View Full Version : My Master Plan

07/31/2006, 09:44 PM
I have been collecting the items I need to build my dream tank for the last two years. I have put a lot of thought into this project, and I want it to be perfect. I also want it totally automated! I also wanted to build the automation into the design, and have it all tested and perfected before the first bit of salt water touches it.

So, first I had a custom 188 gallon tank built by Oceanic’s custom department. I know the volume is unusual, but the dimensions are 60”x24”x30”. It has a center overflow that’s 15”x6” with three holes drilled to accept 1 ½” bulkheads. I had them drill four holes in the back glass for ¾” return jets. Oceanic did an incredible job. Every edge of each glass pane is diamond beveled and the caulk job is razor straight. It was well worth the bloody fortune it cost me.

There is going to be a 35 gallon refugium, a 66 gallon sump, and two 16 gallon surge tanks. I am waiting for the quotes from five different vendors on cutting the pieces for me. I will assemble them myself. The idea for the over all look came from 180tank.com, which I found here. His web site isn’t up any longer, a bummer because it was damn nice.

Here’s a quick list of the equipment I have purchase, then I’ll discuss what I want to do automation wise.

Two Dolphin Ampmaster pumps
Korallin Calcium Reactor, Milwaukee gauges w/solenoid valve, Milwaukee PH controller, and 10 lb. CO2 tank
SVS2-24 in sump Skimmer with a Rio pump
Two Hayward 1 ½” electric actuated ball valves
Four Hayward ¾” solenoid valves
Three T5 electric ballasts, end caps and individual reflectors for 6 T5HO bulbs
Three 20K T5 bulbs
Three Actinic T5 bulbs
The Ocelot PLC controller
Aqua Medic doser pump to feed the calcium reactor
Itronix IX250 850 MHz laptop w/touch screen
Four Dwyer ¾” SFI Flow Meters w/A711 Transmitter

Now for my big plan! First, the closed loop. Two of the 1 ½” center overflow drains will supply suction to one of the Dolphin pumps. From there the discharge will split onto four streams, each going through a flow meter/transmitter and a Hayward solenoid valve to a return jet on the back of the tank. I want the Ocelot to control my “wave maker” by always having three solenoid valves open, and rotate the closed one through the four. I want to find another solenoid valve that takes off before the four way split that will open up back to the sump at night. This should cut the flow to the tank at night.

I am going to have the Milwaukee PH controller monitoring the calcium reactor effluent and control the CO2. I want the Ocelot to have PH monitoring of the tank H2O and be a secondary back up kill of the CO2 solenoid. This will just make me feel more comfortable, and sleep better!

The two surge tanks will each have a high and low level switch. Each surge tank will have a 1 ½” drain line going to a Hayward 1 ½” ball valve, then into the tank. Both surge tanks will have an overflow back to the sump. The other Dolphin pump will pull suction off the sump, then split to feed both surge tanks. The Ocelot will control the ball valves to dump at whatever rate needed. The ball valves will close before the surge tanks are completely empty making it a no bubble system. I do want a flow meter/transmitter for the discharge to the surge tanks, just haven’t bought that one yet.

The reason for the three T5 ballasts is to have two bulbs ran by each one. The Ocelot can turn on two at a time, ramping up and down the light. I do want to figure out how to have the Ocelot control dimming of the ballasts. If anyone has any idea on how to do this, please let me know.

The third 1 ½” drain from the overflow will simply gravity feed into the refugium, then into sump. I would love to but some automatic valves and flow meters in line here, just need a little more cash.

The reason for the Itronix IX250 laptop is two fold. First, it has an 8” touch screen that I want built into the stand. Plus, having an actual PC built into the stand will be handy. Bought it cheep on EBay. Couldn’t have bought a touch screen alone for less than ten times the cost. Having the laptop always connected to the Ocelot at the tank will make the touch screen so easy to incorporate.

I want data logging, and lots of it. I want to monitor and track the following:
Temperature in the main tank, refugium, and sump
Flows from all the flow transmitters
PH of the tank
Lumens of the light output (I still need to build this sensor)
ORP of the system
Dissolved O2 of the system

Well, that’s my plan so far. I welcome anyone’s critique of my plan thus far, and can use any advice on accomplishing the automation.