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DIY Test Rack


Matt_
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I made a DIY aquarium test tube stand and drying rack today because I am tired of spilling my tests, breaking test tubes, and not getting my equipment to dry.  The main focus of the build was to reuse as many materials on hand as possible to keep costs low (less than a $1 at this point).  I used a leftover piece of PVC trim for a base, a wooden dowel for the stand, and metal closet organizer rubber end caps as the tips.  I am planning to paint the dowels white and glue everything in place after I work out the kinks using it few more times.  My impressions from the first few uses is that it is great and makes it so much easier to test the water.

20201128-20201128_231622.jpg.5ed116efd7bb710ecd54f967e32b7189.jpg

In use - its water change time:

20201128-20201128_235645.jpg.ab09eba4075a11496e4c8ec9f9ce0dd1.jpg

I am curious if anyone else on the forum has built something like this and has any additional tips.  Also, reagent storage tips would be helpful as well.  I have more bottles than something like the API master test kit bin can accept and would like to keep everything together.  Thanks.

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Wow!  Those are some really cool test racks.  The LED concept is amazing and the Lego drying rack is just out of this world (I have boys that just love playing with Legos)!  I had seen a similar tray to the one that @StephenP2003 modified and had the same thought - you can just cut the middles out of the back holders and keep the reagent bottles in the holder, but I was too cheap and I do not trust myself with the reagent bottles over a fish tank with or without a holder.  I really like the way that the API Master Test Kit rotated the reagent bottles in the container so that you can read them without using much space, so I may try to make something similar at some point.

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A couple of notes on the build in case you want to try it or something similar.  The PVC trim is 5" wide and 3/4" thick - still thinking about the final length.  I used a 1/2" spade bit stopping about half way (when the bottom of the spade bit contacted the concrete garage floor) and reamed out (slightly enlarged) the hole for a loose fit.  This created a shelf for the test tubes and an air hole in the bottom so that they do not get stuck in the opening.  The dowel for the drying pegs is 3/16" dia. cut using a hacksaw on a scrap block and set about half way in the block using a 13/64" drill bit for a snug fit.

20201129-20201129_095546.jpg.31a7c1e406ee446daf861b23371deaf8.jpg

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This made water testing so much easier for me I can now more quickly gather nuggets of information like what today's untreated city water looks like.  This answers the question of why was yesterday's water change raised the ammonia level in my QT tank. 20201129-20201129_113151.jpg.ce995ccece7a765011eb0e504c97c3ff.jpgToday's untreated city water: 7.4 pH, 1.0 ppm Ammonia, 0.0 ppm Nitrite, 5.0 ppm Nitrate after running the tap for a few minutes 😞

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3 hours ago, Matt_ said:

This made water testing so much easier for me I can now more quickly gather nuggets of information like what today's untreated city water looks like.  This answers the question of why was yesterday's water change raised the ammonia level in my QT tank. 20201129-20201129_113151.jpg.ce995ccece7a765011eb0e504c97c3ff.jpgToday's untreated city water: 7.4 pH, 1.0 ppm Ammonia, 0.0 ppm Nitrite, 5.0 ppm Nitrate after running the tap for a few minutes 😞

Aww man thats unfortunate. What area are you in if you dont mind me asking

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41 minutes ago, Sliceofnature said:

Aww man thats unfortunate. What area are you in if you dont mind me asking

I am in Northern VA or NOVA for short.  I am getting my city water from the Potomac River (I cannot wait until the city starts using one of the abandoned quarries as water storage 😱).  I have only been keeping fish in this area since last December and I forgot how bad it gets in the winter.

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2 minutes ago, Matt_ said:

I am really flattered that you think my design is better to what you have in the picture!  You have a really amazing setup already!

I was happy enough with mine until I saw yours! 🙂 This is one of my favorite parts of the forum. I am a better fishkeeper everyday because I learn something new on the forum everyday!

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1 hour ago, Matt_ said:

I am in Northern VA or NOVA for short.  I am getting my city water from the Potomac River (I cannot wait until the city starts using one of the abandoned quarries as water storage 😱).  I have only been keeping fish in this area since last December and I forgot how bad it gets in the winter.

Its interesting that the water quality would change with the seasons. I wonder why? Im a so cal boy, so i know nothing about real seasons.

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I assumed that the part of the Potomac River they are pumping from is hitting the turnover temperature numerous times since it has been so warm this year in addition to all of the runoff every time it rains somewhere in the watershed.  The trees are not drinking any more so the ground stays more saturated after every rain as well.

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31 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I bet @KBOzzie59 knows!

The bugs like warm water.  Just like cycling a tank, the warmer the water the faster they reproduce.  Generally if there is an issue in the cooler months it is possibly because there was some line maintenance and it is residual disinfectant, someone made a mistake, or there was an equipment failure somewhere in the process (usually disinfection or corrosion control).  If it was a small mistake it could show a pretty big swing in water parameters and still be within EPA guidelines for reporting/alerting customers (still safe for human consumption).  A provider should be providing their customers with a yearly water quality report, I can get mine online.

https://www.skagitpud.org/media/hxfllcht/ccr2019.pdf

 

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On 11/23/2020 at 3:51 AM, s1_ said:

Perfecto. I have the same tank. I bought versa tops for 40b from petco and shaved them down 1/4"

I just got done resealing mine.

PXL_20201123_094500556.jpg

 

19 hours ago, Matt_ said:

I made a DIY aquarium test tube stand and drying rack today because I am tired of spilling my tests, breaking test tubes, and not getting my equipment to dry.  The main focus of the build was to reuse as many materials on hand as possible to keep costs low (less than a $1 at this point).  I used a leftover piece of PVC trim for a base, a wooden dowel for the stand, and metal closet organizer rubber end caps as the tips.  I am planning to paint the dowels white and glue everything in place after I work out the kinks using it few more times.  My impressions from the first few uses is that it is great and makes it so much easier to test the water.

20201128-20201128_231622.jpg.5ed116efd7bb710ecd54f967e32b7189.jpg

In use - its water change time:

20201128-20201128_235645.jpg.ab09eba4075a11496e4c8ec9f9ce0dd1.jpg

I am curious if anyone else on the forum has built something like this and has any additional tips.  Also, reagent storage tips would be helpful as well.  I have more bottles than something like the API master test kit bin can accept and would like to keep everything together.  Thanks.

Heres my massive kit and my DIY stand and yes I'm a test kit junkie!

20201129_183658.jpg

20201129_183732.jpg

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Just now, cupanoodle said:

 I started a thread after I made this today, I should have just posted in here. It may be ugly, but I'm proud of it.

2020-11-29_DSC00704_169B7349.jpeg

This is great, I love it!  I was going for functionality all the way for the rack that I built, and I definitely considered going with deck screws instead of the dowels.

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On 11/29/2020 at 6:14 PM, Matt_ said:

I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Here is how it turned out. This is the 'sunlight' version. I am thinking of doing the @DaveSamsell 'light enhancer' version also.

Holes for the tubes with a slot behind to hold the results card.

1149191459_Closeupvery.jpg.ce6e2237a6ce33b824482f83592ca66f.jpg

More than a dozen tube holding holes so I can compare at least 3 tests simultaneously.

903193143_Wideshot.jpg.92992cb00519b35fd3fa9098cc617e50.jpg

Indirect light probably gives the best results.

367855668_Indirectsunlight.jpg.3da63f9e1ad65884d7ef52c90f1eee35.jpg

But sunlight is the prettiest.

110422728_Closeup.jpg.04c5866dbc3db720afbcbfb4870dbf8b.jpg

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3 hours ago, Daniel said:

Here is how it turned out. This is the 'sunlight' version. I am thinking of doing the @DaveSamsell 'light enhancer' version also.

Holes for the tubes with a slot behind to hold the results card.

1149191459_Closeupvery.jpg.ce6e2237a6ce33b824482f83592ca66f.jpg

More than a dozen tube holding holes so I can compare at least 3 tests simultaneously.

903193143_Wideshot.jpg.92992cb00519b35fd3fa9098cc617e50.jpg

Indirect light probably gives the best results.

367855668_Indirectsunlight.jpg.3da63f9e1ad65884d7ef52c90f1eee35.jpg

But sunlight is the prettiest.

110422728_Closeup.jpg.04c5866dbc3db720afbcbfb4870dbf8b.jpg

Awesome fabrication; you are taking this concept to next level!  What did you use to countersink the test tube opening?  Did you use a router to make the test card groove?

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My router skills are not that good. I sketched out what I wanted in program Fusion 360 from Autodesk and then used a Haas Mini Mill to fabricate it.

Here is part of the rendered drawing.

 

image.png.783da853488d13b00b709819bed7a961.png

That little inner lip you can see in the drawing is just enough to keep the test tubes from going any further down the hole. But by having the hole go all the way through I have left myself to option of lighting from below.

The bottom groove could potentially hold the LED light strip if I go that route.

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On 11/28/2020 at 11:19 PM, Matt_ said:

I made a DIY aquarium test tube stand and drying rack today because I am tired of spilling my tests, breaking test tubes, and not getting my equipment to dry.  The main focus of the build was to reuse as many materials on hand as possible to keep costs low (less than a $1 at this point).  I used a leftover piece of PVC trim for a base, a wooden dowel for the stand, and metal closet organizer rubber end caps as the tips.  I am planning to paint the dowels white and glue everything in place after I work out the kinks using it few more times.  My impressions from the first few uses is that it is great and makes it so much easier to test the water.

20201128-20201128_231622.jpg.5ed116efd7bb710ecd54f967e32b7189.jpg

In use - its water change time:

20201128-20201128_235645.jpg.ab09eba4075a11496e4c8ec9f9ce0dd1.jpg

I am curious if anyone else on the forum has built something like this and has any additional tips.  Also, reagent storage tips would be helpful as well.  I have more bottles than something like the API master test kit bin can accept and would like to keep everything together.  Thanks.

woah what are your nitrates!

also @Daniel

what is this thing and where did you find it?image.png.76dfb84b0dc39b7bbe052244272432b6.png

i've seen a YouTube channel called reefbuilders use something that looks similar for getting exact ml of water every time

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12 minutes ago, quirkylemon103 said:

woah what are your nitrates!

also @Daniel

what is this thing and where did you find it?image.png.76dfb84b0dc39b7bbe052244272432b6.png

i've seen a YouTube channel called reefbuilders use something that looks similar for getting exact ml of water every time

It is called a manual pipette. I own several, a 2.5 microliter, a 20 micro liter, a 200 microliter and the one I use most with fish the 1000 microliter which does deliver exactly 1 mL of fluid every time (if it is properly calibrated). I think @Brandy uses stuff like this everyday.

IMG_3090.JPG.2e4744d420c4676c016e780f9de524fb.JPG

When I first started, we pipetted by mouth and sometime you would get chemicals in your mouth, so these sort of pipettes were a great advancement.

I don't remember where I bought mine, probably pipette dot com or some such. Any laboratory supply house carries these.

 

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