The Blue Window - 500 G in wall, never ending build

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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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Had lots of fun catching up on this thread! Especially impressed with the light rack systems and the sump. I also feel you on the redundant life support systems, I have triple redundancy (even dedicated 4G internet connections on dedicated backups) on anything critical. Thankfully, unscheduled outages are measured in the hours-per-decade here, but even so, I have lots of redundancy from the electrical level on up.

Btw, an impressive array of skills you have there. I had to enlist a small army to build out everything I wanted done, I’m definitely not good with my hands like you are. A very high level of quality and service is the norm here which makes it easier. There are even university programs for aquarium systems and maintenance!

I’m really interested to see the plenum/DSB (seems there’s a new term, “DYMICO” but I’m old school) works out. I’ve always used DSBs (without plenums) in the ~25 on-and-off years I’ve had marine aquariums. I don’t think I’d ever attempt an aquarium without large regular water changes, but I’d be interested to see if even at least part of what they claim is capable is actually true. Let me know if you do any water column sampling and microscopy. I’m constantly surprised how many anecdotes and debates happen in this hobby when some basic (and not so basic) lab equipment would show us the truth. It’s been a while since I had access to a high end lab, but it was enlightening. AquariumScience.org does a solid job but focuses mainly on freshwater (although it was nice to see the myths behind carbon and purigen get debunked finally). Another reason myths can persist is that it’s a rare for a system to reach 3+ years.

I’ve never liked dealing with skimmers and don’t use them on my systems currently, so it’s nice to see another build that focuses on alternative methods of nutrient export.

Do you have access to NSW there? If you do, I highly recommend it.

Oh, have any photos of those two gallon jars you mentioned? I also like systems of all types and sizes.

Stay warm!

Yes, redundancy will be a big part of this build (eventually). Most of my tank troubles in the past always revolve around my assumption that things are working normal as always, which of course, is not the case at some point. So I plan to build failure detection in by way of redundancy and tracking cycle timing to detect maintenance required.

The DyMiCo system is kind of like a plenum on steroids. Where the plenum is passive, the DyMiCo filter uses pumps and ORP probes to manage the denitrification. The commercial version of it does work quite well from what I have read, and does negate the need for water changes and protein skimming. It appears to be best suited for LPS and softies though. GlennF was testing it on one tank for SPS, but eventually concluded it was not as suited as his DSR system.

I do own a microscope, but I will probably buy a new one. The one I have was a good one for the time, but newer models with better video imaging are now available. Mine was just before that became the norm, though it is tri-ocular and I do have a mount for a Canon 35 mm.

Exploring the smaller part of tank life is what I find most interesting. I really enjoy watching the food web change and adapt over time. Probably why I hate running cheato in a tank. I always feel guilty throwing clumps out without rescuing the mini stars, dwarf snails and amphipods in it. Tends to become annoying after awhile.

Ya, I am not a fan of skimmers. Just because you know they have to be depleting the zooplankton during operation. In some circumstances, SPS tanks mostly, they are very helpful, almost mandatory. For that reason I have designed the filter to be fed with un-skimmed water and the outflow of the filter will bypass the skimmer. So hopefully the best of both worlds and I can run a skimmer if needed.

No NSW here unfortunately. I am too far inland. If I were a couple provinces over on the east coast, then it would be possible.

The jars are still a pile of parts at this point. I have to get my water change station built first as that is the only thing they require, a weekly water change. I am hoping this summer for the 4 jars to be setup.

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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It's close, it's very, very close (to being done).

The builder is finishing up the final bits today!

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I also had an insulation person by to prepare a quote for spray foaming the walls and ceiling of the cantina for the water change station. Getting the attic topped up as well! In Canada, you can never have too much insulation. ;)

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

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Finally the all important leak test. Happy to report no leaks. In the final 2 photos you can see the media separator that the sand bed sits on. The coarse media will be below that.

In a few weeks the sump will be shipped up to me. In the meantime I need to get working on my water change station and the facade for the tank. I also need to get the floor in my office replaced so that I can setup the RS250 tanks I have been sitting on.

I am leaning towards taking the light rack down above the tank and replacing the drywall with plywood and then covering the ceiling and walls in FRP. Right now I 'think' I have hit the center of the joist, but with the area above the tank replaced with plywood (under FRP), I will no longer have to worry if I have caught enough of the joist. I can then re-assemble my light rack and attach it independent of joist positioning. The FRP will also make mold a non-issue.

For those of you wondering what FRP is? It is Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester resin wall panel. You see it used in industrial and commercial applications, especially in kitchens and food prep areas. Easy to wipe down and clean. It will make salt spray and creep a lot easier to deal with. The painted wall behind behind my frag tanks looks terrible. Covered in FRP, a wipe with a damp cloth and it will look like new again.

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Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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On Friday, a delivery that I have been waiting for arrived. It has taken a couple of years, and a number of false starts with 4 different sump builders, but I finally got my sump.

The weather was supposed to be raining and I was concerned that I would have to leave the sump in the driveway until I could arrange the help to move it.

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Luckily, the skid was not too big and it was able to be placed in a free spot in a messy bay. Don't mind the mess, I am dealing with a contractor infestation. The late stage, lingering types who never want to finish the 'small' details.

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Time to disassemble the shipping packaging and see if it made it intact.

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I was warned I would need a driver to unscrew the shell.

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Once the hardboard was removed, the protection layer was exposed. Another trip to the recycling centre is in my future ...

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Finally down to the sump. Everything came through shipping great

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Based on the packaging job, I think Chris at American Aquarium must have worked at Ikea in a past life!

When I started surveying the obstacles that will need to be overcome to get it installed, I had a bit of a panic when I started looking at a pillar that is offset, but in the way of sliding the sump directly under the stand from the end. I kept thinking I must have planned for that, but I could not remember for sure. Then it hit me, I could take the hardboard top cover and use that as a template for the sump footprint and attempt to do the pivot and slide using it to check for clearance. It didn't fit :confused: It was too wide by about 2" and hooked on 1 of the stand supports when blocked by the pillar from rotating far enough to clear. I was flabbergasted how I managed to bungle that up. Installation would be impossible without moving the tank and stand, which would be hard. As a last resort, I measured the width of the hardboard template and the width of the sump. I knew the template would be wider, but would the difference be enough to clear the stand? The template was 2 3/4" wider than the sump. That narrower sump should clear the stand just fine. Phew, good planning on my part! ;)

Dennis
 
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Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

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I love it when a plan is coming together.
I assume your heart skipped a beat though when you did the first pivot check.

Yes, I was super panicked when I thought I would have to move the tank to get the sump in. I have movers delivering furniture sometime in the next week, so I will make use of them to move the sump to the basement under the tank. Although it depends if they are up for it. I had already ordered some pneumatic large casters to build an adjustable frame to go under the skid to make the move with only myself and minimal help. The casters will be plan B if the movers demur.

I am very curious to see how this dymico/DSB system will work.

I am looking forward to it as well. It is the culmination of a bunch of past experiments in previous tanks. So I have had different aspects of it, all at a smaller scale, and not combined into a single system. The way the unit was designed, I plan to operate it in a semi passive mode for the tank startup and move to the more advanced modes of operation (timed, batch mode, ORP controlled) as the tank develops. We will see if like the pillar, I have done sufficient planning. ;)

Dennis
 

Do you think there are benefits to turning your skimmer off for periods of time?

  • YES (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 26 25.5%
  • NO

    Votes: 37 36.3%
  • Maybe but not sure

    Votes: 36 35.3%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 3 2.9%
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