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Flow through System - some additional info & photos
- To: KillieTalk at aka_org
- Subject: Flow through System - some additional info & photos
- From: David and Jennifer Snell <dsnell at erols_com>
- Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 23:10:21 -0500
- References: <200201032028.g03KS2622670 at actwin_com>
I want to thank everyone who have responded with positive comments about
my flow through system. A number of you have asked some questions and I
wanted to share that information with you and a few more pictures.
Water line to shoe boxes and 3-cup containers:
I drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the lid of the shoeboxes. Then I ran the
water line tube to the hole, attached a .18" barb to .18" barb elbow
(the fitting is also manufactured by Antelco, 50 for $6.00) to the
water line, put the elbow into the hole and then I added another inch or
so of water line tube (standard airline tubing) so it's extending into
the shoe box just above the water line. The water line stays in place
with no problem.
For the 3-cup containers, I drilled a hole just slightly smaller than
the elbow fitting and basically snap the elbow fitting in to place.
Since the hole is smaller than the barb on the fitting, it's locked into
place. I don't add any additional tubing.
In the shoebox tanks and the three cup containers, I have one or two
additional 1/4" holes (you can see them in the 3-cup container picture
link below) that I use for feeding or sometimes airline tubing.
PVC drain trough
The 1 1/4" PVC drain system was cut length-wise. I cut about 1/3 off
the top of the PVC pipe using a Dremel and a fiberglass cutting disk. I
set the Dremel to high speed for the cutting. To my surprise there was
no melting of the PVC. If you do the cutting I highly recommend that
you do the cutting outside since the cutting produces a sand-like
sawdust that gets over everything. Cutting straight is a challenge, I
did follow a straight line I drew on the PVC pipe, but it still took a
slow hand to keep the cut as straight as possible.
The picture below is part of the drain of another system Im putting
together for a (15) 2.5Gal tank rack. I learned the first time when you
do the cutting that you should leave a whole section (see in the
picture) of PVC pipe at the ends of your length of pipe. It makes life
much easier when you try to cement the pipe to the fittings (PVC end
cap, tees, etc).
I hope this helps answer a few more questions, if not just let me know.
david at in2fish_com
Below is just the original posting.
Fry Flow Through System
I started building this particular system this summer (2001), working on
it on-and-off as time permitted. It was finished and put into operation
in late November. This system is part my fishroom, which is a very small
10 x 10 room. It's really my wife's laundry room, which I've slowly
taken over and converted into the Fishroom. This system is above my
washer and dryer. It's suspended from the ceiling and supported by the
This particular system can hold up to (16) 1.5-gal Rubbermaid shoeboxes
& (12) 3-cup Glad containers. The sump is a 20Gal high tank. The water
is circulated from the sump using a Rio 2100 pump, through the supply
line, and back into the sump. My pump pushes a head of about 6ft, which
gives me a supply line flow-rate of about 100GHP. From the supply line,
I have individual valves that I use to control the drip rate of the
water into each tank. The drain system is 1 1/4" PVC pipe for the
shoeboxes and 1/2" PVC pipe for the 3-cup containers. The drain water
flows back into the sump. The supply line also has an in-line 25 Watt UV
sterilizer, which is run about 4 hours per day.
Off the main supply line I've inserted 1/2" PVC Tees for each tank. At
the end of each tee is a 1/2" PVC to Drip valve adapter. An Antelco
Vari-Flow valve controls water to each tank. Antelco
(http://www.antelco.com) is the manufacturer of the valves you see for
sale by Jehmco, Rain Drip, Pets Warehouse, TFP, etc. The valves I have
used are the Vari-Flow .18" barb x 10/32 thread valves. The barbed end
works well with standard airline tubing. The valves can plug up, but
they are easy to clean, usually by opening and closing the valve, or by
opening the valve and inserting a straightened-out paper clip into the
I have not yet measured the flow rates, but for the 3-cup containers, I
use a slow to very-slow drip rate. For the 1.5-gal tanks, I use a
moderate to fast drip rate.
I contacted Antelco this summer and found a local wholesaler in the
Washington DC area. Through a friend, we were able to setup a
commercial/wholesale account and purchase the valves for $0.60 each in
packages of 50. The adapters cost about $0.35 each in packages of 25.
To save money, you could tap the PVC pipe directly with a 10/32 tap, but
I didn't want to chance any leaking.
Each tank has a bulkhead fitting, which is actually an agricultural
spray fitting. These particular fittings are 1/2" barb to 11/16 UN
thread fittings. The 1.5-gal tanks use an elbow fitting, and the 3-cup
containers use a straight fitting. The threaded portion of the fittings
fits easily through a 3/4" hole. The 1.5-gal tanks are drilled on the
side, about 2.5" above the bottom on the containers. The 3-cup tanks
are drilled on the bottom. The barbed end of the fitting fits into 1/2
inch PVC pipe or drips into the 1 1/4" PVC trough.
The fittings are manufactured by Olsen Tools and Plastic
(http://www.olsentool.com/olsen.htm). Through a friend, I was able to
coordinate a wholesale order for the Chesapeake Area Killifish Club.
All totaled, we ordered 2600 fittings, nuts, caps, and various
adapters. The elbow bulkhead I'm using is their part number NTL12 and
the straight bulkhead is their part number 3812D. The cost was about 30
cents for the bulkhead fitting and nut.
I used the swivel nut (Olsen part 8027) and inserted a piece of
embroidery mesh to create an overflow screen. I have also attached some
foam to some of the nuts to create small foam filters for the 3-cup
containers and for some of the 1.5-gal tanks. I also use washers on
both sides of the bulkhead fitting. The washers are basic garden hose
washer found at Sears/Home Depot, I paid $1 for 10 or 12 washers.
In the 1.5-gal tanks with the bulkhead hole 2.5" above the bottom, the
water level is constant at about 1 gallon. The 3-cup containers are
drilled on the bottom, so the water volume varies from approx 1.5 cups
to 2 cups depending on the foam filter I use. I can adjust the water
volume one of two ways. Since the bulkhead is threaded and the foam
filter has a threaded nut, I can simple turn the filter until it reaches
the desired height. On some foam filters in place of the swivel nut I
have used a different threaded adapter that is about 2-3 times as tall
as the swivel nut, which allows me to raise the filter and the water
The overflow screens and foam filters can plug up. So for each tank, I
marked on the outside of the container to note the water line. If I see
the water line above the marked line, then I know I need to clean the
sponge filter or the overflow screen.
Water charges are very easy. I simply turn two ball valves and I pump
out the water. Then I refill with freshwater.
I'm still working on this area. The 20 Gal tank has several large
sponge filters. At some point in the future, I plan to setup some type
of small trickle filter with bio-balls or lava rock.
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