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Old 05-04-2006, 03:08 PM   #1
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making the jump... now with PIX (lots and lots)

to CO2 and Eco-complete.

I have to rearrange all of my furniture this weekend so I figured, what better time to swap out the substrate and switch to CO2 then when I have to break down the tank to move anyway?

I'm planning on posting pics and stuff as I progress.

BTW, this is on my 20g tank - 2wpg - with pressurized 10# CO2 tank and a DIY uber reactor. Im planning on eventually getting a 50-70g planted tank so I planned big

I'll also post parts/cost of my reactor in the coming days

Wish me luck

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Old 05-05-2006, 10:34 AM   #2
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Looking foward to the DIY reactor details, my CO2 has not been doing so well lately, I need to disolve more CO2 instead of just letting it outgass.
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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took pictures of the parts and the setup this morning - will post em with a simple writeup when I get the chance but I wont have any readings for a while... Im not getting my new bed till next weekend so I will not be rearranging till then which means I will not be converting the tank until then as well

which is good - gives me a little more time to plan
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:14 PM   #4
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I assembled my reactor and took some pics - camera battery died so I couldnt transfer them to my PC but will soon. I leak tested it and one of the screw-in "joints" was leaking - couldnt muscle it back open to apply teflon tape so I siliconed it - gonna retest tonight

tested my KH with my kit that I ordered with my eco and co2 supplies and it reads about 6.5 -- should be prime for injection

5 more days till the breakdown.

side question.... does anyone have and advice for swapping out my substrate? I realize I will lose a ton of my bacteria but I'm running 2 AC filters on the tank, each with 2 sponges so I'm hoping enough little guys survive there to avoid too much of a minicycle.
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:48 PM   #5
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Since the majority of your beneficial bacteria lives in the filter, you should be fine switching out the substrate all at once. Since you're completely tearing down the tank anyway, this would be the easier way to do it. If you're feeling paranoid, you could switch out half and then switch out the other half a week or so later. Just keep an eye on your stats and be prepared to do water changes if your tank does go through a mini cycle.
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:28 PM   #6
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On my last tank move, I put a bucket full of old substrate on top of the new substrate, with an airstone in a lift tube stuck down in the gravel. (This was my temporary filter solution while I solved some project over budget problems.) I then removed some of the gravel every week. Of course, I didn't have a cycled filter to fit the new tank like you have, it might not be necessary for you to swap out the gravel slowly.
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Old 05-09-2006, 12:13 AM   #7
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Ecocomplete comes with bacteria. This should more than make up for the small amount of bacteria on the old gravel.

Switching out gravel in multiple steps is a huge pain in the butt. If you still are not comfortable, feed your fish a little less for a week or too after the switch. Less-food = less-poop = less ammonia.

JMHO
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:58 AM   #8
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thanks for the advice I'll just go forth and watch the levels closely.

leak tested the reactor again last night and its still leaking Im going to get some pipe wrenches and tear it apart and put it together the "right" way with pvc cement and teflon tape in the threaded spots.

If I can find my battery recharger for my camera, I'll post pics... that derned thing is in a box somewhere.... probably hiding with my AP master kit which I still need to find before the rebuild.
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:07 AM   #9
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breakdown and setup went awesome and after 2 days, my readings are as follows:

NH3: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: ~10
PO4: 2
KH: 8
GH: 9
PH: 7.0

= CO2 @ 24ppm

I took a ton of pictures, just havent had the time due to work to resize and upload them... but they will be coming soon

I'm gonna need to start dosing NO3 I believe - is there a "most popular' option for dosing just that?
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:47 AM   #10
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For smaller tanks Flourish Nitrogen works well. With bigger tanks Flourish isn't cost effective, and most end up dosing KNO3. KNO3 can be obtained from Greg Watson or as the main ingrediate of some stump removers.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:19 AM   #11
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looks like Greg is on vacation sorta...

I'll look for a small bottle of Flourish but where would I find KNO3 Stump Remover? does HD sell it or would I have to go to a garden center or something?
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Old 05-16-2006, 05:29 PM   #12
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Garden Center is the more likely bet. If you have a hydroponics store near you, they may also sell raw KNO3, but it will be more than you can use in a bag.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:42 AM   #13
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PICTURES!!!!


Reciept of my HD purchases for my CO2 reactor


top pieces of the reactor


top assembled


bottom assembled


inlet tee with CO2 line semi assembled


UBER reactor assembled sans tubing - this is filled with 1" bio balls


some of the other products for my CO2: bio balls, power head, tubing, and a bubble counter - all bought from drsfostersmith


the CO2 tank





MORE PICS

bucket o life: plants and animals


bucket o wood


old tank - gravel


all clean


eco and wood


after a couple hours, added the fish


starting to clear






some plumbing shots






all set up - enjoy!








fish




look closely in the center - you can see a hiding cory












I'll get some "day 4" shots tonight and new readings - its looking much better now that things have settled in
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:27 PM   #14
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Awsome!

I'll be curious to hear wether you end up going through a cycle or not. It looks like you have enough plants to have smooth sailing.

I'm being greedy. I'd like to know more about your reactor. I take it the barb fittings on the fully assembled shot are water in-out, with the powerhead hooked to one of those ends, forcing water down over the bioballs? Where is the CO2 inlet on there? Did you just drill a slightly small hole and put that brass fitting in there?
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Old 05-17-2006, 12:42 PM   #15
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I kept the filters running so I banked on them having enough to withstand the loss of gravel. I'll be testing again today but I'm sure things are still zeroed on the ammonia/nitrite side of the house.

for the reactor, the power head runs the water out of the tank via 1/2" tubing (utilizing an unmentioned elbow) then connects to the top barb of the sideways tee. The CO2 inlet (brass fitting) is screwed into the small piece of tubing coming out of the side of the tee, so that the end of the inner airline comes flush with the straight flow of water to the reactor. The other side of the tee is connected to the reactor's barb using another small piece of tubing. That barb is screwed into the pvc fitting which is screwed into the reactor. The threaded pvc opening is there for bio ball access.

The bottom is elbowed so that it can stand on the floor - the outlet is another length of 1/2" tubing and returns to the opposite side of the tank as the power head.

because of the size and the amount of bio balls, I am actually getting 100% "reaction" in the chamber and 0 bubbles of any size coming out of the outlet - so no lost CO2 at all
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:22 PM   #16
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Awsome.

I tried to jury-rig something like that this spring, but didn't put sufficient effort/resources into it. May try again in the fall. (I don't have AC, so I run a massive air curtian in the summer, no sense in pumping in CO2 then.)
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:27 PM   #17
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love the tank. i also really love your plecos! they are great
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