automated fert dosing

Discussion in 'Hardware & DIY' started by stevet, 15 Nov 2007.

  1. stevet

    stevet Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    London
    Anyone got any experience of automated dosing pumps for ferts?

    I had a quick look on the net but most of the pumps i see seem to work off a rating of so many milligrams an hour or whatever. I just need to automate adding micro/macro nutrient solutions in 20mg burst once a day. They dont seem to work this way - rather they 'drip feed' in the ferts? Is there anything out there that can work of a timer and deliver a pre-set fluid amount per day?

    I have discovered that if i am lax in dosing my micro/macro nutrients, even by a day, then some algae is visible. Usually filamentous stuff.
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Why not just set it up to dose 20ml over the course of the whole day? Or dilute the fertiliser down so that you dose 20ml worth of fertiliser over the day - e.g. if it will add 100ml a day, dilute 20ml in 80ml of RO/DI water so that that will go in over the 24 hours?
     
  3. james3200

    james3200 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    CROYDON
    I use to have the aqua medic twin dosing pump, was ok, but no where as good as the aquatronica one i use. I actually never trusted it and had quite a few problems.

    Here is some information on it and the system, you need the controller to use the pump, as that is just one of the modules.

    Very accurate, can dose as little as 1ml and when i calibrate it, it is barely out

    http://www.aquatronica.com/products-1/modules/acq450

    You can dose in bursts , all at once, any way really

    James
     
  4. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Aint cheap thou!
     
  5. james3200

    james3200 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    CROYDON
    No, unfortunatley not, it is quality though..

    But, it is modular so you can buy bits every now and then which spreads the cost out.. i bought my setup in around 6 months, dont regret it and i am sure most people on here wouldnt either :D

    James
     
  6. stevet

    stevet Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    London
    This is the mutts nuts and i had looked at it but it is just too expensive for me.

    I was hoping thhere would be something out there that dosed automatically for less than £300-400. There is the eheim liquidoser but it only does one type of dose liquid at a time and only in 8 1ml doses (not enough for me).
     
  7. sks

    sks Guest

    I cannot comment on the twin dosing pump, but I plan to use 2 Aqua Medic Dosing pumps on my tank redo. The great thing about the Aqua Medic dosers is that theire spare parts are readily available, and they were made with this in mind. Break some part of your aquatronica dosers and you might have to buy a new unit :wideyed:. I know someone who's ran the Aqua Medics for over a decade in commercial systems and he's regularly replaces motors every six months :eek:, don't ask about the hoses he's replaced.

    The Aqua Medic's are great units, but you need a bit of care and attention when you use them, when set up properly it's literally fit and forget. I am going to use the 3000 and the newer 1500 (half the speed of the 3000) in my set up later on. They are dummy units, you have to have a timer to run them, that's where the aquatronica comes in. If I don't get the right level of dosage (and knowing that the timer on the aquatronica is only down to the minute and not the second) I can always dilute up to achieve this to accommodate the pumps' speeds.

    The aquatronica doser is finer in dosage resolution than the Aqua Medic's simply because it uses a thinner hose, and it also has its own timer control. This is great if you need a self contain unit and if you have to have finer doses (I'd don't know if you can dilute ADA ferts with RO water to ratio up?), I just want a reliable dummy doser that I can control, and that I can service should things wear - and they do with dosing pumps.
     
  8. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    There are several options. i.e. Eheim Liquidoser if you want to get a cheapie (about £35)

    Then there are the Aquamedic types which are much more expensive and are basically peristaltic pumps from washing machines (normally precision is .....approx 3 litres per hour. lol).

    There is a thread on APC somewhere and there a couple of people using the hospital drip feeders and one using a swimming pool algaeclear doser. these do dose larger amounts over a set period but their containers can hold 2+litres. Therefore the suggestion on these was that you mix your soltion then dilute it.

    If you want to dose 5ml solution and the doser does 20ml an hour, then set it up on a timer to work for 1 hour before lights on and dilute your solution with 3 equal parts DI water. Thus 20ml contains the same amount as your previous 5ml did.

    These units are in the region of £25 from a UK seller on ebay (ex-ambulances). I would guess they are incredibly acurate seeing as they are used in medicine.

    Remember whatever you buy you will need one for macros and one for micros as you can't mix them. Aquamedic does a double one which is V expensive.

    I though about this and quickly forgot about it after research showed me how much it would cost. I now just go on holiday with the lights low and no dosing then trim up when I return.

    Andy
     
  9. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    If you can get hold of a syringe pump that they used in the hospital and a 50ml syringe you can use that for automated regular dosing. I've set it to pump 24 mls an hour but I believe it can go lesser if you need it. Just hard to get one. and I would imagine pretty expensive too
     
  10. sks

    sks Guest

    Andy,

    I inquired about the drip feeders and I've been told they are not a permanent solution, and hospitals use them once and throw them away, so that tells you about their purpose, also I'm not happy about adjusting the flow control because over time I know that will get clogged etc.

    The Eheim Liquidoser is not accurate, that's why I won't use one, also it has to be at the top of the tank and can't be tucked in the cabinet.

    A dosing pump with good gearing will have a FIXED speed that you can set to the minute on a controller. This now allows you to specify your accuracy, just time the unit and collect the output and ratio up your ferts accordingly.

    Dosing pumps are not like internal/external filters which can run for decades as long as you clean them regularly, they take a lot of abuse through their activity. All that pressing against the tube takes its toll on the motor and the tube itself being compressed and depressed also takes its toll (that's why they tell you to replace tube after X many million compressions). That's why you want a unit that's easily parts replaceable, and also easily disassembled for this.
     
  11. james3200

    james3200 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    CROYDON
    Aquatronica do a repair service if your product is out of waranty, they have exceptional after sales service IME. Ive had mine for nearly a year, next month, and so far i have had no problems.

    After using both, the AQ is far easier to use, alot more accurate and the build quality is impressive.

    Entering and using the timing on the twin model was a pain, and a number of times it did not start when it should have. Another advantage of the aquatronica is that you can calibrate it, something that would have been really handy with the aquamedic & from what i remember dosing more than one programe is not possible on the aquamedic?
     
  12. sks

    sks Guest

    why bother when you can do it yourself instead of sending it away and returning it. Dosing pumps are simple to repair. The Aqua Medic is user servicable.

    That totally depends on the person you are. Build quality is the about the same as far as I was concerned, parts availability is on the Aqua Medic side. Regardless of build quality, having something run for decades is pretty impressive to me. And as for the accuracy you got to understand that the Aqua Medics were made for reef tanks and that's why their hoses are bigger, because all this is down to is motor speed and hose size, saying it is more accurate is pointless. However if I could not dilute up my commercial ferts then I might have to use an aquatronica doser.

    Again this is to do with implementation, if you buy two dummy dosers you can implement it anyway you like as long as your controller is capable.

    Finally, like I say with regulators, there's nothing magical or special about dosing pumps. Over time your motor will go (depends how many turns the motors goes through, and your mileage may vary) and your hoses will need replacement, and having parts available for user servicing means I can keep some spares to fix it myself.
     
  13. james3200

    james3200 Member

    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    CROYDON
    sounds to me like the aquamdeic is the one for you then :D
     

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