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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

System R&D Update

Remember this?


If you haven't seen my earlier post. That was my Mark 1 system SketchUp.

The long bit on the left is the main sump, the cube next to it is the refugium, and the bit tagged on the end is a combined RO and Balling fluid storage unit.

The physical side of things of my build may be a tad slow at the moment but the virtual R&D side of things and the cogs in my head are still turning quite readily.

That first sketch was my initial foray into realising this part of the build. Since then i have evaluated and built on the ideas and helpful feedback i had from people when i first showed it off.


  • The RO and Balling containers are too small.

I worked out the approximate volume of the containers and came to the conclusion that there was not enough, especially in the RO compartment. The RO would have been around 10litres and the Balling, approximately 3litres for each mix.

Now at this point i am trying to engineer future solutions into the system...

My aim is to be mixed, SPS heavy, bit less on the LPS and a few odds and ends softie wise, granted this and the grow out period are a loooooooong way away at the time of writing, however when i go away for a fortnight i would like the aquariums carer during that period to have very little to do, other than feeding and general checks. I would rather not be explaining to a "less than novice" person with no real interest in the tanks fundamental systems, how they have to add scary sounding chemicals into very specific areas and so on and so forth. Ideally, i want my supplies to last around this 2 week period.

I know this is impossible to estimate now! But i would rather have too much now, than not enough later.

  • Filling those storage containers would be a faff.

Seriously it would! A bit of an oversight at the time, but as i sat back and visualised, even to the point of pretending to fill the tanks in the empty cabinet! It would be awkward for several reasons, or would need some kind of hand pump to transfer RO to the rear of the tank.

And flying slightly blind for the Balling mixes, i could see the wrong fluid going in the wrong section.

As pointed out by someone on the original post, it would be difficult to visually check the levels. I had thought of an overly complex electronic system to show the levels (as i do) but that was completely unnecessary.

  • The refugium has no mechanical redundancy.

The original design only shows one hole in the face, which would have been for the return pipe.

The 'fuge will be fed by a pump and drain back through that hole (via a pipe of course), but what if that pipe were too be blocked by an errant lump of chaeto? Well essentially i would get a wet floor!

It was never a design intent to have one return as it was, i had always envisaged having at least two returns, and an electronic float switch to cut-out the pump should that be overwhelmed too.

The final design however, has three! Two of which will serve as general returns and the third will act like a weir emergency overflow, with a level switch as electronic back up to switch the pump off if need be. The switch will likely be in a position to stop the pump BEFORE the third overflow is required. More of a last ditch attempt if the switch failed.

  • The flow through the 'fuge will be pretty useless.

Again, another issue that hadn't be fully realised at that point.

I only intend on having very gentle flow through the 'fuge as i am favouring a DSB in there and would like it reasonably tranquil in the hope that copepods and the like will be able to thrive, i don't want a raging torrent in there, something around 500lph would be fine with me and will provide a steady flow for the DSB.

With it being quite a deep vessel, most of the flow would just up and out through the return pipe, so i have added a baffle in to force the flow down and essentially through the DSB.

So here is the latest 'fuge design, showing the outlets...


A look inside... the clear panel removed for clarity. You can see the standpipes if you will. Although in this picture they are at 3 different heights... honestly i will be able to adjust this quite readily...


A gap at the bottom of the baffle between the itself and the sand bed, water will have to push down and go underneath and essentially move through the sand to some degree...


The new Balling containers, easy to see into and will be located at the front of the cabinet. The rear half of the "lid" is fixed and has the provision for the required pipework. The front section lifts off for filling...


The original provision at the end which would have been both RO and Balling is now completely dedicated to RO...

With similar access and installation provisions...

Ro Tank

The new "assembly", the rear panel of the balling containers will most likely be clear so it is possible to see into the sump.


And the whole system in the cabinet...

Latest In Cab

Last thing is to add into the mix is where the reactors will fit in, i have bits for them on the way so i can begin to work those fundamentals out.

When it looks like i have a plan i would start to construct all the odds and ends and eventually get onto the fill.

Importantly, RO storage is now around 24-25l and Balling is around 8l per part, should be more than enough for future requirements

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