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About dchild

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  • Location
    Vienna VA
  • Interests
    fish, homebrewing
  1. I recently replaced a maxi-jet 1200 mod with a Koralia 4 because the former started rattling after a few months, which my wife did not appreciate. The Koralia works just fine, but it feels like about half the flow of the MJ mod. (I don't have any measurements to back up that statement.) A single MJ mod reshaped my sandbed and sustained various SPS (including acros) for half of my 6' 125. Neither one of the two (koralia/MJ mod) is good for a wavemaker. They both have the same two problems: they are open, so fish/snails/etc can crawl in while it's off and be shredded or block the prop when it turns on, and due to the nature of these AC magnetic pumps, they cannot control which way the propeller spins on startup. A traditional powerhead doesn't care which way it spins (and they do spin both ways; it picks one at random when it starts up). So the propeller-based pumps need a mechanism to reverse the prop. In the MJ mod, that involves the propeller smacking into something which will chew it up real fast on a wavemaker (not to mention the noise). I'm not sure how the Koralia solves the problem.
  2. Hi there - if it's not too late, I'll take 2x 35 (55 OK if for some reason 35 not available) Thanks!~ Steven
  3. disclaimer: I have no formal training in this. Follow my advice at your own risk. I don't think your typical multimeter will do what you want it to do. Electronic ballasts run lamps at very high frequency AC (well, high compared to the 60Hz from the wall), and they are "load-sensing", so they will provide higher voltage at startup and adjust themselves depending on the number of lamps connected. You won't get an accurate test unless it's under load. (For example, if you were to test a "wall wart" power supply at no load, it will show a much higher voltage than it actually gives. Give it a load, and it drops down to about where it should be.) So you want to test it by hooking it up (use a GFI outlet!). If you have T5's, PC's or VHO's, these will all generally work on a T5 electronic ballast provided they are in the right wattage range. (If they don't work, I believe they simply won't light, and there is little risk of damage to the bulbs). The electronic T5-rated fluorescent ballasts are amazingly flexible and will usually work with most combinations of bulbs up to their rated wattage. "Normal" fluorescent light fixtures work too. (NOT the screw-in CF lightbulbs!). Home depot/Lowes will sell you a 4' shop light for <$10, or a smaller one for about the same price. Also perfectly reasonable to buy a fluorescent bulb and the end caps (<$5), wire it up and you can test it without a fixture. Be careful to keep it safe (use a GFI, do not let any bare wires touch anything they aren't supposed to, wear goggles, and stay away from flammable substances). If it does not work, it is most likely either (a) completely dead or (b) shorted out. In the former case it just won't light, and you can set your multimeter on the highest AC setting and see if you have any voltage at all (test from yellow to either red or blue. It's AC, so polarity doesn't matter). In the latter case, it will trip the GFI. Good luck, and be careful! Steven
  4. Good to hear! I was surprised how much difference bigger plumbing made in my case.
  5. IMO, you should not use less than 1" unless you absolutely have to, and you should consider using bigger than 1". I have used 1/2", 3/4" and 1-1/4" and can attest to the difference in flow from the same pump. If you cannot use large diameter PVC for the whole thing, consider some alternatives: 1) Make all the plumbing >= 1" from the pump up to the back of the tank, then bring it down to 3/4" or whatever for just the last bit which you see in the tank (in other words, if you can't make the whole thing out of big pipe, make as much as you can out of big pipe) 2) Make several parallel small-diameter paths for the entire length of the plumbing, i.e. 2x 3x4" lines side by side. This is less efficient since the flow area is proportional to the square of the diameter (exponential increase) while multiple lines are linear, but will still make a big difference. 3) Related to 1 and 2, use multiple nozzles into the tank, and multiple drains if you can. Notice how bbyatv has several nozzles going back into the tank, and they are smaller plumbing than the rest. This is smart as the several nozzles, even at a smaller diameter, put much less pressure on the pump and allow more flow. 4) If you have to make a choice, I would consider the diameter of the "return" pluming to the pump more important than the plumbing from the pump back to the tank, since the pump is far better at pushing water than pulling water. Looks like bbyatv does this as well.
  6. If you are building a new one, I recommend you consider larger diameter pipe. I replaced my 3/4" return plumbing with 1-1/4" in an attempt to add a second Mag7, both returning through the same pipe. I had one lying around and I thought the first one wasn't moving enough water. After replacing the plumbing my return couldn't keep up with even 1 Mag 7; I had to dial it back. Bigger PVC takes more space and it's more expensive (esp the fittings) but the reduced drag makes a big difference.
  7. I run a Mag 7 external CL, tho the pump gets pretty hot so I put a fan on it. A lot of heat that could be going into my tank instead!
  8. dchild


    That's good to know. I have not used it near water and I'm glad you brought it up before I tried it! Thanks!
  9. dchild


    IMO... It depends on what you want it to look like. You can make a stand for that tank with a couple of 2x4s and a handful of 3" screws for $15-20 (link), and I submit that the resulting stand will be sturdier than almost any off-the-shelf unit. You don't even need the plywood on top if it's a glass tank. However, at this point it is not something most of us would want in our living room. I've made a couple of these, and I "skinned" them with a very thin sheet of finished plywood which I painted - that adds another $25. They each took a couple of hours, and the hardest part is making it square + level. They still didn't look great or have doors but I was OK with that. If I was making doors I would probably have skinned with MDF instead. I think up until this point it is probably cheaper to DIY (using only pine + MDF). Beyond here you start getting into hardwoods, fancy hardware, molding, etc and that will add up quickly. But if you can live with one of the above stands, it will be cheaper and stronger than the stands from the LFS.
  10. Cool, let us know how it goes. Be warned that computer UPS's could have problems being used as a charger; they have custom chargers designed for a specific battery type and capacity and I have read that they don't take well to adding additional batteries. For the record (sounds like you don't have this problem) make sure not to mix types of batteries (AGM, wet, etc). Lights (resistive load) are not a good test case for pumps (inductive load). I recommend you run a pump in a bucket or your skimmer pump (not a big deal if it stops working for a day) until you are satisfied. Good luck!
  11. Hey, that looks like a great charger! Microprocessors and PWM charging will take the best possible care of your batteries. My charger (the $25 amazon one) also runs hot (but I can still pick it up and hold it). With adequate ventilation it should be no problem. Also note that your battery was not fully charged when you got it so the charger starts out with some work to do. See if it cools down in a few days. Modern small fans should be able to run continuously for years and they draw insignificant power. It's a noise issue only IMO (I am not an electrician) you need to ground the GFI, a metal enclosure if you used one, and that's it. I'm not sure what you mean about grounding the cord from the relay? Do NOT connect the black terminal of the battery to an earth ground. The higher the inverter is rated the better. Motors (an inductive load) are challenging for inverters, and pumps in particular are rough because they start under load (sort of like starting your car with the clutch out). The higher the rating, the better it can handle the load and the less chance of it burning out. Good choice. IMO overkill, but peace of mind is very valuable. The amount of hydrogen gas released is proportional to the charging amperage (and the frequency of water topoffs, since H2O provides the aforementioned hydrogen), so a true float/maintainer charge will release very minimal amounts of hydrogen. I do not believe that in a room with any air movement at all the hydrogen released could pose any real fire or health risk. (But I'm not a chemist either...) Great investment + quality parts. Most of us have more than that invested in livestock or even just in live rock, plus emotional attachment. Don't forget you can "stack" batteries in parallel! Buy one every year and soon you will be able to run the tank while you're on vacation with battery power alone! And have constant power for your computer, freezer, TV, cable modem, etc.
  12. For parts, I didn't even bother looking at the part numbers. A lot of the parts in the original thread are ABS (black) which are far less common. I recommend building from white PVC and painting. I wish I had taken pictures of the build process, maybe next time. Mine was built essentially from a 1 1/4" coupling and a bunch of reducing bushings; take a few minutes at Lowes/HD doing dry fitting to see what works for you. An eductor will not work so well in a pump-between-buckets scenario. You want all the restriction (which causes back pressure) to be in the nozzle inside the eductor, not after the whole assembly. The eductor trades pressure/velocity for volume, and if you require pressure from it (i.e. through a hose between buckets) then you lose that benefit. From the threads on maxi-jet mods, the preferred flow-measurement method seems to be to hold a plastic bag of known size (say 3 gallons) underwater in front of the eductor and see how fast it fills up. The bigger the bag, the more accurate your estimate, but you need a pretty big space to use it. I say rinse the bag and perform the test in your tank.
  13. Thanks! You pegged it, that coupling was one of the "I'm done driving to Home Depot" compromises. I may redo this and take the coupling out at some point in the future but for the moment I like the increased surface agitation. I have a 125 (6' long) and I have trouble getting adequate surface flow b/c it is plumbed as a room divider which means all the plumbing is on one end. I didn't see that post, but I cannot imagine why whether or not it is a closed loop makes any difference. All the eductor sees is water flow; makes no difference where the pump is. If anything I'd think (in general) they'd work better on closed loops since the lack of head pressure will generally mean a closed loop gets more flow than the return. Is latex paint safe? Well, my fish are still alive I have no knowledge of aquarium-specific usage but I believe once it dries it is functionally the same as spray paint. I've used it in stands and hoods forever with no ill effect. If I do have problems I will let everyone know.
  14. Hey Big J You have inspired me to try this out. I read the threads and then ignored them and made the design up myself. The main differences in mine are: -1.25" coupling instead if 1.5" -a couple creative part substitutions were required, despite trips to 3 different Home Depots -I needed a "custom" adapter since the previous owner of my tank used slip bulkheads and then cut off the pvc inside next to a fitting so normal PVC sizes don't fit -instead of screwing the hose barb in backwards I used a slip reducing bushing and dremeled out the lip inside so I could glue pvc in from both sides. I can't say how much more flow it has given me, but I am definitely getting more surface agitation (then again I made the return nozzle 6" longer) This guy is powered by a Mag 7 closed loop, and brush painted with 2 coats of Rustoleum latex paint. Spray paint would have been much easier but I had this on hand. Works for me! Thanks J!
  15. http://nexfan.com/ http://www.newegg.com/
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