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Dan & Cathy's 3x2x2 Reef [TOTY 2011]

PostPosted: Sun 11 Oct, 2009 11:27 pm
by Dan
Introduction:
This tank is being created as we are starting to find to many limiting factors with our current tank set-up. Its time to take what we have learnt and hopefully go onto bigger and better things.

System Objectives: to have an open, bonsai style aquascape with high quality stock (previously: To create an environment which will eventually be stable enough to keep some SPS successfully whilst still maintaining a sensible budget along the way wherever possible :roflmao: )

System Type: SPS & clam dominated Reef (previously: Mixed Reef - mainly LPS, some SPS & Clams)

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Display System:

Strike up Date: October 2009 (Wet around Christmas 2009)

Display Tank: 3x2x2 euro braced with right hand corner weir (durso + backup)

Display Lighting: inWatter 2ft (120wtt) LED (previously an 8x39w T5 Solarmax with ATI tubes)

Stand: DIY Pine stand stained walnut brown

Hood: Open Top (No Hood)

Sump: Custom 3 section semi racetrack style (skimmer -> refuge -> return & utilities)

Refugium Lighting: 24w PC tube


Support systems:

System Water: NSW

Display Water circulation: VorTech MP40W Gen2 + battery backup

Return Pump: Ehiem Compact + 3000

Skimmer: ATB Nano Cone Skimmer (b version) with airstar pump

Evaporation Top Up: Auto top up with float switch & 60lt RO resivoir


Current Water Chemistry(as at 01/02/11):
Salinity / Specific Gravity: 1.026
pH: 8.2
Alkalinity: 8 dKH
Nitrates: 0ppm
Phosphates: 0.00ppm (Hanna)
Calcium: 420ppm
Magnesium 1300pm

Happy Reefing
:cheers:

PostPosted: Sun 11 Oct, 2009 11:35 pm
by Dan
Some pics of the stand build. Big thanks to my dad & grandfather who came up for the weekend to build this for me (and to the armchair architects mum & granny :roflmao: ) Just have to do the doors, stain and seal. The LHS panel is held in with lugs so it can be easily removed to insert the sump and the gap at the back will allow ventilation as well as room for the plumbing to come through. Plan on covering in mesh to stop bugs from getting in.

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PostPosted: Sat 17 Oct, 2009 9:01 pm
by Dan
picked up the new skimmer today. Reef Octopus NW-200 6540 :pirate:
Stand is ready to stain & varnish tomorrow and next weekend I think we'll order the tank & sump from Dennison. (If I can work out what I want for overflows and sump design :konk: )

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PostPosted: Sat 17 Oct, 2009 9:04 pm
by coral1
nice

PostPosted: Sun 18 Oct, 2009 5:42 pm
by Dan
Stand has been sanded, stained in Walnut Brown and recieved the first lick of varnish :-D

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PostPosted: Sun 18 Oct, 2009 5:48 pm
by sydneydrewid
damn Dan, your a busy boy!! :) looking very nice!!

PostPosted: Sun 18 Oct, 2009 5:50 pm
by Deek
looking good - nice stand :thumbsup:

can't wait to see the LED lighting :devil:

PostPosted: Sun 18 Oct, 2009 6:05 pm
by Dan
Deek wrote:looking good - nice stand :thumbsup:

can't wait to see the LED lighting :devil:


yeah its going to be nice! Father-in-Law is an electrical engineer so I'll have some help.. well i'll probably watch :roflmao: We are looking into running the LED's through a printed curcuit board and with timed dimmers but still in pre-planning stage here.

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2009 7:37 am
by Dan
The light is slowly progressing. Below is some sketches of the proposed build however I think I will be using less LED's than what's pictured there.

Question for all those who have LED builds with Cree's: How many LED's do you think is a large amount without massive overkill? I am thinking around the 36 - 48 globes (half cool white half royal blue) and what have you found to be the best spacing apart? I want good overlap rather than getting a spotlight effect.

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PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2009 7:50 am
by sydneydrewid
looking very nice.. From what ive seen they use a 3:1 ratio of white to blue..

PostPosted: Thu 29 Oct, 2009 11:41 pm
by Dan
I drew up some sketches of our "semi racetrack" sump. Would love some feedback on design and how you would improve :cheers:

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Nov, 2009 2:33 pm
by Dan
Dennison has the tank & sump plans and will tweak them for us. Tank should be ready in a few weeks. Dennison has been an absolute champ and has pointed us in the right direction so many times :bow: :bow:

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 6:35 am
by Dan
tank build as stalled the last few weeks due to work being flat out! :furious:

The plan for the return was to come up through the weir and then through the side of the weir wall with locline on the end. Reason for this is its an open top tank and I want to top to be clean. This idea poses a problem as I'll need a one way valve here to prevent syphon in a power outage.

Are one way valves a bad idea due to failure to seat property with sponge and algae growth etc???

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 7:47 am
by bradw6860
Depending on where you have the return exiting in the tank i.e. near the top, you can just drill an anti siphon hole in it, works a treat for mine, and one way valves are noisy as hell and restrict a small amount of the flow. :thumbsup:

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 7:59 am
by Dan
other option is not drill a hole in the weir wall and take a few of the comb's prongs out and run the locline over the weir through them but I guess its the height of the end point of the return which is the important part in the syphon dilema.

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 4:38 pm
by captain
Hi Dan,

you could always use a pvc swing check valve. http://www.duralirrigation.com.au/onlin ... tionID=619

I use these to stop flow back to sump on the return line. I use these and they work great, and they also don't seem to restrict flow and have no parts that can rust.

:cheers:
Captain

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 4:55 pm
by Lukey
That pvc swing check valve is a great idea, so basic and obvious yet so absolutely perfect! No possibly failures though with mould seizing them up or anything? At the very least think I might grab one as a backup for my own tank, nice idea there mate!

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 5:05 pm
by captain
Lukey wrote:That pvc swing check valve is a great idea, so basic and obvious yet so absolutely perfect! No possibly failures though with mould seizing them up or anything? At the very least think I might grab one as a backup for my own tank, nice idea there mate!


Just plumb it in a fashion ie with barrel unions so it can be removed periodically to clean and check over. Every 3-6 months is probably sufficient.

:cheers:
Cpatain

PostPosted: Fri 13 Nov, 2009 5:35 pm
by KirTracid
Be really careful with locline through the weir like that. It makes alot of noise when thge water falls. I ended up blocking off one entire side so water couldn't flow down it as the noise when it splashed off the bulkhead drove me crazy. Now I have 5000 litres rushing over 15 cms of weir, which is still noisy.
As long as you're not running a high flow rate it's great and looks fantastic, high flowrate and it's irritating.

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 7:08 am
by Dan
KirTracid wrote:Be really careful with locline through the weir like that. It makes alot of noise when thge water falls. I ended up blocking off one entire side so water couldn't flow down it as the noise when it splashed off the bulkhead drove me crazy. Now I have 5000 litres rushing over 15 cms of weir, which is still noisy.
As long as you're not running a high flow rate it's great and looks fantastic, high flowrate and it's irritating.


do you mean through the weir comb or lower down through the weir wall?

I have the tank design back from Dennison and its looking good :clap: :clap:

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PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 7:11 am
by Dan
captain wrote:Hi Dan,

you could always use a pvc swing check valve. http://www.duralirrigation.com.au/onlin ... tionID=619

I use these to stop flow back to sump on the return line. I use these and they work great, and they also don't seem to restrict flow and have no parts that can rust.

:cheers:
Captain


Thanks mate. From what I've read any type of one way valves leak because of things growing on them like sponges and algae so that after many months open when they close they don't seal property and leak preventing the "one way" opperation of them. How long have yours been installed for as I would imagine my concerns would be long term ones however I could just clean them periodically but thats more work.

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 9:15 am
by Deek
KirTracid wrote:Be really careful with locline through the weir like that. It makes alot of noise when thge water falls. I ended up blocking off one entire side so water couldn't flow down it as the noise when it splashed off the bulkhead drove me crazy. Now I have 5000 litres rushing over 15 cms of weir, which is still noisy.
As long as you're not running a high flow rate it's great and looks fantastic, high flowrate and it's irritating.

Do you mean overflow water running down the locline in the overflow box?
You would get the same loud noise without locline if you have a low water level in the overflow box though, yeah?

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 9:27 am
by terbit
Another option would be to drill another hole in the back panel on the opposite side to the weir,and return through a bulkhead.

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 11:52 am
by KirTracid
Yup, the bulkhead in the weir causes massive splashes and such unless it's completely submerged. The top of my bulkhead was partially submerged, so the top was exposed and it stopped the water running freely, so some would hit that bulkhead and splash everywhere. As long as it's fully submerged in the weir it's quite, any part not submerged will drive you crazy.
Hope that makes a bit more sense =)

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 12:24 pm
by captain
I have been using mine continously for 6 mths now. Still works fine. I periodically shut the pump off to test. However its due for a maintenance clean just to make sure, as you can't be to careful. 10mins maintenance every 3-6mths is pretty good insurance for no floods!!!!!!!

:cheers:
Captain

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2009 8:09 pm
by Dan
thanks for the info guys. We have decided to go with the locline through the weir comb for a few reasons:

1. no extra holes need to be drilled (keep costs down)
2. no extra bulkheads need to be purchased (keep costs down)
3. hopefully wont have any noise issues

Thanks for all the suggestions :thumbsup:

PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 7:58 pm
by Dan
Here is our latest design of the light. This design maximizes the overall size whilst keeping the size (and weight) of the heatsinks down. The frame will be stainless tubing with plastic connectors and i'd say we will spray it all black so it does not look like a chess board :roflmao: The box at the back will be full of LuxDrive 1000mA drivers & 1 x 700mA for the reds and it will have a perspex cover to keep the salt & water away from the LED's.

What does everyone think about the LED colour configuration? They are all 3 watt CREE XR-E LED's. I have heard the red's add a nice colour tinge so I have thrown three in???

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 8:09 pm
by Paddy
I'm no LED expert by any means but I do have the eco lamp Led's on my tank. In a 2ft unit they have 91 LED's and are 100W units (I would assume making them 1W Leds?) By what i think you have there you will have 108W over 3 feet. I have done all the PAR ratings on mine if you want to have a look but I don't think I would be happy with any less light than I have. (+ I think you get better spread of light from more smaller lights than a few big ones)..

As I said no expert but thats my 2c

PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 10:19 pm
by n0rk
Just curious, how come you're going with the XR-Es instead of the XP-Gs?

PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 6:44 am
by Dan
Paddy wrote:I'm no LED expert by any means but I do have the eco lamp Led's on my tank. In a 2ft unit they have 91 LED's and are 100W units (I would assume making them 1W Leds?) By what i think you have there you will have 108W over 3 feet. I have done all the PAR ratings on mine if you want to have a look but I don't think I would be happy with any less light than I have. (+ I think you get better spread of light from more smaller lights than a few big ones)..

As I said no expert but thats my 2c


good feedback, thanks. I guess the 36 @ 3 watt is a good balance between power and cost, I would need to rob a bank to buy 100 of those suckers. The way i've designed this model it also allows me to easily add a third row of heat sinks and another 18 LED's if it does not cover the full width of the tank.


n0rk wrote:Just curious, how come you're going with the XR-Es instead of the XP-Gs?

I had concerns over the white XP-G overpowering the royal blue XR-E's and also picked up the 20 XR-E Q5 WG (cool whites) for $80AUD shipped which helped the decision a little. Hoping its not a bad decision on my part but I think it should be fine.