. I created a spreadsheet comparing lumens per watt, price per lumen etc of every light in my possibles list.
    The Strips were actually second best from all that data ( which was rough estimations and averages at best but it gave me a starting point ) So after I saw how much they were I brought everything I needed of Ebay for $39.
    I can image reading this ( as I would ) that it seems stupid but for $39 I felt like at the very very least it would be a fun experiment and I could show people the results of why you should or shouldn't try to grow aquatic plants off led strips.
    At this stage I would like to point out everything here is anecdotal but its putting an idea to practice to gauge the outcome compared to estimations.

    Anyway, long story short I tried to ask myself that if I used these lights then what were the reasons they couldn't grow plants and then tried to remedy those as best I could.

    The spectrum on these things is quite bad and so is the overall quality but the actual light amount produced is quite good. Here is a comparison with the set ups to see which would render the most colours the best overall.
    Note: It's very blue even with the RGB lights at full red or green its still very blue which is ( I think ) an easy fix, time will tell. Also note this is just a phone photograph, it appears bluer than it really appears to the eyes. But it still is a problem thats being addressed.

    aD9Eo3j.jpg

    So this one shows pretty much the ugly side of having to take things apart and fit them together again as everything is falling apart. But once the new strips get here which makes the cost around $46 They will be fully waterprofed and tidied up.
    Hardscape ideas being played with here also.

    iGBK2ji.jpg

    Conclusions so far:
    I wasn't expecting much from these lights, I had already prepared for them going on an old tank that would be hardscape and fish only, But the more I look at them and the more I see healthy growth the better I feel about them.
    They aren't great by any stretch but I guess what they show is that you can spend under $50 and make some lights that will do and still have control over how they look . I think they would be great for low tech once I fix the spectrum a bit more, but so far i'm finding it hard to fault them.
    The tank itself is doing well. At the very least it is still standing and I am getting good growth.
    The filter pipes look really good but the outlet is so small that it creates quite a bit of turbulence so making them black might be a waste as I still want function over form.
    Just a waiting game now that will take plenty of observation etc but there is plenty of time before I set it up again as the hard part now is trying to find hardscape materials and saving for lights.

    So far so good. 3 days after set up..
    zTTOUmy.jpg
     
  10. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Great post so far!
    I'm liking the stand, ideas for my next frag tank.

    Hoping for more on the strip lights.
    I have used them on some low tech tanks.
    After time (and heat sets in) the color starts to shift to warm.
    Having witnessed 6500K drop to under 3000K.
    Granted this took over a year.

    Keep us posted!
     
  11. Jason King

    Jason King barrreport.com
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    Very impressive @Bishop :)

    you should be proud that you made the whole setup yourself!
     
  12. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Will do mate thanks. One of my strips has started to turn slightly, I got 5meter rolls so plenty left to help me last. For that price I feel like I already have my moneys worth, but I hope it ties me over till I can get something better.

    Thanks Jason. Turned out okay I think. All about those plants now :)
     
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  13. slipfinger

    slipfinger Article Editor
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    Great build thread! We have are very own DYI King right here on Barrreport.
     
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  14. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    You are too kind mate, but thank you.
     
  15. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Ok, so this was exactly what happened to the white 5025 led strips, Was kind of nice for a little bit as it was less blue but in the end it wasn't worth it. The RGB 5050 leds were actually all good so I'm going to use them on a different project.
    In the end though the shift and the lack of overall light just wasn't enough for a high tech tank sadly so have gone back to my T5s which are a little small for the tank but waaay better.

    Little update so far.
    Almost happy with the tank and how its going, few little niggles and some things I have learn't for next time.

    Had around 6-7 stems of Reinekii and only one looked like it was having a heart attack with distorted growth. I cut it off and it grew back find but three others ended up being distorted also.
    Tried a few things one by one with no change and then by sheer forgetfulness changed about 3 parameters during the week. So annoying, but all the growth is great so far so that a bonus.

    R. Mcandra is being weird too. Seems very yellow from the top and a little distorted also but side on its quite pink and looks good. Hoping its just light as I decide what to do about my light fitting, so will keep an eye on it over the week and if adjustments don't help Ill post a pic and see if anybody can help.

    This was yesterday, I've hacked it all back today so will see how I go.
    ( sorry the quality its just off my phone )
    bUwIn6V.jpg

    One or two stems I found outside after a water change, and they were pretty dry and beat up but showing new growth :D
     
  16. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    Well, time to admit defeat I think and move forward. I'm pretty gutted but it a good way to keep myself humble. :D

    My Reinekii leaves have been twisted and stunted for the most part of this tanks life which i've been chasing to try and remedy. The pic above shows the tank in it's best health which has since deteriorated.
    Mcrandra has turned black and looks like zombie versions of itself. Walichi red i'm sure hasn't grown at all over a month except one brave stem and the green variant is tall but as thin as a pencil. Ludwigia Palustris is hanging on for dear life, Glandulosa melted away. Rotundfolia looks like its hugging itself the leaves are tiny and curled up so tight except the tops of about 4 are looking really nice.
    It's salvageable though I think. All the Epiphytes and crypts are in great health all the stems are nearly wilted and withered away, stunted and distorted etc except H. sunset and L. Acuata. No visible issues.
    Helferi has BBA / GSA all over it. Some tiny bits found on wood but no visual growth over a month.
    I thought it might be substrate related as it effected stems but have moved a few stems that were doing well around and they seem to be okay.

    Ferts were messed with over a few months trying to find a manageable balance and eliminate scary things I know nothing about like Chloride.
    Felt the stunting may have been No2 related but water column was always 10ppm No3, 2+ppm Po4. So don't know.

    All this time also I have been chasing Co2, however aside from liquid API kits I have nothing to test with. Have a probe coming next week which should help at least give constant numbers for the day.
    As a side note, the majority of articles i've found Tom seems to pop up and say its the co2 which people seem to ignore. I just have no idea where its at. It seems impossible to gas my fish but I have tried :D
    For what its worth..

    Temp is 25.1C Am pre Co2 to 26.5C Pm Co2 off.
    It's probably not worth listing ph but the measurements at Co2 off are 6.4 ph ( api liquid test ) and 3.0 KH ( api ) Those numbers show 36ppm co2. I can understand slightly they aren't accurate numbers but they are consistent.
    Whats confusing is those numbers don't change from 3 bubbles per second to an uncountable number per second. They do change if the BPS is lower though. All that happens is what I thought was pearling is just plants covered in co2 mist.
    I have moved the inline difuser closer to the canister so the bubbles have further to travel before entering the tank for now but might grab a reactor to see if that helps.

    Anyways I have been changing ferts for a while a now just second guessing everything so doing a reset of sorts.
    Will do a full water change and starting again with the ferts in case I missed something.

    Week total dosage will be. Via solution 10ml per day.
    4 ppm Po4
    1.26 ppm Phosphorus
    20.8 ppm K
    20.8 ppm No3
    4.62 ppm Nitrogen
    9.24 ppm sulphate

    5.19 ppm Mg
    12 ppm Ca
    22.6ppm Chloride

    Tap fluctuates from 1-3Gh as I have two water sources at the tap.

    Source 1 : 8.2 Ca / 1.4mg
    Source 2: 18 Ca / 2.7 mg

    I realize just adding the numbers on top doesn't account for buildup in the water column and so on but I feel these should give roughly a 4-6 GH total. Will test and see how that actually pans out over the weeks.

    Trace + Iron is a mix from a hydroponics company but numbers for the week should be.
    B Boron 0.0566
    Mn Manganese 0.2423
    Mo Molybdenum 0.0153
    Zn Zinc 0.0186
    Cu Copper 0.0210
    Fe Iron 0.63

    Manganese and Boron seem super high, but haven't found too much related to aquatic plants that relates to if that's an issue.

    First thing to change if no better growth is the trace so I can rule it out. While constantly trying to understand the Co2.

    Failing that a hammer should help.
     
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  17. slipfinger

    slipfinger Article Editor
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    My thoughts take them with a grain of salt.......

    Overall your dosing seems to be fine. You say Mn and B are high but your current levels are less than mine.

    Have a look at this thread, you can compare your dosing to a few other members on here. Word of caution, most of the micro #'s you will see are from non-chelated forms of the elements and most are using DTPA Fe. Consider giving non-chelated micros a try....

    Could flow be an issue? I notice your outputs are all on the right side of the tank. Maybe try adding a small circulation pump of the left side of the tank?

    Have you considered a DYI Co2 reactor? Once you get your pH monitor, you'll be able to dial in your Co2 and hopefully rule that out as an issue.

    In the mean time I would post some close up pictures of the worst off plants, maybe someone will notice a deficiency or some other issue.
     
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  18. Kyalgae

    Kyalgae Lifetime Members
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    I feel your pain Bishop, you spend all those hours trying to plan everything out, all that time labouring over the tank and stand, you finally get it all set up, and things start to go sideways.

    The CO2 thing was hard for me to figure out. I expected my plants to change more dramatically within a few days of increased CO2, but that didn’t happen. I figured I was doing something wrong, so I would mess around with more things, maybe lower the CO2 again in fear of killing something. When I looked back, at my pH records, nothing was ever consistent for more than a couple of days. Now any change I give it a couple of weeks before I change anything further. I found that some plants take a while to come around again if they have been severely damaged in one way or another.

    I have some Hemianthus Cuba in my tank that is taking forever to accelerate growth, while a group three inches away has leaves 3 times the size and is outgrowing this piece daily. I can only guess that the faster growing piece is better established, maybe it has more roots etc. My staurogyne never looked good when my CO2 was crappy, the leaves always had algae on them, even though my dosing was rich, it just never looked clean.

    To help maybe lower your water temperature (this depends on what your livestock will accept) I used to run things at 24.5C and the residual heat from my lights/equipment would sometimes raise the temp to 27 degrees. Now my tank fluctuates between 22.4 - 23.7C, I have my heater set to come on at 21.5C. CO2 is more soluble in cooler water, so this is a very easy change that I could do to boost CO2, even if only marginally. Next time you do a water change, measure the pH of the water going in, before it goes into the tank, then compare that to a couple measurements taken throughout the day. Id take one 3 hours after CO2 has been on, another three hours after that, and another one at the end of the day. I never found the KH/pH CO2 table to be any help at alllevel, for me personally, but aiming for an overall pH drop of at least 1 helped me to zero in on the correct amount better. Once I could keep a 1.0pH drop all day I would lower it slowly slowly. 1.1 overall pH drop seems to be working really well for me now. In terms of flow, I found that it really helps the species that hug the substrate. But flow might not do much if your CO2 is low. I remember posting a video in my journal, showing how great my surface agitation/flow was, only to shut my tank down shortly after that because algae wouldn’t leave me alone, I can laugh now....but at the time I nearly went complete bananas. This really is a test of patience, you will get this with enough perserverance.
     
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  19. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    For claification, I meant they are high in relation to the other micros. I am not dosing these numbers until today's water change, but I will check against what others are doing and may bump it up a little to make sure they aren't deficient.
    Not chelated micros? Didn't even know that was thing. :D

    Yes it could be haha, among many others. The only reason they are on one side is because the flow was blasting the plants at the back, but the way the tank is laid out seems hard to get any flow to the back at the base of the stem.
    I have a little filter pump I can try and see if that helps.

    Just ordered an inline reactor so will see if I can get more ppm co2 that way. The technical side of why it isn't diffusing past a point is beyond me but will be good to at least know that avenue has been tried.

    Ok, will get some today.

    Thanks
     
  20. Bishop

    Bishop Member

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    I had read a few times of Tom saying it would take a while for changes. I didn't realize this extended to Co2 also. What I have probably done is chase some deficiency and not given any of it enough time. I felt I was being really patient at 1 week.
    Hopefully this new routine will allow me to just focus on the possible flow/co2 issue as right now it could be anything. My PH numbers do seem consistent however my test only measures in incriments, so it could fluctuate bewteen those gaps.
    Hopefully this probe helps so I can record the numbers more accurately. Currently my tank looks like a shaken up soda can.

    .

    I had seen this info before and dropped the heater down to 25 C. So Ill drop it slowly and see if I can get that magical Ph to drop. Was worried to drop it too far but small victories at this stage will help.

    I thought this drop was calculated from the PH in the tank before Co2? I am easily over 1ph drop from tap. Measuring PH before the co2 starts is pointless with Api, could be anything. It's more than later and there is a drop but I have no idea what that is currently.
    Tap water is 7.6 ( ish ) the High range all look the same. Tank is 6.4 at end of day. Again though will revisit all this once the probe arrives. I am at the stage now where I ask the wife to come have a look and see what she thinks the colours are, we usually disagree :D


    Yeah not quite laughing yet but know I will be one day. Agreed on the patience. I'm okay with failure as long as something has been learned. reading forums actually has been more of a hinderance than anything else.
    Same looking plant and 50 people all claiming is something else.

    Much appreciated.
     
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