tylernt

Tylernt's Dymax IQ3

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FTS 20 Aug 2015:

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FTS 23 June 2014:

 

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FTS 14 August 2013:

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FTS 10 August 2012:
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FTS 20 August 2011
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So, I was all set to get the new hotness, the Fluval Spec, when I noticed the older Dymax IQ3. I love the better index of refraction of acrylic, plus I was turned off by the aluminum seams of the Spec, so the IQ3 won in spite of the $20 price premium.

http://www.google.com/search?q=dymax+iq3&tbm=isch

First thoughts: the thing is made from thick acrylic. Very rugged. It's also perched on tall legs. I've seen some discrepancies online about the dimensions, so let's put that to rest now. The outside dimensions are 6 3/4" wide by 8 5/8" front-to-back by 9 1/2" tall including the legs. Omitting the legs, the tank is 8 5/8" tall. The inside dimensions of the larger rear compartment is 4" x 2 1/16" and the smaller is 2" x 2 1/16". This makes the inside dimensions of the display portion 6" x 6 1/4".

The outside of the rear chamber is covered by what appear to be stickers that could probably be removed if you really wanted to. A corner peels up pretty easily but I stopped there.

I had already pre-purchased Mini-Jet 404 and 606 PHs (powerheads), because research indicated 1) they fit in the small chamber (once the covers are removed) and 2) that the stock PH was anemic. Turns out the anemia isn't caused by the PH, but the plumbing attached to it. The stock powerhead is rated for 52GPH and without the plumbing, that seems about right. But the wide-open 108GPH Mini-Jet 404 gets throttled down to a mere trickle when the plumbing is attached to it! Removing Dymax's directional nozzle gets you about 75GPH (per my finely calibrated GPH sensor, my hand) with the 404. The 153GPH 606 pushes maybe 75GPH with the directional nozzle attached.

The 606 hums pretty loud compared to the 404, so I will probably use the 404 and drill a new hole in the back wall so the stock pump can feed additional flow. The stock pump is darn near silent, so the 404 + stock is still a quieter combination than the 606 by itself.

The stock PH hose is too small for the 404/606, by the way. However, it will slide inside the 404/606 outlet and stick there fairly securely.

Looks like two 1" float switches will just barely fit in the small compartment. My 50W Finnex HMO heater also fits in the small chamber, but only when the shorter stock pump is installed, so my heater will have to go in the big compartment (it wouldn't fit the same time as the float switches anyway).

Build plans include modding the stock Robot LED light as a 'fuge light, DIY Cree power LEDs for the main light, and a DIY stand to hide an airpump ATO for my desk at the office. I hope to stock it with a CUC, softies, Frogspawn and a blood/fire shrimp. More details to follow, as things progress...

Edited by tylernt

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Today, I enlarged the stock "extra" hole in the false wall.

 

5vx46b.jpg

 

Not sure why Dymax added this hole, but it was in the right spot for the second PH outlet so I used it. I have a nifty right-angle drill adapter, but it was way to big to fit in this tiny tank once a drill bit was chucked. Instead, I chucked a short "rotozip" side-cutting Dremel bit to hog out about half of the material and then followed up with a needle file and finally I twisted a drill bit in the hole with my fingers.

 

The PH plumbing hose that comes with the IQ3 is 9mm OD, which I suspect is unobtanium here in the US. Fortunately for me, the Mini-Jet 404 is about 1.2" taller than the stock pump, so I simply cut 1" off the supplied hose. This little chunk connects the output of the stock PH, suction-cupped the back wall of the large chamber, to the main tank.

 

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Mini-Jet 404, minus covers:

 

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I drilled another hole as far down in the tank as I dared, to 13/64" to accommodate 3/16 rigid airline tubing (being shipped to me, still -- PetCo stopped carrying it locally :( ). Same deal, start with a Dremel bit in the right-angle drill adapter, then follow up with filing and finally twisting the bit with fingers. This hole will be for the battery-backup air pump that turns on automatically when it detects a power failure.

 

The next exciting discovery was that this tank is not, in fact, 2 gallons. With the two PHs (but no heater) installed, it took 1.65 gallons of Wal-Mart distilled to fill it to the suggested "water level" sticker on the side. Even accounting for the PHs, I'd call that 1.75g.

 

That done, I added salt and powered it up. At first, the overflow weir could only barely keep up with the GPH of the 404 and the stock pump at full throttle. After lowering the water level in the rear chamber a bit, there is now a tiny bit of weir still above the waterline. Since I'm probably pushing 100GPH at this point (the 404 is choked down to maybe half capacity by the output nozzle) this should be enough flow for anybody, though Bad Things might happen if the weir ever clogs.

 

qpf0k4.jpg

 

Once the SG and temp stabilized, I added $8 worth of LS and LR and the cycle began! Wait, no, why are neither of my PHs running? Both impellers clogged with sand. :angry: The stock PH is a right pain to remove, and it took 4-5 cleanings to get all the sand out. I now have the supplied filter media behind the overflow weir and boy is it catching a lot of sand. Ugh.

 

Oh and by the way, the little Oceanic micro-hydrometer that stays inside the tank with a suction cup is fairly useless. With the PHs on, the needle bounces and gives wildly inaccurate readings. Even after shutting off the PHs, it still tends to read ridiculously high about half the time and is oversensitive to how level it is. I can coax it to give a reading within .0005 of my Coralife Deep Six but it's finicky. If you're considering this hydrometer, pass.

 

I imagine I'll probably work on the LEDs next. I ordered up some aluminum channel from SpeedyMetals.com, but it came all dinged up so it looks like I will be filling, sanding, and painting it. I think it'll look better in black anyway.

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Didn't have much time today, just enough to cut a 8.25" section of 2"x1" aluminum channel to hold my CW XM-L and two RB LEDs.

 

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A 40mm fan will provide cooling. It's a Sunon Mag-lev, supposedly one of the quietest 40mm fans made, but I'll probably still undervolt it to get it silent. This large of a heat sink probably won't need the fan at 1A but if I ever decide to drive the XM-L to 2 or 3A, I think I'll need active cooling.

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Great build! I'm Interested to see the final light designed. And also when you start to stock the tank. :)

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Thanks karisma, I'm interested to see how it turns out too. ;)

 

I needed a way to close off the end of the aluminum channel, to keep the light from blinding myself and passerby. Couldn't think of an elegant way so I just cut a snug-fitting piece of door frame shim...

 

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...and JB-Welded it in.

 

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This will all be sanded and painted black, so nobody should ever know the wood is there.

 

Next I needed a way to affix an acrylic splash shield. I didn't want to drill a hole through my channel and have an ugly fastener protruding, so I carved a few random divots in the alu with a Dremel...

 

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...and JB-Welded a nylon license plate screw on.

 

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Then I used my tablesaw to cut some Home Depot acrylic to fit the channel. I found it easier than scoring and snapping.

 

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The splash shield will get a hole drilled to pass this "stud" through it and a nut on the outside will affix it on the channel.

 

That's it for now, gotta let the JB Weld cure until tomorrow!

 

First tank shot:

hrwxfq.jpg

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Man, it is taking for-ever to finish this light. Wish there was a good clip-on high-power LED already for sale. Ah well.

 

I primed the alu channel but the wood grain telegraphed on the front of the light. I've used Bondo in the past but it's a pain to mix up and for shallow areas glazing works just as well (glazing cracks horribly if applied too thick though).

 

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While that dried, I worked on the splash shield. Drilled 4 holes for the fan then drew and X to find the center (or so I hoped):

 

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Ended up a bit off center but it works. I actually shattered my first attempt by pressing too hard on the drill press, so I went so slow on my second attempt I melted my way through more than cut. That's ok, the meltage cleaned up with a file.

 

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Next up was a holder for my twin float switches for my ATO. Drilled 1/2" holes here.

 

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The cutout for the cord was done on a scroll saw. Scroll saw works awesome for acrylic except I have a really hard time going straight lol so there is a bit of a hiccup on one edge. :blush:

 

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Disassembled the stock Robot LED light so I could use it on my rear chamber 'fuge. Sucker was glued together, so there were a few tense moments as I tried to break things free without, you know, actually breaking it.

 

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Now is the fun part. I drew the outline of the LEDs on the bottom of the Robot LED and then sliced the flim that comes on the acrylic to protect it from scratches.

 

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I removed the outer rectangle of film, spray painted it -- two coats -- and removed the remaining rectangle of film in the middle to reveal a window:

 

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I then superglued (I have no acrylic solvent glue) a second smaller piece onto my 'fuge window. This locates the 'fuge light over the rear compartment and keeps it from sliding around because the second piece seats below the rim.

 

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I really wanted to screw the Robot LED to the plate for easy removal should I ever need to, but I can get either screws that are long enough or skinny enough but not both. I opted for 3 little globs of 100% silicone. The stuff is reported to not stick well to acrylic, so I should be able to pop it off if I really really need to. I'll switch to double-stick Scotch tape if this doesn't work.

 

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I weighted it down with two diesel engine wrist pins while the silicone set.

 

Now I need a bracket to suspend my light over the tank by clamping to the rear wall. I could have used alu angle, but I already had the channel so I just used that.

 

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The wide part of the mounting bracket will be clamped to the back of the tank with some more sheet acrylic and two nylon bolts/nuts. The ear that sticks up will get bolted to the main alu channel holding the LEDs.

 

Still up are drilling some more holes, paint, and then the light fixture should be ready for the LEDs to be attached and the BuckPuck soldered in.

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Wow those are quite some mods! I just got an IQ5 myself, so really interesting to read about the pump.

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Some great modding going on here, I have a Dymax IQ5 so will be watching with interest.

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This is some serious modding! It looks great. Looking forward to seeing this build develop :)

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The Boostled par30 with reef lamp clamp would be amazing for this tank.

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The Boostled par30 with reef lamp clamp would be amazing for this tank.

Now you tell me. :lol: Are those dimmable?

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Now you tell me. :lol: Are those dimmable?

 

I've thought about the Maxspect G2 180 - 60w unit for over mine.

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I've thought about the Maxspect G2 180 - 60w unit for over mine.
Dang, that's some serious light. I don't think it would fit on an IQ3 though!

 

Where do you keep your pico? At home work etc?

It's temporarily at home while I finish the build and fully populate it with all the livestock I plan to get. Then I'll take it to work. The boss likes to see me working, not with my hands in a tank. ;)

 

This will actually be my second office pico. I had good coral growth in the first one until the heater stuck on and crashed the tank, which is why I now have an electronic heater plugged into an electronic heater controller. The two powerheads also provide redundancy, as do the twin float switches for the ATO, as does the air pump that turns on automatically when there is a power outage. I prefer office tanks with failsafes in all critical systems.

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Dang, that's some serious light. I don't think it would fit on an IQ3 though!

 

 

It's temporarily at home while I finish the build and fully populate it with all the livestock I plan to get. Then I'll take it to work. The boss likes to see me working, not with my hands in a tank. ;)

 

This will actually be my second office pico. I had good coral growth in the first one until the heater stuck on and crashed the tank, which is why I now have an electronic heater plugged into an electronic heater controller. The two powerheads also provide redundancy, as do the twin float switches for the ATO, as does the air pump that turns on automatically when there is a power outage. I prefer office tanks with failsafes in all critical systems.

 

Wont moving it be a disaster????

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Wont moving it be a disaster????

Hope not! :P Work is only 20 minutes away, so less than 2 hours down time total shouldn't be too big a deal. For transport I'll probably take all the LR/corals/inverts out and put them in a 5g bucket of 79°F SW with the battery backup air pump and leave the sand and a few inches of SW in the bottom of the tank. With no fish, I shouldn't see anything more than a mini-cycle that I can control with a couple extra water changes. More likely no cycle at all.

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Now you tell me. :lol: Are those dimmable?

 

Not dimmable but adjustable. The arm bends and is pretty tall.

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Drilled some exhaust vent holes, a hole for the BuckPuck dimmer knob, and a hole for the mounting bracket:

 

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Fan detail:

 

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Here's where the LEDs will be placed with thermal epoxy:

 

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Tonight should be time for black paint! Then tomorrow I can finally install the LEDs. My poor tank is under a 14W yellow screw-in CF right now...

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Lightly sanded the primered alu with 800 grit and hit the light and bracket with a shot of black spray paint! Looking pretty good, but I still plan to sand and apply 1 more coat unless it looks perfect after drying.

 

In other light-related news, the power supply for the Robot LED shipped with my IQ3 was DOA. I waited to say anything until now because I wanted to see how Big Al's handled it. I'm happy to say they replaced the Robot LED and the new power supply (which I noticed is now a switchmode instead of a transformer) works great. Just for fun, I placed my multimeter between the dimmer control and the LEDs -- these lights are known for fading in intensity after a few months and I wanted to see how hard Dymax is driving the 5mm low-dome LEDs.

 

As it turns out, the answer is 260mA; divide that by 14 (the 28 LEDs are paired) and you get 18.6mA. Either these are amazingly crappy 20mA LEDs that still fade even when underdriven, or they're 15mA-spec LEDs that are being overdriven (my money's on the latter). I set my dimmer to 190mA (~13.5mA per LED) which should help longevity tremendously and it's still fairly bright (hopefully, bright enough for Chaeto). This setting is about 60% on the dial, if anyone else wants to make their Robot LED last longer.

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Light's still not quite done, need to paint the bolt and seal up the back end but those are minor.

 

2RB to 1CW is a mistake; it's very purple, like a blueberry milkshake. Just gonna run with it though.

 

Ignore the 'scape, the LR was just tossed in for the cycle. Will do something better when I start adding corals. Managed to catch the Cerith snail in action, he only seems to come out in the evenings.

 

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I think the fan did turn out to be necessary. The alu channel didn't get scorching hot without the fan, but still quite a bit warmer than I really liked. With the fan, it stays mere "warm".

 

In other news, the 1" float switches I had on hand are too big. They jam each other up in a 2" compartment. I have 3/4" switches on order now, so I'm kind of in a holding pattern until they arrive.

Edited by tylernt

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Here's my ATO and 'fuge light build:

 

I start with two Radio Shack 10A 12VDC relays and some chunks of wire:

image001.jpg

 

I don't have wire strippers that work with such tiny wire (22ga I think), so I roll them under a blade on a hard surface to score the insulation, then the ends pop off:

image002.jpg

 

This is the not the first time I've soldered short leads to relays and things. The method that works best for me is to put a little flux (Radio Shack sells a 10-lifetime-supply of rosin flux in a tub) on the relay pins. Then tin the tip of your soldering iron, hold the wire in line with the pin, and touch the soldering iron tip. The flux lets you get a good bond to the pin and the solder naturally wicks up the stranded wire without any help.

 

You may be wondering why there are two relays. Simple, a single relay is a single point of failure. Relays are pretty reliable but I didn't want to take a chance on the contacts welding in the "on" position. Each float switch is wired to a single relay, then the two relay's 120VAC contacts are wired in series so the ATO only activates when both relays are energized.

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Of course, all connections are heat shrinked.

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Not shown is the heat shrink and super glue I applied to the two unused (NC) pins on the relays. When the ATO is off, which is 99% of the time, those two pins would be LIVE or HOT with 120VAC! Don't forget to insulate those contacts folks!

 

The smallest float switches I could find were on "sourcingmap.com". Typical Chinese internet retailer, cheap prices but you worry that the stuff will get "lost" in customs or fall off the slow boat in the Pacific. These actually arrived pretty fast (about 1 week).

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These are mounted to a triple stack of acrylic. I wanted to mount these as low as possible to reduce the water level in the rear chamber (if the water level is too high, I don't get much surface skimming effect), so they are recessed below the top layer to get them as low as I could.

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I glued the stacks with super glue. Seems to work fine.

 

Next up I needed to enclose all this stuff. This is Radio Shack's next-to-smallest project box. Real tight fit once I added the Dymax Robot LED driver!

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Note in the above pic how I tied a knot in the brown extension cord leads. This is for safety, so you can't jerk on the cord and wind up with a shock hazard should the solder joint let loose.

 

I didn't want to have yet another wall wart for the ATO float switches, so I just used the same supply that runs the main lights. This means my ATO will only run during the day when the lights are on, but that's ok -- it lessens the chance of malfunction when there is nobody around to see it!

 

The box is mounted to the back of the tank with Velcro:

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I had to remake my holder for the Robot LED 'fuge light because it interfered with my main light clamp. Didn't bother to paint it this time.

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Here's what it looks like, lit:

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Overall FTS. I bought some tiny tiny frags at my LFS and a 'shroom and a ric weren't attached to anything so I couldn't glue them down. Instead, they are held to my rocks with bridal veil and rubber bands. I'll post better pics once the veil comes off.

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Here's what it looks like at night. The 'fuge light bleeds through the secondary powerhead output and along the edge of the false wall. I guess it's an unintended moon light lol.

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Now I have to figure out a way to hold the chaeto in the 'fuge so it doesn't get sucked into that secondary powerhead intake.

 

Also, I need to finish my ATO reservoir. My rigid airline tubing should arrive Tuesday so I can do that. Until then I have a lamp plugged in to my ATO, if the lamp is on I know I need to top off, when the lamp goes out I stop pouring RO/DI in. I call it my MTO, Manual TopOff system. :P I love how sensitive it is, if I take just 10mL (less than half an ounce!) of water out for a water test, the MTO light clicks on!

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Very cool build! But please ditch the penis looking live rock! Lol

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Very cool build! But please ditch the penis looking live rock! Lol
That's where I glued my GSP frag, so it can look like faux-SPS when it grows out. ;)

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I'm not happy with FedEx right now, the rigid airline tubing I need to complete my ATO was delayed until Friday. :rant: Since I wanted to get something done on the tank today, I opted to play with acrylic.

 

See, with the second powerhead in the large rear compartment, I have two problems: detritus settles right on the powerhead's intake grille, and when I add chaeto it's sure to clog the intake right up. I considered a bunch of options but in the end just decided to make a U-shaped shield that gravity holds on top of it:

IMG_20110809_202329.jpg

 

I clamped my soldering iron horizontally in my vice and held some acrylic over it without touching it. I applied a gentle bending force and as the seam heated up, it slowly and smoothly bent.

 

After I did a trial fit, I realized it was a right witch to get it back out of that rear compartment that's too small/deep for my fingers to get down in there! So I grabbed a random piece of scrap and superglued it on for a handle:

 

IMG_20110809_202546.jpg

 

Here's how she looks. Should keep detritus off no sweat, and the only way for chaeto to get up in there is if it takes and 180° and then a 90° turn, not too likely I hope!

 

IMG_20110809_203531.jpg

 

I took the bridal veil off my frags yesterday. The ric had attached but the

shroom hadn't, so I superglued it. Today it jumped off the superglue so he's sitting at the entrance in a spare hermit crab shell now. Hopefully shielded from my light and not bothered my the veil, he will attach now.

 

Riccordia florida, maybe 3/4" across:

IMG_0665.jpg

 

Palythoa and green zoos. The closed paly was tightly closed at the LFS, he's a little more open now so hopefully he'll recover from whatever stress. Green zoos are not all opening, I think the light is too much (even when dialed down). Ammonia/nitrates are 0 and nitrates are 10, pH is 8.0, SG is 1.025 so I don't think it's a water quality issue.

IMG_0666.jpg

 

Green spotted 'shroom and orange zoos. The orange zoos only open halfway, again because I think the light is too strong. The GSP is reaching for more light though, so I don't want to dim it down too much.

IMG_0674.jpg

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