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Thread: Getting back into it.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canberra, ACT
    Posts
    44

    Thumbs Up Getting back into it.

    Gíday everyone.

    Well, Iím back after several years away pursuing other interests. Namely aviation photography and getting my pilots license.

    Iíve had a 6íx2íx2í and itís time to give it another make over. Last time, it was a nice planted tank, sump filter, CO2 with feetís, eco complete substrate, and custom built 54W T5HO lighting setup that was dimmable and controlled by a Raspberry Pi. The Pi also monitored the tanks temperature and switched the heater on and off accordingly.

    This rebuild is going to see a few changes. I have already built a new, larger sump out of acrylic.

    The tank is currently located in my dinning room. We have recessed area at the end which I intend to close up, and make it a wall (all access doors really) with the tank in the middle sort of like a picture frame. Doors down the bottom to provide access to the Raspberry Pi, interfaces, electrical outlets, UV filter, CO2 reactor, overflow strainer and the sump. Doors above to access the lighting which I am replacing with a MML setup with the option to turn it into a grow out tank for the plants. Door to right will give access to the overflow pipe work and also storage for the CO2 bottle. Door to left will hold something a little more interesting. It will have a 250-300L water barrel for water aging and changes. This will be plumbed back to my laundry via a tempering valve and solenoids to control the water flow.

    The overall plan is to make the water changes as easy as possible. It has always been a big bear of mine as performing the water changes, has always been a tedious tasked and only every carried out by myself despite the rest of the family enjoying the tank but not really willing to assist. The water change barrel will greatly assist me with this!

    The Raspberry Pi will be setup to control a number of items. Temperature, pH via an interface board and CO2 solenoid, water levels and flow rate. It will also be responsible for controlling the water changes. Idea is to have a touch screen interface and when it comes time to perform a water change, press stage 1 and that will fill the water aging barrel with the correct temperature water. A flow monitor will keep an eye on this to measure the amount of water entering the barrel. A float switch will also be a safety feature to close the valves if something goes wrong and the water gets too high. It will also be plumbed with an overflow to outside the house. Once the barrel is full, a heater will turn on to maintain the temperature and an air pump will be activated to help age the water and remove the chlorine. After 24 or 24 hours, stage 2 begins by turning off the main pump for the sump return. After a brief period to let the water settle down, the siphon will begin to drain water from the tank. Again, the flow of this water will be monitored to ensure the required amount of water is drained. Once that has been achieved, another solenoid will open on top of the drain pipe to break the siphon. Next step is to turn of the barrel heater and air pump and then pump the water into the main tank. Again, itís volume will be monitored to make sure the amoun entering the tank, matches what went out. Once that has happened, the main pump turns back on.

    So, you might say there is a fair bit to it and there certainly is. Interlocks will be need to make sure nothing goes wrong but they idea is, the two stages are manually initiated and someone will be around to keep an eye on it. With any luck, no more buckets or hoses!

    So may say, Iím going to a lot of trouble and expense to do this. Maybe but Iíll have more time to do other things and it can be performed by other family members. That and, because I can!

    As I do work, Iíll try to post my progress as I go for others to see.

    Cheers,
    Bald_noggin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    13,969

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    Sounds like a great system. I agree that you need a manual valve on each end to make sure you control emptying and filling manually. Auto is ok as a backup only. Otherwise floods will occur. What flooring do you have?

    Do you ever come to CDAS meetings? Once you've built this system, I bet you can do a talk for us plebs who attend the meeting!

    How do you interface the Pi with the 220V stuff?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canberra, ACT
    Posts
    44

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    Manual valves and interlocks are an important part in case things go wrong. Most of our house is a tile floor with some sections of carpet.

    It will be a few months of being complete but I'd be happy to have a chat about it once it's all up and running.

    The Raspberry Pi controls the AC power by using two of these boards. https://www.futurlec.com/AC_Opto_Output_4.shtml

    They use inverted logic of High ( or 1 if you like) for off and Low ( or 0) for on which is good because when the controller powers up, its outputs are high meaning, everything is off on startup.

    The above board is interfaced through what is a PCF8574 Port Expander using an I2C bus. It creates additional 8 inputs and/or outputs (I/Os). The I2C bus only uses two wires to communicate to its modules. This way, I free up native I/O pins on the Pi. I went this way because the Flow Sensors and pH Sensor also use the I2C bus.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    30

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    Sounds amazing!

    Total newb question, but how will the syphon part of the system work? Eg. Where is it syphoning from? The main tank? And if the main tank, how will that part is the set-up be arranged? Just curious...good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canberra, ACT
    Posts
    44

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    It will be from the main tank. Sump doesn't quite have the capacity for the required amount of water to be changed and with the height of the tank, gravity works much better.

    It will simply be a long U-shaped pipe with one half in the tank.

    I'm still finalising the design to start the siphoning action and end it when required. I could stick a powerhead on the end inside the tank and run it for a few seconds to prime the system and get the water flowing. The siphon effect would then take over drawing water through the pump even though it is turned off. To stop, a solenoid on top of the U section to open up and permit air to enter the system which would break the siphon. Draw back is, a pump in the aquarium and I'm trying to keep down the required equipment in the tank.

    Another option is identical to above but using an external siphon pump to get the system going.

    Still researching the later one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canberra, ACT
    Posts
    44

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    This is what my tank used to look like before and I'd like to get it looking like this again. If not, better.



    Here's some progress pics.

    New home built acrylic sump. Still some minor things to be done to finish it but they will be done as I progress.


    Test fitting and checking out the setup of the pump bypass system. Pump is an Eheim 1262. This is used to adjust the flow rate through the UV and CO2 reactor. If too much water is passing through, the ball valve is opened causing water to be diverted back to its own input. This way, it does not put a strain on the pump. Similar setup will be done for the main system pump which will be a Eheim CompactON 5000.


    I came across this filter when I was doing research for the tank. It's a pre-filter for a water pump of a tank. 25mm input and output, 250 micron filter and flows up to 3000L/H. With a little modding, it probably could go a little higher. Water come from the overflow which a Dursopipe, through the filter on its way to the spray arm.
    {img}https://scontent.fsyd7-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/67568726_1253813774798323_2633502155805294592_o.jp g?_nc_cat=105&_nc_oc=AQnwW8FqJbB77x18KfvUEFNBKwIsG 1alN6cTr41f4lV7l1ffaxYgcjIyMUhQ4NnZXcw&_nc_ht=scon tent.fsyd7-1.fna&oh=86a1e2abe7ed35aeb0392245c64e00d0&oe=5DEBD 88D[/img]

    Test fitting of the UV and CO2 system.


    Its final configuration. I drilled an extra hole for the UV/CO2 return and the second, hole was enlarged for a 1" bulkhead. It looks like the UV/CO2 is return is back into the sump but the plan is to then, with some pipe work, feed this output of UV treated and CO2 enriched water, into the intake of the sump return pump (not pictured yet as it hasn't turned up yet). I'll use a venturi type setup for the bulkhead input so all of the UV/CO2 water enters the main system but it will also help draw in extra water because the main pump will be running at a much higher flow ware than the UV/CO2 loop.


    Till next weekend, cheers!

    Bald Noggin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    13,969

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    Current setup looks very solid indeed!

    Your previous tank photo shows easy species but nicely arranged. I am not in favour of the moss carpet but that's me.

    What plant species are you wanting to grow this time around?

    btw what type of ribbed hosing are you using there?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canberra, ACT
    Posts
    44

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    Thanks Rebel.

    Picked easy ones as I never had the light levels that I really wanted until now. I have a MakeMyLED system on its way. Decided to go with a 4 tube, Full Spectrum non-tunable. The moss carpet just sort of happened. It did get removed after a while and I had a nice Flame Moss growing over the top of the driftwood. Also the African Fern on the left grew pretty big. Crypts went berserk too. Added later on and is not in the pic, is an Anubis on driftwood. It had become reasonably large over its time even when the system wasn't running. Probably a good 4-6 inches along its rhizome.

    I definitely want to have some carpet and I haven't decided on any one type yet. Thought about Dwarf Hairgrass, Glosso or HC Cuba or a mixture. Will be looking at mosses for the driftwood. I'd like to try my hand at some plants with a higher degree of difficulty such as Rotala Macrandra. Still researching others. I do see you have some plants for sale. Unfortunately, I'm no where near ready for plants but I will keep you in mind when the time comes.

    I do plane to introduce some sort of aquascaping into this tank in the way of large aquarium stones with some minor levels.

    Hose is Aquapro 'anti-kink' hose from Bunnings. It's in their pond section. Though I'd give it a go as I have it on my outdoor pond and it's easy to work with. Only issue I have with it so far is when it's packed, the bends whilst not crushing, does leave some rippling on the inside and doesn't want to stay straight in a hurry once unpacked. Solution to that is to heat it up with some freshly boiled water. Straightens it out in no time and removes the rippling that was created between the anti-kink spiral. I've also use their recommended clamps which is for the anti-kink hose. Just need to make sure, they are done up tight. Cordless drill with a socket for Tek screws works wonders for that . I have looked into Spa Flex also. The Aquapro hose has rather thin walls which will allow tighter bends. A foreseeable problem is if it is bent to much, you can create rippling on the inside of it so gentle bends are still in order. As for the Spa Flex, haven't had it in my hands to evaluate but I just may get a metre or tow to perform some test with.

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