Aqurium Disaster

We woke up Saterday morning to this. Yep, a half empty 75 gallon fish tank.
The culprit is somehow my new Overflow Box. It didn’t seem to leak. The only thing I can think of is that one of the the drain tubes (looped back on itself here to test for leaks) was in a bad spot and caused water to drain out of the tank as opposed to into the tank.
Here I have looped the drain tube onto itself to test for leaks. I filled the overflow box up. Note the water in the box vs the green tank.
Here you can see that the water drained out of the overlow into the tank. So there IS a leak, but it’s on the tank side. Not a big deal, really. There is a joint on the tank side I can’t seem to be able to seal up.

I just can’t figure any better then the tubes weren’t long enough and moved in the middle of the night so water drained out the side of the tank.
I am going to cut longer drain tubes and zip-tie them into the inside of the tank.

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Industrial Flat Roof Leak Detection

At work, the HVAC guy was in yesterday, trying to hunt down the leaks in the roof. (We had a leak the night before when it wasn’t raining, so there was an AC condensation buildup, the traps had gotten messed up this winter. )

He was tasked with sourcing the OTHER leaks as well (not sure how that’s his responsibility, but, to some a leak is a leak, if he can fix one, he can fix them all). Talk about mission impossible. Flat roof, with lots of stuff sitting on top, with holes poked through for whatnot.
Rainy day, the roof leaks. They can’t work on it in the rain. They come a day or two later. How do you catch the leak then?
My idea, send a ‘salesman’ out with my idea. Find the leak, mark it. 
You know those 3/4 rotor UAV/RC helicopter thingys?
Yeah, like that.
Use one of those in the attic space to fly right up and have a look at the roof.
I am thinking dual video cameras, with rotating polarizers and multiple colored lights to make the water leaks visually ‘pop’ out at the UAV operator.
Basically, it would need to be a ‘smart’ R/C able to fly up to a wall, maybe even brush it, but not drive hard into it even if told to.
The UAV would need some pretty good sensors to keep from trying to fly through the wires that hold the ceiling tiles up, insulation, etc. If done right, you could probably even get it to fly through the roof structure steel ‘by feel’, letting it bump and dodge it’s way through.
Hrmm, a RC flier that can ‘feel’ it’s way through an obstacle course. Might be fun in the woods too…

CO2 Reactor Modifications

I did a little research last night on the internet about how other people where building their CO2 reactors. Nothing like researching after the fact, right? I was looking to see if anybody else was building their reactor the same way I was. I didn’t find reference to it, but, there are hundreds of DIY Reactors out there, so I not too worried about not finding one. I did stumble across a person who used an RC airplane part called a Bulkhead Fitting. This looked to be a much cleaner way of attaching the airline tubing to my reactor.

Big Al’s was having it’s 1 year anniversary this weekend, and the “plant guy” was giving a demonstration on how to build a proper planted tank. I figured I wouldn’t learn much, but it was something to do with my Saterday, so I went. I was right, his song and dance was for new peeps, and not experienced planted tank creators. More importantly, there is a hobby shop next to Big Al’s, so I could pick up this part.

At the hobby store, in the RC airplane section, I found my new fitting. It is a “Large Bulkhead Fitting, 1/8 inch I.D.” packaged by a company called “Fourmost Products”. It is designed to be used as a fuel line connector.

These modifications replace the previous steps I have posted to my blog.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is my old (heh, 2 whole days!) airline connection using a airline tube elbow fitting. I had zip-tied it together. I had managed to make the whole reactor without any glue, and it didn’t leak (much)!

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the top part of my new fitting. I think this looks much better then the old fitting did. I used the old part of the hose that had the old fitting cut into it to make a seal for my new fitting. I don’t have any small O-rings for this yet, so I had to improvise. Getting proper O-Rings is on my todo list.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the inside view of my new fitting. Don’t do what I did, and make the hole too close to the outside of the endcap so the nut won’t set square. I still put it together like this because I am way to impatient to go get some silicone, and seal the hole up, and drill a new one. My fitting does leak just a tiny little bit, but not enough to worry about it today.

CO2 Reactor airline fittingHere is the finished reactor modification. I really like that the blue fitting matches the blue bioballs. The fitting seems just the right size for my airline tubing.

I am going to use the other fitting that came in the two-pack and replace one of my CO2 bottles where the current glued together mess is coming apart. Posted by Picasa

Home Made CO2 Reactor

My friend Matt flew in yesterday from Arizona. We ended up going to Big Al’s pet store. We where looking at the planted tank accessories, and noticed that they want $130 for a CO2 Reactor. We put one together for under $40.

A CO2 Reactor is a device used with planted tanks that will help push Carbon Dioxide into the aquarium water. Plants LOVE carbon dioxide. It is a major fertilizer.

Here are the $40 worth of parts I needed to make my Homemade CO2 Reactor. These parts include a couple of Siphon aquarium Cleaners, some Bio-Balls, airline tubing and couplers, and an Eheim Filter part I used for a water line splice.

We disasembled one of the aquarium siphons and attached the hose to the other siphon. These are Python brand siphons, they are fitted by compression – no glue, so just pull hard, they will come apart. There are enough bio-balls inside to completely fill the tube.

Here Matt and I are leak-testing the Do It Yourself CO2 Reactor in my bathroom. We hooked it up to my Ehiem Canistor Filter, ran it into a bucket of water, and turned it on. Can you believe? It works! Only a minor leak too!

Here you can see the CO2 Reactor installed on my fish tank. I wanted it to be visable, so I mounted it right up front. I just think this gadget looks so darn cool!

More complete assembly details to be coming soon. Posted by Picasa