DIY - Projects & Ideas • My Odyssey- Building a 100G Tank into my Living Room Wall

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Postby cantrell00 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:13 am

You are welcome. It looks great. Glad that I could assist.
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Postby inurocker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:00 am

Looks outstanding. The payoff for all your hard work, well done. :thumb:
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:31 pm

Thanks, I really appreciate it.

I already have a modification to report, the lights seemed to be too far back, and larger fish towards the front were too dark. I moved the mounting points and shifted the entire fixture toward the front of the tank abuot 6 inches, result, WOW, I am glad I bought that light.

Water parameters as of this am, Ammonia 0.0, nitrites 0.0, nitrates between 20 and 30, I will do a partial water change today, probably 20%.
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Postby The King Crabb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:09 pm

Great work! =D> It turned out amazing :thumb:
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:29 am

Thanks, King, glad to see you back in the saddle.

24H after dropping fish, ammonia and nitrites holding at zero, 20% water change this am, nitrates around 20ppm.
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Postby quentin8 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:34 am

Congrats... Thanks for keeping us updated from start to finish. Its been great. Keep us posted =D> =D> =D>
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:24 pm

Thanks, Quentin, I have started to show it off to friends, we are really really happy with it.

Water is 0.0, 0.0, at or under 20 ppm.

My fingers are crossed. I was a little worried during this fishless cycle, as Tim's article mentions a time frame of 7-10 days for a seeded bio filter, and as you saw we were were over double that.

There may have been an initially high dose, as when I played with my redosing, three VERY different amounts all read at right around 1ppm, ranging from 1 1/4 teaspoons to 1/2 teaspoon. I wonder if the main use of our kits is to verify 0.0, and notbody ever really cares about accuracy beyond that benchmark, except when performing a fishless cycle? No way that those 3 doses should have read 1.0.

The advantage I saw in using seed material is clearly the part that most cycles stall, instead of waiting for nitrite bacteria to grow when the ammonia processing guys provide enough food, there was already a decent colony feeding right behind the ammonia processors from day one. I read that the nitrite part tends to be the longest, I did not see that in my cycle.
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Postby cantrell00 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:26 pm

There may have been an initially high dose, as when I played with my redosing, three VERY different amounts all read at right around 1ppm, ranging from 1 1/4 teaspoons to 1/2 teaspoon. I wonder if the main use of our kits is to verify 0.0, and notbody ever really cares about accuracy beyond that benchmark, except when performing a fishless cycle? No way that those 3 doses should have read 1.0.


I have thought this myself when I was dosing a tank with ammonia. What I added never seemed consisent relative to prior doses and measurements either.

I would still prefer cycling with actual fish if it weren't for the damage to the fish.

I think it is a more effective approach to properly cycle a tank because it allows ammonia to be released gradually and not in large, single drops. That is the way it occurs in nature.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:16 pm

What would you think about staggering timed doses to gradually bump it up? Say, figure out what will give 1 ppm, divide it by 2 or 4, and space out the dosing? That would be a lot more time consuming, though. One problem for me was figuring out some time, every day, to mess with it. I never have problems finding time for maintenance, but 10 minutes at the same time every day is kind of tough to count on for a couple weeks.

I think a big problem with streamling it is that I won't have to do it again for quite some time, so there's little incentive to do it 4 different ways to try to improve it. So I am glad I documented this so anyone looking back can see what I did and if I went wrong.

I am pretty sure the above 0.0 ammonia readings were way off.

Here are my specific ammonia amounts, all ammonia was Ace store brand without surfectant.

Initially, using the article calcualtions, I dosed with 3 tsp, figuring right about 140-150G total volume, actual volume is probably right at 140 or a shade less, but MORE is always better, right? I was shooting for the article range of 1-4 ppm. The first test sure looked like 4.0 to me. It certainly was not the next color above 4.0.

Second dose was 1 1/4 tsp, figuring that I was shooting for 1-2ppm, and just under half of what gave me 4 would do that, thinking I might have to add that extra 1/4 tsp if it was light, but it tested 1.0.

Then, when I did my third dose, after it was taking 2 days to comvert, I used 1/2 tsp, again, UNDER half the previous dose, and it showed 1.0 again.

Unless my understanding of dilution and volume is off, and it may be, those tests should have shown different amounts.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:58 pm

Not to bump my own thread, but I have found that the background and the sides being built into the wall seems to have given my fish new confidence, they are usually all the way across the room from where we sit, so they just laze around and exhibit what seems to be pretty normal behaviour. Not that I am an expert. They can only be approaced from one side, and seem to be comfortable that way.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:04 pm

Last night I made some additional progress, I added a nice 5" shelf above the light fixture to hold food, test kit, dry goods, and started on the shelves to hold chemicals.

First up, in the use every bit of material if possible, I found a 4 foot piece of the stand plywood that I was able to put between the light fixture mounting wires:

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This shelf was kind of an afterthought, but it's perfect for food and my test kit. Dry, light stuff.

Then, there was some melamine left over from the TV area, so I am making a couple heavier shelves to cover the top of the adjacent fireplace, this is from inside the room:

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This two shelf deal will be framed with 2 x 4s and much stronger, so I can put my jugs of chemicals there and not worry about discoloring the surface too much.

Phone camera pictures, so they are not great, and it's tough to get a good angle. I also ditched the former magnet catches on the hidden door in favor of a much more secure and sturdy rolling catch that uses a spring loaded roller on the door and a bump on the door frame. Now it's really solid feeling. A sharp press on the right spot, and it opens enough to grab the edge and pull it open.

Lastly, a slight scare, maybe. Last night, about 10, I performed my stardard, every 12 hour tests for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Nitrite was 0.0, nitrate was about 20 ppm, but the ammonia looked like it had a ghost of green in it. It's an API kit, so it's supposed to be YELLOW, and only yellow, for 0.0, and increasing amounts of green in the yellow to indicate .25, .5, and 1.0, etc. It goes all the way to like a British Racing green, but the first few gradations are tough for me to see. Only yellow seems pretty clear to me.

My wife said it was yellow to her, but I detected a hint of green, not .25 to be sure, but not the bright yellow I expected.

So I showed my wife a water change, it takes about an hour now that I have it dialed, the time is used as follows.

Turning off pump at switched outlet, closing main return line, opening drain line in wall, moving 1" line into the T in the drain, opening 1" line, and turning the switched outlet back on: 20 seconds. Emptying sump, 30 seconds. Dosing with dechlor and refilling sump with fresh cold only water: 2 minutes. Heating water before it is ready to go into main tank: 58 minutes. Literally, it takes forever to get 30 gallons or so of 58 degree water up to 75-77, even though I am using an extra heater during water changes. It's not really a big deal, it's just that by now, it was midnight and I was really wanting to go to bed. Winter water changes are probably 1.5 hour deals, and I always have something else to do around the house while I wait, just not at midnight. Summer will be much faster.

But for winter, I am open to suggestions. I was going to try to add a pitcher of hot tap water, but the sump is so close to the stand shelf that I can't get at it. Maybe a larger heater to use only during water changes, like a 300 or bigger model? I unplug it when I am not changing water, so it can't be too big.

Anyway, this am, I re tested the ammonia and it is clearly 0.0.

Is that the correct course for a suspected "spike" of under .25? Water change and monitor? My wife was flabbergasted that I have been testing the water for 3+ weeks and didn't have a plan if we found ammonia after fish were added ( as my plan was not to find ammonia), so I want to make sure the plan is correct.
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Postby Steve C » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:35 pm

I like the add ons. I can't help with the ammonia because I haven't started cycling my tank yet so I don't want to act like I know something I don't know about. But if I could make one small suggestion about the first shelf directly over the tank/light...

It might be a good ideas to consider adding some sort of small 'lip" on that shelf, maybe even just a 1" tall trim piece to it. Just to keep anything from getting bumped off the shelf and falling directly onto the light or top of the tank maybe. Just a thought.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:40 pm

Hi Steve, believe it or not, I planned to add a piece of quarter round or thin trim as a wrap around to do just that, but I forgot to mention it in my sleep deprived state. Thanks for the heads up, though, because I probably never would have remembered. :thumb:
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:29 pm

As of this am, other than the single possible spike to under .25 ammonia, all ammonia and nitrite readings at 12 hour intervals since Saturday have been 0.0.

Nitrates are rising but still under 40.

Starting to see some algae, the background is really looking good, the real rocks blend better but I am going to dial back the lights tonight, the factory settings are way too long.

I am thinking "sunrise" about 5 pm, "noon" about 6:30-8, sunset from 8-10, then moonlight for a couple hours.

That will give us 5 hours of white light, and only 1.5 hours of the daylight bulbs. Anyone have any thoughts as to how this will affect the java and anubias?

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Sorry, phone pictures, the starburst is the shutters letting some light in, some are blurry but you get the picture.
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Postby cantrell00 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:37 pm

Anyone have any thoughts as to how this will affect the java and anubias?


No concerns there.. Those plants would grow in the Sahara..

Are there some Vic's in there?
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