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Re: Need help with H20

Auto water-change sytems are really fun to work with, but can provide some
big surprises.

The Betta folk have come up with some ingenious ways to handle all those
male Betta jars. Check out Lew's Gutter Page from
http://home1.gte.net/n0kjf/. There are similar jar systems (Haley's) but
they are sometimes tricky to work. Wet floors are common.

One I tinkered with for a little while was a reliable way to trickle water
out of a tank, so a sump at tank level would provide a continuous refill.
The sump could be one of the barrels, with evaporative-cooler fill valve,
mentioned earlier.

The stiff but somewhat flexible poly tubing sold for refrigerator ice maker
hookup has a fascinating property. It can be shaped in boiling water, and
holds that shape after cooling. It is trivial to make u-tube siphons with
it. Use thin welding (brazing?) rod or a stout wire coathanger running
through a piece of the desired length. Bend as needed to a little tighter
than the desired final shape. Dunk in boiling water for a bit, and then
cool. When you pull the wire out, the shape is retained.

Inlet siphons can run all the way from the sump to an inch or two below the
desired water level of each tank (also must be the level in the sump).
Alternatively, they can be just siphons from a gutter along the back of the
tanks. Start the siphon with a baby ear syringe o/e, and the sump will fill
the tank(s) and keep full.

Continuous change is now possible with a really reliable way to slowly leak
water out of the tank to a drain. A J-tube of the same poly tubing can do
that, without any valves or inlet screens to clog. Draw dacron yarn through
the J-tube. The wicking action makes the siphon self starting and allows a
steady outside drip to a catch trough (plastic gutter material?). For more
flow, use more than one.

If the water supply fails (e.g., an air-locked siphon), the draining stops
right at the level of the inside yarn so the fish don't turn crispy. It
automatically restarts if the water supply is restored. If inlet siphons are
treated the same way, they, too, can be self starting!

[How many of us have watched a tank nearly drained by a single strand of mop
left hanging outside the tank? I'm just making it a "feature" rather than a
problem. ;-)]

Now, all I need is a fishroom large enough that I can have all tanks at eye
level on one huge autochange system. :-)


Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

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