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Old 09/08/2007, 12:05 PM   #26
weatherson
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Installed 11 LED moonlights and controller from Lebos Lunar LED…




Full tank shot of 2/1/06…




A shot looking up the “valley” back when you could.




Full tank shot of 5/16/06…




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:05 PM   #27
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I am at a loss for words all i can say is WOW


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Old 09/08/2007, 12:06 PM   #28
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11/8/06 Beings Wrasses are known tank jumpers, I decided to place egg-crate over the three openings at the top of my tank. This, unfortunately, limits the amount of light passing through them so I needed a better solution. A friend had some nylon mesh material available so all I needed was to build a suitable frame to hold it in place over the tank. I decided to go with .25" steel rod that I would then have powder coated (HD paint) to protect them from rust. Here's a shot of the three frames after bending them to shape and welding the ends to create a continuous frame. This shows them after the powder coating process...



Here's one of the end units followed by the center unit after installing the mesh with plastic zip-ties...





And a shot of two, installed on the tank and keeping fish where they belong...




One of the issues with keeping an aquarium is being away from home and not knowing if the power goes out. Here in the Central Valley of California, summer heat can make a two hour outage devastating for a tank. So... I researched devices that could let me know of an outage and found one that can phone me as well as three others in the event I was not available (cell phone). This is the Sensaphone 1104 that I found used on EBay for a deal of a price. Basically, this unit will phone four numbers in order should the previous numbers not answer in the event the power goes out for a predetermined amount of time. It also has three other inputs for such things as temperature and water leak detection, both of which I use, as well as other options. It has a synthesized voice that introduces itself and explains which fault has taken place. It also has a battery backup so not to be reliant on the AC power. It's quite sophisticated in its abilities but I won't get into them here. Here's a shot of my unit in place and giving me piece of mind...




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:08 PM   #29
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For a while now I've been injecting air into my closed loops at the point of when they cross over and both are on. I did this by installing a solenoid that is controlled by the AquaController to come on during this time for one minute. The solenoid allows air to flow through lines connected to inlets at both closed loop pump inlets. Air is sucked in by the low pressure area here and gets mixed with the water prior to being shot out the Penductors at both ends of the tank. This one minute burst of air takes place at the beginning of the fifteen minute, both pumps on, overlap between the six hour rotations of the closed loops.

So... my reason for doing this is partially an experiment and partially based on my thoughts that it will aid in removing waste matter from the tank. It essentially works as an in-tank skimmer, pulling waste out of the water and to the surface where it goes through the prefilter boxes and to the mechanical filtering devices in the sump. I also like that some corals slime in response to the bubbles and this slime also gets filtered out. My thinking is that this helps the corals excrete waste better than without. Now, this is just speculation on my part but there appears to be absolutely no negative side effects received by the corals. I've been running this system for months now and have noticed greater coral growth since starting but can't be certain this is a direct result or not. At this point, I am going to continue this air injection because as a whole, I feel it is beneficial to my tank. Here's a shot of this taking place...




A full tank shot as of 11/8/06…




I did some lighting and controlling upgrades. As to lighting, I replaced two of the 250-watt MH bulbs with 400's. I was able to do this with the IceCap pendants that are convertible from 250 to 400 bulbs. My issue was with having to fit these into my existing light box. Beings the IceCaps are only an inch or two longer than the PFO 250 pendant, they worked quite well. What I id was to replace the two units that are on either side of the center unit. So now I have 250, 400, 250, 400 and 250. The 250's are 14K Hamiltons and the 400's are 20K PFO's. The colors between the two are pretty much identical and is imperceptible to the naked eye.

The controller upgrade was to move from X-10 controllers to the Neptune DC8's. I have three of these with everything running through them for silent turn on/off switching and no AC line noise interference from the electronic ballasts. When I added the 400-watt ballasts, the X-10 controllers proved to be inconsistent due to the line noise. Now everything is controlled with accuracy and provides great piece of mind being hard-wired to the AquaController II controller. Here's a shot of the ballasts and DC8...




Full tank shot of 2/25/07…




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:09 PM   #30
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A fish room layout diagram…




4/5/07 I did increase the frequency of air injection into my tank. Previously, I ran this twice a day at the mid point of the closed loop transitions. I since added three additional times for a total of five throughout the day. My original design which included a solenoid valve to control the air flow, didn't work well over time. It would appear that the aluminum housing/valve of this solenoid would corrode and prevent a proper seal. So... I switched to an air pump that I had but these allow air to pass through when in an off state. I needed a way to only allow air to be pulled into the venturis on the pumps when the air pump was on but pull water when off. I also found that the existing air pump I had didn't move enough air so I picked up a second for a total of two. To achieve what I wanted in the design, I created a small cylinder chamber that mounts in one of the prefilter boxes just below the typical water level.

The black line at the top feed the air to the closed loop pumps and the two white lines that connect to the elbows at the bottom are attached to the two air pumps each. The bottom is open and the top is sealed other than the outlet. When the air pumps are off, the venturis pull all the air from the cylinder and then simply pull water. When the air pumps are cycled on, they fill the cylinder with air and both closed loop pumps pull this air out and inject it into the tank. With both air pumps on at the same time, a small amount of air escapes from the open bottom ensuring the venturis never exceed the flow of available air. Problem solved.




A full tank shot of 5/22/07…




With summer heat here in the Central Valley of California upon us, I’ve done a few projects attempting to combat this as much as possible as well as to be as efficient as possible with our electricity. Have I mentioned here before how costly this is in California? First of all, it's probably time I posted a photo of the evaporative chiller I made and installed in my sump. This has been in place for a few months now but I neglected posting it for no particular reason. This unit was designed after the Tunze evaporative chiller but done so to fit within my sump. I'd previously had the muffin fan pictured below installed as it is seen, but just blowing across the water which flows in the opposite direction. With the relatively high air and water flow and associated surface agitation, this had done well in aiding in evaporation and thus, water temperature reduction. It also aids in the ability to add as much Kalkwasser as possible to help replenish some of the calcium used up by my inhabitants. As my corals/clams mature, this has increased quite a bit. What I did was to install a rigid plastic, 90-degree tubing piece so the air is forced into the box where water trickles down though black plastic gutter guard material. The water is provided by the return line from my refugium as it is a slow flow as needed and relatively clean of debris. I've not done any official testing but the seat-of-my-pants tells me this new evaporative chiller is slightly more efficient due to the seemingly fewer 1/3 hp chiller starts. Here's a shot...




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:11 PM   #31
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Now... on to my latest project. With my tank and all its associated equipment in its own room, when my 1/3 hp drop-in coil chiller would come on, all the heat developed by it would be blown directly into this room. A counter-productive situation at best. I'd considered switching to a pass-through or inline chiller but I am not a fan of the plumbing with tank water within running outside in our ultra hot summertime temperatures. So my ideal would be to have my existing chiller unit outside and its chilling coil inside. Sort of the best of both worlds. In order to do this, I needed a housing that would fit around the chiller coil and be water-tight. The coil and its connected hose/line would then be passed through a 4" hole I drilled in the outside wall of the room. There's a rose garden just outside this wall that camouflages and shades the chiller quite well. I will then expanding-foam seal around the hose and fill the hole for insulation. I'll be placing plastic cover plates with holes for the chiller hose and power cord over both sides of this hole to finish it off and protect the insulated hole from weather and for cosmetic reasons inside.

Beings I enjoy working with acrylic, what better material to construct this housing out of. That and I'm a sucker for shiny objects. I wanted a heavy cast acrylic for strength and when pricing it at my local plastics store, I was offered 1.25" for the price of 1". I guess it's good to be a frequent customer. Anyway... the ends would be of this heavy acrylic with one end, the input side, two layers thick which is the flange where the coil enters the housing and makes the water-tight connection. The output end is a single layer. I drilled and threaded a 1" pipe thread hole on both ends for the plumbing to attach. Here's a shot of the output end piece...



Next is a shot of the inlet/flange end. You can see the straight, vertical passage where the coil line exits the housing. This was eventually sealed with O-rings and silicone for good measure. This shot was prior to cleaning out the bolt holes after drilling them with the rubber flange gasket in place. Basically, the rubber "smeared" inside the holes. Some sandpaper rolled cleaned this out well later.



Next up is a shot of the inner portion of the flange that attaches to the cylinders of the housing. The threaded hole at the left I will describe in a bit but this piece mates up to the previous to make up the flange.



This following shot is simply of the rubber gasket I made to seal between the two halves of the flange.



I also picked up a 5" and a 6", .25" wall cast acrylic tubing. The reason I designed this with two cylinders was so that I could create a vacuum between the two to keep temperature transfer at a minimum. Basically, so the cold remains in the inner chamber and the ambient room temperature outside of the outer cylinder. A little overkill but since I was at it, why not.




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:13 PM   #32
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I should mention also that I built this housing to fit my 1/3 hp chiller coil as well as the 1/2 hp chiller coil. This way, should I need or want to upgrade chillers, the housing won't be obsolete. This next shot is of the housing completely assembled with all the clamping bolts and gasket in place. This is looking at the inlet end...



The bolts are ¼-20, 3" button-head, stainless steel as well as the washers. These tighten to the black wing-nuts. Here's a side shot with the housing on its side and again, looking at its inlet end...



I also drilled a hole at the output end that enters the area between the two cylinders as it does on the inlet end. In this shot looking at the outlet end, I hadn't yet finished drilling and tapping the rest of this hole. It'll make sense in a second... read on ...


And here's a side shot from the outlet end...



OK... so here's what's up with those small holes. As mentioned, I wanted to create a vacuum between the two cylinders. I also want to be able to monitor exactly how much vacuum i created. This means I needed an access hole for a vacuum gauge as well as an access hole for a valve to allow me to vacuum out the air and keep the vacuum sealed with a valve. Here's a tight shot of the hole where I later mounted the gauge. It's a little difficult to determine but this hole is in the middle of the inner layer of one half of the flange piece. It's basically a hole that bends 90-degrees and aligns with the empty chamber between the two cylinders. Note that the following shot is looking at this threaded access hole through the rounded-over corner which distorts the view of the threads.



So we now jump forward a bit to the point when I finally placed everything in its proper place and ran water through the unit. The chiller now sits outside with the coil within the housing all snug and water-tight. I also created an acrylic piece that is zip tied to the end of the coil that stops the flow of water from just passing straight through the coil. This way, the water has to pass into the coil and out through and over all the coils for the best efficiency. This acrylic piece also helps to keep the coil centered within the housing with extended tabs. You'll also see the installed vacuum gauge as well as the valve on the opposite end where the air is evacuated from the chamber between the cylinders. Plumbing is all 1" spa flex and 45's for the least amount of flow restriction. Also, note the extra space at the output end for the longer 1/2 hp chiller coil.



Here's a shot of the flow switch I installed to prevent the chiller from coming on in the event of a malfunction where no water is flowing through the housing. In this scenario, the potential is that the water within the chamber could freeze and expand, breaking the housing apart. The likelihood is very, very slim but I feel better knowing that this additional device will prevent it from happening. Basically, this device has a small flapper inside that when flow is passing through, raises and activates a magnetic switch allowing current to pass though its attached male and female cords. It sits between the chiller controller and the chiller itself, electrically. Here's a shot of this switch and the plumbing leading to and coming from the chiller coil housing...




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Old 09/08/2007, 12:14 PM   #33
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And to again bring this up to recent time (or at least within a few of days), here’s the most recent full tank shot from 8/29/07 followed by the three larger detail images that were used to stitch together the full tank shot…









This concludes our little trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as my fingers ache from typing.

Joseph.


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Old 09/08/2007, 12:41 PM   #34
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Funny thing is I still remember all those shots. I have to thank you again for your superb documentation and all the great ideas I have gotten from your system. I have several "Weatherson" DIY items in my system!

The only thing I used that turned ugly was the "Weatherson" mechanical shut off for my skimmer. I made a judgement error in using this idea in that while it does compress the head and effectively stop the skimmer bucket from overflowing, it does not shut off the air. So in my CC airstone skimmer, the pressure would build up and eventually I got a leak, which I fixed. Then I got another leak, which I again fixed.

And then my skimmer exploded while I was standing right next to it!! It had been weakened over time by the 100 liters/minute air pump...now I have switched to electronic float switch to shut down the air pump...lesson learned, but it sure makes for a great story!

I am glad you posted the fishing line mod to the Penductors. I have some on the way, and have a serious snail population in my tank at about 10,000+. I also have an air pump on the way to use for injecting air. I think that in combination with wild waves generated by the Vortechs, and air injection, I probably can come very close to how a real reef keeps itself clean.

Your pics are great Joseph and you are a true inspiration!


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Old 09/08/2007, 12:55 PM   #35
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You're indeed an inspiration to us all! Funny, seems like I've been following this thread for years- know it's not been that long, but it is still enjoyable!


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Old 09/08/2007, 02:25 PM   #36
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thanks for the recap. What was the source for the majority of corals? wild specimens vs. frags from others, etc.?

Thanks.

matt


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Old 09/08/2007, 04:15 PM   #37
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Speechless......


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Old 09/08/2007, 05:46 PM   #38
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What an excellent recap, Joseph. Thanks for all you do.


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Old 09/08/2007, 09:37 PM   #39
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My wife gave me a 26 bow for an SW set up I was longing for for christmas in December of 03. While at an LFS trying to figure out what else to buy to set it up, we ran into a shopper who advised us to "check out" Reef Central and not to listen to the guy at the LFS. This thread, was one of the first I subscribed to, I have hung on every word of every post ever since. Great summary, thank you ! .... again!


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Old 09/09/2007, 12:37 AM   #40
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derrikd: Your post got buried in the middle of my posting but thanks for the kind words.

Jonathan & TJ: Thank you very much.

Matt: You are welcome. I've accumulated corals from just about everywhere... LFS's, not-so local fish stores, fellow hobbyists, frag swaps, and even from the wholesalers in Los Angeles. Now that I think about it, the one place I haven't acquired corals from would be mail order but for no particular reason.

Matt Rise: Thanks.

Marc & Bax: Thank you and you are welcome.

Joseph.


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Old 09/09/2007, 12:57 AM   #41
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I've got a question that I don't believe has been asked and answered yet: When you make something, such as the acrylic chiller project, do you make a prototype out of anything first, to work out any logistical issues? Or do you plan it out on paper, follow a punch list, and just create them truly as one of a kind? That last project reminded me of a guitar for some reason, maybe because of its shape (before the cooling chamber was attached) with the wing nuts.

I can't imagine dreaming up such a plan, and getting it right the first time. How did you know how much vacuum was necessary, as well as the tolerances that would end up doing damage to your final product?


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Old 09/09/2007, 01:02 AM   #42
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Dude, It's Weatherson for God's sake. I suppose you'll be wantin' to know where the Holy Grail is next eh?


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Old 09/09/2007, 01:12 AM   #43
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Of course I want to know that. I just didn't realize you were curious as well!


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Old 09/09/2007, 02:24 AM   #44
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Well... my mind, while lacking in so many other ways, is extremely analytical. Some say to a fault. So I typically don't prototype much but I actually did so on the Anti-Cycle device. That one required testing different configurations to get it "right" once the basic principle was determined. Other projects, such as the skimmer and chiller coil housing, I simply measure and work from there based on intuition or experience and what's bouncing around in my mind. In the case of the chiller coil housing, I measured the chiller coil and estimated what was required to build the housing well beyond being near faulty mechanically. (in fact, I did so for the coil of the next model up from what I currently have for room to grow ) That is... overbuilt like I prefer for general peace of mind. The vacuum area I guessed at as I couldn't find much information or any basic formulas in my fairly limited search. In the end, what my instinct told me, fortunately, worked as desired.

I can generally see what I want to build in my mind and figure out which pieces are the best to start with and work from there. There are times when I will jot down measurements to compensate for my lack of memory but the rest is basically from scratch. I hope this doesn't come off sounding arrogant or worse but it's just how I do it and this seems to work pretty well... so far. You have to keep in mind (no pun intended) that I've been a tinkerer and have been enthralled with engineering my whole life, starting with having taken everything apart at a young age. Perhaps not such a virtue back then but it has helped me greatly in present time. Curiosity of and appreciation for art and creativity have always been strong on my list of interests. I find a certain Zen in there and always have.

The other aspect of all this is being able to look into a piece of work and "reverse engineering" it. It's quite fascinating to "see" where the original designer was coming from and how he or she overcame certain obstacles during the original design. If you know what to look for and have a relatively good understanding of design and engineering, you can literally see the path taken and the abilities of that individual, whether lacking or far surpassing the norm. This can equally be applied to art and music. The "looking into" a song or painting tells a huge story, well beyond the superficial.

Anyway... enough babbling.

Joseph.


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Old 09/09/2007, 10:15 AM   #45
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You've taken your mechanical aptitude to a much higher level. Gifted is a pretty good word.


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Old 09/09/2007, 10:51 AM   #46
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Truly Inspiring! Extraordinary work, and beautiful tank! You dont happen to be a college professor do you? I would love to take a class from you! haha...seriously!


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Old 09/09/2007, 12:42 PM   #47
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It is a rare individual that has the linear mental capacity for engineering as well as the non-linear abstract sense of art. That's why your work is so appealing to us geeks!


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Old 09/10/2007, 08:19 PM   #48
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Marc, JGross4 & Jonathan: Thank you for your kind words.

Joseph.


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Old 09/10/2007, 11:12 PM   #49
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It is truly engineering ART.


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Old 09/11/2007, 01:26 AM   #50
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erics3000: Thank you.

Joseph.


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