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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Refugium, RO and Dosing

Right, now the new tanks arrived, two things have been happening.

  1. My finger has been hanging over the "buy" button for many things. Being an impulse buyer, this sometimes ends up landing me in the deep end. For once i have held back my demons and working this methodically. I was very close to buying the reactors i want, but managed to tell myself its pointless now as i wont require them for maybe 3 months yet. Go me!
  2. With the tank here, i can finally stop estimating and assuming...

I have spent the last few weeks trying to mentally visualise what the guts of the system are going to be like, including all the water treatment stuff, electrics, control etc...

Its not been easy as i didn't have a complete idea of what the final construction would be like.

Now its here i have been sat like a ropey old spaniel does in front of a warm fire on a cold night, except with my laptop, iPad, a pen and paper, tape measure and a pint pot full of something or other...

Now i have realistic measurements i can get planning correctly.

Firstly the sumps original intention.

My sump is very simple, 3 chamber design, doesnt have an RO container or anything as i was never 100% sure how this build would evolve into its final state.

I asked for it to only cover around 2/3's of the cabinets interior (request honoured) so i had plenty of room to add the items i required.

My first idea was to have the sump setup with a refugium in the central section, and run reactors externally, a vessel for RO and balling containers.

I want and feel i need a refugium as i intend to keep Mandarins and potentially other live food dependant creatures. I would also like to keep Chaetomorpha in there, reverse lit for the pH stability during the main tanks dark period, and to help keep an eye on nitrates and phosphates.

New Direction

I have sat, tinkered, scratched my head and done some maths, and feel the central section in the sump is a bit small and shallow and would be better suited for other purposes.

I have also since changed my preference for the skimmer, which will be a Deltec SC1455 (was an APF800), which i would like to now position in that central area. I have also decided that my reactors will be in a more favourable area if they are in or a least suspended near this section, just in case (touch wood), one decides to leak. Should this happen, at least the sump will catch minor dribbles, rather than it being discarded on the living room floor.

RO and Balling storage, again, many thoughts ranging from bog standard cheap plastic jerry cans to fancy custom made items.

And the refugium... my only real single remaining idea is to have a remote system, so my thought process went into overdrive, somehow conjuring up over complicated tiered tanks with awkward access and not very easy (and/or safe) to cast the correct amount of light on.

So i sat and stared blankly into the cabinet, getting a square arse on the laminate.

Another thing i have been curious about is using a DSB, and the shallow nature of the sump section had already ruled that out. And a worrying thought... what if it wasn't really doing anything worthwhile? Possibly attempting to remove the DSB could disturb and crash the tank... not good.

So the remote option is looking good. Id also prefer to have it 10% capacity of my whole systems volume, which calculates to roughly 800l or say 650l when displaced. So ideally a figure of between 65l and 80l in the 'fuge would be good. Of course if the 'fuge is in situ with the rest of the system the total volume increases, further enhancing stability.

So i SketchUp'ed this...

Fuhe Mk2

Its a box with a hole in it?

Simple, no?

That box will have the refugium content in there, with a pumped supply to a submerged spray bar. The hole, with a piece of pipework will be a drain back to the main sump.

The best bit... it will slide in and out of the cabinet door with the weight of the water removed. Some Teflon strips attached to the floor of the cab, and i am confident that it could be, isolated, drained, disconnected and removed from the system entirely in less than 90minutes. Therefore giving the ability to either work on it, or try different "stuff" such as a DSB or mud or whatever is the talk of the town in future... it also has the potential to work as an Algae Scrubber... but that's off the beaten track for now.

Its only a concept drawing for now, there will be more than one drain pipe for redundancy of course, a bit more R&D to follow on it.

As for the RO and Balling.. well there is still quite a bit of room in the cabinet after the "Fuge Cube"  is connected in.

So i drew up a section "tall and narrow" tank with provisions for dosing pump tube holders and so on...


DRO Tank

Affectionately codenamed as the "BROT" (Balling, Reverse Osmosis, Tank)...!

One large section for RO... a good 10l worth, and 3 sections for each of the 3 dosing mixes, each holding around 4l

This would be disconnected should the Fuge Cube need removing, but with the intention of using John Guest fittings and water proof connectors for the RO pump, it will be a doddle to unplug, and slide out prior to the 'fuge following it.

Of course, its unlikely that this will be a common event if everything is working fine, but the option is certainly engineered in.

A rough idea of the 3 elements all together...

In situ

So that's been my last few nights of mad professing and doodles. I think i will mock them up with card and see if it will work how i envisage it to in my head!

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