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Re: Flow system guestion about flow monitors

Hi Lee,

I use an automated once through water system.  I first tried drip 
irrigation tubing, etc. but these leaked slowly around the fittings 
which might be okay in a greenhouse but I find this unacceptable for 
my fish room.  Therefore, I switched to PVC plumbing pipe tapped for 
threaded hose barb fittings.  To these barbs, I connected a short 
piece of airline tubing with a "flag-style" drip emitter on the other 
end.  I connected another piece of airline to the output end of the 
drip emitter and run this to the tank.  For the tank connection, I 
drilled the plastic rim of the tank and inserted a small piece of 
rigid airline tubing.  This setup works well.  The emitters are very 
inexpensive (pennies each) and are available for different flow rates 
( 1/2, 1, 2, and 4 gallons per hour) so you can have different size 
tanks on the same manifold system by using the appropriate sized 
emitter.  The emitters are small and can be disassembled for cleaning 
- I have not had to do this in 2 years even though I have very hard 
water well water.  Since I was getting bacteria, etc. growing in my 
earlier manifolds which might have eventually clogged the emitters 
when it sloughed off, I am using a UV lamp on the supply water only 
which has prevented this growth.  I do remove chlorine with charcoal 
but I raise the water temperature by using a temperature mixing valve 
to mix in a small amount of hot water.  Irrigation solenoid valves 
can be used to turn on each manifold of tanks (I use several 
manifolds, one after the other, so as to not overload the drain by 
having all of the 100+ tanks draining at once).  This system has been 
a life saver since I can not find the time to do water changes on 
this many tanks.  You still must occasionally siphon the bottoms of 
the tanks and clean the filters.

By the way, silicone tubing does not work with this system since it 
expands when under my system's back pressure and can pop off.  I use 
a vinyl airline tubing which claims to be thicker-walled than normal 
vinyl airline tubing.  I also use inexpensive hose pinch clamps to 
isolate (shut off) individual emitters/tanks from the main system.  I 
have drilled my tanks for an overflow which is a threaded elbow hose 
fitting with a large-pore articulated foam insert to keep fry, etc. 
from leaving via the drain.

The only problem I have had with this system is that an occasional 
emitter or hose connection leaks, usually right after installation. 
In these situations, I just replace the offending part.  The leakers 
appear to be due to poor quality control since I have had no leaks 
from some flow-rate emitters while other flow-rates have had as much 
as 10% leakers (which admittedly is not too hard to deal with).

One of these days, I plan on putting up on a web site the part 
numbers/suppliers for the components and pictures of the parts and 
assembled system.  But do not hold your breath until I get a few 
other volunteer projects completed.

Rochester, NY

>Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 17:00:28 EST
>From: LeeH920226 at aol_com
>Subject: Flow system guestion about flow monitors
>I have an idea that is beyond just a concept. I have constructed a prototype
>once through water supply system that takes tap water, removes the chlorine
>via a carbon filter and distributes by means of a manifold to several tanks
>(I am at 12 five gallon tanks now and expanding). The overflow goes out
>through holes drilled in the tank sides with a screen to keep the fish from
>leaving and into a drain manifold to a discard water sump. In the winter I
>recognized immediately that I needed to warm the tap water (50 degrees) to at
>least 70 degrees. I accomplished this somewhat by immersing about 30 feet of
>coiled tubing in my 55 gallon drum which is heated to 78 degrees. This drum
>is where I have been "conditioning" water before using it to manually replace
>water. From there the tubing goes to the manifold. This works OK at low flow
>rates, which is where I want it to be. However I know of no cheap flow
>monitor that will give me a rough measure of flow rate except the ones used
>in chemistry setups where condenser cooling water is monitored. However,
>anything from a laboratory supply house is exorbitantly priced. See
>http://www.kimble-kontes.com/html/pg-626250.html for an example.
>Barry Cooper has suggested that a flow monitor would also be useful for each
>tank supply. I can estimate that, if necessary, by arranging a drip entry to
>each tank above the water surface. Any suggestions by way of drip irrigation
>supply places or wherever?
>Lee Harper
>Media, PA
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