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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 13:30 
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Ever since I got my monster 130-gallon aquarium I've had ambitions of using it aquaponically. (That's a word, right?) Unfortunately, most of the plans I've come up with have involved 'way more work and expense than I can justify, to make it both functional and decent-looking in our main living area, where it's located. So I settled for making it a low-tech planted tank, because that's really, when you get right down to it, aquaponics, just with the plants inside the tank with the fish.

And so far, that's going pretty well. :headbang:

But then I reclaimed my old 55-gallon tank from the snake that was living in it (when my kids left home, they each left behind some sort of pet...the snake is the last surviving leftover pet) and set it up in the bedroom for Henry the giant plecostomous, who came with the 130-gal tank.

And bedrooms can have PVC in them. It's a rule. (I just made it up today, but I think it's a good one.)

I used to have African Violets all over my house. They were one of my previous obsessions. While I was in nursing school they were badly neglected, and most of them died off. I still have a few stubborn hangers-on, though, and I've been thinking they'd probably love being AP violets. So I'll start with that as a goal.

I'm liking this. It will give me something to work on when it's too cold for working out in the greenhouse to be any fun.

:D

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 13:41 
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I like your rule...

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 13:51 
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I needed an overflow. I looked online for them (the 130-gal came with one, so I hadn't priced them before), and discovered they cost like $100. Nuts to that. So today's project was to make an overflow.

I bought these:
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I planned to use the lips of the containers to rest on the upper edge of the aquarium, so I test-fit them and figured out where I wanted the water level to be, then cut a hole in the 8-cup (smaller) one, at that level. (This was not as easy as it sounds, because I can't find the box with my Dremel tool in it. *sigh*)
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2013-02-10 17.15.55.jpg
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Then I installed a Uniseal in the 16-cup (larger) one. I placed it at one end rather than in the middle, because there needs to be room for the water bottle, which is what will keep the siphon if the power goes out (see next post):
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I used a 1.25" Uniseal and pushed a 1" PVC connector through it -- a trick I learned from TCLynx -- because I want to be able to experiment with the outflow pipe to make it as quiet as possible, since it's going to be a bedroom system. (The pipe and elbow in the photo are just for pushing with.)

To be continued...

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 13:53 
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tambra77 wrote:
I like your rule...

:thumbleft:

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 14:20 
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I used zip ties to fasten the two containers over the rim of the tank.

I got all caught up in building and forgot to take photos of some of the steps. Here they are:

I cut the top off the water bottle and set it down into the larger container at the opposite end from the Uniseal.

Then I cut a 4" length of PVC and drilled 1/4" holes all over the first 2" of it, and stuck the un-drilled end down into the fitting in the Uniseal.

I took a block of filter foam and made a hole halfway through it the diameter of the PVC, and stuck it down over the end sticking up, where I had drilled all the holes.

Then I made a "U" siphon out of PVC and 2 elbows. Actually it's somewhere between a "J" and a "U," because one leg is longer than the other. The long end sticks down into the bottom part of the water bottle, and the short end sticks into the container on the tank side. I didn't want to glue anything yet, so I used teflon tape in the joins, to keep it from leaking. I tied it in place with another zip tie.

Then I cut another length of PVC to go from the bottom of the Uniseal fitting down to the temporary sump. (Later the sump will be contained inside the aquarium stand, but I still have to figure out what I'm going to use, because the space is tight and it's hard to fit stuff in there.
Attachment:
2013-02-10 19.29.32.jpg
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The container on the inside of the tank wanted to float, so I had to dump in some gravel to hold it down.

I didn't want to drill holes in the siphon yet, so I cut a length of 1/4" tubing and threaded it up through the short end of the U, so I could suck out the air to form the siphon. I stuck a one-way valve in the end of it.
Attachment:
2013-02-10 19.29.51.jpg
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Here's a top view:
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Then I filled up the tank and turned the pump on.

Then I had three or four HSMs in a row. First the pump pumped faster than the overflow drained, and I almost overflowed the tank because I got distracted by something and wasn't looking. Then while I had the pump turned off so I could tweak things, the back-siphon overflowed the sump. Argh.

Okay, that was only two HSMs. It felt more like four, though.

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 14:30 
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Pretty cable ties :wink:

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 14:31 
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I turned the pump's onboard flow adjustment all the way to "minimum." It still flowed faster than the drain. So I switched the pump tubing from 5/8" to 1/2" ID. It still flowed faster than the drain. So I swapped it out for a smaller pump that I had pulled out of my whiskey barrel pond to use for circulating the pleco tank's water until I bought the new pump.

It still pumped faster than the drain could drain.

So I made a second "U" siphon. That fixed the problem.
Attachment:
2013-02-10 20.12.03.jpg
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Henry is not amused at all my splashing around in his tank.
Attachment:
2013-02-10 20.13.30.jpg
2013-02-10 20.13.30.jpg [ 186.25 KiB | Viewed 6607 times ]

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 14:36 
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Charlie wrote:
Pretty cable ties :wink:

I know, right? 8) Here's what happened when my husband came in to see what all the banging and splashing was about:


Me: "Look, Honey, I made an overflow for the aquarium!"

Hubs: <looks at it dubiously> "Ummm...yeah."

Me: "They cost like $100 if you buy them, so I made my own."

Hubs: "It would probably be okay if you bought one."

Me: "You don't like mine?"

Hubs: "Well...I thought when we put the aquarium in the bedroom, it would look...you know...decorative."

Me: "I *know*! That's why I used the colorful zip ties!"

Hubs: <after a very long pause> "Well...I have to admit, I don't know any other guys whose wives know how to make one of those."

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 14:54 
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:laughing3:


Im glad he's understanding.


When I first started AP, my lovely bride told me "Are you telling me you can grow plants in rocks?"... this is before I knew there were AP forums to show her pictures. Anyways, she often would come out to watch me construct this crazy looking thing and give me a strange look from time to time. Nowadays, when we have visitors, she explains the nitrogen cycle to them. lol

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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 17:56 
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So you woosed out and kept the expensive pleco...

Your morals are strong young Jedi.


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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 22:22 
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DrLuke wrote:
So you woosed out and kept the expensive pleco...

Your morals are strong young Jedi.

:)


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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 22:50 
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I am a big fan of Pleco powered AP
Here is my baby getting transfered from the AP tank to the aquarium for winter
He is a Gibbiceps, and my wifes favourite fish
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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 22:52 
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I'm having a hard time with the design on this system.

Henry is a major poop-maker. I want a sump, because I'm really not convinced 55 gallons is enough for him. Except I'm not sure the sump will add much, since the only place to put it is inside the cabinet, which means it will only be 10 gallons or so.

I added filtration to my overflow because his water was already so icky, I wanted to clean it up a bit. And also because the inside portion wanted to float. The gravel adds filtration as well as weight. But filtering means solids won't make it to the grow beds. When I started, I was thinking I could just pull the filters out once I got things going. Except I'll have to find another way to weigh down the floaty part, then.

Also, the overflow takes water from the top of the tank, not the bottom where the poop is.

And the grow beds will be on top of the fish tank.

I can't decide whether to feed them with a line split off from the pump, which is in the sump, and just continue with the usual vacuuming and filter-cleaning routines and then dumping the results in the grow beds, or put a second, smaller pump into the fish tank to pump gook from the bottom up to the grow beds and help to decrease the vacuuming and filtering load. I know it won't eliminate it, since I'll have such a small grow bed to fish tank volume ratio, and maybe it won't even make enough difference to even matter. And I'm not crazy about the idea of having two pumps.

I'm also thinking of growing aquatic plants/mosses in the sump, for more nitrate-reduction.

I don't think the goal can really be to minimize cleaning chores in the aquarium. Not with Mister Poopypants living in there. And I'll probably eventually want to add another fish or two. So it's not about achieving a perfect balance, since I don't think that's even possible. It's really more about having fun watching fish and having happy plants and maybe reducing nitrate levels a tad.

Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Feb 11th, '13, 22:55 
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werdna wrote:
I am a big fan of Pleco powered AP
Here is my baby getting transfered from the AP tank to the aquarium for winter
He is a Gibbiceps, and my wifes favourite fish

Heh, I'm always very careful to keep my fingers away from that big mouth, lest he think I'm algae!

Henry's just a common pleco, but I haven't told him so. He thinks he's special. ;)


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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '13, 01:12 
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Henry seems to be enjoying the changes in his tank. For such a bony, prehistoric-looking beastie, he can sure look graceful when he swims. :)

I've been referring to Henry as a "common pleco," but I may have to apologize to him. I read somewhere on a fish forum that I can't find again now that if there are more than 10 ridges in the dorsal fin, it's not a common pleco. Henry has 13.
Attachment:
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Which makes me think of kings chopping off their wives' heads and stuff, but I'm sure Henry wouldn't do such a thing.

Although I stuck some snails in his tank the other day to try to get some help with the housekeeping in there, and Henry did this to one of them:
Attachment:
2013-02-10 20.34.36.jpg
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...which establishes that in addition to possibly not being common, he is also not quite the strict vegan he is purported to be.

His mouth could give a person (or a snail) nightmares, to be sure.
Attachment:
2013-02-13 08.37.26.jpg
2013-02-13 08.37.26.jpg [ 87.15 KiB | Viewed 6503 times ]

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