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Old 11-29-2013, 07:00 PM
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Vancouver Reefer Vancouver Reefer is offline
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Default Vancouver Reefer's DIY Monster......

I have been asked by a number of people to do this write up but ive been procrastinating! Oh well time to get the fingers warmed up.

Ill split up the thread into my DIY controller review and then the Aquarium build. I have my own website detailing both abit more which you can find here:-
Reef Build Website...


So i found a used 75 Gallon reef ready with a 1200GPH overflow. This was where it all began!

I had been waiting for 4 years to buy, build and install this system. Once i finally settled in the small town of Kenora Ontario, the build began. The first problem i found was the 100 year old house was not exaclty square and level any more! I had to build a platmorm for the tank to sit on as the floor under the tank was out by 1 1/4" over the 4ft span! Yes huge dip in the middle of the floor!!!


The HVAC vent on the wall was not used and it let me have a clear path to run the pipework for the tank. Pure luck!

Reno'd stand with new hardware in place:


The one thing a wanted for this build was to have my sump located in the basement. Having worked for an aquarium maintenance company in my past i was able to see the good and the bad and this led me to my current layout. I hate working on my hands and knees with my head stuck in a stand. To me a clean, easy to access, ergonmic layout was key. Maintenance is a big part of this hobby and it becoming a 'Chore' is usually the beginning of the end for many reefers.



The space was cleared, a support system of 2x4's were used to help support the weight of the tank on the old floor. This also helped provide part of the framework to build the workspace.



Dedicated electrical and hot/cold water was ran and a laundry tub installed to keep my 'Fish Crap' (according to the wife) all in one place!

The 2 Brute cans were installed ready for my ATO and Automatic Water Change system. Its also nice to have 20 gallons of both fresh and new mix water on standby for emergencies.

A wanted to have a glass sump as i hate acrylic. I would never recoomend anyone to have acrylic. Its scratches far too easily and over time looks tatty.

I decided to go with a 20 Long and customise it to my needs. I designed the tank drains to drop into the left chamber. This would house the filter sock and the skimmer, the centre section would be the return and heater and then the right section would be a fuge for pod population and macro algea.









I masked off and painted the outside to hide the siliconed edges. Even thought they were clean i wanted a crisper look.



Now the sump was completed it was time to start on the pipe work. I wanted a manifold off the main return line to supply the aux equipment.

Off the manifold i run the following:-

1. Chiller
2. BRS Dual Media Reactors - GFO and Carbon
3. Fuge
4. Spare

I used painters tape to plan the pipe runs:
Before:


After:


The finished Sump:


The main circulating pump is a Reeflo Snapper. These are super quiet and keeps me in the good books with wifey
It is located on the lower shelf under the sump with the chiller:




Now the basement was complete it was time to turn back to the tank. I went with a DIY LED lighting array for the reasons of dimming, low heat, low cost and colour spectrum alteration.
I also dont like tall canopies as i think it make the tank look odd! I custom made a canopy that would house all the goodies and keep the asthetic form i wanted.


The LED array consists of 72 LED's comprised of Royal Blue, Cool White, Warm White and UV.
The blue and the UV are on one dimming channel and the whites on the other. When i designed this Royal Blue and whites were the only thing researched and in use. On my next rig i will add in more colours and have more channels to dim to allow a full spectrum similar to the Ecotech Radions, but for 1/10 the price.

The LED's were mounted to 1" aluminum 'U' channel for heat disspipation:


The channels were also mounted so they could swing freely. This is so when i open the canopy the lights remain pointing down, not blinding me! and also to help see in the tank during maintenance.



My DIY Controller:

My controller had been in the planning and making for 4 years on and off. I wanted a custom controller to do exactly what i needed it to do. I also wanted the challenge of learning a new programming language.

My controller does the following:

Arduino Mega at it's heart.
LCD for display of parameters
Clock for timing
Sunset/Sunrise of Blue and White LED channels
Variable speed cooling fans for the canopy
4 Peristaltic dosing pumps
Sump Water Low Sensor
ATO
Automatic Water Changer
Automatic Salt Mixer
Feed Mode
Moon Mode
Flood Sensor
Temperature Monitoring
Ph Monitoring
Salinity Monitoring

Alarms associated with all parameters
Isolation of pumps etc if flood detected

Back up timers for ATO



My Main controller seen above is mounted in the basement with the sump.

The controller also has 2 peripheral components.
The first is the Remote Control Unit. This is mounted in the aquarium stand for quick access to the information and several features:


There is also the Mains Control Unit. This is linked to the Main control unit and it allows the control of all the 110v powered items:



I have also developed a computer interface to allow for easy adjustment of parameters. This talks back and forth with the controller and i'm currently working on getting it web based for access from any part of the world.



My controller design & build is detailed more in my webpage journal.


Now that i have the control and Infrastructure in place it was time to move onto the reef itself.

I wanted to start with BRS dry rock to prevent any unwanted pests. I was in no rush so i found this was the best approach to take.
I found an article on how to aquascape and it was an incredible read.
Here is the article:

Tips & Tricks to Creating amazing Aquascapes

This lead me to the following rockscape:-

Tank at 4 months:



Tank at 6 Months;




__________________
View my Aquarium & Reef Controller build here:


The Ultimate DIY Aquarium Controller of the 21st Century!!!


LED's, PH, Salinity, Clock, LCD, ATO, Auto Water Changer, Variable Speed Cooling Fan Control and lots, lots more......



Last edited by Vancouver Reefer; 11-29-2013 at 07:07 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2013, 07:29 PM
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Ahhh crap sorry for spelling mistakes. I hit Publish before i spell checked it and now i can't go back and edit it!

__________________
View my Aquarium & Reef Controller build here:


The Ultimate DIY Aquarium Controller of the 21st Century!!!


LED's, PH, Salinity, Clock, LCD, ATO, Auto Water Changer, Variable Speed Cooling Fan Control and lots, lots more......


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Old 11-29-2013, 07:44 PM
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Nice build. I'll be following this thread
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Old 11-29-2013, 07:53 PM
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Good work on the controller! Well planned build. Following along.
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:00 PM
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That's my old tank! Made a journey all the way to Ontario!
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:02 PM
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It sure did!!! We only lost 1 wine glass in the whole move! Miracle!
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View my Aquarium & Reef Controller build here:


The Ultimate DIY Aquarium Controller of the 21st Century!!!


LED's, PH, Salinity, Clock, LCD, ATO, Auto Water Changer, Variable Speed Cooling Fan Control and lots, lots more......


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Old 11-29-2013, 10:01 PM
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You're planning and attention to detail really shows! I'm impressed with how much of this you've been able to do yourself - lights, canopy, fish room renos. I'd probably burn my house down if I tried to do all that myself.

How long has the tank been running now? Are the 6 month images the most recent?
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Reefer View Post
It sure did!!! We only lost 1 wine glass in the whole move! Miracle!
Nice! Glad to see that it is being used well. I'm about to re-enter the world of larger tanks again too. Have a 120 on order. Looking forward to following this.
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  #9  
Old 11-29-2013, 10:25 PM
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According to my Signature link its 8 months old. Once it hits 9 months i'll take some more pics.

Should be quite a change. I've added some more Zoa's, LPS and a superb Elegance Coral.

SPS twigs coming next week.
__________________
View my Aquarium & Reef Controller build here:


The Ultimate DIY Aquarium Controller of the 21st Century!!!


LED's, PH, Salinity, Clock, LCD, ATO, Auto Water Changer, Variable Speed Cooling Fan Control and lots, lots more......


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  #10  
Old 03-27-2014, 10:29 PM
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My Reef just turned 1......



























She has been slow growing, but i suspect the dry rock taking time to mature has been the culprit! Ive just started into the SPS and they are doing well. This year will be more SPS so i expect year 2 photos should be quite different!
__________________
View my Aquarium & Reef Controller build here:


The Ultimate DIY Aquarium Controller of the 21st Century!!!


LED's, PH, Salinity, Clock, LCD, ATO, Auto Water Changer, Variable Speed Cooling Fan Control and lots, lots more......


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