Thursday, September 20, 2012

My DIY Flirt Pole

So over the weekend Parker got her first taste of some proper training in relation to Schutzhund (I happened to be extremely lucky and bumped into a guy a couple weeks ago that has just moved to town and that was looking for some people to start a Schutzhund group. He's been in the sport and training dogs for 12 years). 

One of the training aids he used were a pair of flirt poles, and since I'll be training her in-between training visits I needed a cheap and easy way of getting some poles quickly.

So I made some! They're easy to make, very repairable and work great. Everything you would need to know about making a pole is in the above video, if you wanted to make one.

If you like it and feel like it please head on over to instructables and vote for my project.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Meet Mr or Mrs Bronze Cory

This is my new and first ever Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)!

I picked him (him just rolls off the tongue. I don't really know what sex he is) up last Friday, which was my 23rd birthday, and he seems to be doing well. He's getting TetraColor tropical flakes and Aqua One Vege Wafers every second day. They aren't the foods I want to be feeding him but until I can find a good retailer online it's what I have.

He's breaking the tank in quite well and is all kinds of active. The pet store guy said after about a week I can think about adding another friend to the tank. Eventually he will have another Cory, a Bristlenose Catfish, two Platy's and a little tiny school of Neon Tetra's ^_^

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The ArduQuarium Controller

So, I posted on the New England Maker Group's page about a device I am now working on that will eventually control every aspect of my soon to be built 115L freshwater tropical aquarium and 95L sump (although I'm thinking I may just make two 115 litre tanks for both the aquarium and sump).

I call it the ArduQuarium Controller!

The following you'll find the list of things that will make the controller up when it's done (or at least a partial list):

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) sensor -
Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) sensor -
Beefcake Relay Control x 4 -
Real Time Clock - 
(my RTC is coming from eBay, since I saved $17.17 doing it that way -
LCD display -
Arduino Mega -  
(again, my Mega is coming from eBay. $17.50! -
Ballcock - Water level measurement

I will probably end up with only three of those Atlas Scientific water quality sensors, as I won't any time soon be delving into marine (i.e: saltwater) tropicals, and the Mega can only accommodate three of them (but I will try and make it easy to swap a sensor out for another should the need arise in the future). The three sensors that are useful to me (pH, DO and ORP) will be housed in the return water chamber of my sump filter, along with one of the thermal probes, UV steriliser and the heating element. The other thermal probe with sit in the main aquarium and the Arduino will monitor the two and attempted to bring the sump temperature up if the aquarium needs more heat (I'm thinking of utilising a PID program, along with a schedular so as to get everything to work when it needs to).

The relay control boards from SparkFun are there to make controlling the heating element, filter pumps, air pump and a water change pump much easier. The Arduino Mega's firmware will have provisions to initiate a partial water change based on data collected from its sensors and the ballcock will shut things off when it reaches a predetermined level.

Although to start with I'll just be using a single relay controller and a thermal probe to control my current aquariums' heating element based on collected temperature readings to keep the tank a constant temperature.

I will be making the aquarium out of glass instead of acrylic as this is my first DIY tank and a tube of silicon is easier for me as I'm familiar with it. The following are the aquariums figures (including GPH and filter media):
  • Dimensions: 60cm(L) x 48cm(W) x 40cm(H)
  • Glass thickness: 6 mm
  • Glass Area: 1.15 m2
  • Glass Weight: 21 kg
  • Glass + Water Weight: 136 kg
  • Litres: 115
  • Gallons (US): 30.379786
  • Heater Watts: 91.139358
Filter Media:
  • Ceramic Media: 1.21519144 Litres
  • Bio-Balls: 5.741785295785295 Litres
  • K1 kaldness: 1.5189893 Litres
  • Fine Sponge: 0.972153152 Litres
Filter Gallons Per Hour (GPH):
  • Sump: 136.709037 to 197.468609
    • Litres: 517.5 to 747.5
My figures come from's Aquarium Glass Thickness Calculator and DIY Fishkeepers calculators.
This is all just a rather large experiment for me as I'm new to the hobby of aquaria. I will not be stocking this setup heavily, the aquarium will likely only have a small contingent of Corydoras in situ while the tank, sump and controller come together. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My new hobby!

I now have a 21 litre Marine Master 'EziStart' freshwater aquarium. It measures 44.5cm (L) x 38cm (H) x 20cm (W) and weighs about 25 KG fully loaded.

It's very pretty at night.

The kit, out of the box, comes with the tank, the light and the pump/filter. You need gravel, a pH kit, net, and plants (if you want) separately. You also need a heater for tropicals, so I also added a 25w aquarium heater to my setup (tropicals are the way to go, much cleaner).

At the moment it's burning in for about a week, to get the water aged and settled, before I add in a little sacrificial Corydoras to really get the tank ecosystem going. They're hardy little fish, I've been told, so maybe he/she won't be so sacrificial in the end (which would be nice).

After the aquarium is all set up and able to support life I'll add some nice fish that shouldn't die =D I'm also very aware that this may become addictive xD