Continuous drip...what would I need to do? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Continuous drip...what would I need to do?

I have always been interested in doing a continuous drip system in my tank, especially now that I am a home owner. For most my time in the hobby, I would poor the water out. Being that we are in a drought in Cali, I started making sure to water my plants with it. All I can say is WOW, some of my plants really have taken off. Anyway, one reason I never got further is I considered it to be possibly wasteful, now that I use 100% of my tank water for plants, I feel differently.

The problem I have is my only tank that gets regular water changes is my 60P, approximately 17 gallons. 50% of that water per week doesn't go all that far. On top of that, I don't always have time to do my water changes around my outdoor plants. I was thinking if I am going to use this all for my outdoor plants, why not reap the benefit of this system? The tank is already next to my garage, I have waterlines within feet of the tank as well.

I can see how this would work if I drilled the the tank or had an overflow, I just don't really get it in the context of not doing that. Is there any other way to accomplish that? Right now I have a canister so no sump either. I assume HOB overflows need some sort of siphon at all times to work, something that wouldn't easily be accomplished with that little amount of water. I also would hate for the siphon to break and me not notice.

Just wondering if there is another way I am not thinking of. I can think of some work arounds but it doesn't seem like it would be reliable. One would be to run some tubing in the lower part of the tank to keep a siphon but then I would need to coordinate the outflow rate and inflow rate to be exactly the same, doesn't seem like a great long term solution. The other would be to add a sump which I really don't have the space to easily do. Just wondering if there is something I either don't get, or something I am overlooking.

-Matt

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 06:10 PM
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You need an overflow system. Physics will draw out as much as you pump in. A hole on the side of a tank at the water level mark will do or a pvc overflow contraption.

You don't want any other ways because accidents will happen and you'll get gallons of water on the floor or an empty tank.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
You need an overflow system. Physics will draw out as much as you pump in. A hole on the side of a tank at the water level mark will do or a pvc overflow contraption.

You don't want any other ways because accidents will happen and you'll get gallons of water on the floor or an empty tank.
What about a HOB filter with it drilled in back? It's the only idea I can come up with that may work. Drilling my 60P is not an option, actually, starting a new tank is not an immediate option either. I figure a HOB could work in theory as it actually pumps the water up, obviously there is a potential of failure of the pump but I have yet to have that happen to me when I am not around. Still a bit sketchy.

-Matt

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 06:34 PM
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How are you getting new water into the tank?

Pumps get clogged, not necessarily fail.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
How are you getting new water into the tank?
The wall the tank is against is the wall that separates the garage to the living room. I have a waterline within about 5 feet of the tank, exposed in the garage. It actually is already tapped with valve as the previous owner had a freezer to make ice with. That is the easy part.

-Matt

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 06:57 PM
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You could engineer a solution with float valves, but as you probably know, any system will eventually fail except for gravity.

If your drip is slow enough the risks might not be that large.

I am not really seeing how an off-the-shelf HOB filter will accomplish this, because the water level in a HOB isn't really dependent on the water level of the tank. Sure, the flow will drop off if it needs to raise the water a few inches, but otherwise the water will always be at the level of the "waterfall".

You could build a "HOB" that maintained its water at tank level by essentially using a siphon sump overflow that pumps straight back into the tank to ensure the siphon is maintained.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:46 PM
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If you have a valve/solenoid to shut off the incoming water automatically when there is a power outage, that'll save your floor.

Any motor pumping out water will be pretty fast compared to the 'drip' you're putting in so you'll wind up with an empty tank.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 691175002 View Post
You could engineer a solution with float valves, but as you probably know, any system will eventually fail except for gravity.

If your drip is slow enough the risks might not be that large.

I am not really seeing how an off-the-shelf HOB filter will accomplish this, because the water level in a HOB isn't really dependent on the water level of the tank. Sure, the flow will drop off if it needs to raise the water a few inches, but otherwise the water will always be at the level of the "waterfall".

You could build a "HOB" that maintained its water at tank level by essentially using a siphon sump overflow that pumps straight back into the tank to ensure the siphon is maintained.
See, this is why I need to post here, haha. I was just thinking the HOB would allow for the water level to be above the tank, but I didn't think it would act the exact same if the water was too low or too high, for some reason, I was thinking it would adjust, not having used one in many years. I mostly just figured that was the way to get water above tank level, thus not having to maintain a siphon, using gravity.

I don't think this is likely an option for me at the moment then. I really don't want to engineer so other solution with floats and some pump because I think it will take up a lot of real estate in the tank, plus it would likely cycle a lot which I just am not sure if I trust, never doing it before. On a larger tank, I would but the difference from 1/4 in from the top glass and overflowing is very small here in gallons.

-Matt

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 07:56 PM
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I know people who do this. They use a pvc overflow and a sprinkler drip system.
https://www.google.com/search?q=pvc+...h=974#imgdii=_
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I know people who do this. They use a pvc overflow and a sprinkler drip system.
https://www.google.com/search?q=pvc+...h=974#imgdii=_
That's interesting but I wonder how it would work with such little amount of water and how scaled down it could be. I don't even know how many gallons a day it would be but I am thinking no more than 2-5 gallons per day. Plus it would be like the power going on and off (I assume) all the time, rather than a continuous flow most of the time like an overflow. It is likely cheap enough to make a mock up but I would love others to chime in.

-Matt

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:51 PM
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the pvc overflow should work fine. It's an overflow. alls you need. you just need to prime it to start.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
the pvc overflow should work fine. It's an overflow. alls you need. you just need to prime it to start.
If air starts to collect in the overflow the siphon will break. This isn't a problem if there is constant flow, but when only a few drops per second are trickling though it can build up over time.


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