DIY rain-system? (low tech) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question DIY rain-system? (low tech)

I hope you'll bear with me because it's not so much a fish tank (yet). I'm having issues actually getting hold of any suitable fish from the local pet store, but it's basically a 110 litre Juwel tank that's filled about 30 or 40 litres of water in, with some bog wood of various kinds, plants (mostly spiderwort/wandering jew, pothos and some other stuff).

Overall I'm happy with the tank, even if it's not inhabited by any fish or shrimp, but I'm intered in making a sort of rain system. It doesn't have to be automatic by any means. I can't figure out a good build with the Juwel tank!

What I tried right now, was a few pieces of egg crate ziptiped together. I made the egg crate narrow enough to fit in, and at the short ends, I used duct tape and fastened it to the sides of the tank (in a way so that the actual hold/pull is on the outside, not just on the edge.) and a little bit of hold on the front aswell. The lid of the Juwel tank hides a bit of the top of the glass, so the duct tape is not visible in front.

For the "backside" of the eggcrate, I was afraid it would start to pull/sink, so I used some hemp twine and just pulled it through a few holes in the crate and duct taped the twine to the outside.

With the egg crate in place, I can place for example kitchen towels on top and just let water soak through and drip down.

The problems are:

1. The crate will eventually be in the way. I can "easily" remove it of course, but it'll be a hassle to remove it every time I want to adjust something below.

2. The drip is unsteady/last only a few seconds.

the good things are:

1. The egg crate gives a little bit of shade and makes sure the plants won't stick right into the lamp and burn.

2. It looks like it's overcast/cloudy when it drips due to the paper towels blocking a bit of sunlight.

My questions are:
Is there any sort of grid/mesh that fits Juwel tanks, that I can put to protect climbing plants from being burned?

Is there a better, more stable way of rain system? I'm not taking about spraying/misting, I can do that myself. I want the appeal of the big rain drops.

I've seen only 1 person who made an inexpensive DIY way of rain drops, but I couldn't get it to work like him. I believe my power head wasn't powerful enough, and he had it over an open tank I believe. I think his method was something like, a powerhead in a bucket and a hose connected that was clamped off, so water would go out through holes instead. This doesn't help me in a closed tank, I think. Unless I can put the system through the feeding lid.

Hope my post isn't too confusing. I hope someone has any good ideas about Juwel-tanks and rigs to it, or a great DIY method of rain drops!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:56 PM
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Hate to see a post with no response, so how about some random brain storm? Not much experience on the idea to back it but it might point you to better on the way, perhaps!
I cobbled together a bit of stuff to help with a terrarium for the wife and it might apply.
Enough water in the bottom to hide a container/catch basin for the water and act as a sump for a tiny pump? Perhaps pump the water up onto a sheet of thin fabric like wedding veil/tulle material. Very cheap stuff to buy, cut, and tie off at points so that the water runs across some of it, while seeping through in other places. I found it tended to sag down and leave only one low spot until I added support using stiff electric wire to lay across the tank top and bend higher or lower to form different "patterns" for the water flow on top.
A tiny fountain pump and timer with lots of very short cycles, made for a rainy then dry cycle during the day and cut off at night. I used an old airline tube and closed the end of it by burning and melting it, then crimped it closed with pliers. Cut or punch small openings along the way for outlets?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 10:26 AM
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I would make a clear plexiglass plastic tray that sets over tank, probably 1.5cm deep, cut a overflow notch at one corner so any excess flows back into corner of tank.

Then drill random 2mm holes in bottom and in each of those holes I would stick a rolled up piece fiberglass window screen mesh as a drip wick, maybe even fold it over and push it through hole and stick a piece of large gauge fishing line through loop to lock it in to tray. By playing with how tightly you roll up mesh and size of holes you should be able adjust throughput coming through drip holes to wicks.

Clear tray will let most of light through to tank but I could see it being a job to keep clean once algae starts growing in it.

Get a small pump and put it on a timer, maybe even as small as a Toms aqua lifter dosing pump and you should be able to make it rain when you want.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 05:33 PM
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Just spit balling as I have never seen a rain system before, but to my mind it would be nice to not have to clean something with lots of holes in it. Could it be possible to take advantage of condensation to make it rain? Perhaps using something to chill a clear piece of plexi or glass that tightly fit the aquarium. Heat from the aquarium rising to the chilled glass/plexi and forming condensation that then fell as "rain" into the tank.

Or a mister that was positioned in the tank above the waterline but below a tightly sealed lid with the mist being blown onto the lid, again forming drops that fell back into the tank as "rain".

No idea how practical either idea is but it might create a rain effect. Either way it would only be visible if you were basically at substrate level and looking up. Would need either an awkward sitting position or a really tall tank.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:51 PM
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Put a glass/acrylic cover over the tank and have your filter pump water upwards onto the cover?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 05:29 PM
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This is a more complex task than it may seem. Many people try to make such a system for breeding frogs. What I have seen is that most people end up with:
1. More of a waterfall than realistic rain; or
2. A spraying system.

The only way I can picture it working is using a wicking material like @DaveKS suggested. Get a shallow container, drill holes, plug holes with a wicking material, fill with water using a pump or manually. Adjust the wicking material so that it rains instead of creating a stream. IMO, maintaining the system so that it functions will be a major pain. As minerals and gunk builds up, they will stop functioning and require cleaning. If it isn't flat and level, then you will likely only get rain in part of the aquarium. I hope you are able to make it work for you.

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