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New Setup, Old Tank

Author Topic: New Setup, Old Tank  (Read 3436 times)

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Offline Stuart

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New Setup, Old Tank
« on: March 05, 2013, 09:04:57 AM »
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Hello again.

I've attached a very basic layout of my new proposed setup, if anyone can spot a problem please let me know.

The water from the tank, going into the proposed filter will be syphoned and controlled by a basic ball valve (to safe guard against power cuts). The water will then be drawn from the proposed filter into my existing external filter before passing through the inline, external heater on the way back to the tank.

Proposed Filter

This will be divided into 2 sections with a gap at the bottom for water to move through. The water will first pass through sponges (mechanical), then plastic scourers (biological), then some old aquarium sand at the bottom of the filter higher than the gap. On the other side I may put some hardy oxygenating plants, with an old aquarium light above, in an attempt to remove nitrates. I may also put a small aquarium heater in here, to help my inline heater maintain a higher temperature, (essential for the discus a plan to keep).

My main concern here is regarding the speed of the water being drawn into my existing filter. As the proposed filter is lower than the main tank, will the reduced gravitation effect on the syphoning be an issue

Existing Filter

If my concerns regarding the syphoning to this filter are unfounded, I may have to restrict the flow of water out of this filter by using a valve. This will stop my proposed filter from running dry. I plan to fill this filter with more biological media, my old bags of ceramic noodles and bio balls.

I recently read somewhere that a filter is more productive when the flow of water through it, is actually reduced. Apparently a fast flow means the bacteria have trouble feeding on the ammonia/nitrites. Has anybody else heard this? Would more biological media, particularly after the plants in the proposed filter be redundant? Would it be a better idea to leave the existing filter empty to aid water flow if needed?

I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to try and understand my scrambled thoughts and basic layout. All comments, ideas and constructive criticism will be valued, Thanks.

Stuart.

Offline ColinB

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 09:26:00 AM »
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Just a few thoughts....

The ball valve in case of power cut. Is this like a toilet cistern idea that if there's a power cut the syphon will keep working and the ball will float up and stop the flow?

You have to balance the syphon effect out with the pump return to keep the water level constant - which seems like asking for problems unless you're using the ball valve to control the flow. Could you rather use a weir over-flow into the sump area so the whole water circulation and level is controlled by the pump?

Aquarium glass-cutting and over-flow kits here: http://www.glass-holes.com/Complete-Overflow-Kits_c3.htm

Just a thought.

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Offline SteveS

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 01:49:45 PM »
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Here is a link for overflow kits that is a) in the UK and b) doesn't require drilling the tank.  Using an overflow is more robust than the use of a ball valve in the sump.  This is liable to failure and then your tank will empty over the floor.
http://cleartides.com/userimages/procart26.htm

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Offline Stuart

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 07:31:41 PM »
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I am aware of the diy overflows that don't require drilling the tank but I have worked so hard hiding the in and out pipe for my external filter and getting an inline heater so the tank looks as natural as possible. The overflows that I have seen use a large U shaped pipe inside the tank.

The ball valve is an actual cistern system (although brand new). I was thinking about putting it on the end of the syphon out of the tank. So as long as the water out of the ball valve is faster than the water being sucked into my existing filter I shouldn't have a problem. If there is a power cut the suction to the existing filter will stop and the water level in the proposed filter will rise until the ball valve kicks in.

The toilet in my bathroom has never overflowed so they must be pretty reliable.

The proposed filter will actually be a rectangular kitchen bin that holds around 36 litres. I'll drill a hole in the side for the ball valve and reinforce around the whole and seal it with aquarium glue obviously.

I do appreciate your comments and I will check out the links. They may be worth trying as I'm still not convinced it will work in practice, I'm just sure it should work in theory.

Thanks again,

Stuart.

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 07:48:52 PM »
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Personally I really don't like the cleartides solution. Very bulky compared to what I wanted.

I think I may have just thought of a way of making the diy overflow work though.

More details to follow.

Offline SteveS

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 11:38:27 PM »
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Ball valves are pretty reliable but they do fail.  Setting up an overflow system of the correct sort is fail-safe.  Barring a leak, about which you can't do anything, it will not flood your sitting room if it fails.  A ball valve may well do so.

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Offline Nat

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 02:49:11 AM »
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My main concern here is regarding the speed of the water being drawn into my existing filter. As the proposed filter is lower than the main tank, will the reduced gravitation effect on the syphoning be an issue

My understanding of a canister filter is that it's a sealed system and works on the principle that both inlet and outlet pipes form a continuous water volume starting and finishing at the same height. In other words the two pipe are in equilibrium, with the impeller providing just enough energy to help draw water through the filter media.

Have you tested your canister filter to see if can lift water to your tank without help from an inlet water column of the same height.?

Never let a 6 year old play with your alarm clock, or you too can be awake at 2:45am. ::)

Offline Stuart

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 05:54:37 PM »
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I just noticed some mould growing on the wood in my tank :o

It is only growing on the bits sticking above the water line, but what is the best way to get rid of it?

It is a new piece that I thought I would put in my tank while I get the water parameters right.

I have now, at various times, completely submersed it, left it out in the sun all day to act as a natural disinfectant. I then poured boiling hot water over it before completely submersing it back in my tank. Any other ideas or solutions?

Thanks in advance, Stuart.

Offline ColinB

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 07:52:30 AM »
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Mould grows in damp places that have access to oxygen and your emerged wood will be perfect. The last thing you want to do is put any chemical on it so you can either submerge it completely..... or chop off the offending bit. You might be able to grow something on it that will cover the wood and out-compete the mould, but I wouldn't know what to suggest for that.

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Offline Stuart

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Re: New Setup, Old Tank
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 02:09:56 AM »
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O.k, thanks Colin. I was hoping to allow some of the wood to stick out of the top of the water, but if I have to cut it off below the water line, so be it.

As for the DIY filter, I have just found out that the makers of my external filter (all pond solutions) now make a pre filter. It consists of a sealed unit (canister) with just sponges for mechanical filtration. The water goes in at the bottom and comes out at the top. It just sits in line with your existing external pipework (no additional pumps) and it will allow me to use my existing filter for purely biological media.

It will only allow me to add an additional 1.2 litres to my setup (instead of the 20 litres my DIY filter would allow but at least I know it will be as overflow safe as possible.

Thanks again for all the input.

Stuart.

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