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Thread: My first attempt

  1. #1

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    My first attempt

    The setup:
    My first attempt was a wooden frame that sits over the top of a sump (which is located in our loft/attic, with water pumped up through the walls/ceiling via a peristaltic pump).
    It was lined with thin clear plastic to protect the wood, with 4 outdoor, waterproof bulkheads holding a 15w spiral compact fluroescent bulb in each. The bulkheads with the bulbs in are mounted on top of the plastic, about 1" away from the mesh on each side.
    The 1200lph pump pumps water up to the PVC pipe with the plastic mesh (9" wide, 18" long).

    The problems:
    The normal household 15W spiral compact fluroescent bulbs are:[list]
    a) too dull
    b) too bulky to make a nice compact filter
    c) too low colour temperature[/list]
    I'm having a lot of problems trying to get the mesh to not splash water, I've had two attempts at cutting the PVC pipe, the second attempt worked better, but cutting with a dremel seems to melt the plastic behind the cutting wheel and end up with a slightly wonky cut. The other issue is that when cut, the PVC pipe seems to push the center of the line that's cut together and almost look like you've not cut it at all, or that it's being compressed, like a spring almost, probably the way the plastic is made.


    Some new ideas:
    Well, I've started a new design.
    The lights:
    I've got 4 Philips PL-L fitting, 18W 6500K bulbs, with ballasts that control two bulbs each.
    The "pros":[list]a) For only 18W, they are amazingly bright
    b) they are a "cool daylight" 6500k colour temp, likely to grow algae a lot better
    c) much more compact, about 1/3 of the depth of the spiral/energy saving bulbs[/list]Cons:[list]a) Require a seperate ballast
    b) Cost very little (around 3.50/$6 per bulb), however the ballasts cost a fair bit (16/$27) each[/list]
    The new design I'm working on, will have a similar wooden frame, with plastic inside, but have the lights behind the plastic, with mirrors behind them to double the output of the lights, this will make the width of the filter much much smaller as the plastic on the inside of the frame can be 1" away from the frame from either side, and only need to be 1" wide on either side of that to contain the lights and mirrors.
    I'll post some photos as I get along with it this weekend.
    Tom.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    1

    Re: My first attempt

    I'll be putting one together for my 2.5 gallon Pico Reef.

    I will be pulling the water out of the back of my AquaClear-70 HOB filter using a powerhead.
    It will flow up a 11" tube and then down over the (one sided) screen (turf algae filter) and back down into the HOB.
    With this small of a tank, I'll only need a small screen 8" tall by 3.5" wide. Once I get this done and working, I'll be ordering my Red/Brown Algae screen from Mike at Inland Aquatics (812) 232-9000.

    Once I have some pictures - I'll put them on here.

    Have a great day and don't forget to upload some photos.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  3. #3
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    Re: My first attempt

    Tom yours seems a special setup. Pics would help.

    I talked with Steve on the phone today; he'll be modifying his build a bit. But it will be applicable to the thousands of nano/hob users out there.

  4. #4

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    Re: My first attempt

    Yeah, I'll post some pics later.
    I'm trying to get a very slimline design with maximum light and the bulbs as close as possible to the mesh.

  5. #5

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    Re: My first attempt

    Here's some photos of the setup:
    The plumbing (2x 6mm RO unit pipes through the side of the sump acting as an overflow, with a 6l/h peristaltic pump sucking water up into the loft/attic into the sump)
    [attachment=8:3ffiym3l]TOM_3632.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]

    Attempt/Design 1:
    [attachment=7:3ffiym3l]TOM_3639.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]
    The problem with this one was the lights just didn't produce enough light (4x 15W compact fluroescent, roughly 3000k colour temp).
    Also the water splashed everywher (as you can see!), even shorted out the IP44 rated bulkhead at one point :shock:
    So I took it apart and put new plastic over the wood, sillicon sealed it in, and put 4x 18W PL-L 6500k bulbs in:
    [attachment=6:3ffiym3l]TOM_3658.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]

    Notice how thin the unit is now, with the lights contained within the width of the wooden baton:
    [attachment=5:3ffiym3l]TOM_3666.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]

    With a mirror behind the unit, there is a huge improvement in light compared to the old design:
    [attachment=4:3ffiym3l]TOM_3664.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]

    Sitting in place on the sump in the attic (notice the peristaltic pump on the left), with the mesh in place:
    [attachment=3:3ffiym3l]TOM_3667.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]
    [attachment=2:3ffiym3l]TOM_3669.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]
    [attachment=1:3ffiym3l]TOM_3670.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]
    [attachment=0:3ffiym3l]TOM_3672.jpg[/attachment:3ffiym3l]
    Notice now, after a few tips from the guys on cutting the pipe, there's no splashing (the only water on the plastic is from when the mesh was taken out).
    The distance from the mesh to the light on either side is around 2.5", and with a mirror, it's about 4.5" away from the reflection of the other side of the bulb.
    Total lighting power: 72W @ 6500k
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Re: My first attempt

    Now that's some construction

    72W might be fine; my T5HO's are only 96W.

  7. #7

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    Re: My first attempt

    sure is, I would have preferred to do it all in acryllic, but it costs a fortune over here in the UK (40/sq m or $6/sq ft), even for pretty thin sheets. If I shopped around a bit I guess I may be able to find it a bit cheaper, but not really worked with it before, so wooden frame just seemed much faster to prototype :lol:

  8. #8

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    Re: My first attempt

    First issue...
    Came downstairs this morning to find about 4litres (roughly 1 gal) of salt water on the floor dripping from the ceiling where the algae scrubber is located in the loft...
    What had happened was the mesh had come loose at one side and fallen under it's own weight, and was half hanging out and water had splashed everywhere, luckily it was a fairly small amount of water (had some spare RO made up already).
    I need some way of securing the mesh (see above photos) as the tube doesn't quite hold it in well enough.
    I'm going to cut some more plastic to put in the sides, which ought to stop any water coming out should it happen again.
    I think I'll chop off the bottom 2" that go into the water anyhow as they'll be next to useless and just add to the weight.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Tom

  9. #9
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    Re: My first attempt

    Use Tie-wraps. Cut them off to clean, and put new ones on. Bummer about the splashing.

  10. #10

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    Re: My first attempt

    That's what I did with the version 1, but I found it tended to splash around the cable tie. It could just be that the first cut I did was crap :lol: hopefully it won't interfere with the flow. I'll try it again on the new pipe and let you know.

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