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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Woodson Build - Part 11

The next job was to adjust the return pipe.

Daily FTS Aquarium PVCu Pipework (7)

It was fine the way it was, but i have since changed my mind several times, and it has now turned out, that the 90deg elbow has put the hose connector in the way of my reactors.

I couldn't just cut it off and put a 90deg bend on and run it flush along the underside of the cabinet, due to the tank connector length and clamp nut.

So i had to make a sort of u-bend to first connect to the vertical pipe and then realign it back up to the underside surface, I don't think this will cause too much of an issue, but may reduce the flow efficiency a little due to the extra drag.

Daily FTS Aquarium PVCu Pipework (1)

The u-bend replaces the 90deg and hose connector…

Daily FTS Aquarium PVCu Pipework (3)

The pipe is the attached to the underside of the cabinet and runs along the surface then returns to the back wall before eventually dropping down to the return chamber…

Daily FTS Aquarium PVCu Pipework (4)

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The sump is shown out of position in the last picture as i had slid it along in order to work around the tank connectors…

As a result there is now a nice and neat hard pipe which will connect with a few inches of hose from the pump.

And the reactors now all fit in perfect, and are easy to manoeuvre in and out of the cabinet…

Daily FTS Aquarium PVCu Pipework (8)

Woodson Build - Part 10

My DIY Refugium is almost complete!

I finished off adding a line of cement to each corner on the interior, doing two per day over the course of a week and finally got chance to test fit it into the system…

Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium (8)

Had to dismantle part of the cabinet by removing one of the supports, but there were no ill effects due to the lack of water weight in there yet!

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Fits spot on as planned!

And the DaStaCo closes in millimetre perfect when the door is shut…

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Next job was to do a dry run of the feed pipework to the refugium, which will be fed with water from the first chamber of the sump using a pump that will be directly next to the floss filters, hoping to ensure the most nutrient rich water will make it to the refugium before it hits the skimmer and reactors…

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The feed then runs along the underside of the cabinet to the far end of the refugium…

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Before dropping into the refugium to a tee piece…

Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium (1)

Due to the conduits i have also attached to the top of the cabinet, it ended up a little offset from the end, so i rectified this with a couple of 90deg joints…

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I also added a couple of 45deg joints to enable a bit of variable flow into the refugium…

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Now was time for the acid test… well a water test really!

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I dumped around 25l in to start with… no issues and it didnt collapse!

So i brimmed it completely…

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It has sat like this for around 3 days now and still in one piece! although i did have a minor scare this evening.

As you can see the refugium is sat on some pieces of card. One reason is to protect it, the other is it should give an easy to tell indicator that the tank is leaking, and i came to this…

Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium (6)

A small patch right at one of the corners (note i have moved the tank at this point)

I thought it had failed at first, but then remembered there is an RO Booster Pump mounted on the wall directly above where the refugium is sat. It has remained there since i had to take my RO Unit indoors to protect it from freezing during the cold weather we are having.

As it turns out, there was some water left in the lines that have remained connected to it, with some drips hanging of the exposed end…

Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium (7)

I took a minor sigh of relief as it looks to have been the pump dripping that has caused the little puddle on the card!

I have since blocked it up and will check on the refugium for a little longer.

The strange thing is, i don't feel completely confident! Even if the wet test is a success, i still may give it another squirt of cement on all the joints or a run of silicone if it will stick, just to be extra sure!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow Joke!

If you are experiencing the joys of the current cold front in Britain like i am…

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Make sure you bring your RO Unit inside the house or at least keep it insulated somewhere! If any residual water inside your unit were to freeze, and lets take a step back to junior school science, as water turns to ice, it increases in volume.

This can potentially crack the pods on your RO Unit and destroy them and/or the sealing mechanisms, likewise the membranes do not like to be frozen solid. So save yourself money by being vigilant.

My RO Unit lives in the garage at the moment and is pending to be built into an insulated cupboard for the RO Machine project. However the supply, waste and some of the pipes on the unit had started to freeze, thankfully i caught this before the membranes and filters went the same way.

As a result i had to construct an Ad-Hoc setup in the kitchen, so i have RO for my next water change!

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Always a good idea to keep a few lengths of hose, connectors and an alternative hook up source should you ever need to do the same.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Neptune Systems Apex Controller arrives in UK!

neptune systems apex aqauarium controller

Ok, i am pretty psyched about this!

Finally the Neptune Systems Apex Aquarium controller has landed on UK shores!

I have been following the progress and information about this system for several years, but it has remained a US product for most of its life.

However Neptune Systems now produce the fully CE Compliant EB6 Energy Bar, which is their name for a plug bar, designed to work with 240v UK sockets.

Reading the very well written Comprehensive Reference Manual the Apex controller really shines in some areas and looks to have a significant advantage over some of its rivals, especially in the custom programming area.

A few tag lines for the Apex system…

Sleek design
Competitive pricing
Built-in Web Server
html Dashboard with webcam integration
Fully Plug & Play
Temp, pH, ORP, Conductivity, leak & Oxygen probes all available*
base unit features switchable BNC connection for either 2xpH or 1xPh + 1xORP probe connection.
LED Dimming
Tunze & EcoTech Control
Legacy X-10 support
6x float switches supported as standard, more can be added as needed*
Long Life probes
Multiple Alarm types (including email)
Quality construction
Android and iPhone/iPad software (free)
Power monitoring & UPS ready
Simple or Advanced programming
Huge online support community
Lunar simulation*
* Additional hardware may be required

All of the Apex add on equipment will be making its way to the UK too, some prices for the equipment include…

AquaController Apex Base Unit, Display, Std pH Probe, Temp Probe & EB6 £599.95
Apex Base Unit £279.95
Apex Display Module £139.95
Energy Bar 6 socket - 220-240V only £209.95
PM1 pH or ORP, Temperature, I/O Expansion Box £94.95
PM2 Conductivity, Temperature, I/O Expansion Box £94.95
PM3 Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, I/O Expansion Box £109.95
Wireless Expansion Module/Vortech Compatible £139.95
Advanced Leak Detection Module £87.95
Advanced Leak Detection Low-Profile (under-carpet) Probe £36.95
Advanced Leak Detection Solid-Surface Probe £36.95
Variable Speed /Dimming Module/AquaIlluminations Compatible £114.95
Dimmable Lunar Simulator - 3 LED £104.95
Dimmable Lunar Simulator - 5 LED £124.95
3' AquaBus Cable (M/M) £15.95
6' AquaBus Cable (M/M) £20.95
15' AquaBus Cable (M/M) £30.95
15' AquaBus Extension Cable (M/F) £32.95
I/O Breakout Box (6x TTL connections) £48.95
2 Channel Apex to Stream Cable £26.95
2 Channel Apex to Light Dimming Cable £20.95
Advanced LED Dimming Cable for VDM (for AI and Acan LEDs) £24.95
Temperature Probe £51.95
Standard Grade pH Probe £51.95
Standard Grade ORP Probe £72.95
Lab Grade pH Probe £78.95
Lab Grade ORP Probe £91.95
Lab Grade Conductivity Probe £129.95
Oxygen Probe £459.95
4.00 Calibration Fluid £1.50
7.00 Calibration Fluid £1.50
10.00 Calibration Fluid £1.50
Conductivity Calibration Solution - 53.0 mS £1.95

Very well priced into the UK market i feel, considering the functionality and expandability of this system. I would suggest following the previous link and having a good read of the reference manual to get an idea of what this system is capable of in a more in-depth sense, as it is far more than i can write about here!

I have purchased one of the Base Packages to have a go with and get to grips with the system. It will essentially be going up against the mighty GHL Profilux which i currently have operating one of my aquariums. I am very keen to see how well it performs against such a giant already established in the European market.

A big thanks to Nick at Aquarium Cabinet Solutions for supplying the kit too.

Neptune Systems Homepage for more information.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Woodson Build - Part 9

More DIY today!

First of all, the last “double” panel for the refugium has gone on. Just got the clear front panel to do.

12-Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium.14

Also sourced some egg crate to build the pre filter and plenty of hose to start piping the system up…

04-Daily FTS Egg Crate.31

The next DIY project is the shelve which the reactors will sit on…

It started by bonding two pieces of acrylic together…

02-Daily FTS Reactors.01

Marking out a series of holes…

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Pilot the holes first, followed by a hole saw…

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Job done…

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Now some solvent welding on various pipe fittings…

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To finally create this…

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Three loops, for three reactors, phosphate, carbon and ozone.

Each loop will have its own pump and good control over the flow using the respective ball valve. The unions on the valve and the returns will act as quick disconnects so individual reactors can be lifted out and serviced as and when required.

An idea of how it will all look…

14-Daily FTS Reactors.40-001

Not finished as of yet, some minor adjustments to make, but I'm happy this has turned out well.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Woodson Build - Part 8

I felt this part of the build warranted its own section rather than tagging it onto the end of Part 7.

I had taken delivery of my DaStaCo Calcium Reactor around a month ago and have had plans to mount it on the inside of one of the cabinet doors, allowing it to swing out for easy access and maintenance and not have to be forced in between any of the other equipment.

So with a fresh piece of acrylic, cut to size that will fit on the inside of the door, here is what i have achieved.

The beautifully simple design of the DaStaCo, means a few nuts and bolts holding it all to the back plate simply need undoing to remove the reaction chambers.

01-Daily FTS DaStaCo Calcium Reactor.08

I didnt want to cut down the original board that came with the reactor, just in case i want to restore it to its original condition, and that i don't have adequate equipment to cut acrylic in such a way and as a result it would end up looking like a mess!

So with the new piece on the rear of the door i did a visual test mount…

02-Daily FTS DaStaCo Calcium Reactor.21

To ensure the new back plate fits ok, allows the door to open and close and without fouling the reactor chamber, i had to edge it across slightly by forming some cut-outs to work around the hinges…

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I couldn't use the original mounting screws do to wanting a flush mount, so i switched them out for countersunk screws…

08-Daily FTS DaStaCo Calcium Reactor.40

I also drilled and pilot drilled several holes into the door, including countersinking the board in order to mount it to the woodwork…

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The clamps and brackets were all installed before attaching the board to the door…

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With the reaction chambers reinstalled and the door applied back onto the cabinet, tucks away neatly and should make it a doddle to work with!

14-Daily FTS DaStaCo Calcium Reactor.03

Just need to mount the controller and dosing pump which i will finalise when the refugium is installed.

Woodson Build - Part 7

After a week of not being able to get close to the tank due to work and other commitments, i finally managed to get some time in this afternoon!

I did want to maximise time usage on getting as many of the “internal box” panels glued into the Refugium as possible, unfortunately most of the day was spent installing a new fence on my garden, but thankfully as the light levels fell and tools were put away, i could spend a few hours on my tank!

Started by grinding back the joints of the “outer box” mainly where the glue had spilled in from holding the joints together. This is to create a small under rad fillet so the inner panels will butt up correctly, and offer the chance to run a bead of thicker cement in to bridge and bond a tight seal.

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I achieved this using a ball nose burr on my multi tool…

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And then applied a liberal amount of cement along the edges and a cross hatched pattern of roughly 50mm squares onto the full face of the panel.

The internal piece was then applied, tapped into the corners and then clamped and weighted down…

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I also ran the needle bottle along the front and top edges.

Three more faces to do, then it will be left for a week to allow the final joints to fully cure. I will tidy up any rough and obvious edges then carry out a wet test and fill the tank with water. Assuming it doesn't explode or leak within a week i think i will be happy enough to install the pipework and get it added into the system.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Woodson Build - Part 6

A few minor updates.

A load of pipe fittings arrived today…

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… and some pipe!

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I think i will have enough to get me by! Although i did order a load of 1/2” stuff only to accidently order 1/4” hose adaptors like a total fool!

All these pipe, bits and pieces will be for installing the Refugium, will make up the base of my Reactor controls and some of the plumbing for the RO Machine.

Sadly i didnt get chance to spend some time working on the Refugium itself as i remained in the house waiting for the knock on the door for the delivery of the pipe parts!

But i did at least unclamp it and get it out into natural light now most of the “outer box” is complete…

3-Daily FTS Custom Built Refugium.33

Turned out quite well i feel! I’m quite pleased with myself!

One slight gap on the very top corner though…

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Its only a couple of millimetres, so i made a well and put a drop of cement in there to hopefully block it up.

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All being well, when i start to add the “internal box” by doubling up all the existing panels, a small corner glitch like that should be no issue, especially as it remains above the water line too.

I work afternoons at the moment and it annoys me that i keep having to walk away from working on the various projects! Wish i had got plenty in to work on over Christmas now!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Woodson Build - Part 5

A couple more edges done on the Refugium.

Happily found it in once piece still, since adding the two end pieces from the day before…

1-Daily FTS DIY Acrylic Refugium.00

First job was to prepare the corners where the rear panel will be mating up to them. As you would expect there is some adhesive/acrylic goo that has been squeezed out when the two pieces were put together. Trying to get a square cut piece up against this will cause nothing but problems!

(Note! The red knife was to give the camera something to differentiate the contrast with! Taking pictures of shiny black plastic is nion impossible!)

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As you can see in the previous picture, there is a blob right in the corner where i wanted to butt the next panel up to.

So with a pointed milling bit/burr, and a slow and steady speed on the multi-tool…

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I carefully removed the excess glue from the surface and then ran the pointed end along the corner where the two pieces meet…

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It looks rougher than it is! But it gave back the desirable condition!

Next i picked up the piece to make the rear face and promptly dropped it on the concrete floor!

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I was livid and did swear a little bit…. however!

Through some weird and untoward fate… CPS had accidently sent me an extra piece of acrylic… which just happened to be exactly the same as the one i had just bust the corner off! The elation really was quite something!

Now i had to decide how to assemble the rear piece in, and i realise now that i should have done this bit second, then the other side piece! Just due to the fact that the clamping arrangement would have been far easier!

In the end i decided to glue the bottom edge…

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It didnt end up as tricky as i thought it would be. The clamps on the top were sturdy enough and the pin method continued to work a charm. When giving the cement (which is “water thin”) 30seconds to start melting the acrylic, i can do one final check and ensure everything is still aligned.

I then pulled the pins, and gently tapped the top edge of the piece being glued (the clamps are only holding lightly at this moment), with a soft faced mallet to push it down against the mating piece, then tighten the clamps slightly.

Using the stops on the work bench also helped as i could push the base up to them and then ensure the rear piece was also flush… remembering to not leave them in contact afterwards… due to the excess glue!

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Four hours passed for that edge to get a good grip, so i carried on with one of the remaining side joints.

Again i though this would be awkward when trying to get a sufficient amount of adhesive into the gap, but by being careful and manoeuvring the pins into position, there was adequate movement in the acrylic to allow an acceptable gap…

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Enough for the needle bottle to wick a generous amount in anyway…

I was tempted to do the other side while i was at this point, but reined my enthusiasm in! I'm doing well for now with not rushing, and it will probably be more beneficial when the opposing side can be glued face down so the weight helps to keep the pieces together…

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The jug of water as shown helps to keep the weight on the corner that is curing.

Last edge tomorrow and then i will start adding the internal pieces as these 4 sides of the cube will be doubled up in and over-engineered effort to ensure its strong and watertight!