Thursday, January 24, 2008

tank hardware

on Kelvin's request, i'm writing up some details of my tank. To be honest, my tank looks amateurish compared to efforts by other aquascapers out there. The plants look... argh. But it's my own creation and developed much feelings for it (it is around for 5 years already)!

because the tank is quite established, i have forgotten some finer details. If anyone has a question, let me know. I'll try to find out.

let's dive in and look at the 'specifications':

- 2 ft FivePlan acrylic tank (last time, these tanks were pretty cheap because of flowerhorns)

- Eheim Ecco 2231 (1st generation ecco with problematic handles - now 2nd gen replaced it)
-- Media Basket 1 (mechanical filtration): Eheim coarse blue sponge
-- Media Basket 1 (mechanical filtration): Eheim Ehfi Mech (cost me a small bomb last time)
-- Media Basket 2 (biological filtration): Eheim Ehfi Substrat Pro (cost me a big bomb last time)
-- Media Basket 2 (biological filtration): generic white sponge
-- accessory: extra long cleaning brush for pipes

- CO2 accessories
-- UP reactor, 3 ball configuration
-- 2L CO2 tank (NA)
-- JBJ solenoid
-- Bubble counter
-- CO2 indicator (Dymax)

- Substrate: garden soil (yes it's garden soil, bought from Cold Storage)
- Lighting: 36W PL lighting with e-ballast (bought from NA)
- Aeration: generic airpump
- Cooling/heating: 80mm PC fan (powered by my PC server), fan mounting custom made / Rena 50W heater

This is the messy tank

My trusty filter. Eheim Ecco, auto-priming function

The green UP reactor, with filtered water from Eheim

JBJ solenoid regulator, precise output of CO2 compared to manual regulator
The orange LED means in operation

Bubble counter

Bought this today, to measure pH.

PC fan with a fan filter on top.
Note the PVC mounting. It's those PVC cover for electrical wires

Diehl digital timer, took me a while to figure out the operation

external filters are extremely easy to install and run. Except for the Eheim Classic filters where you'd have to prime the filter manually. Priming simply means getting the water flowing using a suction and then gravity. For my Ecco filter, just connect the various pipes, prime by turning the handle up and down a few times. Then the water will flow.

there's no chemical filtration, because i find it a hassle to keep replacing carbon. I have not used medication (and salt) for years, because i don't believe in it too.

installation of CO2 tank

- tools: a wrench and preferably white sealing tape used for plumbing, plus a pair of strong hands
- accessories: bubble counter, reactor and hard tubing suitable for CO2
- use some sealing tape on the thread of the outlet
- fit the solenoid onto the outlet, turning the nut tight with the wrench
- turn the main valve of the CO2 tank fully open, the left meter should read 1000psi
- to check for leaks, turn the main value to fully closed, leave it for few hours. The pressure should remain at 1000psi.

- the next day, using appropriate tubing, connect the various equipment:
--> solenoid -- bubble counter (check polarity) -- check value (check polarity) -- reactor

- turn on the solenoid by connecting it to the timer. Regulate the actual CO2 amount by turning the smaller knob near the outlet of the solenoid. 1bps is sufficient for 2 ft.

the check valve is to prevent backflow of water, which can be disastrous for the bubble counter and CO2 tank. An additional check valve should be used between the bubble counter and solenoid too.

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