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

OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
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
 
Zoanthids
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
It's close, it's very, very close (to being done).

The builder is finishing up the final bits today!

ACtC-3fcM5IMSHR-n1vgN3IRFe06EZKGlpA8fc_3NfxJ7-sqYuVw_7GjuR0y4CchrA2zMxBzmwLwWomNTAzJNSEtMnakRmGK3si9gUnB3fUY8xfHfe7Uc3ByhKgBfBiX7XqnVS3TbWkEPaAaYwsjmyEqZLU00w=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3fUm6v3LPhpJ00DRWhQKvQXgl3-nYYznwsLUSJpYhjtDlcm8YwwxrDmvjO1E2yRbY8C5TKCdo5FOYLf79BMJKsY1FfeLTwz5oDz9YB9Ly92tup-bdZQprhMfPS3Acdj2raJ_oSiCR6VDI_L7Giniwo8Tg=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3fYdZeSCWXJqeGM-scKRxnvqt6cbVsVDo75M0SdagsejAcb2eG8BcRxGBObAnl-OWv-qDGoS5xt6C8oWV1r0Fdz9nX7eKAE9_u2EnnxS4RaXPLRUu7DDaQ6VWJgs5teQn5o0yvGWbFNaMcBeE4HJ8GFlA=w717-h956-no


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
 
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
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.

ACtC-3dpZ8mHaQB8B3eMqFqdwTtg8FWLeZWKYrUB8QRirPtzkp_st_0F0PmS-bVzZTSo8n2A4Jmwk5w2VYnjwew_Yeb5Q3QHowq896g9zQYSnMid-dSDm2dPS-uYiUqhxHsNwYCagQDF7kx1RJeK1tnl1a96KQ=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3fk9SJ576UUbYV7gzkyRdvNnnvIqcdkxfG4o48sn_hdoDOzJPUBvbVJI_qQLvHXQG6VpAd7T8aEFwqPOSw0NpXufk3HOsD74y-JHwEonOPN0T08LOoHNWsTp8C54WukS3DhqCoCyjvsKdNP5Nq1w2Vweg=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3e5Jn82jYmHqAjIlSbZBzcWIlummE3LYX_RxOB6Wp_jRXPAiakvlZ8d_ToX5tfpOzTEdMcV8wFBlW_ZR4GtylTLCfqk7dgtjJjQmL8_AR_HLU41DugNBeAYE65Desv2BNr90-BkCWcRMHklxXfVa-Q0Jw=w717-h956-no


Dennis
 
Corals.com
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
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.

ACtC-3evxjoOLWpiw1Si8G7rr-lbOG-wEs_KXXYja1WqSIvhxf1nIEx59BFMLB_T19b1JChgkj2o51qznzE9BggV6OWZORShKKz2wTQth2fVZbxM9B_JWBuWSIhJRJic3H94CGk4Y-q8j3wVArZc3re2ODniIg=w1275-h957-no


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.

ACtC-3c3jnm9YTwk8wamP6Fk_C7yuKAtp_ZxJuSr5Z1QMCoA8fKGCtCG1dTZNbGdfjtOvWo10o3gK4Er8VkuxUs2d-AKVeML2ct2yJR6YGzOXtJcKRrodQMpFkeDONzNWX9bB5CgrTapSGMZwWn_0Gmc7oJKoQ=w1275-h957-no


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

ACtC-3em3Jc4TIzSwrAve02zr-3Xkl4R3txc0CPY6IsYdnZI6kLH68gwaV-E-r0pw3jRHbWGFeHUf6J847W8r4AvlmWnfBGALVt1l29FbF2MpIumRFcAGz2GUKjtNDVcsvzd-Npq0rDDFLOpeYWcQdfiUYF9HA=w717-h956-no


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

ACtC-3cTqcWmZ82Rx1FuFXMLDeJOc5xPbFBBefYROJFb2Tm7iiHWhG-8I3zxz8K4ysFsC_Tg8GmCtgX-fAHB_kEcNdkKAcINIJZY5gTWF77WmXQ8KNCOglR4TYXJKAmstRpavLb7J3XCxI8mFYx6pUu4oTaM7g=w1275-h957-no


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

ACtC-3dOkDvKiFgQVK-dAcNqvxoPNqFcAyrR2o48ZVN6FqdgiyTmn4GqADsmJMZguN2UaUjBrQ-HNu2zdyCmZqTDzxveBLniXY5BsOK4IhStMqXxyPSMzOk5x8VCclR0Z4XBTaUA3WlsaEXLUX6EfSg2ykkRcQ=w1275-h957-no


Finally down to the sump. Everything came through shipping great

ACtC-3cyWbyn5YApbV2oVT9Rp3KGGiR81JFanY_VqSh-15ODvdKXXJDb2Tc-0E1zzeRZq8if-5YpSQAR0zSvQYrirlFHie8O6IxFkIQjpMy1OgbrjKo2KXjZoQIAsIrPXvpPnt1mGhPJq9xL1Ws3b3tR9u9cWw=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3dibzmGhiweHJcl9pj79XnzuuNia5pjFB9vDR0c6NkwYBtCcNi6hlDVKHUtOZ4UX8_pkrr0MysdkKwjLC6gN_8PRGsTzOT5oavWrwKwpB4v5doW3E9fD2xVs39yg0mqa1y7OJIU54CaeZHRlY-XBW_CFg=w717-h956-no


ACtC-3c4HMXXD3lWGSN3ntyQ7Ar5J2pHIe_xygq4VtL22t6BQxyRlRstAVoaNq2N6aXyCJa1xbzrlO2rG8y6Xl95ZRXXYVtC9aDjwlBHhHvgn8Kzgaipn5L1U_3K0NM4C7IgEmEkaE4JURWfTg345hCfDNTKdg=w717-h956-no


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
 
Last edited:
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
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
 

ScottB

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
5,560
Reaction score
8,609
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fairfield County, CT
This has been a very intresting build. I love the lights, and can't wait to see the new sump in action. I have never heard of the DyMiCo system. Very much looking forward to seeing it all come together.
Just realizing how much time has gone by with the "final" stages of this build. Also, where the heck did my Summer go?

Yo Dennis! You have other commitments conflicting with our need for your progress? Chop chop!
 
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
This has been a very intresting build. I love the lights, and can't wait to see the new sump in action. I have never heard of the DyMiCo system. Very much looking forward to seeing it all come together.
Oh, um which lights are you referring to? If you mean the phalanx of AI HD26's I was planning to use, I have had second thoughts. I have 5 ATI Stratons arriving very shortly. They were supposed to be here this past Thursday, but there seems to be a problem with flights in Germany being to overloaded with freight.

That is the problem with builds running this long. It gives you time to see all the new products and have second thoughts about what you were planning to use. Well that and I was struggling with how to accommodate the 21 power bricks for the HD26's above the tank. Dealing with the 5 Meanwells of the Stratons sounds so much easier! This will be the 4th or 5th change of plan for the lights, but the last one. Promise.

Dennis
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Just realizing how much time has gone by with the "final" stages of this build. Also, where the heck did my Summer go?

Yo Dennis! You have other commitments conflicting with our need for your progress? Chop chop!
Lol, you and my family. Whenever I see a family member the first words out of their mouth are "Is the tank done?!". It's getting a bit embarrassing actually.

I was making a push to get the sump into place, but ran into a snag. Once the sump is in place, it will make working on the shadowbox difficult. So I wanted to get the shadowbox assembled first. I ordered the front pane of acrylic from a local supplier and had them deliver it as it is too big to fit inside any of my vehicles (I think, I still need to see if I can bend it into my Jeep). When it arrived I realized that it doesn't fit the frame I constructed. That is when I noticed I had provided the acrylic supplier with the same dimensions I had used for my order to the light panel manufacturer (36" x 118"), but at some point the light panel people had converted them to metric (900mm x 2950mm) and they are not close to the imperial dimensions. I have had the panel on hand for quite awhile, so I suspect they needed to shave a bit off the dimensions as they were using 10' sheets and needed room for edge lit LEDs. The acrylic supplier is willing to cut the sheet down to the smaller dimensions, but I need to get it to them to do it. There is always something ....:rolleyes:

Once I have the shadowbox dealt with, then the sump can go under the tank. When the sump is in place, then I can get the facade constructed to build it into the wall. The facade is the final 'major' item.

Dennis
 

ScottB

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
5,560
Reaction score
8,609
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fairfield County, CT
Oh, um which lights are you referring to? If you mean the phalanx of AI HD26's I was planning to use, I have had second thoughts. I have 5 ATI Stratons arriving very shortly. They were supposed to be here this past Thursday, but there seems to be a problem with flights in Germany being to overloaded with freight.

That is the problem with builds running this long. It gives you time to see all the new products and have second thoughts about what you were planning to use. Well that and I was struggling with how to accommodate the 21 power bricks for the HD26's above the tank. Dealing with the 5 Meanwells of the Stratons sounds so much easier! This will be the 4th or 5th change of plan for the lights, but the last one. Promise.

Dennis
This is pretty big news. When were you going to tell us? ;)

I am a big fan of the Stratons. You will love the material & build quality. Unless you are a big shimmer lover, you will really enjoy the light they throw as well. I managed to jam 3 of them over my 5 foot tank.
 
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
This is pretty big news. When were you going to tell us? ;)

I am a big fan of the Stratons. You will love the material & build quality. Unless you are a big shimmer lover, you will really enjoy the light they throw as well. I managed to jam 3 of them over my 5 foot tank.
Well I was planning to post them when they arrived, but I ordered them in May and have been waiting ever since. They shipped about 2 weeks ago, but getting them to actually leave Germany has been a bit of a waiting game.

I thought about using 6 of the Stratons, but my tank has 4" euro bracing, so that would have put them, pretty much end to end, from brace to brace. I decided to go with 5 and leave a bit of the ends unlit.

One issue I have been worried about is overpowering the LED light panel that will be back lighting the shadowbox. It was a fairly pricey feature and I don't want it to be too hard to see the effect. So The same will apply for the front to back footprint. The Stratons are not really able to cover the 36", but I see that as a plus as I wanted the rear a bit less bright to allow the light panel to be more easily seen. I have some privacy film that will be applied to the acrylic front pane of the shadowbox to give it the needed hazy effect for depth. So depending on how the light panel performs through the film, I also have some rigid RGB and white LED strips that I can make into a supplementary LED for top down lighting from the underside of top of the shadowbox frame.

The Stratons are the closest lights available today to some DIY lights that I made for a tank I had about 15 years ago. I actually tried to import some Philips Coral Care v1 units, but Philips made it pretty hard to get a hold of them in North America. When the V2's finally came out, I was disappointed that you had to use the white LEDs or PAR would take a pretty big hit. So the Straton's are my choice in lieu of the Coral Care. Though I still think the light guide tech in the Coral Care is probably the best of all the LEDs today. Other manufacturers should take note.

I am also having someone from Miracles come by to remove the 2 cross braces I have on the tank. They were not required in the original design and were added at my request after the fact, but I have been concerned that they extend too low into the tank and will interfere with the water flow. The routed lip for the weir is only about 1" and the braces are 1/2" thick. Their removal will also make lighting the tank so much easier as I will not have to worry about shining through them or salt creep on them, etc.

Dennis
 
Last edited:

ScottB

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
5,560
Reaction score
8,609
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Fairfield County, CT
Well I was planning to post them when they arrived, but I ordered them in May and have been waiting ever since. They shipped about 2 weeks ago, but getting them to actually leave Germany has been a bit of a waiting game.

I thought about using 6 of the Stratons, but my tank has 4" euro bracing, so that would have put them, pretty much end to end, from brace to brace. I decided to go with 5 and leave a bit of the ends unlit.

One issue I have been worried about is overpowering the LED light panel that will be back lighting the shadowbox. It was a fairly pricey feature and I don't want it to be too hard to see the effect. So The same will apply for the front to back footprint. The Stratons are not really able to cover the 36", but I see that as a plus as I wanted the rear a bit less bright to allow the light panel to be more easily seen. I have some privacy film that will be applied to the acrylic front pane of the shadowbox to give it the needed hazy effect for depth. So depending on how the light panel performs through the film, I also have some rigid RGB and white LED strips that I can make into a supplementary LED for top down lighting from the underside of top of the shadowbox frame.

The Stratons are the closest lights available today to some DIY lights that I made for a tank I had about 15 years ago. I actually tried to import some Philips Coral Care v1 units, but Philips made it pretty hard to get a hold of them in North America. When the V2's finally came out, I was disappointed that you had to use the white LEDs or PAR would take a pretty big hit. So the Straton's are my choice in lieu of the Coral Care. Though I still think the light guide tech in the Coral Care is probably the best of all the LEDs today. Other manufacturers should take note.

I am also having someone from Miracles come by to remove the 2 cross braces I have on the tank. They were not required in the original design and were added at my request after the fact, but I have been concerned that they extend too low into the tank and will interfere with the water flow. The routed lip for the weir is only about 1" and the braces are 1/2" thick. Their removal will also make lighting the tank so much easier as I will not have to worry about shining through them or salt creep on them, etc.

Dennis
I have to believe you've already been through the Straton review thread here that was done by @Reef-Engineer but if not you should. He has some very helpful PAR distribution charts among other things.
 
OP
Dennis Cartier

Dennis Cartier

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 25, 2016
Messages
1,143
Reaction score
1,474
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Brampton, Ontario
I have to believe you've already been through the Straton review thread here that was done by @Reef-Engineer but if not you should. He has some very helpful PAR distribution charts among other things.
Yes, I have seen the thread. In fact, if I recall right, I became aware of the Statons in one of your posts, then read the review by Reef-Engineer, and subsequently decided to make the jump to Stratons. I was surprised to find out that a new panel style LED had crept on to the market and I had been totally unaware.

Dennis
 
Avast

Do you house a "Reef Safe" Angelfish in your reef tank?

  • YES and it's going good

    Votes: 166 41.3%
  • YES but it's not working out

    Votes: 12 3.0%
  • NO I have tried it in the past and it didn't work out

    Votes: 35 8.7%
  • NO I haven't tried yet

    Votes: 175 43.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 14 3.5%
Aqua SD
Top