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Thread: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

  1. #1

    Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Hi, I've seen several talks on setting up fish "rooms" but would like some pointers on setting up a bookshelf with small (10-20 gal) tanks on each shelf of a regular metro rack.

    If anyone has some websites links they can point me to I would appreciate it. A google search turned up lots of rooms, all of which are way over my needs.

    My interest is to get semi-automatic water changing of all tanks for breeding corys to be able to ampify the trios I have and then stock the offspring in my community discus tank. I don't have enough space to set up a fish room, but can put water storage tanks in my attic or outside if needed. My concern is that with each tank on a different level, that most of the designs I have seen described are way over my simple needs, but I need to account for the increased head pressure (elevation) of each tank, and a single return system would over fill the bottom most tanks .

    Ideally I would like to spray the return water on top of the surface (like rainwater) instead of return via an overflow system.

    Why would I want to do this? Well adding all the additives to get the water right to each tank is too much effort for me to be disciplined about. I would like to be able to add the water into a storage tank like a 55 gal trashcan, add amquel, equilibrium, baking soda, KN03, KH2SO4 etc all just once only and adjust to get the entire mix right, then use that for a week or more as a supply. Since I do 50% WC's I wouldn't worry about fert buildup much.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

  3. #3

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Thanks for the link, this is one I hadn't found yet.

    This system has the most common configuration which I am trying to avoid. It is setup great for filtering, but when it comes to doing a water change, it changes by dilution. So you really cannot do a 40-50% wc without changing 70-90% of the volume, since the clean incoming water is getting diluted and then getting discarded as you continue the wc. Also becuase it relys on overflow pipes, there is no simple way to tee in fresh water at teh top and then use that in a bypass mode to refill the various shelves at equal levels without installing manual ball valves. Also if one teed in fresh water there is no way to drain the tanks 50 % before starting sincec each tank relies on an overflow pipe 1 inch below top of tank.

    How would you approach modifing this ?

  4. #4

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"


    I use a simple wire adjustable rack for all my small tanks.
    I just use a simple a water change method, it takes little time if all I do is change the water.

    The largest tank is a 10 gal, so I can use a bucket and in about 20 minutes, change every one of the 9 tanks.

    I'm willing to deal with that vs complicating things.

    Tom Barr

  5. #5

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Tom, this is what I am currently doing as well. I use a 50ft python and finally bought a cheap hose reel for it to make it even simpler.

    My desires to set this up are three fold. First it's well known cories will breed like coral, once one species get's going the others detect the pheromones and will go as well. So a shared sump filter is a great thing.

    Second reason is that in order to simulate amazonian rain it's great to use a spray bar or sprinker head and spray the water down onto the top getting the temp change and softenng effect as well as noise of splashing all at once.

    Last and most important goal is to be able to water change from a barrel that I treat only once a week to get the parameters/ additives right, instead of adding a 1/4 tsp of this and that to every tank in the house (6 now and 3 more dry).

    Oh and let's not forget how frigging lazy I am. The fish are going to be much healtier if an automated or semi-automated system is doign the water changing rather than my "I'll do it tomorrow" regime.

  6. #6

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    The cory breeders I've seen did not think that a sump would do much.

    The deal is the food. Good food, good environment with caves, flat pieces to lay eggs on etc, good stock.

    The rest takes care of it's self, soft water will help.
    I've done a great deal of breeding years ago before plants.

    I have 10 barbatus and 5 sterbai these days. That does not count a client's horde of panda and adolfi.

    Tom Barr

  7. #7

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Is there a rule of thumb for the ratio in gallons a sump should be relative to a the tanks it serves?

    Next plant related question to reinvigorate Tom's increasing skepticism: If I made it a planted sump like that guy on APD about 6 months back you helped out is there a bit of design or photo help around?

  8. #8

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Not really a rule of tumb, bigger is better.

    Here's a pic:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9

    Re: Plumbing a fish "bookself"

    Here is more.

    The sump cost about 30$, you can get an overflow for about 30$ or less.
    Using U shape tubes to connect each tank on the rack's rows, you should be able to devise something.
    You might try the Cichlid forums also, lots of breeders with whacky set ups there.

    Tom Barr
    Attached Images Attached Images

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