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What can you make with the following ....

Think it, Plan it, Do it
AsleepInYorkshire
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What can you make with the following ....

#280727

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » January 28th, 2020, 10:56 pm

Plan, do, review part one
...
  1. A washing machine valve
  2. A washing machine drainage hose connector
  3. A Hozelock dual valve tap connector
  4. A 16mm masonry bit
  5. 3m of hose pipe
  6. A small jubilee clip
  7. 7 Aquastops by Hozelock
A home made aquarium water changing system that doesn't need buckets fit for a 12 year old to use :geek:

My daughter is fortunate enough to have a separate room downstairs. She has a large desk on which to do her homework and a lounge area at the other end where she can watch TV or spend time with her friends. She is an only child, and apart from being absolutely ruined we also try to ensure she can have friends around as she choses and they can have their own space in which to socialise.

Father Christmas brought her a beautiful aquarium and we have all been working together to create the environment she wants for her upcoming fish population. From the outset I was very aware that Santa needed to get this right. The planning was meticulous. No it was more than that, it was obsessive. Big Chris put hours upon hours into understanding every little detail. He also knew he would have to provide some after-care :roll:

One of the main points I asked him to focus on was the need to change 25% of the aquariums water each week. I wanted him to ensure that this wasn't something beyond the physical parameters of a 12 year old. I explained to him that I wanted the aquarium to be a pleasure and not a chore. For the avoidance of any doubt I did explain to Santa that 25% water changes was 75L. Or roughly 8 buckets out and 8 buckets in. And that would also mean going up some steps.

One extremely helpful shop-keeper was keen to point out that it was good to give a child responsibilities and a few buckets wasn't that difficult. I was assured he could manage quite well. I am not sure he'll ever qualify to be one of Santa's chosen elite elves. The gift of Christmas should endure year round.

Today we have assembled for the first test run of the new system. A dry, wet run if you like. Complete success. We are now ready to complete our mission. On Saturday under the spotlights at the rear of our daughters room we will commence drilling :shock: . We will drill a 16mm diameter hole through the masonry between her room and the downstairs toilet. Through which will travel a small length of garden hose. The hose will connect to a dual tap connector (by Hozelock). Said controller will be inside the vanity unit under the sink. One part connected to the newly installed washing machine drainage hose waste (installed by yours truly) and the other to the new "inline" washing machine valve (installed courtesy of the plumber).

All those hours of research before Christmas paid dividends. The filter that Santa brought was an external cannister filter, with a unique feature. In addition to pumping water around the tank, that is to say in one end and out the other it also, at the turn of two valves pumps water in and out of the tank to and from an external source. Far better than buckets.

By turning a few valves 75L or water can be completely changed in 35 minutes.

AiYn'U

UncleIan
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#280778

Postby UncleIan » January 29th, 2020, 9:26 am

A 300l tank? For a 12 year old? No no, not spoilt at all. Classic only child. What's wrong with a bowl and a goldfish? ;) ;) ;)

Of course, the complication of 25% water change, is that you need to drain off 25% and then refill 25%, I think if I'm reading your post right that's what'll happen.

One thing strikes me immediately, does the water you put into the tank not need treating before it goes in? I've only got a small cold water tank (I mean, technically it's my formerly 12 year old son's, but can't think he's even looked at it for months, possibly longer), but replacement water needs the chlorine or chloramine taken out of it before it goes in the tank, or it could injure or kill the fish.

http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/wiki/How ... e_for_fish

Oh, and keep a very close eye on the ph/ammonia/nitrogen etc etc levels in the tank, especially about now, frequently, and add the fish in slowly, remembering back I thought everything was okay, probably about this stage after Christmas, all settled, added some fish and that knocked everything out of balance (or it wasn't really in balance anyway), and we had a severe case of New Tank Syndrome, and Fishy sadly got replaced with Fishy II (and wasn't the only one).

Apologies if I'm teaching granny to suck eggs here.

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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#280933

Postby staffordian » January 29th, 2020, 5:23 pm

UncleIan wrote:
One thing strikes me immediately, does the water you put into the tank not need treating before it goes in? I've only got a small cold water tank (I mean, technically it's my formerly 12 year old son's, but can't think he's even looked at it for months, possibly longer), but replacement water needs the chlorine or chloramine taken out of it before it goes in the tank, or it could injure or kill the fish.

I wondered about that but AiY mentioned a filter and I wonder if this purifies the incoming water during the filling process as well as keeping the tank water clean. The mention of a two way valve or something similar led me to think this might be the case.

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#283199

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 8th, 2020, 11:56 pm

Plan, do, review part two
AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Today we have assembled for the first test run of the new system. A dry, wet run if you like. Complete success. We are now ready to complete our mission. On Saturday under the spotlights at the rear of our daughters room we will commence drilling . We will drill a 16mm diameter hole through the masonry between her room and the downstairs toilet. Through which will travel a small length of garden hose. The hose will connect to a dual tap connector (by Hozelock). Said controller will be inside the vanity unit under the sink. One part connected to the newly installed washing machine drainage hose waste (installed by yours truly) and the other to the new "inline" washing machine valve (installed courtesy of the plumber).

I'll keep this bit short. I hit a water pipe :oops: . I asked my better half and daughter to pop to the local DIY store to collect a couple of compression joints, whilst I knocked out a space around the damaged pipe to repair it. I hit the hot water feed to the radiator next :oops: :oops: .

But worse was to come. My back was in real agony :( . It's becoming evident that my age and sedentary lifestyle are catching up with me.

I won't bore you with all the other detail ... but thought you would enjoy the confessions of a drill crazed idiot :lol:

Needless to say that I have now instigated a recovery programme and the plan, albeit delayed will succeed.

It occurred to me in a moment of clarity (One of which I have far less often than I need) that the nitrogen cycle is actually something I could interpret in a simple mathematical equation.

Fish produce ammonia. Ammonia builds up in the closed environment and ultimately kills the fish. Which is where the filter comes in. In simple terms the filter breaks the ammonia down. But ... it's a little more complicated. I hasten to add not as complicated as missing all the copper pipes in a wall when drilling with a 16mm masonry bit :shock:

The Nitrogen Cycle (Simplified)
  1. Ammonia is broken down by aerobic bacteria into
  2. Nitrites which in turn are broken down by aerobic bacteria into
  3. Nitrates which are broken down by anaerobic bacteria into nitrogen gas
The "Holy Grail" of fish-keeping is to be able to remove nitrates. Which can be done by
  1. Planting the aquarium - plants use nitrates to grow
  2. Water changes
  3. Chemicals
My daughters aquarium is very heavily planted. And to help with the plant growth are
  1. LED synthesised light suitable for photosynthesis
  2. Carbon dioxide infused into the water
  3. Trace mineral fertilisers
Plant growth is excellent. So much so that the plants need trimming about once a month. Which we do together when there's a 50% water change scheduled.
Here's where my maths mind began to speculate. I postulated (as I do too often) that if I have "one bacteria" then it will have to work twice as hard as "two bacteria". Essentially the more bacteria the more the elements of the nitrogen cycle would be removed. I called up my mate, Google and discussed this in some depth.

Turns out I'm not the only mathematician in town. The "Holy Grail" hunters in the fish-keeping world have gone ahead of me. They have identified the weakness of filtering water. Over time nitrates build up and reach toxic levels in the fish tank. Anaerobic bacteria breakdown nitrates. And these little guys are particularly difficult to keep in the sort of numbers needed to remove all the nitrates in a tropical fish tank. Which [in part] dictates the need to change water.

Pimp the Filter
Plan, do, review
My daughters filter is a Fluval FX4. It moves 2,600L per hour or about 8 times the amount of water in the fish tank. And we've decided we're going to "pimp" it. Today we've added a "booster" to the filter. A simple plastic cannister costing £20. It's full of "mechanical filters", coarse, medium and fine. There is no biological filtering occurring in this cannister. It simply removes the solid materials. What this does, in theory, is allow the mechanical filters in the FX4 to be removed and replaced with biological filtering mediums. This is where the maths kicks in - "more bacteria" allows a higher level of nitrate removal and subsequently reduces the need for water changes.

It gets better from here. The medium currently in the FX4 is a ceramic based medium. It's "adequate". But it's possible there's better out there. So tomorrow I will order some Biohome Ultimate medium. It's not cheap. It's sold as having certain advantages over the competition. It has trace minerals in to help plant growth. Which makes a huge amount of sense. If it does what it says on the tin then it will remove so much nitrate from the water that plant growth will be affected negatively. Biohome claims to have a much larger surface area per kg than it's rivals. It claims that 1kg (at a cost of approx. £15/kg) will clean 100L of water in a moderately populated tank. In a heavily populated tank that doubles. We think we will have a moderately populated tank but we can now fill our FX4 with 5kg's of Biohome which is sufficient for a heavily populated tank.

Biohome comes with no guarantees but it's anticipated lifespan is much greater than its rivals. Some you tube video's have claimed 10-15 years.

The plan is to improve the removal of nitrates from the water and reduce the need for water changes. It will also reduce maintenance inside the FX4 filter too and if we add a very fine mechanical filter to the "booster" cannister it may "polish" the water even further.

We don't anticipate or expect to stop changing the water. But we do think if the plan comes to fruition that water changes will reduce significantly to something in the order of 25% every two weeks. The amount of maintenance on the contents of the FX4 should fall to virtually nothing dependent upon the life expectancy of the[Biohome] medium. The mechanical filter will need frequent changes about once a month, but this should amount to no more than 20 minutes work.

To the best of my knowledge I will not need to drill any more holes in any walls or the like. My credibility whilst damaged may recover if the "Pimp the Filter" plan proves successful.

AiYn'U

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#285540

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 19th, 2020, 11:20 pm

Earlier this evening I tested the water in my daughters aquarium.

There were no nitrates. The new medium was added to the filter on Sunday morning. At that time the nitrate levels were about 20-25ppm. I didn't remove the existing medium which was about 1kg of ceramic rings. I also added some biologically loaded orbs which came with the Biohome Ultimate medium.

We've not carried out any water changes since adding the new medium.

I half expected the nitrates to fall and half not. I will test for the next few weeks.

We also added an additional 12 fish on Saturday. Albeit they are all juveniles the tank now contains 38 fish.
  1. 1 x Siamese Flying Fox
  2. 3 x Otocinclus
  3. 6 x Cardinal Tetras
  4. 6 x Harlequin Rasboras
  5. 6 x Zebra Danios
  6. 3 x Sterbai Corydoras
  7. 1 x Julii Corydoras
  8. 12 x Ember Tetras
The plan is to add an additional 30-32 fish.
  1. 3 x Golden Barbs
  2. 4 x Five Banded Barbs
  3. 8-10 x Penguin Tetra
  4. 6 x Black Neon Tetra
  5. 3 x Cherry Barbs
  6. 2 x Julii Corydoras
  7. 3 x Golden Corydoras
  8. 1 Red Tailed Shark
The plants continue to grow very well although the plants immediately below the light seem to grow about 50-60% faster than the others. I suspect we're about 20% short on the light needed but we're restricted on the lights we can buy due to the size of the opening at the top of the aquarium. I'll do some research on "excessive" lighting. I think if the nitrates and phosphates are minimal the additional "lumens" created by a second light will not cause algal blooms. I also need to understand how to control phosphates in the tank. Cleaning the substrate floor (it's sand) will help, but I'm not sure there's much more we can do after that.

Most of the fish have names ;)

AiYn'U

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#286132

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 22nd, 2020, 7:02 pm

22nd February 2020
My Daughters Aquarium - Update Review

The Nitrogen Cycle
  1. Ammonia - nil
  2. Nitrites - nil
  3. Nitrates - nil :)
Phosphates
  1. Before water change - 2ppm
  2. After 50% water change - 1ppm
  3. Already in tap water - 0.5ppm
Plant Growth
  1. Planted growth - excellent - Co2 source needs replacing - 2kg Co2 fire extinguisher connected to dual stage regulator - lasted ten weeks
  2. Algae growth - minimal but probably "slightly" unacceptable
  3. Plant Fertiliser - added daily
Current Cast Count :roll:
  1. 3 x Otocinclus - as last week (alw)
  2. 6 x Cardinal Tetras - alw
  3. 6 x Harlequin Rasboras - alw
  4. 6 x Zebra Danios - alw
  5. 3 x Sterbai Corydoras - alw
  6. 3 x Julii Corydoras - +2
  7. 12 x Ember Tetras
  8. 8 x Black Neon Tetras - +8
To Add With Time
  1. 3 x Golden Barbs
  2. 4 x Five Banded Barbs
  3. 6 x Penguin Tetra
  4. 3 x Cherry Barbs
  5. 3 x Golden Corydoras
  6. 1 Red Tailed Shark
Tweaks
  1. Purchase 2nd LED light. Fluval Plant 3.0
  2. Purchase additional digital timer plug socket and set wave/tide pump to run for 30 minutes twice a day
  3. Adjust Co2 digital timer plug to pump Co2 1hr before aquarium lights come on at 10am. Adjust Co2 to turn off 1hr before lights at 10pm.
  4. Reduce Co2 levels "ever so slightly"
  5. Reduce fertiliser to 3 times per week
  6. Check ammonia and nitrate levels twice weekly after new fish added
  7. Change 10% of water weekly and adjust to maintain phosphate levels at less than 1ppm.
Sources of Phosphate
  1. Fish food
  2. Tap water
  3. Dead plants
  4. Dead fish
  5. Fish poo
Mutterings
Whilst high phosphate levels cannot harm fish they can invite algal blooms which apart from looking unsightly can reduce oxygen levels in the water and generally start to undermine the balance of the ecosystem. However, my daughters aquarium does have 3 Otocinclus and they literally devour algae in huge quantities. We've supplemented the variety of fish food to include a food they should be able to eat. We have tried to hoover up some of the fish waste but the aquarium is very heavily planted and the substrate is sand. It's a reasonably difficult task which we have tried to make a little easier by using a Fluval gravel cleaner kit that attaches to the filter pump and recirculates the water after the debris has been filtered out.

We've been unable to find the Siamese Flying Fox. No remains or clues. It's possible, although not as probable that she's still alive and hiding in the plants or under the bogwood. We are assuming the worst though. We have taken the mechanical prefilter cannister apart to see if she had been sucked into the filter system but found nothing. There's nothing wrong with the water quality which could suggest a cause. It is sad to lose a fish and worrying that we don't have a clue what happened to bring this about.

Snails
Three snails have been evicted this week. They obviously came in with the plants.

Bragging Rights
I'll see if I can get some photographs sorted

Aiyn'U

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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#286442

Postby Tortoise1000 » February 24th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Thank you for your piscine posts, AsleepInYorkshire. I am delighted to see that we have a fish section on YTST :-)

T

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#287759

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 29th, 2020, 11:44 pm

29th February 2020
My Daughters Aquarium - Update


Plan, Do, Review, Act
This time last week it seemed simple. The plan was to put more fish into the aquarium. Those fish had already been selected from a well researched list. Ahead of our purchase we called in for breakfast at our favourite garden centre. When we arrived at the fish shop we found the Black Neon Tetras were quite mature and large. Not what my daughter wanted. We spotted two Julii Corydoras whilst there so we decided to buy them. The plan was to drive to a second fish shop and purchase the Black Neon Tetra there. We took a slight detour and stopped at yet another fish shop. They had plenty of fish available so we purchased 8 Black Neon Tetra and drove home.

We have spent this week removing 6 of these fish as they have died. We have also had to remove a Neon Cardinal Tetra and a Julii Corydoras.

All in all a completely disastrous week, not just for us, but the fish too.

I've spent a great deal of time planning this. It was after all a Xmas present for our daughter. It currently doesn't feel as well thought out as it was though.

I've been thorough too. I've tested for everything both before purchasing new fish and after finding dead fish. Nothing. No ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. And no signs of any distress or disease before the fish passed away. No clues at all.

Except one. The fish shop we purchased the Black Neon Tetra's from is where we have also purchased other fish. In all we have purchased 18 fish from this particular shop. Twelve have died. A total of 14 fish have died if we include 2 that were purchased elsewhere.

There have been absolutely no external signs of illness with any of the fish that have died. They have died quite suddenly.

It would be foolish to completely rule out anything that I have control of in the fish tank as being the cause. But probability suggests the source of the problem is one particular fish shop.

So the plan has now changed. Action - no additional fish until the sudden deaths stop.

Water changes will continue once a week replacing 12.5%.

A particularly depressing week. I'm not sure I am the source of the problem, but am double checking just in case.

There's a wall of air at the rear of the fish tank. Today me and my daughter watched the three Otocinclus swimming over the top of this and peeling off into a 90 degree dive through the air bubbles. As they reached half way down they stopped and allowed the bubbles to take them back to the surface.

AiYn'U

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#288965

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » March 6th, 2020, 9:44 pm

6th March 2020
My Daughters Aquarium

Plan, Do, Review, Act

Two more piscine residents have passed away this week. The last on Tuesday. We've continued to monitor the water quality and it remains perfect.

If I've learned one thing during my 40 year tenure in a commercial role in construction it's that sometimes when the brown stuff is hitting the whirly thing throw money at it. Whatever the cost solve the problem. And do it quickly. On Wednesday night we drove to Bradford where we collected a preowned 100 litre aquarium. Job lot including 8 fish. I couldn't bring myself to refuse the fish as I didn't know how they would be disposed of. This tank now stands in the corner of the lounge and will immediately become a quarantine tank. All 8 fish survived the journey.

My daughter has laid claim to 7 of the new residents. One is a very specialist fish and we will need to find it a good home. It's a juvenile and we have time on our side. Tomorrow the two ladies of the house are apparently getting their hair done :roll: By some coincidence I too am having my ears lowered :lol: In the afternoon we are going to do our small trip to the garden centre for "late breakfast". From there we will buy some new fish to go in the quarantine tank (noting we will not be going to the shop we believe sold us the fish which started the problem). We're also going to get some plants and stuff for the quarantine tank.

The incoming fish will not be transferred to my daughters aquarium until one month has passed with no further fish passing. We are also going to use a general cure in the tank which is recommended for internal parasites. Whatever the fish are dying from does not have any external symptoms.

We will carry out a water change as planned.

The second LED light has arrived and is now active. We've turned down the Co2 ever so slightly and we've reduced fertiliser to 4 times a week. We've adjusted the time which the Co2 comes on and goes off so that it's 30 minutes ahead of the lights coming on , going off.

We've evicted 2 snails this week.

I did say I'd try and put some photographs up - I didn't feel like it after last weeks problems. I will get round to it.

Oh ... I nearly forgot - that second hand aquarium cost £200.

AiYn'U

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#293283

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » March 22nd, 2020, 11:08 pm

22nd March 2020
My Daughters Aquarium


A week and a day passed with no further deaths. Then one of the last two black neon tetras became seriously ill. It was clear it wasn't going to survive. It was swiftly followed by another Ember Tetra. And at last a clue to the underlying issue. Before it passed the ember tetra had a white bulge in its back area. The penny dropped. Neon Tera Disease. Bloody hell. An incurable illness which can wipe out an entire tank as despite its name it's not confined to neon tetras. It was named that after the fish it was first discovered in.

Since then another ember tetra has passed away. I'm still on the backfoot with this situation and it's not a place I enjoy. The simple reality is I should have had the quarantine tank in place before all this. I was complacent. I've consoled myself with the fact that thirty years ago when I kept fish I had never heard of neon tetra disease. I've also managed to work out that even now my diagnosis could be incorrect and have treated the tank with an internal parasite remedy. No fish have died since that was added. Hopefully I am wrong - but I stand to be corrected.

We've done some work on the quarantine tank and that is now looking good. We've also added some additional fish. These stand ready to go into my daughters tank when the time is right. In the meantime I've hatched a plan. I need a third tank. It needs to be 200 litres, not the 100 litres we have for quarantine. This third tank would become an isolation tank in which all those fish in my daughters tank could be placed. Thus freeing up her tank for a continuance of her wish to populate her tank. Given the overall population of her tank will be about 70 fish then we need to do some maths. There are fish in the quarantine tank which she wants and of course any fish that survive the isolation tank (when it comes) and in her tank we will add the balance of fish.

The current social isolation rules are reducing the number of preowned tanks available so my plan has unfixed timelines.

The quarantine tank is in the lounge. And I anticipate the isolation tank will join us there too. I'm sweeping eBay, Gumtree and some smaller fishkeeping hobbyist sites to find that isolation tank.

AiYn'U

AsleepInYorkshire
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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#297427

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » April 3rd, 2020, 3:29 pm

I did say I'd get some photographs up of my daughters aquarium.

I've eventually managed to find out how that's done.

These were taken about two months ago.

Image
Image

And here's the quarantine tank

Image

AiYn'U

I will work out how to reduce the size of the pic's as I learn more :ugeek:

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Re: What can you make with the following ....

#298031

Postby Tortoise1000 » April 5th, 2020, 3:59 pm

What a beautiful aquarium, AsleepInYorkshire. I am so sorry about all your fish.

T


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