Setting up a top-off.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by sfsuphysics, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Eight

    Eight Guest

    Yup, that would work perfectly.
     
  2. Thales

    Thales Past President

    The Ca reactor is slightly pressurized, maybe a foot of head - will the LM3 handle it?
     
  3. can the LM pump running 24/7?


    lapsan
     
  4. Eight

    Eight Guest

    I believe it should handle it easily. I have my LM3 pulling topoff water from 70 feet of 1/4" tubing from the garage to the kitchen!
     
  5. Eight

    Eight Guest

    The LM3 doesn't run continuously. It runs in bursts throughout the day. I am not sure what the interval is, but I think it is every 15 minutes or something along those lines. You set the total volume you want dosed in liters per 24 hour period and then the LM3 converts that and disperses that across the 15 minutes bursts.
     
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Ok, I've had my top off running for a little bit, absolutely love it simply because I don't have to freaking top off the water all the time! Now I just need to clean up some cords.

    Some observations/comments for others who might want to do this and are scared like me :D
    I got my switches from Aquahub.com they were a bit cheaper than autotopoff.com, there was a little bit of assembly but if you can't do that level of assembly you probably shouldn't be doing DIY projects in the first place ;). Plus they sold a' la carte, so I ordered a couple additional pieces.

    Hooking it up to a controller/timer is key, you do not want to top off water every time it dips below a level simply because you don't want your pump turning off and on multiple times per day (very easy way to prematurely ruin a pump!)
    For my 180g tank I use a maxijet to move the water, set it up so once a day for 1 minute (smaller time period I can do) it turns the socket on, and if water is low (which it should be) pump moves water. Only 1 minute is needed because it MOVES water, in fact if I could do 15 seconds a day I probably would!

    Other tank is with one of the Tom's aqualifters, figured an energy efficient pump would be nice... stupid me ran the numbers and found how energy inefficient those pumps actually are, sure they don't use much energy,but they don't move much water either. Anyways, I had to setup a second reservoir for this because when my water reservoir is completely full its higher than the sump, so there's a slight siphon effect that occurs, its slow, and I wish the aqualifter had some "shut off" mechanism that doesn't allow water to move, but it was an easy enough fix. The timer for this one is on for ~30 minutes a day, which is more than enough considering how much evaporation occurs, but I leave some wiggle room just in case. Downside of the aqualifters is their head height is quite low, which is why I couldn't use them on my other tank because the sump is not on the floor.

    Not quite sure I want to float switch my reservoir, I think if anything me manually having to fill it makes sure I do double check everything periodically.

    Would I use peristaltic pumps? Probably not, they're quite pricey compared to the alternative, and really you don't need to add water that slowly to a tank. What I would like to do is have everything outside via 1 pump and pvc piping to the tanks, with some PVC solenoids to open when tanks need water, however PVC only solenoids I could find were all in the $300 range, I don't think it's worth that much flash either.
     
  7. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    IIRC, the LM3 spreads it through 150 cycles over the course of the day.
     
  8. Eight

    Eight Guest

    I think you're right. This would mean that it doses every 9.6 minutes. It has the same effect as what Mike does with his timer, but with a narrower time period.
     
  9. ok,cool.i thought i could use it on my calcium reactor.oh well.


    lapsan
     
  10. Eight

    Eight Guest

    Why can't you? I think it would work fine... Do you have a PH controller integrated into your reactor?
     
  11. i need to have continue flow with my churant reactor ,i don't want to wasted all the co2 from the build up.


    lapsan
     
  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Now I'm by no means an expert with Ca reactors, but I would think it would work perfectly fine. You inject CO2 until you reach a particular pH level, which shuts off your CO2 flow, as it breaks up media as your reactor circulates the pH would rise slightly only to be reinjected with CO2, then every 9.6 minutes you get a saturated flow of Ca & Alk water into your tank.

    Only things I could potentially think of is
    1) you'd need to re-do the math to figure out how long the flow should be
    2) not quite sure on the chemistry side how much precipitation would occur if the Alk & Ca levels get a bit too saturated.

    Worst case scenario though you could use a continuous flow peristaltic pump. I think you need the more heavy duty & brushless design for continuous use though. I think it was Ian who shot an email to the pump guys and posted that info (but I could be wrong as my head is a bit cloudy right now)
     
  13. Smitty

    Smitty Guest

    I don't use a calcium reactor so I have no stake in that conversation. I however do run an aqualifter on my setup. It provides the perfect flow for my top off needs. I am of course toping off a picotope. I used to run the aqualifter about 20 inches below the tank. I recently moved and had to rethink this. Due to it being past the recomended 36' of head pressure. To combat this I placed the aqualifter in between the reservoir and the rank. So my reservoir is roughly 4 feet away from were the water needs to go. The aqualifter pulls up about 20'. And pushes up 20' give or take. Works like a champ. And I made the whole setup for 25$. Float switch, pump, tubes electrical wiring, and etc. Have been running the pump for over a year with no failures. So I feel that it is value for the money.
     
  14. iani

    iani Guest

    I don't think it will work for most calcium reactor setups. To keep up with my calcium needs my peri-pump is set at 140 ml/min. The litermeter can do a max of 26 gallons a day per their specs. That is equivalent to about 69 ml/min.
     
  15. iani

    iani Guest

    Mike I did ask apt about their brushless peristaltic pump. I think even the brushless by my calculations would not last more than a year or so.
     
  16. Eight

    Eight Guest

    I think it depends on where you run your effluent drip rate and the reactor in question. You do have awesome growth and mature colonies too, so I suspect your needs are on the higher end.

    All that said, I don't run my reactor off the LM3, I tap off my main pump. I do think that the LM3 can work for a CA reactor, but is probably a more ideal fit for 2 part, water exchanges and topoff.
     
  17. iani

    iani Guest

    True it may work for smaller or moderately stocked sps/lps systems. Rich's system wouldn't fall into that category though.
     
  18. pixelpixi

    pixelpixi Guest

    I use an LM3 for my calcium reactor and it works beautifully. I go months without needing any adjustment at all. One option for dealing with the limited flow rate is to decrease the pH in the reactor. I run mine at well below the maximum rate (though admittedly I don't have a very high Ca/CO3 consumption.)

    You could also hook up an auxiliary pump and run them both into the CA reactor to double the flow rate.
     
  19. iani

    iani Guest

    The question is though why would you want use a LM3 for your calcium reactor when you can find a lab grade cole parmer pump on ebay for less than the cost of a LM3. The cole parmer would be as accurate or more so, plus you would get the added benefit of being able to run it continuously rather than intermittently.
     
  20. Eight

    Eight Guest

    I've used a lab grade watson marlow peristaltic continous pump and a different (non cole parmer) medical pump and I just had problems with both. (Tubing would wear out quickly, very limited head pressure, etc.)

    I haven't used the cole parmer, so I can't comment on them. I hear they work well if you get a good one.

    I just like the litermeter for my autotopoff and water exchange because its accurate, bulletproof, can push water far and is expandable.

    I would say, if you are going for a ca reactor only, might be better to go with a continuous flow pump or tee off a main. (Litermeter could work with some caveats on total flow)

    If you are going autotopoff or 2 part or water exhange, the LM3 is hard to beat, esp with spectrapure's customer service.
     

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