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easy, inexpensive DIY dosing pump


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#1
glennr1978

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Okay, I'm not the best at describing things clearly, but I'll give it a shot. A while back when I got tired of dosing my tank for Alk and Ca everyday, I decided it was time to start thinking about getting a dosing pump. Well after a little research I realized that the LitermeterIII w/ the additional pump was a bit out of reach for me. I started thinking about it, and all a dosing pump does is pump a set ammount of liquid, at a set time, in set incriments over a period of time, right? So I brainstormed and came up with my DIY budget dosing system.

I'll start with the parts / equipment needed and what they cost.

2x's aqualifters .....around $12 each ($24)

2x's DIGITAL lamp timers....around $12 each at walmart. ($24)

THE LAMP TIMERS HAVE TO BE DIGITAL!!! The one's with the little tabs will not work for this application.

8'ish of airline tubing.....I don't remember exactly, but I'll guess it cost $8.

2x's airline ball valves....about $3

containers for your two part (optional, you could just use the ones they come in if you want).........$5 for two one liter containers with a lid at wal mart.

test kit vial (API works well since it's set at 5ml).

Total cost (estimate)...... <$60.

Here's how it all works.

First, you need to know how much two part solution your tank consumes in a 24 hour period. My tank requires 25mL of each part so we'll use that as an example.

Plug one of the aqualifters into one of the digital timers. Now connect a piece of airline tubing to the nipple on the aqualifter that sucks air in. This piece of airline tubing will be placed in whatever container you decide to use for each of your two parts. Next connect another piece of airline tubing into the nipple on the aqualifter that pumps air out. At the end of this piece you will need to attach the airline ball valve.

Now that you've got it all put together it's time for the "hard part". Set the timer to turn one for ONE MINUTE, and then turn back off. While the pump is on adjust the valve so that it restricts the flow quite a bit. Basically you want to adjust the flow rate until it will only let the pump produce 5mL in one minute. This part will take a few tries to get it dialed in perfectly (took me about 5 or 6 attempts), you just have to be patient.

Now that you've got the pump dialed in it's time to set your lamp timer. As stated earlier, my tank requires 25mL of each part daily. So I have my timer set to turn on and off for one minute 5x's throughout the night to dose for Alk. I don't remember at exactly waht times I have the timer set to dose, but it's about every 2 or so hours. I have it set to dose throughout the night to help prevent Ph swings, which works outstanding I might add!!

In case you guys are wondering, the lamp timer can turn on and off up to 6x's a day. Whenver my SPS and clams are starting to use more than 25mL of each part daily adjustments to the system won't be a problem at all. I'll simply reset one of the times that the timer turns on and off from one minute to 2 minutes. Thus dosing 10mL. You could apply the same prinicple until you reach the desired dosing amount.

For Ca I do basically the same thing as above except I have that pump set to only turn on and off once a day. It turns on a 3:00pm daily for 5 minutes, dosing the full 25mL at once.


I hope that makes sense, and that some of you guys can use this sytem. It's worked quite well for me and my tank for well over 6 months. My readings fro dkh stay extremely consistant at 10, and Ca at 440-460 (API test kits). According to the data log on my Acjr. Ph doesn't fluctuate more than .12 in a 24 hour period.

This should be common sense, but I'll go ahead and state it anyway. MAKE SURE THE THE OUTLET NOZZLE IS PLACED HIGHER THAN THE LIQUID LEVEL IN YOUR 2 PART RESERVOIR CONTAINERS!!! If not then once the pump turns on for the first time it will start a syphon and drain the resErvoir......this will obviously cause BIG problems. Be careful!!

I've been using this system for close to a year without any problems.

Edited by glennr1978, 17 April 2009 - 09:16 AM.


#2
The Propagator

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I need to see a pic of this hot mess. :P

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#3
kennyboy019

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I need to see a pic of this hot mess. :P


Thread is useless without pics!
At least a diagram of some kind.

#4
glennr1978

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I need to see a pic of this hot mess. :P


I'll see what I can do. The inside of my stand is a mess.

#5
The Propagator

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I must be psychic !


:D :P

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#6
Nosey

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Sounds good, I think i'll give it a try for my 2 part dosing, thanks!
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QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#7
glennr1978

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Looks like this. Well, kinda... I threw this together real quick with spare parts that I have. Let's just pretend that the timer is digital.

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told ya it was easy.

I must be psychic !


:D :P



thanks again for all of your help when I was first setting this thing up, btw.

#8
Nosey

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That does look good, but those aqualifters are only good for lifting the solution 2-3 feet max. It wouldn't work if i wanted to place it in my stand, i think it's 3feet to the top of my tan

Im only moving 5-8ml of solution, so if it just trickles out it shouldn't be a problem?

Could you place the tubing so that it dosing right into the back chambers???
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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#9
glennr1978

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That does look good, but those aqualifters are only good for lifting the solution 2-3 feet max. It wouldn't work if i wanted to place it in my stand, i think it's 3feet to the top of my tan

Im only moving 5-8ml of solution, so if it just trickles out it shouldn't be a problem?

Could you place the tubing so that it dosing right into the back chambers???



You're right, the aqualifter won't lift the 2 part very high, at least not at high volumes. Since we aren't talking about moving a ton of fluid at once you could probably still use this system. I run my ATO with an aqualifter and it sucks water from the bottom of a 3' tall reservoir and then it pumps about another 1.5' above where the pump sits.

I have my dosing pumps in my stand and they dose into my sump. I don't see why you couldn't run the tubes into the rear chambers of an AIO.

#10
reefinabox

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This sounds like exactly what I need. Thanks for the writeup!

#11
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Good job Glenn ! ( You know I was just busting your ballz :P )

Hey man you have helped me just as much so no thank you need at all.
:D

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#12
Nosey

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u2 get a room! :haha:
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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#13
The Propagator

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Only if you get a condom for your nose.
:P

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#14
douglam

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i love this idea because ive been trying to figure out how to dose my tank like this. i have 2 questions though. is the 2 part actually going through the aqualifter. i thought these were for air and couldnt pump liquid through them. my other question is about the sipon. dont you mean the output has to be above the water level wherever you are dosing into so that it doesnt creat a siphon when it turns off.

#15
evilc66

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Nice one Glenn. Can't get any more simple than that.

#16
Bonsai

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Interesting concept - I've been thinking about a DIY dosing pump in the back of my head ... but this makes me really want to jump in and build one.

So let me get this straight, the basic idea is:

Plug an Aqualifter Pump into a digital timer, let the pump run for 1 minute, and using a valve, calibrate the openness of the valve so that it only allows the amount of chemicals through in 1 minute that t you require.

That's pretty cool - so what is the fail rate of the little cheapy valves? I mean, if one of those failed, you'd be dosing wayyyy too much.

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#17
glennr1978

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i love this idea because ive been trying to figure out how to dose my tank like this. i have 2 questions though. is the 2 part actually going through the aqualifter. i thought these were for air and couldnt pump liquid through them. my other question is about the sipon. dont you mean the output has to be above the water level wherever you are dosing into so that it doesnt creat a siphon when it turns off.



question 1... aqualifters can pump either air or fluids. Hence the name "AQUAlifter", lol. Sorry man, I couldn't let that one pass.

question2... Yes, you are correct. However, that's not what I was talking about in the write up. What I was saying is to be sure that you don't have your 2 part reservoirs higher than the outlet or once the pump kicks on for the first time it will suck the resrvoir dry. Kinda like when using a tube to siphon water for a wc.

#18
glennr1978

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Interesting concept - I've been thinking about a DIY dosing pump in the back of my head ... but this makes me really want to jump in and build one.

So let me get this straight, the basic idea is:

Plug an Aqualifter Pump into a digital timer, let the pump run for 1 minute, and using a valve, calibrate the openness of the valve so that it only allows the amount of chemicals through in 1 minute that t you require.

That's pretty cool - so what is the fail rate of the little cheapy valves? I mean, if one of those failed, you'd be dosing wayyyy too much.


You could do it like that (have it dose the entire amount necessary at one time). I prefer to have mine dose in smaller incriments to spread out the dosage through the night to help keep Ph stable. But yeah, you've got the basic concept down.

I've been running mine for close to a year (just guessing on that one) and haven't had any issues at all. Honestly, the only way it could fail is if the timer screwed up, or if you messed with the valve itself. The way the valves are made it would be pretty much impossible for it to fail on its' own.

Another good reason to set the valve so that it only allows 5ml per minute is if you need to tune the sytem later on. When I first set mine up I was using 20ml of each part. Now I'm up to 30ml and all I had to do was go back to the timer and set it to run for two more minutes per night to dose my tank. I guess that kinda contradicts my original post so I should probably clarify that I originally wrote that on another forum months ago. I'm lazy so I just copied & pasted it rather than re-write the whole thing.

#19
Nosey

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You could do it like that (have it dose the entire amount necessary at one time). I prefer to have mine dose in smaller incriments to spread out the dosage through the night to help keep Ph stable. But yeah, you've got the basic concept down.

I've been running mine for close to a year (just guessing on that one) and haven't had any issues at all. Honestly, the only way it could fail is if the timer screwed up, or if you messed with the valve itself. The way the valves are made it would be pretty much impossible for it to fail on its' own.

Another good reason to set the valve so that it only allows 5ml per minute is if you need to tune the sytem later on. When I first set mine up I was using 20ml of each part. Now I'm up to 30ml and all I had to do was go back to the timer and set it to run for two more minutes per night to dose my tank. I guess that kinda contradicts my original post so I should probably clarify that I originally wrote that on another forum months ago. I'm lazy so I just copied & pasted it rather than re-write the whole thing.


So I set mine up tonight, I'll post pic's later. As I was getting it all together, and plugged in my digital timer, I was thinking the same thing, about the timer failing ( I've had two in 5 months fail) it would fail with the pumps on. Every time mine failed, it turned all outlets on. I don't know if there is a way to build in a fail safe, but if I can't think of anything, I think I might just take it apart, and try and come up with something else. It is a cool idea, but I’m not sure if I want to take the chance with my track record.
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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#20
Nosey

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I was thinking about it last night, and the only thing I could think of was to plug the digital non reliable timer into a wheel or analog timer….lol…I know it sounds retarded, I have now in affect doubled my chance of failure. If my digital timer failed, then the analog timer would kick in and kill the pump after 10 min, and after 10 times the amount of 2 part will have entered my tank….lol….It’s better than the whole bottle, but I’m sure that ten times the daily dosing amount would kill my tank anyways?....Maybe I’ll just go out, and spend the 500 or so on a dosser. omgomgomg

Edited by Nosey, 24 February 2009 - 08:10 AM.

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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#21
glennr1978

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I was thinking about it last night, and the only thing I could think of was to plug the digital non reliable timer into a wheel or analog timer….lol…I know it sounds retarded, I have now in affect doubled my chance of failure. If my digital timer failed, then the analog timer would kick in and kill the pump after 10 min, and after 10 times the amount of 2 part will have entered my tank….lol….It's better than the whole bottle, but I'm sure that ten times the daily dosing amount would kill my tank anyways?....Maybe I'll just go out, and spend the 500 or so on a dosser. omgomgomg


maybe you should just buy a better digital timer, lol. mine has been working without fial for a long time now.

#22
Nosey

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I don't trust them!

what kind do you have?
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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#23
glennr1978

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I don't trust them!

what kind do you have?



Honestly, I have no idea. I haven't looked at it in a while. It's back behind my tank but I'll get back there and see what brand it is later today.

#24
Nosey

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Also, were you having problems with your flow rates and trying to calibrate them? I would have it right one second, then the next test, it was way off, without me changing anything. I think I have a variation of maybe 1 ml + or – half the time. Do you get build up in any of your hoses?

Edited by Nosey, 24 February 2009 - 11:01 AM.

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Posted Image

QUOTE (gurnie @ Mar 4 2009, 01:05 AM)
As i recall i got a beat down for my MIL having a clown in her 5.5/6g.
Apparently having some T&A might save me from the clownfish police.

#25
glennr1978

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Also, were you having problems with your flow rates and trying to calibrate them? I would have it right one second, then the next test, it was way off, without me changing anything. I think I have a variation of maybe 1 ml + or – half the time. Do you get build up in any of your hoses?



Nope, mine is dead on every time I've tested it.

I do get some build up on the nozzles but I just pull it off every week or two.