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Aquaforest SPS Pico Work Tank (12 litres)

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Aquaforest SPS Pico Work Tank (12 litres)

Postby chrismelb » Fri 16 May, 2014 11:57 am

Started a new Pico tank as previous Pico crashed due to a pump melt down, which cooked everything :konk: .

Again going for a simple design but with better and more reliable equipment.

System Type: Small simple coral reef type

Strike up Date: May 2014

Display Tank: DIY build 8mm Acrylic 25L x 25W x 20H ~ 12litres

Display Lighting: 28/5/2014 Changed to Coral Flare Mini (2X Neutral white, 1X Cool White, 1X Warm White, 1X Royal Blue 455nm, 1X Blue 470nm, and 1X True Violet 420nm). Previously was a Par 30 BoostLED 2 royal blue, 1 blue, 1 cool white and 1 neutral white.

System Water: as of Oct, RedSea Coral Pro (previously: Natural salt water)

Water circulation: Hydor Koralia Nano 900lph

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Tank lid sits on a slight angle to allow condensation to run off (thanks for the clever idea Duane :clap:).

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Also built a small stand so that I could attach the gooseneck light stand and this also allows for the installation of a drain pipe at the base of the tank for large and easy to manage water changes. Stand was made out of 16mm MDF and painted with too many coats normal spray paint (vivid white and clear gloss).

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This was my first attempt at flame polishing. For this I used a propane torch. The edges looks much neater than sanding.

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New design features include a small partition at the back to hide the heater, and allow for close to 100% water changes using drain pipe (John Guest valve and hose)

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I thought the hydor pump being a 900lph, in a 12litre tank, would stir up the substrate but positioning it this way, it doesn't.

Just filled it up today, so far no leaks. Now just have to decide what to put in it LOL
Last edited by chrismelb on Tue 09 Aug, 2016 7:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby naqua » Fri 16 May, 2014 1:08 pm

LOVE it! Really innovative having the back partition to hide the heater and position the wavemaker.

You have a fair bit of sand in there - could do with less to maximise display space?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Fri 16 May, 2014 1:45 pm

naqua wrote:LOVE it! Really innovative having the back partition to hide the heater and position the wavemaker.

You have a fair bit of sand in there - could do with less to maximise display space?


Thanks Pete. You're right there is a bit too much sand. I may take some out. The idea was to fill it with enough sand to hide the heater. I didn't realise that i would need that much sand though.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby Wakareefer » Sat 17 May, 2014 11:30 pm

Looks awesome mate what type of filtration will you go with?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby cody.sheridan-2008 » Sun 18 May, 2014 4:30 am

:clap:

Looks terrific, I don't think there is TOO much sand, looks great :)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Sun 18 May, 2014 6:08 pm

Wakareefer wrote:Looks awesome mate what type of filtration will you go with?


Due to the small water volume and ease of water changes, I will rely on large water changes. Some filtration will also occur from the live rock (yet to add) and sandbed.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby Wakareefer » Sun 25 May, 2014 11:05 pm

Fair enough, how come you have switched back to the boost par30 bulb?
Was the 12k naqua too white?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 28 May, 2014 10:34 am

Wakareefer wrote:Fair enough, how come you have switched back to the boost par30 bulb?
Was the 12k naqua too white?


It wasn't that it was too white, I just thought the 12k naqua was too much light for a tank this size. But I have recently had to switch back to this light as one of the LEDs on the boostled went :(.

I am currently looking at doing a DIY LED setup so that i can dim lights and get a nice spectral coverage.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby sparker » Wed 28 May, 2014 3:01 pm

This is amazing, love your work!
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby kodez » Mon 30 Jun, 2014 11:32 pm

Looks good dude.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 1:04 pm

Was shocked to find that two tank walls have come apart.
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This appears not due to force of the water but suspect to acrylic warping as panels no longer can be aligned back together without excessive force. I believe the panels may have warped due to differing temps on either side of panels (outside air temp vs. tank water) which caused one side to contract and the other to expand causing the warp. :wall:

It may be similar to having an acrylic top cover on a tank that sags (ie. warps)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby naqua » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 2:05 pm

Damn, that sucks. I know acrylic is used in tank builds, but maybe a specific type that does not warp?

Did you have a nice few litres of water to clean up?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 5:50 pm

naqua wrote:Damn, that sucks. I know acrylic is used in tank builds, but maybe a specific type that does not warp?

Did you have a nice few liters of water to clean up?


Yes that was not a pleasant job especially as it was at work and leaked after business hours. Luckily the heater remained submerged in the partition and wavemaker seems to be working fine with no detectable damage or wear to the impellor or impellor housing.

After this mishap, I did wonder whether a specific type of acrylic is typically used for tank builds. Acrylic doesn't seem to be that common here in AU probably due to the cost of acrylic here. The reason i've been playing with acrylic tanks is that they are easy to work with (e.g., drilling holes, no messy silicone) and love the transparency. However, now I am going back to low-iron glass (Starfire) tanks.

Luckily I found a suitable replacement tank from Coburg Aquarium. Its a Yi-ding tank that measures the same length and width (250x250) as my previous tank, so its fits directly on top of my DIY desk stand, which is great. However, it is 250 high compared to my previous 200 high tank. This new tank is made out of low-iron glass (termed "crystal blue") that has polished edges and the joins looks very nice and clean.

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I was able to build the same partition at the back to hide the heater as previous build. However, i'm not too keen on drilling this tank and fitting a suitable bulkhead for draining tank water due to the size needed to fit glass tank bulkheads. So I will leave this out and do manual siphons for water changes. However, I wont be doing the typical siphon, I will use rigid tubing with a clamp and airline hose so that a siphon can be easily started with a syringe and left unattended until drained.

I noticed a nice feature of the back heater compartment, in that detritus often ends up here and can be easily siphoned out. It appears that the amount of water flow (900lph in a 12 liter tank, 75x) combined with the sugar sized doesn't allow detritus to settle in the sand bed, which could pose a long term problem in pico tanks as nicely discussed in a nano-reef post by "tibsy07" http://www.nano-reef.com/topic/347187-es-and-ts-pico-sand-bed-thread/.

Now back to progress, more exciting news to come on the DIY LED light :thumbsup:
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby naqua » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 9:36 pm

My 2ft tank is a Yi Ding. Nice tanks!
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby sparker » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 10:35 am

sorry to hear about the split :(

Replacement looks like it will do the job though :)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Thu 17 Jul, 2014 10:56 am

A big light update here.

Finished putting together my DIY Light.

The biggest problem I had choosing a suitable Light is finding one that I liked. Based on my months of research into what Corals require and viewing pleasure, I went with the following:


12 led Array (upto 41 watts), 7 Channels (although controller is a 6 channel configuration as seen below)

Ch 1 - 2 x Luxeon T Cool White 5700K (1200ma)
Ch 2 - 2 x Luxeon T Royal Blue 445-450nm (1200ma)
Ch 3- 1 x Luxeon Rebel ES Blue 470-475nm (1000ma)
Ch 3 - 1 x Luxeon Rebel ES Turquoise 505-510nm (1000ma)
Ch 4 - 1 x Luxeon Rebel Red 650-645nm (700ma)
Ch 5 - 1 x Luxeon Rebel Pc Amber ~590nm (700ma)
Ch 6 - 1 x Violet Semileds 400-410nm (1000ma)
Ch 6 - 2 x Violet Semileds 410-420nm (1000ma)
Ch 6 - 1 x Violet Semileds 420-430nm (1000ma)

Unit is passively cooled. Controller can be controlled by PC software, includes sunrise and sunset .1 increments (although this is currently in a Russian beta version) or Android App (English)

LED components and array were purchased from http://www.reefll.com. One thing I really liked about this array is that Led Bins are specified, uses a good board to transfer heat (SinkPADtm II), and Pc Amber to control Kelvin :clap:

PICS:
DIY Controller Box
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Light
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Light on tank
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50% Cool White
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50% Royal Blue
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50% Violet
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50% Blue and Turquoise
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50% Pc Amber
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50% Red
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All Channels except PC Amber at 50% gives a 20k look
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All Channel including PC Amber at 50% gives closer to a 10k look (note. white balance was adjusted to give true picture)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby Jordan99 » Thu 17 Jul, 2014 4:11 pm

This is awesome!

I'm doing some research into making my own lighting system too that is programable!
How hard /cost effective compared to purchasing one?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Thu 17 Jul, 2014 5:25 pm

Jordan99 wrote:This is awesome!

I'm doing some research into making my own lighting system too that is programable!
How hard /cost effective compared to purchasing one?


Wasn’t too difficult, I guess it depends on your DIY skills and what materials you have had experience working with. Cost is a little cheaper and another positive is that you can get more for your $, (e.g., 6 independent colour channels, dimming resolution of 1000 steps). However, it is probably not cheaper if you account for your time, and I did spend a lot of time planning my design- perhaps more time was spent designing than building it. Luckily for me I enjoy doing projects like this.

I went DIY over premade simply because I couldn’t find a unit that met what I was looking for in terms of LED array/efficiency and controllability. I spent quite some time researching coral light requirements and wanted a specific combination of LEDs that I think are highly suited to keeping corals. I also wanted passive cooling as this is a desk tank light and adding fans adds another thing that can go wrong (e.g., they can get affected by dust, can possibly rust and fail causing LEDS to overheat).
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 23 Jul, 2014 10:37 pm

PAR readings

I attempted to carry out the measurement of PAR as i've often seen on NR (particularly the ones i've seen from Jedimasterben as I have found these very useful). Readings were taken in air as water surface agitation can influence measurement by +/-25% (as mentioned by Jedimasterben on NR). PAR was measured using an Apogee quantum meter (QMSWWS) and calibrated for Sun. Each channel was set to 100% and measured separately. Where necessary, measurements were corrected in accordance with Apogee's response graph ([url/]http://www.apogeeinstruments.co.uk/comparisons-in-quantum-sensor-output-for-different-light-sources[/url)]. A total PAR reading for all channels was calculated by summing the readings of the 6 channels. LED array on built stand measured ~70mm above the tank, no optics, no diffuser, just a 3mm clear acrylic cover. Measurements were taken at the bottom center (200mm from the top thanks to an approx. 40-50mm sandbed), roughly midway up (100mm from the top), and all four sides and corners (readings are displayed only once for sides and corners and represent the average of all four measurements taken).

Cool White

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Violet

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Royal Blue

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Blue/Cyan

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PC Amber

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Red

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All Channels

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As expected the Violet channel emits a significant amount of PAR which is a spectrum highly suited to corals. Results suggest that this light is a bit of an overkill for such a small tank and therefore, channels will unlikely ever be run at 100%. You can see that for nano/pico tanks, optics are not warranted and positioning LEDS (w/o optics) closer to the water's surface allows for great intensity, spread with little light spill over. Looking forward to populating this tank with lots of corals now :thumbsup:
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby naqua » Thu 24 Jul, 2014 12:03 pm

Almost 500 PAR at the sandbed is insane! Nice work on the readings though, interesting to see the differences by channel.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 10:55 am

Thanks Pete. Yes, pretty happy with the PAR.

Not much to report. Will post tank shots shortly. Been having an ongoing problem with phosphate. Been using NSW, which I tested had a Po4 reading of .17ppm. Also suspect some Po4 is leaching out of the coral sand and rock, which I have recycled from an old tank I shut down. To combat this and future Po4 issues I plan to use GFO. However, with a tank this small I could not find a commercially available reactor that would suit, so I built a nano reactor. Really happy with the way this turned out, I even built two more for other tanks I may use it on (do excuse the grey John Guest elbow, awaiting for white ones to make it look pretty).

The dimensions are 300mm high and acrylic tube is 50mm diameter. As real estate in a nano is so precious i've built the reactor to run outside so hopefully it wont leak. I believe I have taken most precautions in the design of this:

(a)to allow for a better join between flanges (upper and lower plate) and acrylic tube I have recessed a groove in both upper and lower flanges so that the tube sits inside this groove and therefore allows a seal to occur on the outside, inside rim and surface of ends. The cement I used is thick acrylic cement (Acrifix).

(b) used pressure push fitting John Guest fittings, elbows are tapped and threaded with teflon tape.

(b) lid is secured with a rubber O ring and screwed down with 5 M6 nylon screws.


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After building the reactor, I have come to realise that with a tank this small I should only use 3 gms of GFO media, which is barely noticeable in my nano reactor. In the pic above I am using half the recommended dose 1.5gms as a starting dose and you can see just how little this is (small patch above the sponge). However, i plan to also use the reactor to house some GAC. So the space in the reactor wont go to waste. Also believe this could be successfully used as a bio pellet reactor.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby spwa » Sat 20 Sep, 2014 12:47 pm

Nice job on the reactor... do you work with acrylics? where did you get your supplies for the Diy projects?
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Sat 20 Sep, 2014 1:23 pm

spwa wrote:Nice job on the reactor... do you work with acrylics? where did you get your supplies for the Diy projects?


Thanks Mate, my line of work is not in acrylics but enjoy working with acrylic on the side. I get all my acrylic from http://plasticsforindustry.com.au have been doing so for years and never had a problem with them.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 15 Oct, 2014 1:28 pm

Finally I get a chance to post some pics - not easy to do with a tank at work.
Tank is maturing well. I see lots of Amphipods running around and phosphate is down to .03. Note. As I'm planning to try an SPS dominated tank, everything but the green pocci are just visitors and will be removed once more SPS are introduced.
Individual pics of corals.

Torch
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Green Pocci
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Rainbow Acan
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Zoa Garden
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FTS shots, not much to look at as most corals are small frags at this stage. Aim is to grow staying corals out into show pieces
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Will add more SPS coral frags. Pm me if you have any for sale in melb :)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby swinkl3 » Wed 15 Oct, 2014 6:30 pm

Wow, what an awesome build! Really like the detail you put into the led build/par readings.

How has the reactor been? How much % of water/frequency do you find you need to keep everything happy?

Looking forward to seeing some SPS in there.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Thu 16 Oct, 2014 11:29 am

swinkl3 wrote:Wow, what an awesome build! Really like the detail you put into the led build/par readings.

How has the reactor been? How much % of water/frequency do you find you need to keep everything happy?

Looking forward to seeing some SPS in there.


Thanks swinkl3. The reactor has been going good, although as you can see in earlier pics it is oversized for this tank. I have now built a PVC prototype of a pico reactor that sits inside the tank. Its actually in the tank when i took the pics in previous post and I think is well hidden. I am in the process of building a couple of clear acrylic pico reactors. But here are some pics of the prototype that is currently in use. This has been working really well so far and is more to scale.

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Water changes are: 100% weekly using ASW (red sea)
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby mason91 » Thu 16 Oct, 2014 8:49 pm

Awesome build, would love to have an office tank but not seeing it every weekend would worry me for such a small tank :/
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Wed 29 Oct, 2014 3:17 pm

New addition from Reeflections :thumbsup:

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FTS
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Here is a close up of green zoas.
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Photos were taken with the iPhone 6 Plus and I attempted to slightly corrected using Avairy
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Thu 25 Dec, 2014 12:44 pm

Everything going well. To track Ca, Alk, and Mg, I created an excel spreadsheet to see weekly drop. The thin horizontal target lines are where things should be at after a water change based on RedSea Coral Pros stats. At the end of each week, before a 100% water change, I test all three parameters. Using weekly depletion averages calculated from spreadsheet, i will start manually dosing Randys Recipie 2 to maintain target levels. The Alk axis is displayed horizontally on the right but sometimes does not show in this post depending on which device I use to access the forum.

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Also since switching to RSCP I have .00 phosphates so have not needed to run nor build my GFO reactor. Trying to now increase phosphates by the addition of a small yellowtail damsel and small feeds using Goniopwer.

Will post pics shortly. I have had to bring tank home for the holidays and with some new coral additions, somethings did get moved around slightly.
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Re: New Pico Work Tank - 12 litres

Postby chrismelb » Thu 25 Dec, 2014 1:06 pm

Here is FTS

Additions include strawberry shortcake, pale green/blue stag (which has now just turned bright green), purple acro frag, and bi colour fungia.

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Starting to colour up again, lost colour when I firt got it.
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Purple acro
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Green stag
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Fungia
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