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Old 11-04-2018, 02:34 PM
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Default 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

I think I might as well start a build journal even if construction hasn't started yet. There's a lot of planning going on and a journal might be a good way to keep things going in the right direction and maybe getting help and pointers along the way. A word of warning though, it's not going to be the quickest build! It's going to cost quite a bit of money so some things might be put on hold until the savings account has resurfaced from the bottom of the ocean lol. And there's going to be quite a lot of diy things to save a buck here and there.

This is actually going to be my first dart frog rainforest vivarium. I was about to dive in a few years ago but life and divorce and things got in the way. But things have settled down and I'm ready to take the leap.



My main goal with this vivarium is to create a piece of rainforest habitat. Scaping and plants are going to be the main focus in the beginning. I want to be able to stand before it and even just for a second or two think that I'm looking into an actual piece of tropical forest. So heavily planted and lots of moss, branches, broms, vines, buttress roots, leaf litter, etc.

It's going to be positioned in a corner so the back panel along with one side panel is going to be covered with a constructed background. So the front and one side will be open for viewing.

I'm going to build the tank out of 6mm glass (1/4") with sliding doors. Ventilation strip along the bottom of the doors as well as on the top for passive ventilation.



Active internal ventilation with a 140mm fan will be built in and hidden by the background. Four intakes and four outlets. Main duct will be accessible from the top to have access to the fan.

Bottom will be drilled and drained to a sump under the stand. I might a drip wall on some part so the water will be recirculated for that feature from the sump. Plan is to have as little equipment as possible in the actual viv.

All the automated stuff as lighting, misting, drip wall, ventilation, etc, will be controlled by a Raspberry Pi reef controller (Reef-Pi). Further on it will also monitor temp and humidity at different levels and positions in the viv. That's more because I'm a sucker for monitoring and being able to look at nice graphs and stuff though lol.

Here's a screenshot from Reef-Pi's website


Main reason why I chose to go with that controller though is that it has powerful timer functions for all equipment as well as a 24h controller for ligting with basically as many channels as you want. And it's all accessible from a phone/tablet/laptop.

My main problem with moving forward at the moment is basically that I don't really know where to start. Biggest thing I have left to figure out is lighting. I'm going to build a ramp with LEDs that I know, but what emitters to use, total Lumen/wattage, etc, is still up in the air basically.

Anyways, I'll go over what else I have planned as well with things I have left to figure out in upcoming posts.

Oh, what frogs I plan to keep? That's also a bit up in the air at the moment. I'm a frog beginner so I'm sure going to need advice on that. It's going to be a lot of space for them and I'd like to have some that can live in groups without being too aggressive. I've also thought of having a group of mourning geckos as tank buddies for the frogs. To maybe give it a little bit more activity over all.
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Old 11-04-2018, 02:54 PM
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I just subscribed and am now along for the ride. This is promising to be epic! You seem to have a great knowledge and understanding of what you plan to do. Good luck. Please be thorough and take lots of pics!
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Old 11-04-2018, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

During the planning of this build I've saved a lot of pictures for inspiration with details that I want to incorporate or that just have a feeling of something that I like. There's so many pictures there at the moment that I have material for a few vivs more of the same size though. But here's just a collage of some of the pictures and it's mostly ideas and shapes for the hardscape. Background, vines, roots, etc.

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Old 11-04-2018, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

There's been some interesting discussions going on about lighting lately on the forum and I've tried to incorporate some thoughts and ideas from those into my lighting plan. I think my biggest concern or what I'm the least confident in is the amount of light needed to properly light this vivarium. I've gotten recommendations from 130W to 300W LED in total.

The plan so far is to make a ramp from aluminium T-profiles helt together with standard steel threaded rods and use 3W emitters as a light source.





The ramp is 500mmx1000mm (20"x40") and at the current sketch version holds 77 LEDs for a total of 230W. What I'm not certain of is if this will need active cooling with fans or if the mass of aluminum and steel is enough as a heatsink to passively cool it.

For colors and wavelengths I've tried to have a mix of whites together with red/blue to help the plants a bit more. Ratios are not taken at random but after reading a bunch of sources on both grow lights and planted tank lighting.

Currently the distribution is as follows:

White group: 60% 138W, 46pcs 3W
5000K: 23% (39% of white group) : 18pcs - 54W
3000K: 22% (37% of white group) : 17pcs - 51W
6500K: 14% (24% of white group) : 11pcs - 33W

red/blue group: 40% 93W, 31pcs 3W
Red/Blue ratio: 4:1
620-630nm (Bright red): 12pcs
640-660nm (Deep red):12pcs
440-450nm (Royal blue): 4pcs
460-470nm (Bright blue): 3pcs

LEDs will be driven by dc-dc drivers such as Meanwell LDD. They are small and cheap but good quality. And you can fit them all on one driver board



Power will be supplied by one ac-dc power supply that will power the whole ramp



I'll probably need around 6 drivers for the whole thing and I'll divide them up so I can dim each color and channel independently from the controller. That way I can have some control over the final color of the light as well as have the ability to have different colored lights during the day (dawn/dusk/midday/moonlight).

As I said, this is the plan so far but I'm not really sure about if this amount of light will be enough. If it was all coming from one spotlight it would be a lot of light but it's coming from a 20x40" area and have to light up an area of 36x48" which is up to 48" deep. If we for calculations sake say that the LEDs will output 100Lumen per W, the total Lumen will be 23000.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:32 PM
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Wow, that is a hugs tank for small frogs. I will follow!

I am a beginner myself and have made a similar fully automated terrarium. Just smaller and with off the shelf automation. However, I have started an arduino project to Take it one more step. I descided for leucs Guyana banded. The reason beeing that they naturally lives in areas where there are seasonal variations in temperature and humidity. They are more tolerant to changes and that fits my choice of plants. Leucs works Great in large groups.

And I do have mourning gecko in my tank as well. It is a nice combo with the bold leucs and The shy geckos. I am not sure the leucs even knows they have Company yet.

I am thinking about the height of your tank. With that high tank it Will be Hard to get enough Light to the bottom. You need really strong Light. That is a good challenge with cooling.

Br
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

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Originally Posted by Red Beard View Post
I just subscribed and am now along for the ride. This is promising to be epic! You seem to have a great knowledge and understanding of what you plan to do. Good luck. Please be thorough and take lots of pics!
Thank you! And yes, it will be well documented! I have some ideas that are going to be fun to see if they work and if they do fun to share with you.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

Ahh, you were faster than me on the Light issue.

I think you will need good lenses for the led to get Them to work all the way to the bottom. However, I do think 230 w will be enough, given you get good lenses and get the cooling right.

Br
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Old 11-04-2018, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

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Ahh, you were faster than me on the Light issue.

I think you will need good lenses for the led to get Them to work all the way to the bottom. However, I do think 230 w will be enough, given you get good lenses and get the cooling right.

Br
Magnus
Thanks for the advice on lenses, I've been thinking about that too. One concern that I have regarding that is that because of the LEDs being quite separated having narrower beams could have me end up with a disco light of different colored beams. And raising the ramp up to give the beams enough room to blend would counter the effect of them reaching further down.

I've been thinking of having a few higher wattage cobs with lenses to push down in certain spots.

I guess it'll come down to some experimentation when it's all in place.
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:40 PM
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Im subbing. This project seems to be amazing!

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

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Thanks for the advice on lenses, I've been thinking about that too. One concern that I have regarding that is that because of the LEDs being quite separated having narrower beams could have me end up with a disco light of different colored beams. And raising the ramp up to give the beams enough room to blend would counter the effect of them reaching further down.

I've been thinking of having a few higher wattage cobs with lenses to push down in certain spots.

I guess it'll come down to some experimentation when it's all in place.
Well, the red and blue lenses will give you the disco effect wheather you want it or not. Better to go for a good mix of cold white and warm white. Off course you can have a few reds and blues without reflextors to simulate dusk/dawn/ moonlight. But that is weak effect lights, not for plant growing.

Regarding reflextors, it makes sense to use narrow ones in the front and graduately use wider lenses further back. Minimum 30 degrees in the front and maximum 120 in the back.

But as you say, I am sure there will be a lot of experimentation before you are happy.

BR
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

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Well, the red and blue lenses will give you the disco effect wheather you want it or not. Better to go for a good mix of cold white and warm white. Off course you can have a few reds and blues without reflextors to simulate dusk/dawn/ moonlight. But that is weak effect lights, not for plant growing.

Regarding reflextors, it makes sense to use narrow ones in the front and graduately use wider lenses further back. Minimum 30 degrees in the front and maximum 120 in the back.

But as you say, I am sure there will be a lot of experimentation before you are happy.

BR
Magnus
The red and blue LEDs are for upping the wavelengths important for the plants though as white LEDs usually have big gaps in that spectra. Most grow lights use a mix of red/blue and white + some UV/IR. So it's not just because I want to use them for aesthetic effects a few hours per day.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

very interesting project!

But why do you plan to use other LEDs then 6500 K?
From my understanding - 6500 K are the best compromise between natural look and plant growth.
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Old 11-05-2018, 10:12 PM
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very interesting project!

But why do you plan to use other LEDs then 6500 K?
From my understanding - 6500 K are the best compromise between natural look and plant growth.
K is not a good descriptor of what is actually going on in the spectrum of a given light. There can be lots of different versions of a light that will still be 6500K. You could also use different colored LED emitters in combination to come up with something that, on aggregate, produces 6500K light. K really just refers to the overall color produced, not the different peaks of light available across the visible spectrum. There is a pretty good discussion of light going on here if you want to check it out.

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Old 11-06-2018, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

Sounds like an exciting build. I converted my 130g reef tank into a viv and have been very pleased, especially with the size. My 4 bumble bee darts seem very happy with all of the space and they go all over it.

For your lighting project, you should check out Stevesleds.com. I have purchased several sets of LEDs and drivers from them and the quality and service has been great. As far as your design goes, I think it will be fine like you have it and I think you will be good with the cooling. I did a similar design to light one of my reefs and I used aluminum square tubing for the heatsink channels. I felt it was overkill but it worked very well.

I am also a fan of the choice to use a Reef-Pi controller. It is very adaptable, there is plenty of support, and Ranjib and the other guys are constantly improving it. I am currently using an RKE system to control things on my viv but I will be changing out to either a Reef-Pi (Which I have joked around about re-naming it VIV-Pi) or a custom Arduino based controller. Haven't decided yet.

Thanks for sharing your project.
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Old 11-06-2018, 06:03 AM
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The red and blue LEDs are for upping the wavelengths important for the plants though as white LEDs usually have big gaps in that spectra. Most grow lights use a mix of red/blue and white + some UV/IR. So it's not just because I want to use them for aesthetic effects a few hours per day.
Well. The red and Blue have important waweleangths. But not neccesary. If you want Them for plant growth you need reflektor and have to accept the disco effect. I have modified my off the shelf Light to change the red and blues to 6500k and 12000 k. It is much more pleasing to look at the terrarium and I cannot see any huge difference in plant growth. If I do, Ill just increase the brightness.

After all, our vivs is not mainly about plant growth. And The only downside with a little less efficient Light is heat. Since you live in Sweden and are building that big tank, you will most likelly need extra heating anyway. So that is really not a loss. The most popular Light here is The different dusk Tropic Lights. None of Them has red or Blue in Them.

Br
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:05 AM
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Well. The red and Blue have important waweleangths. But not neccesary. If you want Them for plant growth you need reflektor and have to accept the disco effect. I have modified my off the shelf Light to change the red and blues to 6500k and 12000 k. It is much more pleasing to look at the terrarium and I cannot see any huge difference in plant growth. If I do, Ill just increase the brightness.

After all, our vivs is not mainly about plant growth. And The only downside with a little less efficient Light is heat. Since you live in Sweden and are building that big tank, you will most likelly need extra heating anyway. So that is really not a loss. The most popular Light here is The different dusk Tropic Lights. None of Them has red or Blue in Them.

Br
Magnus
I really appreciate your input Magnus! This whole light thing is a hard thing to completely wrap my head around and to choose the best option to go with.

What I've based my "blend" or "recipe" on so far has been a thread here on DB where some people showed real good results with Spectral Designs led strips. A big change in plant growth etc when switching over to them. And they have red and blue diodes in them. I also read this article from Advanced Planted Tank (https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/...avelength.html) about fine tuning wave lengths in planted tanks. And the author suggested and was himself using about the same mix as I've put together. 60% whites (3k, 5k, 6,5k) and 40% red/blue.

My own reasoning and theories are that by having a more complete spread over the important wavelengths you could end up having to use less total Lumen than if you're using just plain daylight diodes. Because to reach the overall "threshold" of the different wavelengths needed for good plant growth the spikes in daylight diodes will be through the roof. But this is just my layman theories so far as my experience is limited.


But you're right, I'm not trying to set up a optimized veggie garden, it has to be pleasing to look at and give off natural nice colors. In the end that's the no1 priority. BUT at the same time I want thriving plants. The plants are after all the most abundant "inhabitants" in the tank and one of the main reasons why I'm building the vivarium.

So you're only using a mix of 6500 and 12000K at the moment?
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

At the moment i have four chanels.

Ch1: 14000k
Ch2: mix of Blue (used for moon light simulation and some mid day boosting).
Ch3: 6500k
Ch4: 4500k

Chanel 1 is 60 degrees lenses and The rest are 120 degrees.

The Light is running on a time controller and full trottle only an hour a day and The rest of the time it is dimming up and down.

I am not missing the reds at all. The blues does make a nice effect. My lamp came with Green as well, for sure not missing Them

I like this article about Light basics:
http://www.neherpetoculture.com/vivariumlighting101

Br
Magnus
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

This sounds like a fun thread to follow.

I'm also looking to convert a large reef tank into a viv, so I'm especially interested. I also have made a DIY LED fixture for my reef tank. I have some input there..

My LED blend is heavy on royal blue, but is supplemented with warm white and "UV". This combination is great for photosynthesis wavelength peaks. The overall color has a bit of a purple hue though, and that's because of the extra red in the warm white LEDs combined with the royal blue. It would easily be taken care of with the addition of a few green LEDs. It would balance the look to the eye to more of a white light. I also use lenses.. 60 degree if I remember right..

I'll probably need to add green to them since they will no longer be over a reef and that dominant blue look isn't ideal over a viv. Or just swap out some chips to rebalance.

About the disco effect... I don't think you'll see much of one. The disco effect of LEDs is because surface agitation of water bends the blend. In the absence of an overhead water surface, I doubt you'll notice one.

I would only think it may show up under plant shadows, but it shouldn't do a rainbow dance like in can in aquariums. I tell you what.. I'll try it with mine over a tank with plants in it and take a picture/video and post it if you'd like. I should do that anyway since the fixture is just sitting in a corner right now.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:40 PM
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Oh and K has nothing to do with punch, as was stated previously. PAR is what matters. There may be a reef club around you that owns a PAR meter you could borrow.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:47 PM
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Yes, the disco effect is more evident in an aquarium because of the surface breaks the Light different. However glass do the same thing just so much less. The effect will be more notisable with reflectors and also with the distance between the leds.

Maybe I am overly sensitive. But I didnt like the red and greens in my Light. The blues are good at night to be able to see the nocturnal geckos.

Br
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Old 11-06-2018, 04:50 PM
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Oh and K has nothing to do with punch, as was stated previously. PAR is what matters. There may be a reef club around you that owns a PAR meter you could borrow.
Correct. If you need maximum punch. However we already know that maximum punch is not so pleasant to look at. Just a very few makers write par ratings on the products and a meter is very expensive.

Light around 6500k, high lumen and high cri is a good General rule when looking for Lights that are pleasant to look at and are good to grow plants. Adding red, Blue Green to the personal liking can be beneficial for some People. I like the cold crisp Light my setup gives and it sure grow plants, all from low Light species in the bottom to high Light species in the top.

The challenge for Kalle Lays in the enclosure height, as The intensity or brightness of light as a function of the distance from the light source follows an inverse square relationship. Lots of strong leds with good reflectors is to be needed. The rule of thumb is The more and stronger the better as leds are easy to dim and will last longer if they are.

Br
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Old 11-06-2018, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for input everyone!

A PAR meter would be great! That's a thing all stores should have for rent.

I think that my plan with the 3w diodes is still a go for now. I'll look into maybe adding a few 10W cobs in 6500K or something close to that with the ability to move them around on the actual ramp for changing placement. Mount them on individual heat sinks. Then I should have enough of different diodes to mess around with and find a blend that feels ok even if I have to dim the red and blue down a lot.

There's so much parallell thoughts and plans going around at the moment lol. One second I'm thinking about the stand, the next on diodes, and the next on the housing for the controller.

Next real step is going to be the actual stand though. As I don't have a car and not even a license to drive one I have to ask around for a lift to the hardware store. It's going to be quite a simple stand, like the basic DIY tank stand out of lumber and then skinned with some ply or OSB. Open in the front, no doors. Recessed side wall on one side to mount the outlets and controller on. Painted white and maybe with some simple trim. I live in an old apartment building with lots of elaborate trim along the walls and door frames so I'll probably add some just to have it blend in a bit more.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:03 PM
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I think you are on the right track for the light.

The idea about making the stand blend in with the appartment features sounds Great.

I will definettely follow this build.

Br
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Old 11-07-2018, 01:25 PM
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I am also a fan of the choice to use a Reef-Pi controller. It is very adaptable, there is plenty of support, and Ranjib and the other guys are constantly improving it. I am currently using an RKE system to control things on my viv but I will be changing out to either a Reef-Pi (Which I have joked around about re-naming it VIV-Pi) or a custom Arduino based controller. Haven't decided yet.

Thanks for sharing your project.
Sorry, I forgot to answer you earlier!

That's funny, I have unofficially also named the project Viv-Pi!

Yes, I've been a long time follower of the Reef-Pi project on R2R. Amazing stuff. Really shows what can be done with open source, a few enthusiasts and a large community. I recently read that Ranjib is planning to add support for humidity sensors after the 2.0 release that are aimed to come out around thanksgiving. And from my standpoint with that added it has everything needed for a viv.

I've been thinking to add a camera module too but from what I've read it can make the Reef-Pi a little unstable, so if I do it'll be on a standalone small Raspberry zero or something like that. My vision is to make a timelapse from the moment of filling it full of cuttings and mossmix up until it's fully grown in. Like take a couple of frames per day or something like that.

Thanks for your support!
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:18 PM
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Well, the red and blue lenses will give you the disco effect wheather you want it or not. Better to go for a good mix of cold white and warm white. Off course you can have a few reds and blues without reflextors to simulate dusk/dawn/ moonlight. But that is weak effect lights, not for plant growing.

Regarding reflextors, it makes sense to use narrow ones in the front and graduately use wider lenses further back. Minimum 30 degrees in the front and maximum 120 in the back.

But as you say, I am sure there will be a lot of experimentation before you are happy.

BR
Magnus
Magnus brings up some good things to pay attention to.

I am not always happy with the look of the various "white" options whether those be cool white or warm white. They all have different spectrums to them and it can be tough to balance the different spectra. Starting with 6500K is the best approach I have managed and then adding red or blue (usually the colors missing before a pleasing balance is achieved, at least to my eye). Maybe I just haven't run across a solid 6500K LED emitter yet, though, that would be better used by itself.

Disco effect is something to pay attention to in this build, but it might not be as noticeable as it could be in other builds. Disco, I believe, is a function of the separation angles of light sources of different colors. You are planning on using a lesser number of higher-wattage LEDs. This would increase the disco effect. However, you are also talking about a 4-foot deep tank. That will lessen the angles toward the bottom of the tank. Higher in the tank, the angles will be wider and you will have a more pronounced disco effect. I don't get any disco at all with the lights I have that have numerous very small LEDs of different colors. I think this is because of the lack of separation angle (the emitters are right next to each other, so they blend together well). The more space between your emitters of different colors, the more likely you are to experience the disco effect. Use of the lenses that Magnus is suggesting could also increase or decrease the disco effect, depending on the angle chosen.

If you can find a single 6500K emitter that you are happy with the look of (probably high CRI) and it also grows plants, that is probably ideal to use (the same ones across the whole top). If you don't go that route, you have a lot of experimentation in your future :-)

Mark
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:52 PM
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Magnus brings up some good things to pay attention to.

I am not always happy with the look of the various "white" options whether those be cool white or warm white. They all have different spectrums to them and it can be tough to balance the different spectra. Starting with 6500K is the best approach I have managed and then adding red or blue (usually the colors missing before a pleasing balance is achieved, at least to my eye). Maybe I just haven't run across a solid 6500K LED emitter yet, though, that would be better used by itself.

Disco effect is something to pay attention to in this build, but it might not be as noticeable as it could be in other builds. Disco, I believe, is a function of the separation angles of light sources of different colors. You are planning on using a lesser number of higher-wattage LEDs. This would increase the disco effect. However, you are also talking about a 4-foot deep tank. That will lessen the angles toward the bottom of the tank. Higher in the tank, the angles will be wider and you will have a more pronounced disco effect. I don't get any disco at all with the lights I have that have numerous very small LEDs of different colors. I think this is because of the lack of separation angle (the emitters are right next to each other, so they blend together well). The more space between your emitters of different colors, the more likely you are to experience the disco effect. Use of the lenses that Magnus is suggesting could also increase or decrease the disco effect, depending on the angle chosen.

If you can find a single 6500K emitter that you are happy with the look of (probably high CRI) and it also grows plants, that is probably ideal to use (the same ones across the whole top). If you don't go that route, you have a lot of experimentation in your future :-)

Mark
Yes, that was the disco effect I was talking about, the different colors not blending enough before entering the tank. Narrower beams in that case mean that the ramp has to be raised up to give the diodes more space to blend properly.

Ugh, I'm so unsure on what path to take here lol! I don't want to screw it up and end up with a light that looks horrible.

Maybe going more heavy with a good 6500K diode and a lower percentage of red/blue/other whites.

Back up plan if I feel I need more light is to make space for some high wattage cob spotlights. Aim them where they are needed. Maybe put narrow angle lenses on a few to break through the canopy in a few places. I'm not looking to grow moss on the bottom. It's going to be mostly leaf litter and roots, and some taller plants that can reach up a bit.
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:18 PM
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yea, the reef-pi project looks great. If there were only a europe-alternative with 230V for this great power-relay they use...
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:28 PM
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yea, the reef-pi project looks great. If there were only a europe-alternative with 230V for this great power-relay they use...
Yes, I've been browsing around for something similar but only found super expensive studio equipment stuff. Would be super handy, but it's not super difficult to build one from scratch. Check out the "Reef Pi build" thread on Reef2Reef.
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:31 PM
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Yes, that was the disco effect I was talking about, the different colors not blending enough before entering the tank. Narrower beams in that case mean that the ramp has to be raised up to give the diodes more space to blend properly.

Ugh, I'm so unsure on what path to take here lol! I don't want to screw it up and end up with a light that looks horrible.

Maybe going more heavy with a good 6500K diode and a lower percentage of red/blue/other whites.

Back up plan if I feel I need more light is to make space for some high wattage cob spotlights. Aim them where they are needed. Maybe put narrow angle lenses on a few to break through the canopy in a few places. I'm not looking to grow moss on the bottom. It's going to be mostly leaf litter and roots, and some taller plants that can reach up a bit.
Yeah, lots of decisions :-) The thing about using 3-watt arrays is that they aren't cheap and if you are going with DIY heatsinks, etc., you don't have an easy test bed. You might end up having to stick the LEDs to the heatsink, solder the wiring, etc. between each round of testing. That is a lot of work, even if you test on a scaled-down model. It might end up being cheaper to buy a pre-fabricated lighting solution in the long run. I just don't know.

Mark
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Old 11-07-2018, 04:44 PM
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Yeah, lots of decisions :-) The thing about using 3-watt arrays is that they aren't cheap and if you are going with DIY heatsinks, etc., you don't have an easy test bed. You might end up having to stick the LEDs to the heatsink, solder the wiring, etc. between each round of testing. That is a lot of work, even if you test on a scaled-down model. It might end up being cheaper to buy a pre-fabricated lighting solution in the long run. I just don't know.

Mark
True!

And the problem with going prefabricated for something this size is that it's going to cost. A lot.

On one hand I think LEDs are probably the best thing that has happened to the terrarium/aquarium lighting scene for a loong time. On the other hand it's a pain in the butt due to the million of different diodes available of different quality, color, spectrum, power, CRI, etc, etc.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:15 PM
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True!

And the problem with going prefabricated for something this size is that it's going to cost. A lot.

On one hand I think LEDs are probably the best thing that has happened to the terrarium/aquarium lighting scene for a loong time. On the other hand it's a pain in the butt due to the million of different diodes available of different quality, color, spectrum, power, CRI, etc, etc.
Yeah, I see the issues, for sure. It was always going to be expensive to light a tank this size, even if you went DIY. Maybe a couple of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EVO-Quad-48...!-1:rk:44:pf:0

and then use LED spot lights in between them to penetrate deeper into the tank? The EVOs run a little hot, but you could counter it with fans, especially if you plan on having a canopy. There are cheaper options available, but I think the 3-watt LEDs will get a bit deeper into the tank than some of the cheaper LEDs with larger numbers of smaller emitters.

Mark
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:14 PM
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Yeah, I see the issues, for sure. It was always going to be expensive to light a tank this size, even if you went DIY. Maybe a couple of these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EVO-Quad-48...!-1:rk:44:pf:0

and then use LED spot lights in between them to penetrate deeper into the tank? The EVOs run a little hot, but you could counter it with fans, especially if you plan on having a canopy. There are cheaper options available, but I think the 3-watt LEDs will get a bit deeper into the tank than some of the cheaper LEDs with larger numbers of smaller emitters.

Mark
Thanks for the link! I'm committed to DIY for this though! And I think I can end up with a better product for less money with doing that.

@Tropfrog just sent me a link to some 3W full spectrum (380-840nm) diodes with 93-95 CRI. $10 for 10 diodes. Looks like it can be an option for the bulk of the emitters at least. And maybe even go with a higher amount, like 300W in total.

As you all have said, I've started to be a bit nervous about mixing that amount of colored diodes when they're so spread apart. Feels safer to go with a good white with good CRI and just use some red and blues for dawn/dusk/moonlight effects.
Encyclia likes this.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for the link! I'm committed to DIY for this though! And I think I can end up with a better product for less money with doing that.

@Tropfrog just sent me a link to some 3W full spectrum (380-840nm) diodes with 93-95 CRI. $10 for 10 diodes. Looks like it can be an option for the bulk of the emitters at least. And maybe even go with a higher amount, like 300W in total.

As you all have said, I've started to be a bit nervous about mixing that amount of colored diodes when they're so spread apart. Feels safer to go with a good white with good CRI and just use some red and blues for dawn/dusk/moonlight effects.
Absolutely. If you are happy with how the diodes look, that prevents you from having to deal with a lot of the experimentation and the expense of having different colors to balance. It will be much easier to test, too, since you just have to connect some those diodes together and shine them over a smaller tank to see if you like them or not. I hope those work out well for you!

Mark
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:26 AM
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Absolutely. If you are happy with how the diodes look, that prevents you from having to deal with a lot of the experimentation and the expense of having different colors to balance. It will be much easier to test, too, since you just have to connect some those diodes together and shine them over a smaller tank to see if you like them or not. I hope those work out well for you!

Mark
Yes, going with a less complex solution removes quite a few question marks.

Thanks Mark! Appreciate your input!
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:10 PM
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Yes, I've been browsing around for something similar but only found super expensive studio equipment stuff. Would be super handy, but it's not super difficult to build one from scratch. Check out the "Reef Pi build" thread on Reef2Reef.
I will look into it - thanks!
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:46 AM
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What to do when home with a sick kid? Work on plans for your vivarium controller of course! Have been busy with kids and work but plans for the stand are about finished so hopefully I'll get to work on that soon.



The controller is based on Reef-Pi, a Raspberry Pi powered reef controller. I wanted to do a quick schematic to try and sort out features and what I actually want to control and also leave some room for possible future upgrades and needs.

The two main things it'll control is the light cycle and then turning equipment on and off via the power controller. For monitoring it will just monitor temp and humidity (humidity monitoring isn't supported at the moment but will be added quite soon according to the dev).

Power controller will basically be a box with some 230V and 12V outlets controlled with relays from the Raspberry Pi.

There are a couple of things that I'm not sure if I'll be needing, like heater and fogger, but I wanted to add them in here just to make room for them.

A planned upgrade for the Reef-Pi is going to be a controller for wave makers and I'm hoping that I can then use that to control the internal air circulation a bit better than just on/off. Like run it at low speed in general and then have surges with higher speed at intervals etc. I'll be using a 140mm PWM computer fan for air circulation. They push around 130-180 m³ per hour at full speed non restricted. So that feels plenty.

When full monitoring of temp and humidity is in place the controller could be used to trigger both misting, external fan, and heater (which I don't think I'll be needing though) if needed. Most likely it will just be for monitoring purposes though.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

nice setup - but what do your pumps 1 and 2 do?
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:36 PM
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nice setup - but what do your pumps 1 and 2 do?
I haven't entirely decided on the scaping yet but one thought I have is to have a small "paludarium" style water feature along the front of the tank. A bit like the edge of a river bank. And I also have an idea for a drip wall feature on one wall which will be a rock face.

So the pumps would sit in the sump, and pump#1 would just circulate the water from the pond feature. Pump#2 would supply the drip wall. Drip wall will probably be set to switch on and off on a cycle while pump#1 will run constantly. They're just tiny little 12V DC pumps.

Ranjib gave me a tip for a workaround for the 12V fan, I can just hook it up as a light in Reef-Pi and control it over PWM that way. Won't be pretty lol but at least I can vary the air flow over the course of the day/night.

I'd rather have a couple of unused outlets on the power controller than missing one. So I just tried to think of anything I could possibly want to try out or add down the line to get a feel for how many outlets I'd need.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:59 PM
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connecting the fan on the pi directly - will that not drain to much current?

I guess air flow through FAN and automatically controlling humidity will be very interesting. Do you try to blow air in from outside or let it only circulate in the tank?.
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Old 11-12-2018, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: 340 gallon, 36x48x48, build journal

Computer fans dont last too long in the humid environment. I have burned a few. I was thinking of switching to inline fan, but for my tank I cannot find any small enough. But for your tank its another story. Take a look at the 350g riparium thread. Looks good. And they are built for humid air.

Br
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