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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So after years of keeping various species on and off, I'm finally at a point where I can setup a wall of aquariums.

So I have 2- 6' shelves that I'll be using. I have the drainage down (basically a bulkhead on each tank with a valve), so I'm half way to easier water changes (I don't want it completely automatic). But only half way there.

Both racks with have 3 shelves; the first from bottom to top will have:
2x 40B
5-6x 20H
6-7x 10gal.

The second will be the same,except I might put 20h's on the top instead of 10's. The first rack will be mostly Apistos +dithers, and the other will be mostly shrimp.

Anyways, I plan on getting an RODI system, and will use a 55gal drum to store the "good" water. I'm trying to figure out a way to fill the tanks as needed using only one pump in the storage tank. I was thinking of doing something similar to what people do with air systems. pump is attached to a pvc pipe that goes along the wall; valves will be attached, leading to each tank. Will this work? or would only having a couple valves open at a time put too much back pressure on the pump?

Speaking of air pumps- I'm not completely sure which I should get. All the tanks will be running Mattenfilters (I've had very good luck with them in the past). I get headaches easily so I prefer something fairly quiet, though I could also build a sound-proof box to help with that. I'd also like something that doesn't suck up a lot of power. I am already using a LOT of power running a bunch of halogens for some desert reptiles, I'd like to keep the fish rack at the lowest power usage possible (within reason). Does anyone have any recommendations on an air pump capable on running all the tanks?

These pics roughly show how it's going to be setup, in case I didn't quite make enough sense :hihi:
Red is Airline, Blue is Water.




 

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If you plumb the fill line with hard pipe and a valve for each tank you will have to manually open and close each valve. More clutter at each tank, and a valve that is hard to reach. However, you could leave the valves open, and add a float switch inside each tank. Turn off any valve as needed if you want to drain the tank and not have it auto fill, but most water changes can be allowed to auto fill while you are still draining the tank.

If you plumb just a single 'fill' line, (as per the drawing above) and put a hose bib on the end of it you can manually fill each tank with garden hose or vinyl tubing and a clamp or a U tube to hang the tubing on each tank. A hose hung on the end of the shelving is easy access, not in the way, and the valve (hose bib) is easy to access. Open or close the hose bib to control water flow. Get a pump that will just about fill the largest tanks at the right rate, then partially close the hose bib to fill smaller tanks.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of room to work in each tank. I would tend to place the tallest tanks on the top, and the shorter tanks on all the other shelves, where there is another shelf over it. Gives maximum arm room for working on each tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Diana!

If you plumb the fill line with hard pipe and a valve for each tank you will have to manually open and close each valve. More clutter at each tank, and a valve that is hard to reach. However, you could leave the valves open, and add a float switch inside each tank. Turn off any valve as needed if you want to drain the tank and not have it auto fill, but most water changes can be allowed to auto fill while you are still draining the tank.
I'm okay with a little reaching. I have very long skinny arms. :grin2:
I didn't think of using a float switch (I'm not electrically inclined, spent too much time in school looking for bugs haha), is there a way to hook up a float switch to a valve that controls the water flow? Is it hard to setup? Is there a non-electric version that just blocks the flow when it's high enough instead of sending a signal?

If you plumb just a single 'fill' line, (as per the drawing above) and put a hose bib on the end of it you can manually fill each tank with garden hose or vinyl tubing and a clamp or a U tube to hang the tubing on each tank. A hose hung on the end of the shelving is easy access, not in the way, and the valve (hose bib) is easy to access. Open or close the hose bib to control water flow. Get a pump that will just about fill the largest tanks at the right rate, then partially close the hose bib to fill smaller tanks.
I did not think of this! I believe Ted Judy does something similar? I'm currently using a garden hose now, and find it a little annoying to have to wind it up (but I have to hook it up to a laundry sink 2 floors up, so that may be partly why); but this doesn't need to be nearly as long, so it's definitely a possibility.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of room to work in each tank. I would tend to place the tallest tanks on the top, and the shorter tanks on all the other shelves, where there is another shelf over it. Gives maximum arm room for working on each tank.
Most of the tanks are roughly the same height (obviously the 10's are shorter), but I do have plenty of room above each tank. Not TONS, but I don't plan on messing around in them unless necessary. the 10's are going to be for fry, so they probably won't be running all year anyways.
 

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I might suggest a bit different control for the water. Rather than cut the flow, which can tend to make things leak, I like to turn the pump on/off. If you look and measure a bit while planning can a hose bib be located somewhat central in the stack? Maybe on the wall behind if you don't need to reach it very often?
What I like is a flexible hose that will reach all the tanks but also can be used for multiple other things like filling buckets or rinsing things. But to avoid cutting off flow and possibly popping tubing apart, I use a remote control outlet to power the pump. Ultimate simple to install as the control plugs in the wall and the pump into the control. A clicker like a car remote that hangs on my belt and uses RF to do the switching so that the RF will go through most walls if steel is not in the way.
Something like this might help?
Woods Outdoor Weatherproof Wireless Remote Control with 3 Conductor Outlet - Black-32555 - The Home Depot
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I might suggest a bit different control for the water. Rather than cut the flow, which can tend to make things leak, I like to turn the pump on/off. If you look and measure a bit while planning can a hose bib be located somewhat central in the stack? Maybe on the wall behind if you don't need to reach it very often?
What I like is a flexible hose that will reach all the tanks but also can be used for multiple other things like filling buckets or rinsing things. But to avoid cutting off flow and possibly popping tubing apart, I use a remote control outlet to power the pump. Ultimate simple to install as the control plugs in the wall and the pump into the control. A clicker like a car remote that hangs on my belt and uses RF to do the switching so that the RF will go through most walls if steel is not in the way.
Something like this might help?
Woods Outdoor Weatherproof Wireless Remote Control with 3 Conductor Outlet - Black-32555 - The Home Depot
This was actually the plan, except I was going to use one with the switch hardwired. Although that wireless one is cheap...

The back pressure I'm worried about is just when it's turned on, and I only have one or two valves open. It wouldn't be on long, but I don't want the pump to die too quickly if it's preventable.
 

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Depending on what pump, back pressure may not be the problem it was at one time.
If you are using a pump which has magnetic coupling rather than a hard shaft, the question is not going to be a problem. Many pumps as we used to know them were harmed by heat when they were forced to do more than designed. As the moving parts slowed, the heat built up and the windings melted. But with many of the pumps we use in the hobby, there are no windings on the moving parts, only magnets on the impeller. This means that the impeller can totally stop and nothing melts down. Thinking of the number of times filters stop? As long as there is a small amount of water to cool the low heat made by the motor coil, there is no harm to even totally stopping the impeller.

I had a tether at first to control my pump but I now find it works nice for me not to drag the cord around and when adding a tank down the hall, etc. I now find the remote is great as it keeps me from going down the hall to the tethered switch. A bit spoiled, maybe?
 

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You never wrote if your drilling the tanks. To me that would be a something you would want to do. You could set timer on your pump and change water every day or are you planning a continue drip system for w/c. It would be so much easier then have to siphon out water out of each tank. Also what are plans on the R/O are you going to add back in some hard water because pure R/O water is very low on kh & gh? I use a drip method on one my tanks and change some were around 120% a week. Fish growth has been unbelievable.
 

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Do you have a water treatment system or how do you dechlorinate for the drip system?
I want to set my tanks up on a single rack too before winter comes again.... then I'll probably start filling all the empty space with new tanks.
 

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If you already have the tanks drilled you can plumb them all to drain to one track, use that as a stump and pump water back to ask the tanks via a always on return loop and then just do water changes and top off in the sump, might make the logistics of it easier
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You never wrote if your drilling the tanks. To me that would be a something you would want to do. You could set timer on your pump and change water every day or are you planning a continue drip system for w/c. It would be so much easier then have to siphon out water out of each tank. Also what are plans on the R/O are you going to add back in some hard water because pure R/O water is very low on kh & gh? I use a drip method on one my tanks and change some were around 120% a week. Fish growth has been unbelievable.
The bulkhead for the drain I mentioned will be the only hole I drill in the tanks. That way all I have to do is turn a valve to open/close the drain and do water changes. No more siphoning! I hate siphoning, so want to get as far away from it as possible haha.

As for frequency of w/c's, I think i'd still be doing them weekly, or maybe even twice weekly. I'm not keeping Discus, or any other SUPER picky fish (It'll be Apistos/dithers, some Tanganyika stuff and Neocaridina), so I don't need constantly new water, or huge water changes.

Not sure if I'll remineralize the RO water... With most of them being blackwater tanks, the hardness has to be low anyways. I might buffer it a bit in the main storage tank, but not by much. My tap water is basically liquid chalk (8.4-8.6 ph, and high hardness), so I was going to continue using tap for the Tanganyikas mentioned above, instead of having to worry about putting additives in the water.

If you already have the tanks drilled you can plumb them all to drain to one track, use that as a stump and pump water back to ask the tanks via a always on return loop and then just do water changes and top off in the sump, might make the logistics of it easier
I still don't have 90% of the tanks yet, still planning.
Do you mean refill the tank through the same line as the drain? I don't know that I'd want the new water coming in the same place the old water leaves. I'd rather not do a sump for a couple reasons (based on my understanding of what you described);

1. Not all the tanks will have the same parameters, so that pretty much negates the idea of making it all one system.

2. disease/pathogens. I'd rather only have to treat one tank instead of an entire system.

3. Temp. not as big of an issue, but not all the tanks will be the same, so I don't want to shock them. Made that mistake before.





Anyone have any recommendations for an air pump?
 

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The best way to provide equal pressure to each tank is to create a loop or pressure ring to the tanks. Then by the control valve above each tank you can control the flow to each individual tank. So when you turn on you pump the ring fills with water under pressure and delivers the correct flow to each tank. It is very simple and this is how you would correctly plumb a central filter system in a fish store. If you have questions send me a PM and I can send you a diagram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do you mean have it so the pipe leads back into the storage tank, and then just tap the needed lines along the pipe?

Pm on the way.
 

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Any recommendations for an air pump?
I contacted John from Jehmco, explained how many tanks and their height and # of filters per tank plus ability to expand slightly and he recommended an air pump and also how to set up the air system using PVC piping. I'm running 25 tanks under 15" high with 2 air lifts per tank and using the LPH 60. They also have all the air valves and even the pipe taps to install in the PVC pipe.

If you plan on adding more tanks, you can get a larger air pump and bleed the excess air.
 
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