DIY Stand (Planning Stage)

When breaking down my tank for a reboot, I discovered that my stand had pretty sever water damage and needed to be replaced. Originally I just wanted to paint the stand white to match the rest of the room. Since that was no longer an option, I decided to build one myself. I have 6 weeks to get this done, so it is going to be a lot of little bits of work between work and dinner most nights.

The nice thing about starting over is that I can design it the way I want it, not the way it came. I would love to have a “dry” compartment for electronics and a larger sump area that can fit my top off and dosing containers. I did some digging and found a few design elements that I liked and then I jumped into SketchUp to draw it all out.

Here’s what I came up with:

Stand Rendering

The tank is 24×24″ but this stand is 36×33″ (including the shelf on the top). The extra space allows me to create the shelf, a nice thing to have to put things down on while working, and to create the extra space inside that I need for the electronics and equipment.

Stand with Doors Removed

To maximize the interior space and my access to it, I’ve designed the doors to take up the entire face of three sides. The doors will be the skin when installed. They’ll all be held on with magnets so I can get them out of the way while working. That’s another thing about my current stand that bothers me. I have to twist and work around the doors.

Stand without the Doors

Here’s the stand without the doors. You can see on the left side there is a “dry” compartment to hold my electronics. On the right side is where the sump and all of the related components will go. As you can see, looooooots of space.

Rendering of it all together

And finally, here is everything all together. Now…. to the shop!

Flood No More!

I have an amazingly supportive and understanding wife. She’s never said no to any of my aquarium projects. That said, I think the last time I flooded the basement making RO water pushed the limits. We have high CO2 in our water, so I need to degas it before running it through the DI stage. That means I need to fill up a bucket and run an air stone in it for 24 hours. It takes me about an hour to fill up this 5g bucket with my booster pump set to 85 PSI. I used to just set a timer on my phone and go down to the basement and shut the production off. That’s worked fine 95% of the time, but I’ve flooded the floor and my workbench at least 5 times. The last time I wound up with about 20 gallons on the floor. Whoops!

My  booster pump has a pressure switch to shut down the pump and a solenoid to shut off the water flow. There’s really no reason I shouldn’t have this set up with a float valve to turn everything off automatically. Bulk Reef Supply makes a kit with everything you need to do this for just $25. (Click Here)

In the kit you get a fixed position float valve, some rigid 1/4″ tube, a check valve and an auto shut off valve. Installation took me all of 5 minutes. Let’s review each part and what they’re for…

The fixed position float valve is very similar to how your toilet works. It is just a simple hollow space that floats when the water reaches it. Once enough water is in the bucket, the valve at the back of it closes. There are some options out there for adjustable position float valves, but don’t buy them! You’re liable to forget to check if it is tight and the valve will never shut off.

The rigid tube is fairly self explanatory. They give you plenty. One section goes between the compression fitting at the back of the valve and the output side of the check valve. The rest goes either to your DI output or your RO output and hooks into the other end of the check valve.

The check valve is important. You don’t want water to flow back into your RO system and you need it to build up the needed pressure to shut the system down when the valve closes. Make sure you have the flow pointed into your bucket.

The final piece of the puzzle is an automatic shut off valve. This closes the drain line when no water is flowing through the system. If you didn’t use this, even though you aren’t making product water you would still be putting water down the drain. This simple device senses when no product water is moving through and also shuts off the drain line.

Here’s what my completed setup looks like. You can see the output of my RO (which is connected to my TDS meter) running up to the input of the check valve (the white side). Then from the check valve into the compression fitting on the valve. (The tube coming out of the bottom goes to my DI stage after this water is degassed)

Inside the bucket is the float valve. I set it so I can mostly fill this bucket up.

And that’s it! Simple project with hopefully big and dry results.

Weird/New Way to Frag Zoas and Palys

I think we are all familiar with the standard way to frag zoas and palys.  You cut them off a rock or cut a frag plug and glue them on another.  Pretty simple, right?  I usually wind up whacking a few polyps in the process and as a result I’ve tended to just go with “natural frags” by putting a piece of rubble next to a colony and waiting until it grows onto it.  I came across a really cool thread on Reef2Reef.com where “GoFish” talks about a new and quite possibly brilliant approach.  Just cut the top of the polyp off an glue it to a plug and you wind up with two polyps…. How could that work!?

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