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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
Thanks Roy. The ballast I’m using is an Advance T5HO. Each bulb is 54 watts. I went with 6700K bulbs. I’m real happy with the ballast; it was easy to wire and performs great. Right now I’m running the lights for 8.5 hours a day with a 3 hour midday burst. In the winter it's real nice to come home to all that light!
 

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Sonaps:
Great Job with that lighting fixture, looks terrific!. Where did you added the ballast and timers in you cabinet?

Please, Post us an update picture of your tank showing the new lighting ;), I am sure this will be for our enjoyment!
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Thanks Mulita. I mounted the ballast on the right side of my cabinet. The timers are just plugged into power strips right now (it's real messy). I'll be adding some outlets to the stand soon and then I'll post a better picture of that side of the stand.

You want a tank pic hu? I guess that is why I'm doing all this, right? I'm hesitant to give one since the tank never looks "quite right". I tore all my HC up at the beginning of the month and it's just starting to grow back. But I guess I'll let you see what it currently looks like. I took this pic last week, at night when only one set of lights was on. I didn't think to turn the other one on for the picture. But you can still see, by the reflection off the taller plants, that the T5's are quite bright.

 

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Tank is looking great!, I am sure that it look terrific when the HC grows again. Very healthy tank.


those T5 are working great, very good ligthing level you are getting. is that star grass in the middle?, the tank is really looking great. Congrats
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
I'm reviving this dead thread to give an update on the reactor/heater combo. I was doing some maintenance on the Mag 7 and noticed that there has been some heat damage to the casing. I started inspecting it throughout the day to see how hot it gets. It's pretty cool in the morning but by the end of the day it's hot to the touch. The reason for the pump getting hotter at the end of the day must be because that's when the reactor has a big CO2 bubble in it. I designed the unit with a U bend that would allow the water to be supplied to the pump without the pump having to pull the water to it. However, when the CO2 bubble builds in the reactor it essentially lowers the water level on that side of the U. When the water level falls below the intake of the Mag drive the drive has to start pulling the water up to it. Here's a repeat picture of the unit to help you visualize:



Possible fixes for this would be: 1) to make the reactor side of the U longer; 2) make the heater side of the U shorter; 3) eliminate the tubing between the heater and the Mag drive; or 4) alter the design and place the pump at the bottom of the unit. I don't have room in my stand for the first option; my heater is about as short as they come so the second option isn't really an option either; if I go with the third option the Mag will send more vibration through my pipes which is why I used the tubing in the first place, so I don't want to go with that option; which leaves me with option four: redesigning the unit. I'm just trying to figure out how I'll fit the pump at the bottom of the new unit. I don't have much space to work with, so it'll be hard to fit the tubing between the pipes and the Mag drive, to keep the vibration noise down. I'm thinking of using a larger diameter pipe for the reactor side so I can make it shorter and put the pump under that side. I'm not sure I have enough room for that though. I'll have to think it trough a bit more.
 

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You could also eliminate the big CO2 bubble by increasing the efficiency of the reactor... add bioballs or something. Better disolution would mean no big bubble. I have my CO2 going directly into my Magnum 350, which has the motor on the bottom. 100 dissolution until the end of the day when it has built up a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Endgin33, it’s funny that you should ask about the pump. The pump started to act up last week. I guess ignoring the issue didn’t resolve it.:doh: I heard some weird noises, even through my “quiet box”, and found that the pump was cycling on and off every several minutes. I disconnected it and tested it in difference conditions, even submerged in cold water, and it continued to cycle on and off. So, lesson learned – don’t make a mag drive work for its supply water. For now I’ve closed that portion of my loop and put a powerhead in the tank with my CO2 feeding into the intake of the powerhead. I’ve also added a heater to the tank since the heater was on that loop as well. That works for now; until I get around to redesigning the heater/reactor and ordering a new pump.

Bunny 1978, are you sure you are getting 100% dissolution, or is it possible that some of the gas makes it through your media before it’s 100% dissolved? In any case I don’t think that bio balls would solve the problem. The way things are set up now the bubble doesn’t have to grow that large for the water level to get below the pump inlet. And there will always be a small bubble that builds in this type of reactor. I think that moving the pump down will be the best solution for me. I have even considered putting the heater on the right (or inlet side) and the reactor on the left (or output).
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 ·
Unfortunately the mag drive wasn’t the only thing to stop working recently. My ballast, which I’ve really, really liked decided that it wanted to stop working too. I tried a lot of different things to test the ballast, but apparently it’s completely dead. I still had the 2-bulb ballast that I got from Clint (see earlier posts) last year. So I changed the dead ballast out and connected only 2 of the bulbs to the working ballast. Of course I had a reduction in growth and stunting in some plants. Some of the high light plants started looking bad enough that I eventually went back to see Clint. Luckily he was in when I dropped by and was nice enough to hook me up with 2 more 2-bulb ballasts (he didn’t have any 4-bulb ballasts in). I added another 2 bulb ballast over the weekend and the light system’s working great again. In fact I think I like the current setup even better because now if a ballast goes out I don’t lose all the light. It’s also easier and cheaper to change out a 2-bulb ballast than a 4-bulb one.
 
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