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Use of Aquadyne controllers.


I have a 120gal Planted Aquarium.  pH is 6.7 to 7.0 (manual).  Temp is 29C. 
 Waterchange is 3 gal a day. Light 240W, 11 hours a day.  6 Wattley 
Turquoise Discus, 23 Cardinal Tetras, 8 Panda Corydoras, 2 Zebra Plecos, 11 
Marbled Hatchets, 2 Clown Plecos and 6 Chinese Algae Eaters.  Several 
Vallisneria, Eichniodorus, Hydrophilia, Chyptocoryne, Bacopa and 
Micranthenum species.

Wet/Dry Trickle Filter, turning water over every hour.  DIY Manual CO2 
Injection with DIY Reactor w/ older Beckman Labtype pH meter for monitor 
only, no control.  6 40W Fluorescent--Vita-Lites on cheap timers.  DIY 
Manual Heating Cables controlled by Honeywell UDC w/ PotterBrumfield Relay. 
 Ebo Heaters for backup.

Shortcomings:  No feedback control on pH.  Did not use Laterite in 
substrate (I will!).  Been using cheap fertilisers.  AGA Oak Stand & Canopy 
are made of 3/4" plywood (scares me,  I need to gussy it up!).  Using a 
cheap timer for Water Changes (worry it will fail ON!)  All my systems s  
eemed Hodge Podged.  Admittedly, Plant growth is not optimum.  Would like 
to automate the entire system using one solution.

I have been considering building my own using an inexpensive PC, 
specifically, the PLCDirect DL405 and DirectSoft software.  However, it's a 
very expensive solution (~$2K) and will require alot of programming.  Has 
anyone used a PLC to automate all systems on there aquarium?  If so, how 
did you interface the pH probe and perform calibrations?

I am also considering one of the Controllers manufactured by Aquadyne, 
specifically, the AquaNode 500.  Has anyone used this product or the 
Octopus 2000/3000?  Has anyone used the auxillary Digital I/O (2in,2out) 
for Automated Water Changes,Dosing,Level Control?  What was your overall 
opinion of the quality of the instrumentation and power/ease of use of the 
software?  Is anyone willing to share the cost of the fully configured 

Lastly,  I have seen many discussions of PMDD.  What is it an abbreviation 
for?  I currently fertilize with Iron Daily and Plant food weekly.  How 
often is PMDD used and does it satisfy all fertilising needs?

Peter W O'Dwyer jnr
odwyerpw at capital_net