Tank setup update

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Graeme Robson
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Post by Graeme Robson » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:46 pm

Superb!! 8)
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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:49 pm

I have been working on two projects during the last two months so it is time for an update.

First, I built some acrylic tanks. The pair holds 13 gallons total.
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They fit in the front window and are for plants in order to remove nitrate from the water.
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I have recently added some water hyacinth.
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Water is being pumped at a drip rate out of these tanks and into the 350 gallon system and it overflows back to these tanks. I have measured the speed at which nitrate is consumed by the water hyacinth and it is about 29 ppm per gallon per day. That is by 15 mostly small plants. A year of data on the nitrate levels for my 350 gallon system then allows me to compute that I need about 180 such plants to use the nitrate at the same rate that it is produced. I doubt that I can find space and light for that many plants, but it got me to thinking about how I can get more light. The cost of lights and the cost of electricity lead me to the second project.

Cutting a hole in the ceiling.
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Three 18 inch diameter skylights.
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On the inside I also put some T5s and panels suspended from the ceiling to both direct the light down into the aquarium and to cover up the T5s on the ceiling.
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Here is the whole setup.
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Notice that I now have screen lids. Much more light passes through them than passed through the acrylic lids that I had. One disadvantage is that 8/10 of a gallon of water evaporates out of 350 gallons per day. The green screens on the back of the tank are for suspending plants. The screen is very loose and stretchy so I will make small holes in the screen and put the roots of water hyacinth and other plants through the hole and it will float on the water, but be held in place. Time will tell how this will work.
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I'm quite happy with the sky lights and the T5s with the hood overhead. The tank is lit quite nicely. On a sunny day it is bright and gets a lot of light. The sky lights are rated at 750 to a maximum of about 1000 watts of light each. Even on a cloudy day they do a pretty good job of lighting the tank, but I can switch on the T5 anytime and they are quite bright too. They are two bulbs each with one 4 foot long and one 3 foot long. It is also nice to get real moon light when there is a full moon. It is not particularly bright, but it does show. Here is a picture taken at night with just the T5s lighting the tank.
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bookpage
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Post by bookpage » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:04 pm

Really great ideas. Love that tank. The plants should really grow now.
240 - Clowns(15), Polka-Dot(6), Sids(57), Zebra(12), Burmese(5), Red-fin(4), YoYo(5), Sumo(2), Skunk(4), Peckoltia sabaji(1), L144 Black Eye Bristlenose Pleco(3), Odessa Barb(9), Roseline Sharks(6)

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Rychek
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Post by Rychek » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:59 am

Aswesome! Using natural sunlight in aquaria is a great way to go. We had a couple of marine enthusiast put in solar tubes for their reefs and the results were amazing. I bet your plants will thrive with that much natural light.
"If no one makes you do it, it counts a fun" --Hobbes the Tiger

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hx
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Post by hx » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:45 am

I admire your thinking and thoroughness in executing it.
Congratulations on a beautiful and exceptionally smart project!
Last edited by hx on Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Katy
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Post by Katy » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:53 am

Where did you get the clear PVC pipe for the water bridge?

It is all gorgeous....

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Marcos Mataratzis
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Post by Marcos Mataratzis » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:57 am

Superb project Keith!!! :shock:

Congrats!
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chefkeith
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Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:01 pm

The skylights are AWESOME. Green projects are my favorites.

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Post by plaalye » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:12 pm

You don't do anything on a small scale do you Keith? :D
Beautiful tanks! I'm so envious of the 300! Thanks for sharing.

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:25 pm

Thanks everyone. I will update as I get more plants growing and see how things work out.

Katy- I bought the 4.5 inch O.D. clear acrylic pipe at http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories ... r%20pipe/0 This is the only place that I know of that has a reasonable price (Gary Stanton of this forum pointed it out when I was looking for a source).

wasserscheu
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Post by wasserscheu » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:06 am

Simply impressive. You are capturing nature, step by step 8)

Not that I worry about you ever getting bored, but once the light is there it could be utilized with a shelf on the wall above/behind the tank. That shelf could carry another acrylic tank with shrimps and more plants (sump design) or perhaps even a slim paludarium.

I love this amazing thread, thanks.
Wolfram

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:11 am

That's brilliant Wolfram. I had thought that I would get some plants to grow up the wall, but I did not think of a shelf with more growing area. It would be hard to reach to maintain, but it could work. This idea could get me a lot closer to the goal of 182 plants. Actually, since nitrates are not the only thing that builds up in tanks and thus some water changes are necessary anyway, I am thinking about removing 2/3 of the nitrate so about 120 plants equivalent to the 15 I have started with would do the job. Fewer than that will be needed as they get larger. I had figured that I could get about 30 plants in the window boxes and 30 along the back of the tank. With a shelf, I can add another 30 plants. That might be about the right amount. I think it could both look good and be functional. That is the best type of solution for a problem. Every time I think I have everything set up like I want, a new project presents itself to think about and work on. Thank you for the idea Wolfram.

wasserscheu
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Post by wasserscheu » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:05 am

thanks Keith, but you are the one who has ideas here and your are putting them into reality. Any way, you are good in technical things, would it be an option to add a water flow through system? I have water driping into the tanks day and night, it flows into the sewer (currently still bathtub, and can be collected for watering potplants). That feeds somewhere around 25 liters per 24 hours (need to check my notes). I only set up a prototype, but are so convinced of it, that I still have it attached to the system. You could route a thin pipe (or reliable hose) to the new shelf (on top) and have it trip into it and than further down from there, perhaps like a nano-waterfall, keeping moss in it. One problem would be possible CO2 loss during too much aeretation. But would add O2 ... well it's just some brainstorming here ... A secure overflow into the sewer would be needed, though. I will be working on something like that sooner or later, in between waterchanges just can be done during feeding, or watching with no effort. It will be a while until I am as far as you are already...
Wolfram

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:26 pm

Wolfram- Are you talking about a continuous drip water change system? Chefkeith and others are doing that and I have thought about it. What's holding me back is that it wastes more water. From the water change wizard that chefkeith and I wrote (it will be available again when chefkeith gets his web site up and running again), you can see that for my current system, if I want to keep my nitrate level at 10 ppm then I can

change 42.4% weekly which uses 6.06% of the tank water per day, or
change 26.7% twice per week which uses 7.63% of the tank water per day, or
change 17.2% every other day which uses 8.58% of the tank water per day, or
change 9.36% every day which uses 9.36% of the tank water per day, or
use a drip system which uses 10.3% of the tank water per day.

As you can see, fewer larger water changes require the use of less water in order to get the same effect on your nitrate levels. I am sure that you already know this, but this is why I have resisted going to a drip system. I currently do the daily water change option and it would use an extra 3.29 gallons per day if I changed to a drip system. I was thinking of going the other direction and changing water twice per week which would save 6 gallons per day.

But, on the other hand, if I succeed in getting plants to remove a large percentage of the nitrate and only have to do small water changes, then the water wasted by using a drip system is quite small. A drip system also solves my evaporation problem since it always keeps the tank topped up. Evaporation is really only an issue for me when I leave on vacation, but it would be nice to have an easy solution. I'll have to see how well the plants work in the long run and then decide.

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janma
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Post by janma » Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:23 pm

OMG :shock:

Keith, you are an extremely handy genius. The water bridge is very fascinating, something to keep in mind for the future maybe :)
Last edited by janma on Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
-Janne

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