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Old 01-22-2018, 03:16 PM   #1
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Grassy 55Gal - restart

TLDR
we are setting up a 55gal. tank in our living room again!
Finnex planted+ 48", Fluval 306, hydor inline heater, natural colored super fine aquarium gravel mixed with red fluorite ,aquatek basic CO2 regulator, DIY inline CO2 reactor (in progress). my first try at CO2, hopefully this time I will succeed with dwarf hair grass. osmocote+clay root tabs are buried (water filled to just below the gravel level), filter media is seeding, hope to fill it soon!



playing with the hardscape



equipment, in progress



for those who interested and have patience for the background
this is the tank that got me into this hobby - 55 gallon in the living room. Got the original from a friend who was leaving the state. I think what he soldme is not so much the tank itslef, but rather the idea to finally get one and get into fishkeeping. I threw out the old "Rome" decorations and printed background within weeks of setting up and slowly started planting. Year later as things grew and I accumulated experience (not going to link to those noob threads from back then ) it became the center piece of our living room. While I see much better scaped and kept tanks ours was really satisfying to us. as time went the cheap black stand that we never liked to begin with developed water damage. While it still had structural integrity perhaps sufficient to support the weight it became a big eyesore. I took the tank apart with the intention to build a new stand, completed the stand frame, sold the tank with intention to buy new one but other life events took over and that bare frame stood there for over two years (I still had my basement 125g to feed the aquarium bug).
Recently wife's nagging about ugly bare frame escalated and that triggered the rebuild that resulted in a very presentable stand (I think this is as close as my woodwork ever get to "fine furniture" grade). Living room got new layout, to have best possible view of future tank from the sofa and armchairs (we almost never turn on our TV anymore anyways), if all goes as planned this should be a plant focused tank with not to much fish. whether I have sufficient skill to aquascape something semi-professional still remains to be determined

thanks!
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:50 PM   #2
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:18 AM   #3
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CO2 / Fertilization reactor.
this was a nitrogen scrubber cylinder in medical oxygen generator. Cylinder comes with two o-ring sealed caps which are held by through bolt. inlet fitting on one side, airline barb T connector on the other. Split the thing open, carefully drained the fine granules of nitrogen scrubber media , drilled and tapped both caps for 5/8 Barb fitting (those NPT), drilled and tapped the top side to house another airline barb.



CO2 will get injected through the single barb angle fitting. the split T I plan to use for metered micro and macro fertilizer solution plumbed from auto dozing device. for now all the 3 inlets have only check valve conected



Unit assembled and sealed (siliconed the threads on the center bolt). Checked fit but not yet plumbed, will test for water tightness tomorow after silicone cures. I'm concerned whether there will be serious impact on flow with all those kinks and bends in tubing, I guess will find out soon. worst case will consider upgrading to 406 if my 306 struggles to much.

the 20lb CO2 tank I acquired does not fit the cabinet, but it was cheaper then refill. will need to figure something out for bit more presentable view. or maybe will try to have some sort of stand to keep it inside but leaning

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Old 01-25-2018, 08:05 AM   #4
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Nice reactor. I would swap out the stock bubble counter and add a brass check valve between the reg and bubble counter (the pair at the top should be fine or you could simple connect a single section of tubing onto each end of the Tee to close it off).
A simple 3 sided box shaped structure with top in the matching wood grain can be used to conceal the CO2 tank and reduce the chance of tipping.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:33 AM   #5
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Nice build !
I'll be following..
You did real good on the stand !
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:01 AM   #6
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Thank you Bandit, honestly I'm not very sure how I pulled it off.

Fresh, yes, better counter and check valve for the co2 are on the way. The stock integrated unit however is not bad at all and will be a good stop for now.
That would be a good way to temporarily block, but I will need pair of check valves there anyway to so might as well put them in now )
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:36 AM   #7
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Grassy 55Gal - restart

The stock bubble counter design is not very sturdy and prone to cracking when opening and closing the lid. Plus, the tubing is friction mounted to the device. Luckily I had a spare counter (Fluval) and I like it. Softer plastic (polyethylene?) lid with compression nuts for a tight seal.
I believe Rhinox was the brand of brass check valve I ordered. Iíve used the plastic ones but I have doubled up on them (meaning, hook them up in succession) in case one fails.
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Old 01-26-2018, 02:58 AM   #8
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Water is in.

and flowing really well, but not without small leak from one of the connections. caught on time, no damage, i'll proclaim my setup officially "Baptized" the silver cylinder was quite loud at first. tipping it over to release trapped air made it inaudible. I absolutely love that there is nothing in the tank aside from the filter pipes. ordered surface skimming inflow. Some of the sponges in filter spent this past week in the aquaclears of the big tank. hopefully things are kickstarted, will be taking samples.

Chicago fishswap is this sunday, hope to get nice piece of DW and plants.

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Old 01-26-2018, 11:19 PM   #9
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Getting close to 24 hours mark. I did fed the tank yesterday after filling. a good pinch of flakes went in.
Todays results:
Ammonia is clearly present.
NO2 barely stained the sample but is there..
And all of that is already converted into very visible amount of NO3 (my tap water does not color the sample at all believe it or not)
Seems the seeding took, I might be on my way in few days fed it more flakes today

PH is... , ehh who cares really, thats what comes out of our tap here.looks below 8 today. But might as well use the bottle some time.

Here is what I absolutely hate about that test kit though - the horrible caps. They bothered to put all kinds of warning emblems on the bottles to inform of corrosive content. Yet their POS caps leak all the awesomely hazardous stuff badly when "shaking hard", gets right onto hands
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:37 AM   #10
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my finnex fixture has about 10 dead LEDs as it turns out, created a visibly dimmer spot. It is also not serviceable it seems - killed over an hour trying to resolder replacements (Howard from finnex sent me his 50 functioning board to cannibalize elements from).
for now the tank is lit by costco LED shoplight. not sure what i'm going to do next. looks like the only reliable LED is DIY

Trip to GCCA fish swap meet is complete.
driftwood is in. i think i found the best orientation for it. will take some time until it gets waterlogged - wants to float bad. not going to soak it separately, will put dedicated filter with carbon on the tank later.
attached surface skimming inflow, no more oily film

Chiacgo aquatic plant society had awesome table
plant list so far:
Valisneria spiralis (?)
Valisneria Nana
Dwarf Lobelia
Sagittaria
Eriocaulon malayattoor
Cyperus Helferi

Am ~1ppm, almost ready.
NO2 ~ full purple! never seen the probe get that purple
NO3 ~30ppm
so it has few days or so till fish.
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