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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey Guys,

Not sure if this is the correct spot to be posting this in, but I thought I would show you guys what I am working on. I have been trying to design a filter system to tie multiple tanks together, safely. I am frequently away from my house, so I do not have the luxury of lengthy water changes and maintenance. I still want to enjoy my fish though. I have designed a plan to circulate water between two tanks, a 30 G barrel, and a wet/dry filter. Please pick this to pieces, chew it up and spit it out. I would love to hear your thoughts on this design. I will say, most of this is a repeat design from various other tanks. I have yet to see a system like this though. Not saying there isn't one. Tell me if you see any catastrophic flaws or holes in my design. I will explain as best as I can. For those of you who know the technologies I am using, the diagram should be pretty good. I would really appreciate this forums insight. You guys rock!

About the Diagram:
This is not an automated system. Only a few of the pumps run 24x7. The RO/DI water does not auto feed into the Live Water barrel. The live water barrel does not auto drain into the toilet. I will have some switches that will turn the pumps on and off. Only "Real" purpose for the barrels is quick water changes, not really for over stock per say. Although, this much water would allow me to do that. The one part of this that is auto is the RO/DI barrel. This barrel will stay filled 24x7 using a toilet float valve on the high pressure line. By doing this, I alleviate pressure build up within the RO/DI system. The RO/DI pump is to "Dump" water into the Live Water barrel after the live barrel has been emptied. I will does ferts and supplements into the live water and run the filters and heater prior to turning back on the tank pumps. Let me know if there is anything else I didn't explain, or explain very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
nokturnalkid, the reason for not connecting the sump inline is overflow potential in the barrel. A pump leading to another pump is a very bad idea with a high chance of overflow. The issue with bypass shouldn't really be an issue though. The barrel is always going to have churning water, with churning water it will always spread out nutrients and contaminants. The water will naturally find equilibrium. Plus, so much water will be moving through there, I don't really see an issue. The barrel must be there for the quick water change to happen. That is an integral component to rapidly flush a large amount of water. The canister is for recycling, literally, I already have it, might as well move some water with it. Also, it fixes my problem of how to integrate my inline water heater. This way I can keep water temps equal across the board. Does that make since? I'm not sure how well I explained that. Let me know if you have any more questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dark, good to hear from you again. The reason for the pumps being at the top and not at the bottom is an overflow concern. If syphon was lost at the tanks, then water would not return to the bucket. The water would continue to pump out back into the tanks, which would then overflow. By having the pumps at the top of the barrel, only a small amount of water can be pumped back into the tanks. This would not be enough water to overflow either tank. I would much rather have a pump burn out, not likely, then have a flood across an apartment floor. Know what I mean? Pumps are cheap, but flooding can cost countless amounts of money. Same reason the pump is not at the bottom of the wet/dry filter. Let me know if that does/doesn't make since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is a pretty good idea. I like the though of simplicity. Unfortunately, being in an apartment, having a constant drain is not possible. Now, I could do a constant drain to a bucket, then throw out the bucket. But, that is so close to what I have now, I might as well reuse the water for as long as possible. If I end up dosing ferts into the water, I would not have a good fert drip system. The only way to have a fert drip system would be to have a premixed bucket of ferts dripping in. Then we come back to the same setup again. Hopefully that made some since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
jmhart, I see what your saying. This system is complicated, so it's hard for me to understand sometimes. :) So I would have syphons on each tank gravity feeding the live water barrel, live water barrel syphoning and gravity feeding the sump, the the sump having two independent return pumps to each tank. Sorry nokturnalkid if that was what you were trying to describe. This system would absolutely work, and yes it would be more efficient use of the sump. I will have to think about it. Part of the reason I had the sump on a separate loop was to be able to run it without the tanks connected, after adding new water. This way I could heat/cool the RO/DI and dose it, prior to being added back to the tank system. I am ok with loosing some efficiency since most of the filtering is overkill for my setup (which I am aware of).

The reason for the chiller/heater is exactly what you said. My room that the tanks are in fluctuate wildly during the year. Unfortunately it is also my bedroom. :( Right now it is 80+ degrees in my room, so the water is the same. I wanted my water to be closer to 70-75 degrees. More control really. If yall are worried about cost, that isn't an issue. I am just worrying about safety and design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
nokturnalkid, I understand what you mean about overflowing, but what you are describing is a recipe for water flood. Correct me if I am misunderstanding you. You are essentially relying on the pumps to prevent flooding. If a single pump dies, there will definitely be flooding. Also, once a syphon looses its....syphon....lol...it does not regain it back without your help. The water level would just rise over the tank line and spill. As far as the canister goes, I am just filling it with some bio rings, and bio stars, it will be pretty much completely empty. It's really only there for the free pump to move water from barrel, across heating/cooling, then back to the barrel. As far as dosing, I want as little automated as possible. Gives me more control. It also prevents a dump or a lack of supply and I would have to keep a 3rd barrel to have premixed ferts in it.

All good ideas though. I am not trying to bash anyone at all. Some of this I have thought about, others I have not. I do understand the way the physics of water works though. The reason my diagram is, the way it is, right now, is because it can survive a single or complete pump failure and not overflow a single point. I could also loose all syphons and not flood anywhere.

xmas_one please expain, that is not very constructive or helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dark, I agree with you, it leaves a very small margin for water to fluctuate. I have been toying with a float kill switch system also. Of course, you already know about my electricity kill switch that I am working on. :) I also agree about going through all of this trouble for a super sensitive system. I think what I need to do is build my diagram in real life. The see just how sensitive it is. Luckily if I do need to add an electronic float switch to stop pumps, then I don't need to change any of the setup, just add a float switch. I definitely am considering going down that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
nokturnalkid, That siphon is a very good idea. I was considering that one too. Maybe even using acrylic pipes to make it look transparent under water. However, it relies on the exact same physics the overflow box uses. The swoop inside the tank maintains the tank water level and prevents the siphon from draining if the water level drops. The swoop at the other end evactuates the water and also holds onto the siphon that is formed by the loop that goes over the glass wall. However, over time (with many other variables) air bubbles can/will form in the siphon. If too much air forms a large bubble, it will drop the siphon. That siphon cannot be reformed without manual intervention. Some say by making the tube smaller you can increase velocity of water and have air constantly pushed out of the tube. This does work, but is the same technique as the overflow box too. The other idea is to prevent air build up within the syphon by having a pump at the peak. This is a good idea in the since that it will never allow air build up. If the pump fails though, it will allow air into the peak and drop the siphon. Part of the reason my build is so complex is to prevent single points of failure. Short of having a tube leak or glass break. The system cannot put water onto the floor. Unless physics are defied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I thought I would provide an update for you guys. I am not trying to take your ideas and slap them down by the way. Sometimes you can come off sounding harsh in a forum. I am very open to all of your suggestions. Some of them I am considering to implement in a new design.

Some changes are taking place with the design. I can't easily acquire inexpensive 30 gal barrels, but I can get 55 gal barrels for pretty cheap. That will be the first change to my design. I didn't really want 55 gal barrels in my closet, but when I found out how they are not much bigger than 30, I decided to go for it.

jargonchipmunk, I am reallllly considering that idea. I didn't even think glass drilling was possible till I researched it after your post. Looks pretty common around here. I do have a few questions about drilling though. What are the risks involved? Do holes weaken the structure? How many holes are safe to have in the same wall? If anyone can answer these, that would be much appreciated.

After my tank finishes cycling and settles down, I may drain it and remove it off my stand. I have been wanting to change my background away from a cheap plastic back to window tinting. I have seen this in person and it looks much better. At this time, I could also drill holes and put bulk heads in the tank. Let me know what you guys think. I really like the idea of not even worrying about syphons. With my design, I really wouldn't have to worry much about sucking things down the hole either. The only thing I would have to worry about is plants getting it clogged at the top; this is why I was wondering if I could have a few holes in the top.

Thanks in advance!

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I see what you are saying. That's something to think about. Just use the barrels to store the water and pump in only after the actual tanks have been drained. That is a way easier system than what I have in the design.

Part of the reason I wanted to have the barrels connected this way, was to have all the water parameters 100% identical between the two tanks. Also, by having the canisters connected to the barrel, I could heat and treat the water before it ever enters either tank.

When you say the worst can happen, I do not see what could happen with this design. Maybe I am just naive, but I do not see what could go wrong in this setup. I would like to hear your thoughts on what could go wrong if you see something that sticks out. Obviously things like the tank breaking a seal on the glass or a tube getting punctured could happen. Other than that, though, I do not see what could go wrong. Please enlighten me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
over_stocked, I really appreciate your input. I am not trying to come off like an ignorant child here, but I won't accept "it will not work." I am a curious person and really want to know what would not work in here. It's not that I disagree with you. This is a very complicated setup, many points for failure, and pretty expensive. As far as I can tell though, there is absolutely no chance for flooding. This is the part I am confused on. If you don't want to explain, that is ok, but I would really like to know your thoughts on this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
I am by no means trying to argue with you here. More like have a conversation.

If you are using RO/DI water, you are going to need to reconstitute it somehow before putting fish in with it.
I will be dosing water with supplements that I already have. This aspect is covered. I am aware of the issues with RO/DI. The reason I am using it is the same reason as dosing CO2, more control and consistency. I may have to dose the water to make it acceptable, but I can always guarantee the exact same content.

Pumps fail, people mess up, and there are a lot of failure points here. 4 active pumps(including canister) is asking for trouble.
The way I have designed this. If any and all pumps fail, then water is drained out of the siphon, eventually the siphons will come to equilibrium. You can't drain water below the siphon level. Both the barrels and the sump can handle this back drain. If I lost every one of the siphons, the the pumps would continue to run with no water to replace it, until there is no water for the pumps to push out any more and they run dry. At this point the pumps may or may not burn out, but the tanks will have enough clearance that they cannot overflow from this.

Further, long runs for most pumps means crappy output and more stress on them.
Totally agree on this, but the tanks are within 5 feet of all of this. The barrels are on the opposite side of the wall as the tanks are. No hose would be more than 10 feet long. Majority of which would be closer to about 4 feet. I would also be sizing the pumps accordingly.

YOu prob wouldn't even need a chiller if [...]
If I took every single thing out of the line, every pump, filter, light, you name it; my water would be sitting at 80+ degrees. That is the sole reason why I want a chiller, not to compensate for the equipment.

Pumps are the most likely, hose connections, switches you have to remember to turn on and off. Overflows that can fail, etc, etc, etc.
Agreed, I already explained the pumps. Hose connections, tubing, silcone seals, all of these are points of failure. None of which I can truly control, but I could limit the amount of them. I am not that concerned for a hose connection breaking randomly though. As for a seal break, well, that would just suck regardless lol. There is no issue with remebering to turn off switches as there are only 2 important ones, RODI and drain. Every thing else is 24x7. BTW, majority of hose connections are inside of buckets, so even if they did leak, they are leaking into buckets.

This was the easiest way to explain some of these. Let me know if I missed or overlooked any concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
If what you want is a barrel to be central, run ONE sump with all filtration with both tanks coming to it. Not a barrel hooked to a sump with a canister filter as a red headed step child in between.
I do not undertand this. This is not in the diagram. The canister is not "inline" with anything other than a chiller and a heater. The only reason for this is reuse/recyle; just for the pump inside. Not filtration. I only have one sump in this diagram, unless you are refering to two pumps one going to each tank. Also, all filtration is in the barrel with both tanks leading to it. I guess I don't understand what you are saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I agree with you. I am redesigning this pretty much like you described. I have not maid up my mind btw. I am not easily swayed though without proof or evidence. You do present a compelling argument and I understand exactly what you are saying. I think you may be missing some of my points, but that is ok too. Good point on the chiller, that is a smart design, using equilibrium in my favor.

I comprehend the bypass issue. I didn't think it was really going to be an issue with that much water movement. All water would eventually go through the filter anyways, thanks to the water contaminants want to spread out across the water and dilute.

I will put a revised diagram with these thoughts in mind on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
You have some pretty great ideas. This is what I needed. Not people bashing my diagram, but providing alternatives. I am drawing the new schematic now. Awesome suggestion on the sock!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I will order some of those socks when I start building the sump. Those are cool.

Don't worry about it. It's hard to interpret people's emotions on these forums anyways. I really do value your opinions though. I have revised the drawing to a much simpler form, fell free to bash this new one. :D

I will probably make the sump a 55 gal instead of a 20 gal now since I have extra space without all of that stuff in the mix.

See the first post for the newly revised diagram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Thanks! Thanks to water's ability to absorb and release heat, even chilling or heating the 55 gal will keep the 20 at the same temp. Even though you are right, the 20 could potentially waiver faster than the 55, the water would not have a long enough time inside of the 20 gal to raise or lower the temp enough. The equilibrium in water is faster than that tank can fluctuate. Water is awesome! The reason for not having the chiller/heater on it's own loop is to limit the number of connections and pumps. I like this design a lot now. I think there is definite potential for improvement, but this is significantly better than version 1.

Thanks for all of your suggestions!
 
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