New Apex Dos and Vodka Dosing

About a month ago I gor a fancy schmancy Apex DOS stepper dosing pump.. I was previously using a Jabeo dosser however, unplugged it once i got the calcium reactor going.   I decided to get back on weekly testing and stocked up on test kit refills..


For the first time since cycling my tank I decided to test nitrates and found it was much higher than i would have liked.  I used a red sea test kit..and was way off the charts for the low range test.. I then repeated the test in the “high range” mode and it read some where beteween 16 and 32…. So i decided it was time to try Vodka Dosing!

Shortly after I dug out the fancy apex dos that was hiding in the closet waiting to be unwrapped.  I chose the apex DOS as it deliver an extremely precise dose and was perfect for vodka dosing ( i actually got it for future automatic water changes but wont be implementing that until i move the tank closer to a water source.)



I figure my tank is around 120-130G with the sump.. subtracting sand and rock i settled on 100g to make calculations easy.   I’m following the chart below as a general guide on slowly increasing my dosage

Ill update this post as i go to keep you guys updated on how it goes!

Week 1: Day 1:  29/11/2016 I started on 0.5ml/day
Week 1: Day 3:  02/12/2016 Upped my dose to 1ml/day.




Arduino Controlled Dosing Pumps

Aquarium controllers can make your life easier.. especially when it comes to remembering to dose your aquarium.  I recently started a new planted tank and realized how bad my lax dosing schedule was… to fix this i decided to build an arduino based dosing system. Yes it may be overkill.. but I do love automation and building so this seemed like the perfect project! They dosing shield consists of an RTC DS1307. I searched the web for countless hours researching how to build this project… I found lots of bits of information but no complete guides so i decided to do this write up as a step by step guide for the beginner arduino builder.

[youtube_video] 8gr5I7OUo7I [/youtube_video]

Arduino Auto Doser

Shopping list:

DS1307 RTC  $3.50
Arduino Uno ATmega 328 $15
Arduino Prototype Shield $5.50  (optional but recommended)3x 1k Resistor
3x IRFZ44N (or any other N channel transistor)
3x Diodes
1x l7805cv   – 5V regulator
3x Dosing pump (ebay)

arduino dosing pump controller IMG_3398

Find a box to mount your project in… This lovely tea box was a whopping $3  and makes a perfect project box.  IMG_3406

Drill some holes yo mount the motors. IMG_3408

Paint your box if desired them mount your components.
IMG_3418 IMG_3433

Update: I finally got a proper tube holder!


The Schematic:

arduino controlled dosing pumps

arduino controlled dosing pumps

Arduino Sketch

// Deven Rich   12-5-2013
// This project was built on the Arduino Uno - ATmega328P
// I would also like to give credit to Maurice Ribble for providing chunks of the RTC code
// This code sets up the DS1307 Real Time clock on the Arduino board to controll 3 dosing pumps
// The RTC keeps track of time, the code checks it and turns on the pumps at a specified time
// to dose your aquarium

#include "Wire.h"
#define DS1307_I2C_ADDRESS 0x68

// Convert normal decimal numbers to binary coded decimal
byte decToBcd(byte val)
return ( (val/10*16) + (val%10) );

// Convert binary coded decimal to normal decimal numbers
byte bcdToDec(byte val)
return ( (val/16*10) + (val%16) );

// Stops the DS1307, but it has the side effect of setting seconds to 0
// Probably only want to use this for testing
/*void stopDs1307()

// 1) Sets the date and time on the ds1307
// 2) Starts the clock
// 3) Sets hour mode to 24 hour clock
// Assumes you're passing in valid numbers
void setDateDs1307(byte second,        // 0-59
byte minute,        // 0-59
byte hour,          // 1-23
byte dayOfWeek,     // 1-7
byte dayOfMonth,    // 1-28/29/30/31
byte month,         // 1-12
byte year)          // 0-99
Wire.write(decToBcd(second));    // 0 to bit 7 starts the clock
Wire.write(decToBcd(hour));      // If you want 12 hour am/pm you need to set
// bit 6 (also need to change readDateDs1307)

// Gets the date and time from the ds1307
void getDateDs1307(byte *second,
byte *minute,
byte *hour,
byte *dayOfWeek,
byte *dayOfMonth,
byte *month,
byte *year)
// Reset the register pointer

Wire.requestFrom(DS1307_I2C_ADDRESS, 7);

// A few of these need masks because certain bits are control bits
*second     = bcdToDec( & 0x7f);
*minute     = bcdToDec(;
*hour       = bcdToDec( & 0x3f);  // Need to change this if 12 hour am/pm
*dayOfWeek  = bcdToDec(;
*dayOfMonth = bcdToDec(;
*month      = bcdToDec(;
*year       = bcdToDec(;

//define pins
int motorPin1 = 9;
int motorPin2 = 10;
int motorPin3 = 11;

void setup()  // run once, when the sketch starts
byte second, minute, hour, dayOfWeek, dayOfMonth, month, year;
pinMode(motorPin1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(motorPin2, OUTPUT);
pinMode(motorPin3, OUTPUT);


// Change these values to what you want to set your clock to.
// You only need to run this the first time you setup your RTC.
// Set the correct value below and un comment it to run it.

second = 45;
minute = 55;
hour = 9;
dayOfWeek = 2;
dayOfMonth = 30;
month = 4;
year = 13;
setDateDs1307(second, minute, hour, dayOfWeek, dayOfMonth, month, year);


void loop() // run over and over again
byte second, minute, hour, dayOfWeek, dayOfMonth, month, year;

// this prints the output to the serial window (tools > serial monitor in arduino) and is great for testing
getDateDs1307(&second, &minute, &hour, &dayOfWeek, &dayOfMonth, &month, &year);
Serial.print(hour, DEC);
Serial.print(minute, DEC);
Serial.print(second, DEC);

// Set the time you want the motors to kick in
if((hour == 21)&&(minute == 23)&&(second==10)){
Serial.print(" TRUE");
Serial.println(" ");
Serial.println(" MP1");
analogWrite(motorPin1, 255);
delay(8500); // set how long you want the motor to run... 1000 = aprox 1ml

analogWrite(motorPin1, 0);
Serial.println(" MP2");
analogWrite(motorPin2, 255);
delay(9500); // set how long you want the motor to run... 1000 = aprox 1ml

analogWrite(motorPin2, 0);
Serial.println(" MP3");
analogWrite(motorPin3, 255);
delay(5500); // set how long you want the motor to run... 1000 = aprox 1ml
analogWrite(motorPin3, 0);

// we dont really need this since we set the pin to low above but just incase 🙂
else{Serial.println(" false");
analogWrite(motorPin1, 0);
analogWrite(motorPin2, 0);
analogWrite(motorPin3, 0);



Let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your new Arduino Dosing pumps!

As request I snapped a pic of the underside of the board