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Re: automatic leveling siphon

David A. Youngker replied to my question, quoted below:ject: 

> From: Scott Hieber
> > Isn't your basic sump (trickle filter) setup a self
> > leveling siphon system -- assuming it uses a
> > siphon/overflow rather than a bulkhead fitting?...
> Ah, but is it anywhere near as portable or easy to move from tank to
> tank?...

Well, actually, yes and no -- after all, it really depends on how you
set up the overflow and tubing between the sump and tank, which could
be done with one appropriately bent hose of with boxes and hoses or a
dozen other shapes.  My point is just that, whether you are doing it
between two rows of stocked aquaria or bewteen a stocked aquarium and a
sump tank, the same basic technique is used, even though a variety of
shapes of hoses and conduits can be used.  The supply line to the lower
level must have an air break that stops the flow before the siphon is
broken (i.e., drops below water level) in the upper tank.  A circular
tube with a hole in it is ceratinly cheaper than, say, a commercial
overflow box, provided you don't care about surface skimming.

Surface skimming aside, the physics are simple and exactly the same:  A
siphon on the upper level supplies a box or chamber or tube which
overflows (a wall or tube) into the supply hose to the lower level. 
The overflow to the lower level breaks before the first siphon breaks
-- so if the second chamber draws too much water, it will break the
overflow until the first siphon fills the second chamber back above the
overflow level again.  The diagram I saw a few days ago showed both
chambers made from one piece of hose.  The divider between the two
chambers was the hole, which on an overflow box has as it's counterpart
the air gap over the overflow tube or wall.  There is no reason, in
principle, why the system between a stocked aquarium and a sump need be
any less portable than between any other two or more tanks.

Scott H.

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