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Bucket 2: He Must Be Mud!


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#41 BigTom

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:12 PM

One or two of you may recall that some time back in June last year I bought a Kessil a150 'Amazon Sun' from a guy in Australia. Well, thanks to the combined incompetence of both the Australian and British postal systems (ParcelFarce, I'm looking at you), it arrived yesterday! It's been around the world at least 4 times, and in the end we had to resort to having the guy's Mum bring it back to the UK in her luggage.

Anyway, I know a few people are interested in these lights so thought I'd do a quick comparison with my trusty 70w metal halide. Both lights were suspended 50cm above the water, camera was on a tripod and in manual mode, with white balance set to 4150K which best matched my perception of the room without either tank light on. I think the results give a fairly good idea of the rendition of the two units, but make sure you're viewing them in a colour managed browser (ie, not Chrome or IE) if you want an accurate view.

Impressions so far after 2 days with it.... overall I like it. It's very small and means I'll be able to retire my somewhat ugly lighting frame and get a more minimalist fitting of some sort. The colour rendition is pretty good (I tried one of those cheap ebay floodlight LEDs once and it was ghastly, this is much better and nicely contrasty without giving harsh shadows).

The one major issue I have with it is the noise of the little 40mm fan - it's louder than my quite powerful PC and you can hear it over pretty much anything else in the room. Definitely enough to be annoying in a bedroom. I've opened the can up and it looks like its a standard PC northbridge style fan, so I've ordered a supposedly quiet replacement fan and I'm hoping it'll be pretty straightforward to swap out.

So... 70w halide with (I think) a 6000k bulb in -

Posted Image

And the Kessil a150 (rated as 6700K) -

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So, not actually much different!

Afraid I don't have a par meter to check that, but visually it looks similarly bright to my 70w halide. Photoshop reckons the cropped underwater section of the image is about 20% brighter with the Kessil, which seems believable, although this is obviously a pretty spurious metric.

Posted Image

Edited by BigTom, 29 March 2013 - 08:47 PM.


#42 snazy

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:27 PM

Thanks for the review Tom. I was curious about these not long ago myself.

#43 BigTom

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:49 PM

I'll update once I've had a go at swapping the fan out, as at the moment I'd say its a bit of a dealbreaker for anyone worried about noisy equipment.

#44 snazy

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:53 PM

It would be interesting how it performs long term too in regards to the plants.

#45 WetElbow

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:42 PM

I have a kessil a350 for reefs.  The fan is noticeable but you have to be right up beside it to notice.
Rio 180. Tetratec ex1200. (Iwagumi) Bristlenose plec. 8 cardinal/ 8 black neon tetra. 7 cory habrosus. 5 Otocinclus. Amano and cherry shrimp.

Lido 120.(Nano reef) Tetratec ex 700. Deltec MCE 300. kessil A350.

#46 BigTom

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:56 PM

Wonder if it's a different fan in the 350s? If the case is wider they might have got a 60mm or so fan in which will probably spin slower and hence quieter. Obviously I've only got one sample to go on but my 150 is definitely loud.

#47 WetElbow

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:08 PM

Maybe.  Possibly a fault on the amazon.  It looks a brill light over tanks I've seen.

A UKAPS sponsor, has a kessil section and sells. ACS.  Nick is his name.  He could maybe shine a light on it.  Excuse the pun.
Rio 180. Tetratec ex1200. (Iwagumi) Bristlenose plec. 8 cardinal/ 8 black neon tetra. 7 cory habrosus. 5 Otocinclus. Amano and cherry shrimp.

Lido 120.(Nano reef) Tetratec ex 700. Deltec MCE 300. kessil A350.

#48 BigTom

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:26 PM

OK, some things I have learned about electronics (from a starting position of zilch a few days ago);

1. The fan in the Kessil is a fairly standard 40x40x20mm affair. Physically very easy to find a replacement.
2. However, it runs at 24v instead of 12v like most computer fans.
3. You can run the standard fan at half speed or a 12v fan if you wire in a LM7812 voltage regulator. This is very easy to do - ideally involves a spot of soldering or you can bodge it like me with electrical tape.
4. The half speed stock fan still pushes more air than the 12v northbridge fan I tried.
5. Doing the above will drastically reduce fan noise, and runs the unit cool enough not to cause any issue (short term at least). However, the unit does run considerably hotter so you're probably shortening the life span of the LEDs from the rated 13 years to...... who knows.
6. Running the unit without a fan at all causes it to switch off after about 10 minutes when it gets too hot. Good safety feature.
7. Accidentally crossing the red and black wires going to the fan whilst its switched on causes a burning smell and the death of a fuse on the circuit board, which renders the entire fan circuit kaput.
8. After a lot of swearing you can run a second power cable for the fan directly to that old mobile phone charger that's been sat in your drawer for about 8 years, because it just so happens to be 12v DC.

So in summary; if the terrible buzz from the Kessil fan is setting your teeth on edge, you can easily fix it by wiring in a 12v regulator as detailed here - AVForums.com - View Single Post - Behringer amps, x-over and parametric EQ units and hence running the stock fan half speed, or replacing with another fan of your choice. The downside is that the unit will be hotter, probably reducing its lifespan.

Can't help but feel Kessil should have made the case large enough to fit a 60mm fan and larger heatsink; would have made cooling much easier and quiter with only a minor increase in bulk.

Edited by BigTom, 08 April 2013 - 04:26 PM.


#49 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 02:38 PM

I recently moved a trio of Sawbwa out of the main tnak and into a 25l with a mesh bottom and dropped the temperature right down to 18 degrees to see if I could get them to spawn. Spotted a few eggs scattered around...

Freshly laid -

Posted Image

And a wee video of the first free swimming fry that I saw today (tiny!) -



#50 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:12 PM

And just for fun; freshwater limpet.



Edited by BigTom, 22 April 2013 - 03:14 PM.


#51 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:58 PM

Few more shots of mine while I'm at it -

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Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by BigTom, 22 April 2013 - 08:07 PM.


#52 claire

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:09 PM

Beautiful pictures as always. Tank is just a treat. Love how it's so jungle and wild looking.

Claire

Now gone salty! Follow my journey into the salty side here.


Posted Image


#53 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:22 PM

Thanks Claire. It's in dire need of a trim to be honest (crypts and ferns are overshadowing everything) but I might have to move the damn thing some time in the next few weeks so keep putting it off.

#54 Stu

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:43 PM

What's the secret mate ?
This tank always looks immaculate with great growth.
You're not using pressurised, how come you don't seem to have any low co2 issues.
Down to soil substrate & low lighting?
Love the macro pics BTW

#55 WetElbow

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:45 PM

Pictures are fab.  Love the macro universe.
Rio 180. Tetratec ex1200. (Iwagumi) Bristlenose plec. 8 cardinal/ 8 black neon tetra. 7 cory habrosus. 5 Otocinclus. Amano and cherry shrimp.

Lido 120.(Nano reef) Tetratec ex 700. Deltec MCE 300. kessil A350.

#56 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:58 PM

View PostStu, on 22 April 2013 - 08:43 PM, said:

What's the secret mate ?
This tank always looks immaculate with great growth.
You're not using pressurised, how come you don't seem to have any low co2 issues.
Down to soil substrate & low lighting?
Love the macro pics BTW

Heh dunno really. Just never have any problems... soil seems to provide enough nutrients without needing to dose extra ferts, lighting isn't too strong (often have it on 12 hours a day or more) and having a huge plant biomass and emergent plants keeps everything nice and stable. Occasional small water change and remember to feed the fish. Glass needs a clean every month or two to remove the odd bit of greenspot and that's all the algae I ever see.

I expect the large surface area to volume ration keeps co2 and o2 levels pretty much in equilibrium so doubt they fluctuate much.

All very easy and forgiving :)

Edited by BigTom, 22 April 2013 - 09:00 PM.


#57 BigTom

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:59 PM

View PostWetElbow, on 22 April 2013 - 08:45 PM, said:

Pictures are fab.  Love the macro universe.

Cheers, do enjoy the super macro stuff - picking up things your eyes can't make out.

#58 Biulu

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 01:50 AM

Congratulations on the fry! Did you move the parents back into the main tank? Did you keep the mesh in, or have you removed it now?

#59 Stu

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 07:26 AM

Thanks, Tom
My soil tank's (original aqua soil & peat) been up & running for 4-5 months or so, and after good initial growth i'm now starting to get signs of low co2.
Time for some floaters i guess.

#60 BigTom

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:28 AM

View PostBiulu, on 23 April 2013 - 01:50 AM, said:

Congratulations on the fry! Did you move the parents back into the main tank? Did you keep the mesh in, or have you removed it now?

Adults are still in at the moment... the other eggs I spotted haven't hatched (yet, hopefully) and are safe under the mesh, so figured I'd leave them spawning until I see more wrigglers.