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About mcarroll

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  1. Hanna Checker for Chlorine Breakthrough

    +1 Glassware – the use of actual lab equipment – is probably the #1 biggest difference between these Checkers and the kits most folks are used to. And the source of most of the complaints. The do require attention to some different details than someone might be used to. Spotless is no exaggeration. I even recommend folks buy Hanna's cleaner cloths (or something like them) if they are available....price is reasonable, you can dedicate one just for this purpose and no other, and they are MUCH better than about any other solution. (That eliminates any doubt, but any good lint-free cloth will work if you know what you're picking – natural fiber or these microfiber options.)
  2. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    LOL...late reply...but no I don't know of any others building them like that, but it seemed like lots of ebay lighting vendors will customize some bulbs for you. Just ask, but be willing to ask a few!
  3. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Coralife's Aqualight LED uses essentially the same lamps, just plug-in style and with lenses suited to on-tank deployment. Searching for that brand might be another way to find for others using these bulbs on bigger tanks. Just a thought.
  4. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Yup. The 3-4" of difference in height between a 180 and 55 isn't really that significant. These lights are also more intense than everyone imagines going in....witness all the builds with needlessly higher-power bulbs or more-dense layouts. (One of my builds included.)
  5. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Two rows @ 12" from the water should do it! Three watts per bulb - no matter the format - will be perfect. More isn't needed.
  6. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Anyone notice that Coralife has a new light out using the mr16 version of our bulbs? It's designed to sit on the tank like a "normal" aquarium light (maybe 6" from water?), so the lamps are slightly offset from one another and have wide optics. The lamps are replaceable, as you would expect, and the fixture comes half-loaded so you can add on. Not cheap, but cool to see!
  7. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Unless you have some strange or unusual non-tank requirements, you could do a tank that small with a single 3-watt bulb. If your smaller bulb is mounted at 12" you should get a decent spread...raise the light a little higher if you want more coverage, but 12" should be about perfect without over-lighting the glass and space around the tank. According to the thread's standard install at 12", you'd only need three regular gu10 bulbs at most. Unless you have specific reasons (or wanna try your smaller bulb), I would go this route and skip the larger bulbs with the wider optics. -Matt
  8. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Depends a little on the shape, but I'd be tempted tp do one (get a bulb with blue and white mixed) and mount it higher (>12") to get the spread you need. 30º lenses are a must.
  9. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Not good...and return postage is (AFAIK) prohibitive. Do you know are they 220v/50Hz or 220v/60Hz? In theory there are power converters, but finding one that converts 120v/60Hz into 220v/50Hz didn't work out for me. Most go the other direction, converting to 120v instead of from it. The ones that converted to 220v that I found were either 60Hz-specific or they were too generic to specify at all. 220/60 might be easier. (I was also trying to make a pump work that I ended up with through an eBaytNswitch - not lights. FWIW.) -Matt
  10. DIY water change planning - Sumpless

    I think there may be some other solutions out there too - but you're probably talking about the Reef Filler diaphram pump. (aka Chem Tech industrial pumps) I've seen, but not used one in practice...they're built like a tank, are virtually maintenance free, and are definitely commercial grade...so don't expect to find them very cheap. Compared to other dosing pumps they're a little loud too. The manufacturer (my old manufacturer link went to these guys.) sells them direct, online for around $299, depending on the options you pick. You'll probably want more than the base model and there are a ton of flow, pressure and materials options. Champion Lighting sells their dual-head models for around $400 brand new...not sure which specs they use, but that seems like a reasonable price presuming they have selected some options beyond the base model Chem Tech. They also sell lots of other models. Link. FWIW, peristaltic pumps can be ganged 2+ on a common drive motor to eliminate most of the variance between pumps....but again, without extreme DIY, you're talking about commercial grade equipment with a quality, high-power motor doing the work. (Sorry, brands are escaping me on this one. Threads on it are out there though.) Good luck! -Matt
  11. I'm Back and I Have A Wedgie

    Well, a triangle certainly presents some unique limits vs a four-sided tank, but proper lensing and some directional lighting (thinking GU10's + an Ikea fixture - nothing fancy) would easily beat any "standard" fixture. (i.e. no lenses or maybe 90º) I think it might even be posssible to have zero light-spill. Shucks...on my tank with these lights, I don't even spill light onto the glass let alone into the room. I rarely have to scrape the glass on that tank. Not so on my tank with a commercial fixture. (These are rectangular tanks, BTW.) Following along to see how this turns out! -Matt
  12. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    Lemme elaborate. GU10-based lighting is by far the cheapest solution I've come across. You'll spend A LOT more even on other DIY solutions, let alone if you're considering a commercial fixture. (I'm using some of each on my system now....first I replaced my old GU10 system with a commercial fixture...then I built a new GU10 fixture for my second tank which was dark before that.) I will say that it's worth reading this whole thread, though. As with anything else, these lights are not perfect, even as good and cheap as they are. So take advantage of the experience that's been collected here and get to know the details! -Matt
  13. GU10 LED Build Thread (Chinese Ebay Lights)

    I think they are awesome.
  14. DIY Tunze Osmolator Calcium Dispenser 5074

    The bottle costs $15.....not the whole DIY. It's a cheap plastic bottle which you can expect not to last. (If you read up on it, it doesn't even last as a water bottle.) Your time should be worth something even if you don't think it is. The airline connectors aren't a common item so maybe you could elaborate on where to find them and how much to expect them to cost. I'm guessing at least $5 for them. The Tunze Magnet (or one like it) costs around $25 - more than your entire assembly - and is pretty much required for this design to be practical. (A non-magnet solution isn't pretty.) If you want a Tunze 5074 for $50 you want to shop for a used one. Hard to take you seriously otherwise....I missed this bit until now. (In case you were serious, the TLF reactor is from China....price is more your speed for that reason.) Realistically, this DIY... ...will cost someone no less than $50 to replicate IF they can find all the parts locally/without paying for shipping. ...is still untested...and I suspect you will find some problems ...is made from parts as cheap (flimsy) as the cost would indicate...no reasonable expectation that it will last If that's cool for you (or someone else), great - it's probably a great exercise to build one. But to suggest any kind of equivalence to the 5074 beyond theoretical function is kind of a joke. The TLF reactor (and every other kalk reactor) is also "equal" in this way but takes no time to build and costs no more. For me? I just saved money for a few months and bought what to me was the best (most simple) kalk reactor on the market. It was nothing at all to save $100 a little at a time like that...and I'm broke! I'll admit that saving money is old-fashined, but it's still worth thinking about if you aren't rich! But then I still don't see why $100 seems like such a mountainous sum of money for something like this. It's not. Or it is...but then the whole dang hobby is too expensive too cuz $100 is chump change for any reef bigger than a glass of water. $0.02 -Matt
  15. DIY Tunze Osmolator Calcium Dispenser 5074

    I did find that the bottle he's using is the "Aladdin Two-Way Lid Insulated Water Vessel, 16 oz." and it looks like they go for around $15. It's out of stock at the manufacturer, but Amazon has it, so you may also find it at local retailers. Funny: It gets crappy reviews at Amazon for the plastic cracking very easily.