Designing the fishroom (SLOWLY) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-02-2017, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Designing the fishroom (SLOWLY)

Started posting this on another forum, figured I'd post it here. Copying the posts from there, so apologies for any formatting errors.

So this thread will be updated ridiculously slowly, as it'll probably be a year before I finally get the fishroom up and running (moving,money, etc), but that just gives me more time to plan it. I don't have exact dimensions of the basement of the new house yet, so it'll be done in parts until I can actually get measurements.
The plan is to have the tanks in rows, seperated by the water parameters they require (row 1 for tap water, row 2 for blackwater, 3 for alkaline, &c.). This will make the water change system a bit easier, but more on that much later. Each rack will have 3 shelves, with a shelf per rack per species (each rack=3 species). This will allow me to keep fry close and the room more organized. It's mostly going to be 20L's, 10's, and a few Zoo Med Lowboy tanks (48x24x10).

So the first thing I'm trying to figure out is the water/drainage system.
Messing around in sketchup again, and came up with this. The green is the overflow and main drainage, the yellow is for the second drain (more below), blue for airlifts for the mattenfilters, and red for new water. The second drain is to preform larger water changes and drain the tank completely when needed. The valve for the second drain is at the front of the rack for ease of access; I'm fairly tall with a bad back and knees, so the less bending and reaching I have to do the better Click here to enlarge. The second drain is tied into the overflow.

The new water line is where I'm stuck. I made 2 versions; version one being a single line at the top, which will have valves, with airline going to each tank (the same as an air system), with version 2 having a line going to each shelf. I think I like the second version better, but what do you guys think?

1.Front view
2.Back version 1 with single line
3.Back version 2 with 3 lines
4.View of plumbing for 2nd drain

Any thought/ideas? Sorry if the descriptions are all over the place; mostly just typing it as I think of it haha.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2017, 03:07 AM
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I change a lot of water. I hate changing water.
I'm not sure how many tanks you're looking at but if it's over 10 I'd look into automation.
I've been thinking how I can automate changes in 100+ tanks.
Since I am currently revamping the fish house it's time to plan ahead. Glad to see you're doing that.

Filling my tanks is really what I hate the most. I seem to wind up cleaning filters, etc as a tank is filling. And overflowing.

So for filling I am looking at running 3/4" pvc on the back of the racks and attaching a float valve to control level. That will also give the refill for evaporation. So now how to automate draining?
I've got about 20 tanks that are drilled. So long as I don't want to run a sump they can be used for the drain. PVC pipe through the bulkhead at the 50% mark. Connect all the tanks on each level to an electric valve and use a sprinkler timer to start the drain part. Fill is already handled via the float valve.
The undrilled tanks is another thing. I'm still running ideas on that. Maybe a simple over the rim siphons with all tanks on each tier connected to an electric valve to a timer that opens long enough to lower the water but not long enough to break the siphon.


Then I start thinking that using well water for evap makeup is adding more minerals etc and what that does. So maybe RO water into the float valve and using the drain timer to also control a relay to two more valves to control whether RO or tap was running.

Anyhow those are my thoughts on water drain/fill being in almost the same situation you have.

As an aside, as much as I am going to automate my drain fill once a week I would still do a manual drain/siphon on the tanks to actually remove detritus and mulm.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2017, 04:08 AM
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Why do you have matten filters in there? You could have an autodrip system and that would change a certain amount of water over a period of time. If you're going to drill your tanks you could put an automatic overflow there (move the green piping up so that a failure of that seal doesn't drain your entire tank). Also you probably shouldn't add the yellow tubing there, if you need to drain an entire tank then do it manually. The more point of failures in your system the higher chance of catastrophic failure. Green piping needs to be on a grade and it's generally a good idea to have the waste drain into a pre-drain catch just in case.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2017, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
I change a lot of water. I hate changing water.
I'm not sure how many tanks you're looking at but if it's over 10 I'd look into automation.
I've been thinking how I can automate changes in 100+ tanks.
Since I am currently revamping the fish house it's time to plan ahead. Glad to see you're doing that.
Oh, I plan on having something in the hundreds. I need enough tanks for the fish/shrimps (probably multiple groups of each, with the ability to separate by sex), fry, QT, and so on and so forth.

haha, yeah I made the mistake of not planning the space from the beginning when I was doing mostly reptiles; I hate having a mish-mash of tank sizes.. Definitely not making that mistake again.

Quote:
As an aside, as much as I am going to automate my drain fill once a week I would still do a manual drain/siphon on the tanks to actually remove detritus and mulm.
I plan on having a loose line just incase I need to do this (more on this below).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeBeaver View Post
Why do you have matten filters in there? You could have an autodrip system and that would change a certain amount of water over a period of time. If you're going to drill your tanks you could put an automatic overflow there (move the green piping up so that a failure of that seal doesn't drain your entire tank). Also you probably shouldn't add the yellow tubing there, if you need to drain an entire tank then do it manually. The more point of failures in your system the higher chance of catastrophic failure. Green piping needs to be on a grade and it's generally a good idea to have the waste drain into a pre-drain catch just in case.
More on the drip system below, but the mattenfilters are there for 2 reasons;
1. a sort of "pre-filter" for the overflow/drain. If I have a bunch of tiny fry, I don't want them going down the drain. Probably not needed, but I like redundancy.
2. If I did a drip, I don't think that'd be enough to dilute the tanks enough if I have large numbers of fry in the tanks. Especially since I don't plan on a continuous drip (again, more on that below). The mattenfilters will be a biological back up just incase.

I realized the same thing about the overflow after posting the pictures; those will definitely be moved up. the drain will be on a grade when I build it, the models were just done level for reference.

What do you mean by having the waste drain into a pre-drain catch? Do you mean have it drain into a "waste bin" of sorts before disposing of the water? if so, I plan on doing this. I bleach (then dechlorinate) all waste water from the animals.

Copying this from another forum, so some of this may have already be mentioned....

So after going back and forth, I decided I'm going to attach 2gph (maybe 4gph) drippers to the red line (see first post) instead of just using valves above each tank. I'll probably put it on a timer to run for an hour everyday (plus 5-10 minutes to fill pipes and build up pressure for the drippers) . Assuming I go with 2gph for an hour, this will change the following amounts each week;

10gal=140%
20gal=70%
lowboys (50gal)=28%

Double this If I go with 4gph.

Now I'm not going with a continuous drip for a couple reasons; first is I'm still going to be on city water, so I have to pay for every drop. A continuous drip may not add a lot of cost per tank, but it adds up quickly with the number of tanks I plan on having. Secondly, I need to give the R/O system time to refill the barrels (more on that when i figure out the details). Lastly, I really don't think more is necessary, with the exception of the low boys. The 10 gallons will be for fry, so changing 140% a week is a nice amount, and more than I currently do.

I'll also have a seperate loose line attached to the water storage that I can use if I need to do larger or more frequent water changes.

I was originally planning on using ball valves above each tank, but I think there's too much room for error, and it's going to be far too much fiddling to dial in flow rates.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-03-2017, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viridis View Post
Now I'm not going with a continuous drip for a couple reasons; first is I'm still going to be on city water, so I have to pay for every drop. A continuous drip may not add a lot of cost per tank, but it adds up quickly with the number of tanks I plan on having. Secondly, I need to give the R/O system time to refill the barrels (more on that when i figure out the details). Lastly, I really don't think more is necessary, with the exception of the low boys. The 10 gallons will be for fry, so changing 140% a week is a nice amount, and more than I currently do.

I'll also have a seperate loose line attached to the water storage that I can use if I need to do larger or more frequent water changes.

I was originally planning on using ball valves above each tank, but I think there's too much room for error, and it's going to be far too much fiddling to dial in flow rates.
The pre-drain catch is just in case fry or something important gets across a filter so you can recover it before the drain. Also if you want to recover the water at point to save money it's already there and would be easy to convert.

I'm of the personal opinion that a continuous drip system works much better than manually changing the water since it shocks the system less. You just need to dial in the drip so it replaces the correct amount of water, 50% a week would probably be sufficient. Also it has the bonus that your water is always properly topped off.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viridis View Post
Now I'm not going with a continuous drip for a couple reasons; first is I'm still going to be on city water, so I have to pay for every drop. A continuous drip may not add a lot of cost per tank, but it adds up quickly with the number of tanks I plan on having. Secondly, I need to give the R/O system time to refill the barrels (more on that when i figure out the details). Lastly, I really don't think more is necessary, with the exception of the low boys. The 10 gallons will be for fry, so changing 140% a week is a nice amount, and more than I currently do.

I'll also have a seperate loose line attached to the water storage that I can use if I need to do larger or more frequent water changes.

I was originally planning on using ball valves above each tank, but I think there's too much room for error, and it's going to be far too much fiddling to dial in flow rates.
The pre-drain catch is just in case fry or something important gets across a filter so you can recover it before the drain. Also if you want to recover the water at point to save money it's already there and would be easy to convert.

I'm of the personal opinion that a continuous drip system works much better than manually changing the water since it shocks the system less. You just need to dial in the drip so it replaces the correct amount of water, 50% a week would probably be sufficient. Also it has the bonus that your water is always properly topped off.

Last edited by JusticeBeaver; 12-03-2017 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Not sure why it's double posting
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 01:06 PM
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Might want to reconsider having 3 levels . I found with my setups that the lowest level tends to get less care than the others , especially once your knees start to go . 2 levels when I redid my racks .
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Might want to reconsider having 3 levels . I found with my setups that the lowest level tends to get less care than the others , especially once your knees start to go . 2 levels when I redid my racks .
Ooh, that's a good point. My knees are crap as they are, so they're only going downhill from here! I'm definitely going to take this into consideration. I did plan on having the bottom level 18-24'' (depending on ceiling height) up from the floor, but this may still be an issue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeBeaver
I'm of the personal opinion that a continuous drip system works much better than manually changing the water since it shocks the system less. You just need to dial in the drip so it replaces the correct amount of water, 50% a week would probably be sufficient. Also it has the bonus that your water is always properly topped off.
Would a continuous drip be any better than a daily limited/timed drip? Especially when it'll change the same, if not more water than aiming for 50% a week with continuous? The only time I plan on doing any kind of manual water change is if I need to siphon the bottom of a deep tank or something like that.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viridis View Post
Would a continuous drip be any better than a daily limited/timed drip? Especially when it'll change the same, if not more water than aiming for 50% a week with continuous? The only time I plan on doing any kind of manual water change is if I need to siphon the bottom of a deep tank or something like that.
I think it shocks the system a little less, since it's like doing a water change one drop at a time. Also it requires less components, pretty much just a valve rather than an electrical timer. Also if you want to change more water all you'd need to do is open the valve a bit more and wait for it to refill. It's really up to you.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 01:45 PM
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Just as an FYI , my racks have the lower shelf at 32" and the upper at 56" . This puts the upper tanks ( 10's and 20's) at eye level , and gives around 8" clearance between the top of the tanks ( again 10's and 20's) on the lower level and the 2X's supporting the upper . Plenty of room for getting in and out with nets , and doing maintenance . 2 levels might give you the advantage of more head height on your drains , too .
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