Dosing Pump Questions

thegasman

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Aug 25, 2012
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First of all I want to thank Tom and gsjmia for the input.

Well I pulled the trigger last night and purchased 2 of the BRS Drews dosing pumps, 2 liquid holding containers and a pin style timer. I also picked up a graduated beaker so that I can calibrate each pump. I had a hard time deciding between the standard BRS dosing pump and the Drews dosing pump. I like the fact that the standard pump puts out 1.1ml per minute versus 1.6ml with the Drews pump. The deciding factor was that the Drews has 4 contact points with the tubing whereas the standard pump has 2. This may not be a big deal, but it seems that with 4 contact points, it's less likely that there will be back siphon issues as pointed out earlier by gsjmia. I did read that this will cause the tube to wear out faster though. I also like the way that the Drews mounts to the cabinet/ wall. The standard pump needs to slide onto a mounting bracket which requires extra overhead space that I don't have due to where I plan to mount the pumps. The Drews simply screws to the wall. The other deciding factor was that BRS states that they use the Drews pumps on their own systems. That sealed the deal for me.

I did a bunch of research on dosing pumps and learned quite a bit. For our use, either one of the dosing pumps from BRS are ideal. There are some more sophisticated pumps that have built in computers, but most of them seem to have cheaper pump motors. The computer controlled units with decent pumps get pricey. I could see where they would be worth it if you were dosing "stuff" multiple times a day, but we don't need to do that with our planted tanks.
Here are links to the items that I purchased-
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-drew-s-doser-peristaltic-dosing-pump.html
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/catalog/product/view/id/1484/
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/catalog/product/view/id/1875/
http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/catalog/product/view/id/792/
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338187531&icep_item=161015355338
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00002N5FO/?tag=barrreport-21
 
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gsjmia

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Timers with the pins are good if you need to run the pump for 30 minutes or so, but I needed 12 min each day.

They sell these in Home Depot and you can program by the minute and by day, so I skip Sunday, which is my WC day: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002HEO7N8/?tag=barrreport-21

Use the calculators to determine how much you need per dose. Then run the pump into the supplied measuring cup and time how long it takes to get the desired mls. I then add a minute or two for good measure.

Also, on first use you need to prime the pumps, which can be done by letting pump run for a (long) while. Make sure you pre-fill the suction tube before connecting to the dosing pump, it will shorten the priming time. FIll the tube with dosing solution and then clamp off the other end and attach to pump.

One time, I removed the clear tube housing and lifted the whole thing off. Started a siphon until the hose was full, clamped it off and put it back together-instant priming. So long as you don't let the reservoir run dry, you won't have to ever prime again.

Use nylon ties to tie the reservoir hose in such a way as it won't crimp over time.

You also need to use the supplied nylon ties on the pump hose connection or the hose will fall off if you bump it or leak.

FYI, I just bought two replacement pump tubes just to have on hand-its been 2 years and they are still pumping, but they won't last forever.

Once you get it all running you will see how simple it really is.
 

thegasman

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Aug 25, 2012
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Thanks for the tips gsjmia. This is why I love the Barr Report. Someone has already been there and done that. Back in the 80's when I got into reef tanks there was nothing like this. You had to wait for the next issue of FAMA magazine to try and learn the latest and greatest information. Ahh, the good old days.

As far as the timers go, I prefer the pin type. I totally agree that the digital timers offer more precision, but I've had a couple of failures, even with high quality digital timers. I've never had a pin type fail even with years of use. BRS does sell one that has 15 minute intervals. I did the math and the 30 minute timer will work for my needs. At 1.6ml for 30 minutes a day, I should go through about 1488ml in a month. I'll need to refill my liquid storage containers every 3 to 4 weeks depending on variances from the quoted ml per minute for the Drews pump.
 
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Tom Barr

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You can easily vary and extend the time to 15 min ticks which are common and they sell those 5 min tick fine tick manual timers also.
To vary any dosing to match your goal, larger, containers with more water/excel etc will address that with a fixed flow rate from a dosing pump.

So you can vary the volume dosed easy enough.

The other is to vary to concentration with the ferts instead.
More/less etc.

So you could increase the dosing reservoir from 1 gallon to 2.5 gallons And go from say 12 min, up to 30 min.

Or you could dilute the grams dosed by 2.5X times less.
Easy enough.
 

thegasman

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Where can I find those 5 minute fine pin timers? I would deffinatly be interested. Did a quick google search, but came up empty.
 

Ghostie

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Keep us updated! I was considering doing something like this too! I was also interested in a controller, more for saving space and clutter so I don't have 3-4 timers under my stand, which is open to the world...
 

thegasman

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Ghostie;113720 said:
Keep us updated! I was considering doing something like this too! I was also interested in a controller, more for saving space and clutter so I don't have 3-4 timers under my stand, which is open to the world...
[attachment=1509:name]

Yeah, I'm still considering a controller to get rid of some of the clutter, but am holding off for now. The wife needed a new Shun knife and Boardsmith buther block since I got the dosing equipment LOL. Anyway, I received everything and the install is almost complete. I just need to hook up the tubing and test the output of each pump. Does anyone have any idea if standard 1/4" vinyl tubing will work with the "push to lock" type fittings that are on my fert holding containers? Here's a crappy iPad photo to show where I'm at.

image.jpg
 

gsjmia

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Not sure what the picture shows, but I can see the 4 white nylon connectors on the pump near the top. Use standard 1/4" tubing to connect to those, but you need to use the plastic ties or it can fall off. As far as other connections, if they stay on and don't leak then no prob.

Pre-fill the suction side with your fert solution or it will take longer to "prime".
 

thegasman

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Sorry, that photo is absolute trash. The fert holding containers (very nice by the way) have this type of fitting and I was wondering if the 1/4 vinyl tubing that comes with the dosing pumps will work or if I need to get the semi ridgid tubing to connect to the push to connect fitting.[attachment=1510:name]

image.jpg
 

Tom Barr

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Ah you got those cheesy little reservoirs:)
I use 1 gallon to 5 gallon range containers.

I just made my own rigid tubing and poked a hole in the container lids.
More volume and you can make your own tick marks on the side.
Cost: nearly free.
 

thegasman

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Tom Barr;114067 said:
Ah you got those cheesy little reservoirs:)
I use 1 gallon to 5 gallon range containers.

I just made my own rigid tubing and poked a hole in the container lids.
More volume and you can make your own tick marks on the side.
Cost: nearly free.

LOL... Don't pick on me Tom! My cheesy containers are very well made and the tick marks are dead on...tested them to be sure. Obviously, I could have gone with a larger DIY container, but I went with these very nice containers since they look good and they fit in my VERY tight filter cabinet. I'm not dealing with a large tank, so the containers that I have will supply my tank with ferts for a month, and that's what I was looking for. Any input on the fittings?
 

gsjmia

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Milk jugs (1 gal or 1/2 gal) with 1/4 rigid acrylic tubing going through the cap to almost the bottom work fine. Drill tight hole in the cap and attach 1/4 regular tubing. Tie it up with plastic ties so it won't droop and kink.
 

Tom Barr

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thegasman;114071 said:
LOL... Don't pick on me Tom! My cheesy containers are very well made and the tick marks are dead on...tested them to be sure. Obviously, I could have gone with a larger DIY container, but I went with these very nice containers since they look good and they fit in my VERY tight filter cabinet. I'm not dealing with a large tank, so the containers that I have will supply my tank with ferts for a month, and that's what I was looking for. Any input on the fittings?

I bought them a long time ago off ebay, then it was like, these are cheesy, fine if you dose tiny amounts and have smaller tanks.
I need 2-4 weeks or more to make it worth my time/trouble for auto dosing.

Think like those DIY CO2 set ups.

You might try the 3/16th rigid tubing.

Given it needs something special etc, I'd not even fuss, I'd have something that fills up a large volume for the space you have and then some tape will give refill volumes etc.
 

thegasman

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Update. The fittings on the reservoirs accepted the 1/4" OD tubing that came with the Drew's dosing pumps just fine. They created a secure, air tight seal and make it easy to remove the tube if needed. I ended up going with a digital timer so that I can add the ferts in a 10 minute time frame. I went with an Intermatic timer since I've had good luck with their products in the past. As Dr. Tom suggested, to be safe, I'm dosing into the measuring containers that came with the dosing pumps for at least few days (most likely a week with my OCD) to be sure that the pumps and timer are working as expected. One pump puts out 1.6 ml per minute and the other puts out 1.4 ml per minute. So, at 10 minutes per day, my 1500 ml reservoirs should supply my tank with ferts for about 3 months.

So, my question is, will the ferts keep for 3 months with the 20 ml of Excel added to the trace mix?
 

Maxwell

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Well i am also looking for an alternative to KNO3. It has some security issues and is not sold freely..so could you suggest an option other than this.
 

gsjmia

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So, my question is, will the ferts keep for 3 months with the 20 ml of Excel added to the trace mix?

I mix 1,000 ml and it lasts for 2 mos using EI with no problems. FYI, I also dose 6X a week so I use a formula for 500ml and then double the water, so I don't have any solubility issues. I don't see any precip but I do shake it up once in a while. The CSM mixture may get some scum without Excel but with 20 ml of Excel haven't seen any.

If it goes bad, just toss it and make a new batch.
 

thegasman

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gsjmia;114183 said:
I mix 1,000 ml and it lasts for 2 mos using EI with no problems. FYI, I also dose 6X a week so I use a formula for 500ml and then double the water, so I don't have any solubility issues. I don't see any precip but I do shake it up once in a while. The CSM mixture may get some scum without Excel but with 20 ml of Excel haven't seen any.

If it goes bad, just toss it and make a new batch.

Thank you. You and Tom have been a great help. Everything is working well so far. The pumps have put out exactly the same amount of liquid for the past three days. The only issue that I've had was that the digital timer ended up on random mode. I must have accidentally hit the mode button while I was unplugging my return pump. I'm going to keep an eye on this to be sure it's not an issue with the timer.
 

Tom Barr

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thegasman;114157 said:
Update. The fittings on the reservoirs accepted the 1/4" OD tubing that came with the Drew's dosing pumps just fine. They created a secure, air tight seal and make it easy to remove the tube if needed. I ended up going with a digital timer so that I can add the ferts in a 10 minute time frame. I went with an Intermatic timer since I've had good luck with their products in the past. As Dr. Tom suggested, to be safe, I'm dosing into the measuring containers that came with the dosing pumps for at least few days (most likely a week with my OCD) to be sure that the pumps and timer are working as expected. One pump puts out 1.6 ml per minute and the other puts out 1.4 ml per minute. So, at 10 minutes per day, my 1500 ml reservoirs should supply my tank with ferts for about 3 months.

So, my question is, will the ferts keep for 3 months with the 20 ml of Excel added to the trace mix?

Why not use full strength Excel(1.5% glut) and then add the trace mix to that?
It's mostly water and glut in not a reductant nor an oxidizer. So it will not unchelate.
Nothing will grow in there and you can dose the ferts and glut daily also.

I like and prefer manual peg style timers, less issues setting them up and programming errors are reduced.
You can get nice small ones and ones with tiny 5 min pegas etc.