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Re: Siphons, Sumps, & Pumps

Bob Olesen suggested the following regarding self-leveling siphons,
which has been snipped and clipped by me so none of the mistakes are

> I think a trickle filter, or a sump type system in general, hinges on
> making 
> sure that the capacity for water to exit a given tank is always
> greater than 
> the volume of water which enters it.

This would be the case for any "closed circulation system."  What goes
down must go back up and vice versa.  You might also think of it as a
puddle avoidance system.  :-)

> Now, apparently in this other, "circulating range system", I read
> about, all 
> tanks are hooked together by the same sized/diameter siphon tube(s).
> The only 
> difference between any of the siphon/connecting tubes of whatever
> material or 
> diameter is that the exit tube leading from the last tank on the top
> level 
> down to the next level/row has a loop in it, the apex of which also
> has a 
> hole in it determining the water level of that particular row. I
> imagine this 
> "hole" could be just that, a hole in the tubing material/pipe being
> used or, 
> for a more practical example; just a three-way hose barb with the
> open end 
> pointed up.

I would think that the T-fitting would be better than the mere hole
because you run less risk of slosh-over when you bump the tube.  What?
Am I the only one that bumps tubes accidentally? 

> Since the circulating range system as described by the author in this
> particular book uses only an airlift to move water, I should imagine
> the 
> volume transferred to be a fraction of that possible with the sump or
> overflow method.

Actually, you can use any method you want to pump water back from the
lower tank or sump to the higher tanks, whether you are using a coiled
tube on the siphon side or a box and tube or a siphon-tube and a cup
and down-tube, etc.  Gravity draws the water to the lower tank or sump
but you must overcome gravity to get it back up to the upper tanks.  An
air-driven water pump (a.k.a. pumping air bubbles into a riser tube) is
 one practical way.  Centrifugal water pumps are another, and usually
more efficient, method.

> So see, we're making progress here ...

Well, actually, siphons and self-controlling siphon-&-return systems
have been around for a thousand years or so.  Ancient Greece knew of
them, as I recall . . . "Eureka, I know how to keep the bathtub form
overflowing!"  They didn't have vinyl or PVC or electricity (so
"waterfall" power was needed to drive the machinery or pump uphill) or
nearly the variety of commercially available aquatic plants.  :-)

> I'm investigating the current possibilities for water transfer
> between a 
> series of small planted tank displays and also for grow-out/nursery 
> containers too, possibly in a cascade system in order to be able to 
> treat/heat one lager body of water instead of numerous smaller ones.

That ought to be a very interesting project.  If you know of a very
good LFS, ask if you can see their back room.  Most LFSs these days
have tanks linked and they might have some ideas.  After your project,
you might be able to go back and give them some ideas.

After you work out the details on moving water from one level to
another, you can connect the tanks on a given row as simply as putting
a siphon tube from one tank to the next.  Or you can have siphons from
all of them join (manifold) to downtube to the sump and then a riser
manifold that sends up the return water to each.  In either case, I
believe you would need to count on the same total and individual water
flow rates.   

Remember to leave what plumbers call "clean-outs" on the end of runs of
lengths of pipe so that you can run a brush or something down there
once in a while.

> The devil is in the details - what materials, etc.

Only at the start of the project--once you start working out the
details, which is part of the fun for many of us, those devils turn
into angels.

Good Luck,
Scott H.

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