Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About zachtos

  • Rank
    Electrical Engineer
  • Birthday 05/06/1981

Contact Methods

  • Website

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Michigan, Mount Pleasant
  • Interests
    Reef-Keeping, PC gaming, IR combat Laser Tag
  1. Help keep water stable for SPS in 15g

    I dont think I can do a 'big' water change at my desk simply because I wont be able to pre-heat the water and stuff. I will pretty much take 'recycled' waste water from my 240G reef, and use it as 'new' water for my desk tank. It will likley be pretty cold by the time I get to work, so I figured portioning it out into gallon jugs and dumping one a day in there could be easy. Not sure if I want a 'fish-less' tank. It's just too boring. Maybe one or two tiny fish, or an achilles tang or three. 20G or 15G long tank, 36 CREE LEDs, one tunze 6015 (500gph), 10-20lbs LR, NO SAND, maybe an auto top off, and probably an overflow that dumps out water only when I top off the tank w/ SW. I suppose I could do a HOB fuge or divider/false wall fuge, but I don't see how such a tiny fuge will matter compared to 25-30% a week water changes. What's the easiest way to do quick water changes w/o pulling out a siphon hose nowadays? I can't plumb to the drain in my house like the big tank =(
  2. How many LEDs or what type help me decide

    I'm doing the same thing, ordered 36 LEDs w/ a 6"x16" heatsink all Cree royalblue/neutral white. I plan to use 60 degree optics and hang about 8 to 10" above the water, will that work you think? I will keep SPS from my 240G tank in the 20G as an office tank.
  3. I have a 4 year old 240G SPS reef. I would like to clip frags out and have a small desktop tank of 15 gallons. I have nano reefkeeped in the past but not with SPS. I can handle the flow and lighting aspect no problem. But the logistics of keeping the water quality stable without a sump, skimmer, fuge or calcium reactor... How do you do it? I know that's vague, but how do you keep the water paramaters stable for a handful of SPS w/ super low bioload? I thought maybe daily 1 gallon water changes (5g/week)? I can't squeeze a sump under my cubicle and I can't have a skimmer due to the noise. It must be dead silent. I was thinking, maybe an overflow in the corner that goes to a small 2 gallon bucket instead of a sump. Once a day I could dump 1 gallon of SW into the tank at the opposite corner. This would cause water on the other side to dump out of the overflow into the bucket. Seems very simple and failproof. 1 gallon/day should not upset the tank stability or shock temperature etc. I could autotopoff w/ FW w/ a float and aqualifter pump no problem. I could drip a very minor amount of kalkwasser if needed.
  4. Ultimate LED guide

    Well if someone knows how to solder these tiny rebels to a blank star, please do tell. It's not easy to solder something that is surface mount. I was not aware there was even a way to do it w/ a soldering iron? I though just tinning the surface, then laying the rebels onto the spot and blasting w/ hot air for 10 seconds while they suck into place was the way to go. these things are tiny tiny, but the strongest and cheapest LED you can get at the moment, bins readily available up to 180 lumens / 3 Watts! Can you solder something smaller then the tip of a pencil w/ not solder terms?
  5. Ultimate LED guide

    oh yeah, if somebody wants to give me $200 for a rework gun, I can send you links to all the parts that must be bought and I'll build one! =) My real goal here, is to get someone else to do this right as I don't have time. The new design will do everything the PFO solaris v2 does, but will be 3 times stronger. (the new PFO solaris only uses one rebel per star, and they are lower bins, this design is basically just adding one or two more per star to increase PAR in a small area). One other use I've found for high powered LEDs is to add a shimmer effect to T5 only lighting setups. I am in process of going forward with that project for my pure 240G SPS T5 setup.
  6. Ultimate LED guide

    This is totally a hijack, but it's been a long time since I've came back to these threads. I started w/ the LED nano projects years ago. I need LED nerds in Reefkeeping to talk with and here you are. I am dissapointed in the low PAR of your project... don't be discouraged, so was I. I'm on revision 5 and planning revision 6. The new rebel's are the way to go. You can fit 3 on a single star and get an optic to focus them. Cost is HIGH though. But for a nano, it's affordable. ($5-8/LED depending on bin, $2/star, $4 for a driver to run 10+ LEDs and then a good 36Vdc supply will be over $25-75 depending on the watts you need) PS. you need optics or you will have drastically lower PAR stcs1 LED driver, $4 at digikey (runs 10 leds)- here's the RIGHT way to run a high powered LED cheap as possible. They are dimmable by a seperate pulse width modulator, so you could put one PWM to control ALL blues, and one to do all whites whites instead of one per power puck. *The trick to this project, is that you need to buy a hot air rework gun to solder these surface mount chips. I have not been willing to pony up $175 for a real man's soldering/hot air station. I would love to set someone on the right path. My 240G SPS has overwhelmed my reefing life and I have no interest in nano reefs now. It's far to expensive to light a big tank still. I also My old revision 5 LED hood This properly designed luxeon 3 unit (750mA) medium beam optics only gives me 100-200 PAR at 12" depth from my apogee PAR meter. I am very dissapointed, especially since it was $300, but a new Rebel LED based unit w/ more LEDs and better bins, should easily bust the 500 PAR barrier and finally beat out MH/T5 levels I get in my full reef.
  7. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    There is nothing to it. It is an empty bucket, one hose in, one hose out. There is a maxijet1200 inside the bucket that pumps water back to the display. The display is drilled as pictured, and has a external durso standpipe. The tank is doing well by the way, it's fully cycled and has a handful of zoas that are growing very slowly inside.
  8. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    yep, the old 5mms suffered from excessive heat and thermal runaway. Several design flaws. It easily proved to be more cost/labor effective to build an array using luxeons high power LEDs.
  9. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    Well, I have added a mini sulfur denitrator to my system. It basically is a simple device that acts as a low oxygen chamber for anerobic bacteria to convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, which simply bubbles out of the system. Read more about them here. I also added about 8 frags of zoanthids. I'm fairly new to fragging for myself, so I think I did a lousy job and many of the zoanthid colonies wont make it since they have glue on the top of their polyps. We'll see which ones survive. It's not a big deal anyways, my large 240G reef has plenty to spare, it's just a bother to get them out. The one SPS I put in there isn't happy, probably because the tank is having a mini-cycle. I'll post as things progress.
  10. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    Full tank shot with the new complete foam live rock. I coated the foam with superglue and sand to conceal the foam. It looks very real now. And yes, it no longer floats now that the foam is saturated with water. The flow from the closed loop setup is very nice, no dead zones that I can find yet. I calculate 35X turnover in this tiny tank! shot of the side w/ the refugium showing top down shot showing the overflow areas in the rear very simple ultra cheap sump. Includes maxijet1200 for a return and a autotop off float switch. To perform a water change, simply remove the lid, and swap the bucket w/a new one full of clean water. Nothing is inside the bucket, just more water volume to add stability. Shot of the top of the water, you can see the reflection of the LED optics... yes, there is a shimmer effect. *soon I shall add zoa frags and a green clown goby.
  11. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    All the materials needed to drill the tank 3 minutes of drilling later. The damn full of water kept the drill very cool. I'm so amazed that the $5 glass hole saw from ebay worked so well. Thanks Lau** Pre tank stripping tank is now stripped. I removed the background to gain more display area. I loved the background, but it served it's original purpose, to test if greatstuff foam would be safe and gain experience before I did the same thing for my full 240G reef. I also removed a divider from the back of the tank for a bigger refugium and spray painted the background flat black. DIY 1/2" spray bar painted black and a DIY 3/4" durso standpipe Here is the tank w/ the new spray bar and durso standpipe "But Zach, I'm scared and confused, why did you glue all the liverocks together using great stuff foam?" -The reason I done this is because the rocks used to collapse all the time in the nano reef. When you have small rocks, they tend to not stay in place as well as they do w/ heavy rocks in a regular sized reef. I was hoping this solution would work... Ladies and gentleman... the amazing floating rocks. *Up Next* -trimming down the amount of foam in the live rocks so they stop floating... I hope. -cover the exposed foam parts w/ glue and sand. -add 1.5" of sand to the display, rubble rock, macro and heater to the refugium... of course water will come soon. -finish the 5G sump using a 5G pail and a maxijet1200 for the return. (reason for this is for easy water changes and more stability) -coral (zoas and sps) will come later. also will create a mini sulfur reactor for greater stability, and will attach my auto topoff device to add limewater to maintain calc/alk.
  12. LED Array for a Pico

    Yes, I rewired my luxeon array, it's just like the solaris, and has proven to be just as powerful as 250W MH... Although it's cost-effectiveness:work ratio is not that great. Fine for a nano though. zachtos' array
  13. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    Results: Well, 8 hours of soldering and fussing with lenses later… Watts consumed by LEDs and fan: 68W Lux readings: 36” – 2000-2500 24” – 4000-5000 18” – 5000 – 6000 12” – 10,000-12,000 6” – 16,000- 20,000 0” – 70,000-100,000 *average LED output at water surface = 30,000 – 40,000 vs my overdriven icecap T5 lighting on my 240G *average T5 output at water surface = 35,000 – 45,000 ** Hotspots: these are average values, averages can change drastically moving just a few inches horizontally from the center point of one of the optic lenses. There are some very definite ‘hot spots’ created by the point source lighting. I would recommend keeping the lenses very close together if you were to create your own array. Final product. 15 whites, 7 blues and 2 greens. The reason for greens is because the whites are fairly lacking at the greens peak spectrum, so better safe then sorry. The only spectrum missing is 420nm, there are no LEDs that really reach that spectrum yet. There are ‘royal blues’ that hit 450nm but nothing at 420 really. I designed my array so the color spectrum is fully configurable. It made wiring much more complicated, but I think It’s worth the experiment. full lighting, I would call this ‘12K’ I feel Blues only Greens and some blues only attempt to dial to ‘14K’ The optic lenses, these focus the light from 145degree spread down to 45degrees, increasing output by around 75-85%. Combine that with wiring them each at a full 700mA instead of 350mA like I mistakenly did last time, and you come up with nearly triple the performance. Hood rear view – all cables are detachable. You can see the color adjustment knobs next to each current regulator. The rat’s nest prior to optic lens mounting Hood internal view – I am now using optic lenses and more current regulators. The Middle optic was a real pain to mount because of the fan location. I ended up mounting it using a piece of a coat hanger. The rest are held down by 3 screws that squeeze the lens against the top of the hood. Believe me when I say, it was a total pain in the #%$& to get those LEDs to stay in position while I positioned the lens and screwed them down. Soldering was the easy part compared to that. *Conclusion: The LEDs are just as powerful as T5, I don’t know about metal halide, but they measured the same LUX as my old 20K 250W DE HQI. The spread radius on this 6”x12” array gave about 18”x 12” coverage, quite impressive, but that is nearly $350 and 8 hours of work! Did I mention there is 0 heat transferred to the tank? The heatsinks get extremely hot but most of that heat exits the tank through the exhaust fan. I probably could add another fan or some small 5V fans to help the fuge lens, which is in the rear and runs much hotter. The heat will lower their lifespan if I don’t correct this. I feel that I could keep softies, LPS and SPS under these lights w/o problem given they produce the same lighting at the surface. You can keep them very close to the water surface as well. I am using an acrylic shield to keep them safe from salt spray. The LEDs should last 7-11 years based on our usage, but I’m sure that corrosion will rear it’s ugly head and ruin them prior to that. These are perfect lighting options for nano reefs, like I’ve said in the past, and great options for ‘office’ tanks that can’t have halide’s hanging above them. *Future of this array and tank: I will add more photos, don’t worry. I will be drilling this tank and adding a 5G salt-bucket sump. I will use the LED in the rear for the refugium to export nutrients and also will create a mini DIY sulphur denitrator. The tank will be auto-topped off with limewater to maintain calcium/alkalinity. I will perform 50% water changes montly or weekly depending on need. No skimmer planned, but I do have a aquaCremora laying around. I will likely just swap the sump bucket w/ new salt water every water change using my 240G’s old water, which will be fine for this tank’s needs. I will likely pull some LR and zoanthids to start this tank, and will clip some SPS out of my main tank to try later. In the next month I’ll do all of this.
  14. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    The tank... it LIVES! I shall be reviving this project so update that subscription. Parts have been ordered... I have discovered how to increase my output 2 to 3 fold which should bump the luxeon array up to the metal halide/T5 range. I am expecting anywhere from 10K-25K LUX, which would be similar to my overdriven T5 lights on my 240G tank (15K-50K LUX depending on location) The new array will feature the same luxeon 3's, but now with special optical lenses which will focus the light and increase output by 80%. I also had been running them in parallel unknowingly at 50% current (40% output!). So by my calculactions I should get around 20-25K lux. That is right up there w/ metal halide and T5. For all you others out there, this is a DIY PFO Solaris hood basically. A 'dumb' version w/o a microcontroller. Mine wil have the ability to control color temperature, but will require you to twist some knobs to do so. I could creat a PIC to control the array, but I am currently more concerned with output then anything. I expect this to be the final revision... Revision 5. If I get unsatisfactory results, then I will be done with this array for good and will try to sell it on the forums. *expect a new prototype posted in the next month*
  15. Building Glass Tank from Scratch

    thought about that too, acrylic wont work, the LED lense is a bulb shape and light escapes it in all directions. You would be losing light. Come to think of it, I may have chosen the wrong type of emmiter. Maybe the Lamaterian emitters wernt the best choice vs side emmitters.