Capillary Action - Drip Loop - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Capillary Action - Drip Loop

Trying to get some understanding on water travelling up and down a tubing/wire. I know I should definitely be putting a drip loop on the electrical side of things as a safeguard.

My question that I have is, suppose conditions are correct and water flows down a tubing/wire and the capillary action n' gravity starts to let water flow down the tubing/wire....would it eventually stop, or can it keep on going such that it drains the entire tank?

Second: What if I just raise the tubing/cords higher than the water line from the tank - that would prevent water from up and possibly down yes?

Thanks and sorry if this is a "silly" question.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Aqua07 View Post
Trying to get some understanding on water travelling up and down a tubing/wire. I know I should definitely be putting a drip loop on the electrical side of things as a safeguard.

My question that I have is, suppose conditions are correct and water flows down a tubing/wire and the capillary action n' gravity starts to let water flow down the tubing/wire....would it eventually stop, or can it keep on going such that it drains the entire tank?

Second: What if I just raise the tubing/cords higher than the water line from the tank - that would prevent water from up and possibly down yes?

Thanks and sorry if this is a "silly" question.
I'm really having a hard time figuring out how a wire/tube could cause capillary action to occur.... What wires/tubes are you using and for what application?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 01:39 PM
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I think you are way overworking a theory that has been proposed but never proven. I find that capillary action may cause something to get damp for an inch or so above water but never actually draw water up and out like a siphon. Others have proposed differing ideas but then there folks who believe many things that are not true. Just different views. Too easy to look at small points and get the wrong idea.
If we found water would climb up and over the side of tanks it would make fishkeeping really difficult. So far I see none of the major equipment folks putting any type of shield on their equipment to prevent siphoning. Considering how many wires are hanging in and over the sides of tanks in all these years, I would think the problem would be noticed much before now.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps tubing/power cords might be a long stretch from any form of water going up against something that doesn't support capillary type action....I had an incident before where this happen on a piece of plastic clip that was holding up my tank cover, and water dripped from it in a small steady stream.

Water between the clip and the tank glass made it's way up and down the clip and down the glass.

The clip is like this as attached:

http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225...9gwvanY-1A.jpg
vvDO and vvDO like this.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 02:27 PM
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There was a post on here a while back where someone had a leak like that. The water was going up the groove in the middle of a flat cord from a heater or power head. I think conditions would have to be perfect but this person had an issue with it and posted pics. A small dab of glue in the center of the cord stopped it.

I found it. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...ing-water.html
That first pic looks like an exit ramp for shrimp!

Last edited by Kubla; 12-04-2017 at 02:32 PM. Reason: add link
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2017, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
There was a post on here a while back where someone had a leak like that. The water was going up the groove in the middle of a flat cord from a heater or power head. I think conditions would have to be perfect but this person had an issue with it and posted pics. A small dab of glue in the center of the cord stopped it.

I found it. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...ing-water.html
That first pic looks like an exit ramp for shrimp!
Phenomenal thread. Thanks for sharing! I don't think I would have believed that story without the pics. It just seems so improbable.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 03:06 AM
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Capillary Action only works with certain types of materials, pretty sure it works because of surface tension, in most cases fabrics are really the only things that would wick water enough for that kind of concern, or something with a lot of little spikes to break the surface tension and cause the surface of the water to move "up" a level, repeat repeat repeat.

That cable in the thread Kubla posted had a very nice little groove and since it was quite narrow the water could wick up it somehow...


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 01:57 PM
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I was surprised that water would climb a cord like that too. I don't think it would go very far. I think it was only possible because it's was a small gradual incline. I just can't see surface tension holding it much more than that.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 03:50 PM
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I don't think it is a very common problem considering how many of us have tons of cords hanging in, out, and over the sides of tank. The drip loop thing is almost a standard as we do all splash a lot of water at times. So if we have a cord leading down to an electrical outlet, any water that lands on the cord will follow that cord to the power. It isn't like a really big deal but it can be if the right situation comes around and it really isn't good for making stuff last. The ones that always gets to me, are the guys who make videos of how to do things but still have the whole area cluttered with cords and powerstrips on the floor. I'm not taking much advise from a guy that walks on his power cords!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 08:16 PM
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I got this once, also with a heater power cord. I was right next to the aquarium when I heard the drops hitting the floor so was able to stop it fast. It will not empty the tank but still a mess to cleanup.

The situation was that the cord was in full contact over the wide part with the glass. From the water surface to the top of the glass there was only 0.5cm. Under this situation it started without any primming.

Leaving a thin string of cotton over the side of the aquarium will show you how easy it goes

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2017, 11:50 PM
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I had this happen to me before on an IM Nuvo tank, 10 or 20. I upped the flow and it raise the water level to the bottom of the lid holders. It was only an inch or so, but ran up and out of the tank. I think it has a lot to do with how close 2 surfaces are together. The 2 it leaked on were tighter to the inside glass.


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