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Mbuna Tank - Technical Details


   

Sometimes, what lies beneath the tank (or behind it) is more important than what you see. It is the equipment which is used to keep the tank in prime shape and takes care of the well being of the fish, the plants and even controls (to some extent) the outbreak of diseases. It is said that the larger the tank the less equipment and maintenance is needed. This is true and is due to many reasons. Mainly, this has to do with the water volume which is less prone to alterations because of its much larger capacity. This is definitely true and is reflected in my two tanks; the 500 liter and the 1.300 liter. The latter is more "Spartan" in equipment and is solely based on the basics (filters, lights, pumps), while the smaller one is more "heavily" equipped.

The series of photos show the equipment used to support life in the 500 liter mbuna tank. The equipment is mainly located in the two closets at its base (see small photo). If you see all the electrical wiring and the tubing in the photos below you may correctly conclude that you need to become an electrician (after getting your plumper degree, of course). For all amateur electricians (like me) a piece of advice. Immediately after the water change, a tank like this with all heaters on, will consume more than 900 Watts. It is preferable to use two wall sockets instead of one. I learned this lesson the hard way from by 1.300 liter tank which needs 1.600 Watts. Well, it almost melted the wires in the wall before I used a second socket for some equipment.

In the photo at left you see the interior of the right compartment. In brief, the numbers correspond to the following equipment. The starters for the fluorescent tubes (seven in all). The lamps are powered by a timer  which is set to 12 hours. A second timer powers the air pump. This is set to start at 21:00 and stop at 8:00 just before the lamps go on. This is necessary in order to remove any carbon dioxide excess. The same timer also powers the UV lamps (see the contents of the left closet, below). Then there is the first external canister filter (900 liters / hour) which is powered directly along with the right internal sponge filter (rated at 950 liters / hour, too). All wires and tubes reach the tank through an opening in the back of the closet.

This photo at right shows the contents of the left closet. The first thing is the carbon dioxide canister which holds 2.5 Kg of it. The outlet of the manometer is inserted in the inlet of the canister filter (in the tank). This way, the gas is forced to travel a long way in the filter's tubes then mixed well in the canister and return to the tank almost completely dissolved. There is also a spare carbon dioxide canister which is filled when the pressure on the first one drops to the lower green region of the manometer. The stand holds the fishnets. Next are the two UV lamps, 8 watts each, which are connected in line with the second external canister filter. The presence of two lamps in necessary to comply with the filter's flaw rate which slightly exceeds the efficacy of one lamp alone. The UV lamps are connected to the air pump's timer and are turned on for a week every month. The second internal sponge filter is also powered from the same socket.

The contents of this section (photos included) belong to the No part of this section should be copied or reproduced 
without his approval.

The photo on the left shows the UPS which is used for this tank. It is rated at 750W and the only things connected to it are the four filters, a total 75 Watts. The UPS will keep the filters going for 2 hours and will fully recharge in 10 minutes. In contrast, the 1.300 liter tank is equipped with a 1250 watt UPS which will keep the internal filters going for 3 hours. The photo below shows a detail of the hole in the top tank cover through which all wires and tubes enter the tank.

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