The Project

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by lloydy, Apr 15, 2009.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. lloydy

    lloydy Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    Hi Everyone,

    I am quite new to these forums, i have had my tank setup for around 4 months now, and am slowly adding coral frags, and watching them grow (some really slow, some quite fast).
    At the moment the setup looks a little bit of a mess with wires all over the place, and there is quite a lot for me to manually do on a daily basis, other than the feeding of my two clown fish.

    What i would like to do is automate, i am running metal halides, and i have two blue cold cathods which seem to work quite well as moon lighting.

    All this i have to do manually.

    I would like to add some T5 lighting, so that the lighting comes on in stages, from pitch black, to the moonlighting for an hour or two, then the t5's for an hour or so, and then the MH for around 6 hours and then back to the t5's and moonlighting again, to simulate the sun sort of rising and setting.

    This is the first part of the project, which hopefully shouldn't cost me more than the price of the extra lighting as i can get all the other bits and bobs for free, although some maybe overkill (designed for work on 5KW motors / pumps etc).

    I dont think this should be too tricky.

    The next thing i would like to impliment is an auto top off, do you guys have any recommendations on this, i was going to put a tank that i fill manually once a week or so in the room above (the loft), i was then just going to attach it to a simple ball valve that measured the water level of the overflow ( this currently pumps into my sump, which is actually above my tank, that then overflows back down to my tank). In this the best method to go about things?

    Also i noticed the thread for the denitrifer, which i would also like to do, also at the cost of some bio balls, and 30metres of 1/4" tubing, which i have ordered off ebay already for £8. i have been looking for the original thread on this, but i cant seem to find it on the forum. i will be looking to control the flow rate going through this, by a ball valve, but also moving the water by pumping air into the outlet to draw water through and it exits into the tank, this should help oxygenate the water on the way out i am hoping.

    My last idea, is to build a skimmer, as they are way to expensive to buy one (at current i have a really cheap one that just attaches to an air pump, and for the price of £5 it seems to work quite well) the problem with the current one, is i dont like it because it was so cheap, and it has to sit in my sump, which i want to eventually get rid of as we are half way through a loft conversion, which the sump will start to get in the way of.

    The final idea i have is to have this all computer controlled via some sort of usb interface controling relays, but for this i would first look at the sensing of as many different parameters that i can.
    I would have a webcam hooked up to this, so i could log in from work, look at the tank in real time, also have real time feed back of the water parameters, temp, ph level etc.

    I have also looked at the home made calcium reactor, which doesn't look too hard either, but i dont think i currently have a need for one of these yet.

    I think i have covered all of my ideas.

    If you have any input to any of these, ideas to make them better, more ideas for me, any reasons why any of the above wouldn't work, please feel free to give me your input.

    I dont have any final plans on any of these ideas yet, as i have not carried out enough research and decided which i think would be the best.
    but for the most part, i want to get rid of my sump, so everything would need to be closed, as it will be placed under my tank, which is also where i hang my clothes, so i dont want them getting salty.

    Like i said any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers in advance.

    ( i will be updating all of these projects in this thread)
     
  2. Click Here!

  3. Infantry1327

    Infantry1327 Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    Cali
    First, what size is your tank
    Second, throw up some pics
    Third, for the lighting sequence. Coralife makes a light timer that you can set 3 sections of outlets to turn on and off at what ever times you want. You could also head to your local hardware store and pick up 3 cheap light timers and just set the times you want on them.
    As for the skimmer, you would be better off buying one, tell me what size tank you have, then i can make some suggestions. As for the cpu controler I don't know much about them, but I know they are very pricey. I looked at one for a totel of 5 min before I saw the price tag. They have individual controlers that arnt to bad in price, but won't hook up to your computer.
     
  4. lloydy

    lloydy Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    hi,

    It's 125 litres, this will be upgraded in the next year or two.
    pics will come when im eventually at home, im working away for the week so cant take any at the moment. the metal halides already broken one of those cheap timers, plus the time drifts within a week or two on them.
    As for the Coralife timer... how costly is that? im looking at keeping the cost down to a minimum, also the cold cathods run off a 12v supply, this isnt too much of a problem as i could get a relay to switch them on.

    Im aware that computer controlled monitoring equipment is expensive, thats why i wanted to try and make my own, which at the moment would probably mean me coding a program to make it all work. This part of the project is a long way down the line.

    As for the skimmer, would this have to be kept at the same water level as the tank? or do they make a skimmer than can be placed at any level, i ask this as there is limited space to one side of the tank.
     
  5. Infantry1327

    Infantry1327 Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    309
    Location:
    Cali
    Hear is a ling for the timer. 1875 watts or 15 amps. Not sure what your MH put out but should suffice since the 4 T-5's would only put about 180 Watts. Given they arnt overdriven.
    ESU Aqualight Digital Power Center at PETCO
    125 Liters is about 33 Gallons. (sorry, used to U.S. units of measure)
    You could use a backpak skimmer that hangs on the back of the tank.
    Like- AquaC Remora Hang-On Protein Skimmer without Pump
    or
    CPR Bak-Pak 2 Protein Skimmer

    Sorry pricing is all in $$$$$$. Check out the skimmer section for more info on some of the back pak skimmers, Or do a in sump skimmer and plumb it up to your tank. Probably Get a Reef Octopus Needle wheel skimmer off ebay for cheap.
     
  6. lloydy

    lloydy Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    that second skimmer doesn't look too bad, just need to find it in the UK,
    i found a "similar" light timer here but the from hong kong worries me about its actual reliability.
     
  7. bbsbliss

    bbsbliss Ritteri Anemone

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    640
    Location:
    Lake Orion MI
    First, welcome to the reef! Sounds like you have a lot of ambitious projects ahead of you, and good luck. You'll find lots of answers on the different topics you've listed on the forum threads, so keep reading, and keep asking!
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. lloydy

    lloydy Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    i have found this Reef Octopus BH-300 Hang on Skimmer on ebay, This seems like it should fit to the side of my tank. Do you know if this is a reputable manufacturer/ product?
     
  10. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11,283
    Location:
    shenzhen Guangdong PRC
    Hi Lloydy
    reef octopus products do have a good rep IMO - UK? have you considered a Deltec ? as they also make great quality skimmers

    Steve
     
  11. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11,283
    Location:
    shenzhen Guangdong PRC
    Hi lloydy - Whilst I fully understand and can relate to the fear of buying oriental product due to concerns over quality

    I will say that I have a great deal of experience on buying product made in China , on a personal and a proffesional level ( Im over here exporting Chinese factory produced domestic lighting and have been for 11 years)
    and without wanting to sound to biased, there is a lot of well made product coming out of Chinese factory sources

    for 15 quid ? may be worth testing

    Steve
     
  12. lloydy

    lloydy Astrea Snail

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    34
    Steve, the deltec skimmer comes in at around the same price for a smallish hang on skimmer. I do not know of any good online marine stores for the UK, so ebay is first choice.

    As for the light timer, it comes in at around £25 delivered. which i may look at.

    First thing for me now is to make a denitrifier. I'll keep you all posted, maybe take a week or so to get all the parts together cheaply.