Mass Drip system for 20 aquariums
I am going to be building a massive drip system for my friend who imports Discus and Black Diamond Stingrays from Malaysia. He needs a system to allow constant water changes because the Discus and Rays that come from Malaysia are not use to this hard water in Canada. I almost got all the parts need to build this system and I will post progress of this build.
This is what I am up against
All he has left are the 4 Stingrays he is keeping for now. Otherwise all the aquariums are ready for this drip system setup.
I got most of my parts ready to go. I had to go to a plan B because of the cost of Polyurethane line so I figured out a solution of running secondary manifolds instead of running over 500' of hose.
I couldn't find a proper fitting for a 3/4" Tee for splicing into the main water supply all I could find was a 1/2" setup so I made one. I decided that I wanted to keep the price down so I decided to eliminate the use of crimped PEX fittings and went with a press on barb fitting. I ran it into a Tee fitting 3/4" FNPT and had the other fitting as a 3/4" barb fitting. The city water here wouldn't exceed 60 psi and that is before it goes through the main water pressure reducer. I will run a gear hose clamp with 3/4" line up to the main manifold before I begin to reduce the sizing.
This is the gate valve to open a close off the drip system. I did a direct mount to the Watts water pressure regulator with a 3/4" union fitting and had the outlet with a 3/4" PEX fitting. I will have to adjust the pressure once I prime the system up to bring it down to around 20 psi.
This is the smaller manifold I built to eliminate the need for so much hosing. The cost is cheaper and you can control the flow amount with a mini ball valve.
I was able to prep most of the fittings today and get the secondary manifold built. I am running a second manifold because it will save running a lot of hose and of course money.
I got my oldest son to help me prep but he was more interested in stacking the fittings like a tower.
These are going to be the reducers I had to build. I couldn't find anywhere that had a 1/2" PEX fitting to a 3/16" barb fitting so I had to run a bushing in between the two fittings. I sealed it with teflon tape and some pipe dope. Once it cures it will create a good seal and it may be overkill for pressure but this system will never see anything over City water pressure of up to 80 psi.
I am running to mechanical gauges for this system before the main manifold. One will read the incoming pressure of the city water and the other one will read what the output regulated pressure is. These gauges are a back loaded and that way I can mount them onto the board I am making. Anything over 160 psi wouldn't work since we are dealing with low pressures. I did consider running a transducer in this system but figured I would keep it a little more simple with the mechanical gauges.
These are 2 of the secondary manifolds based on how the aquariums are situated. The one manifold is for 4 aquariums while the other is for 12. You have to keep in mind you need to run a valve on the output side because hydraulics are just like electrical. It will take the path of least resistance and if it is all free flowing the farthest port will not receive as much flow as the closest one to the supply side. I'll have to play a bit with the mini ball valves until I can get the flow rate I want over a 24 hour period.
I am going to revisit this to help reduce the amount of Tee fittings in the line with the 2 gauges I will be installing.
I will also revisit this as well to make a main cut off from the main supply
I finished off setting up the main drip system manifold, it is an apollo manifold. They come in different port sizes from 12 up to 36 my local store only carried the 12 port so that is what I went with. The setup can be used for hot and cold water systems but I am going to use it for just cold and run a Tee so that it will be used on both sides. The main inlets are a 3/4" and the outlet ports are all run by a ball valve and 1/2" PEX fittings.
There is no need for Teflon or pipe dope because they have a seal inside like a o-ring
This secondary manifold is a little different due to the fact that I am trying to get use out of all 6 ports on the manifold and there is only 6 aquariums in that area.
I did revisit the main connection from the supply line and put a quick shut off valve that was a ball valve before entering the panel I am going to make.
I wanted to have less cuts in the lines so I connected all the Tees in this setup to the gate valve and pressure regulator. The incoming line has a Tee that will go to the first pressure gauge. The outlet side has 2 ports that will go to the main PEX manifold and the 1/2" barb fitting will be for the other pressure gauge.
I hope to have this 4x8 sheet of birch plywood cut up tomorrow so I can create the panel for the plumbing side of this project. Only thing is that it is so cold right now and I will have to turn my garage heater on so I can cut up this sheet.
I got the pieces down to the size I needed them to be 30"x 30" I ran into a bit of a snag since the table saw I was using only went to 25" so my helper and I went to a plan B
I was able to cut length wise on the 4'x8' sheet I cut off two 9" pieces for the side and for the secondary manifolds. I ended up free hand cutting the 30" sheets I needed. I clamped down the sheet and used a piece for a guide on the circular saw.
I got all the pieces to spec so now I will begin the assembly of the main drip system panel
I picked up some extra hardware for the panel cabinet today I didn't get much more done but I should be able to get these installed soon. I got 4 to handle the weight and not cause stress on 2 hinges.
Excellent job! But... I'm having trouble understanding how water changes, of any amount, help with hard water???
It will cycle the water through the aquariums and down to the sump and out that way. I'll have to fine tune it to figure out how much needs to be changed in a 24 hour period
Didn't get a whole lot done today but I got some of the frame mounts prepped for later on. I got a drill bit to countersink a hold to allow the european handles to sit flush with the panel/cabinet. The board is 3/4" thick and I drilled 1/2" to make it work I used the drill bit as my guide since it was a 1/2"
Had to constantly remove excess wood build up to allow for the bit to keep drilling.
Just had to make sure it sat flush so the side panel could fit
Making sure there isn't any overhang with the hinge in place
I put 4 hinges in place to make sure the weight could be held and had the heavier duty ones on the top and bottom with the medium duty ones on the inside. May be over kill but i'd rather be safe then sorry!
I was quite busy today but I got a bit done for the main manifold. I started with the mounting the european hinges by bolting them down
I made sure to predrill and counter sink all the holes so I didn't crack the aspen plywood
I glued it as well as used wood screws to make sure this was tight and not flimsy
I wanted to make sure the cabinet would open and close with no issues. The brackets can go to 100 degrees which allows it to move past the square angle of 90 degrees
I then mounted the main panel plate
and also made sure that it had no issues with the weight
I then drilled holes for the manifold and just used cap screws with a lock washer and nut on the other side
I called it a night after mounting the main manifold. Don't think I will get much done this weekend because I got to get caught up on my water changes!
Was able to do some drilling today this is what I was able to get done
I will have to rotor this out a bit since I can't fit a gauge bracket in their properly
Been busy the last few days so I have been running around and getting odds and ends as well as prepping the main drip system panel board. I had a bit of a set back but it hasn't really delayed me in trying to get this project done sooner rather than later.
Put down some metal strips for these magnets
holds quite well and I installed a handle to make opening and closing much more easier
Now that I had the small stuff done I focused on the gauges and the back mount brackets.
This is a great bracket the only thing is the gauges I had didn't have slots to allow the tangs to fit in place so I tested one that was broken anyways to see how much metal was in the area I was about to die grind down.
I can see that there was enough metal to allow me to grind down to mount the bracket so I went ahead with the good gauge. This is what happened.
I didn't cut through it but rather the bracket punched a hole through the gauge so it was back to the vendor to find the right gauge to fit the right application
I got all the 1/2" lines mocked up and ready
I got almost all the lines to have their brackets behind the PEX manifold I had a few on the outside of the manifold
I went with U bolts instead of P clamps to mount the regulator and gate valve it is much more secure
I will have to trim down the bolts and maybe use Acorn nuts to make it more appealing.
I got the right gauges for the right job this time
I was a little over eager to get this project moving and I decided to take the roller bearing on the router bit off to make my groove for the gauge. The reason why I did that is because I had ordered 50 bits at my local store and they were supposed to ship it overnight but it didn't happen so I will probably get them on Monday. This is the result of me not waiting until Monday.
I used the mounting gauge plate as guide as to how much I need to remove on the side of the panel
It is now a step down because the shaft that the bearing sat on held it back from being able to complete the task Doh!
Still need to take some off the edge to allow the gauge plate to fit correctly
I figured if that had to wait that I would start to sand and stain pieces and be productive. I sanded it down to 240 grit and began staining
This is prestained with a coat to allow the stain to penetrate evenly
This what it looks like after the first coat
Well I got a phone call today to tell me my router bits had arrived early so I picked them up before work so I could get the rest of the prep work done
When I got home I wanted to get one of the gauge holes completed and with the proper bit I can finish the main board off.
Well I have been up to the details of the main board and this is what I have been able to do in the last few days.
I routed out both sides of the board to prevent pinching of the lines
I know that there was a couple of pieces of wood that chipped off but this is on the back side not seen
I notched out a small section to allow the regulator and shut off valve to sit flush with the board making it more stable.
I went through with a flapper wheel to really smooth out any edges on the holes
I was able to cut the extra length of the U bolt to be flush. However I may still go with the acorn nuts to make it look a bit better.
This is where the steady hand had to come in. No caffeine before doing this set, I wood burned all the labels to make things more user friendly
I just need to go over the board one last time with a good sanding then I will begin to stain the main board/panel and reassemble it for the install at my friends house. Then I can work on the secondary panels
You can't hotlink the photos from another forum as they don't show up here, you need host them on a neutral hosting site or re-up them here...
Began staining the main panel today but I had to get a few parts because I miscalculated the WP from the city water before it gets to the second regulator I am putting in series. I bought some polyurethane that had a ID of 7/16" to fit the PEX fitting but when I realized that the max PSI was 38 PSI I realized this wasn't going to work. I went and got a larger sized barb fitting for the gauges so I could run a food grade reinforced hose at 1/2" with a WP of 200 PSI which is over double what the city water supplies. Anything after the regulator of 20 PSI is not an issue. This is the chart I went by from the hose supplier here in town.
With this system I am running 3 different sizes 3/4" 5/8" and 1/2" with temperature ratings of -5 Celsius (23 Fahrenheit) as the ID gets larger the pressure rating goes down but at 150 PSI at 3/4" its safe to say the hose will not burst
I prestained the panel before work today
once I got home tonight I did the first stain. I hope to have the second one done tomorrow morning so I can sand it down and begin the final assembly
On a side note I ordered a diamond drill bit through amazon (45mm) back in October and it was lost in the mail and they refunded me but it arrived today after 2 months. I got some other bits in the mean time but at least I will have a couple bits to work with once we begin the drainage side of the system.
I got the panel done tonight just had a few hiccups but I got them figured out and now its ready to install. I can now work on the secondary panels now
These lines are good for 200psi
Went with the acorn nuts for a better look on the finish
My mistake for not taking a pic before I took it apart. This took me an hour to figure out my plumbing and brackets!
Figured out and installed
Plumbing all done on the back panel
Completed on the front side
If you take a hair dryer to the vinyl hoses where they take a tight bend into the plywood, the hose will relax and accept the new shape and not be 'kinked'...
I have a heater I use for heat shrink. I may run it on some parts, I ran air through the all the lines prior to hooking them up to the main manifold. It is going from a 1/2"ID to a 3/16" ID and the flow isn't going to build big pressure.
Dropped the panel off on Saturday and will install it on Wednesday. In the mean time I finished prepping the other panels for the secondary manifolds.
Now I can focus on the sawdust clean up!
The stuff in that box are for my own project I plan to set up for my fish room!
I had been looking around for a good low flow meter to take the guess work out of how much water is being used on a 24hr period and I found this to be the best selection with a 1/4 hookup
Just finished putting together the secondary panels I hope to get most of the install done tomorrow night at my friends house.
Well I was able to get the main panel up and was it ever a pain to get right. I thought by bolting up the back panel first then connecting the brackets it would be easier. Turns out that wasn't the case. The next idea was to unbolt the brackets from the backboard and connect the arms to the main board. Well it looked promising until the gap between the 2 boards was massive at the top and small at the bottom. I said forget it and took the main and back boards off and reassembled it on the floor and bolted the back board up and it worked. I wish I had done that in the first place to begin with!
I went every 6" apart for more support. This is how I was able to calculate the board weight and what the brackets could hold
Width " × height " ÷ 144 = sq/ft
30" x 30 " ÷ 144 = 6.25 sq/ft
27.5 " × 9" ÷ 144 = ~ 1.75 sq/ft x 2 = 3.5 sq/ft
30 " × 9" ÷ 144 x 2 = 3.5 sq/ft
3.5 + 3.5 + 6.25 = 13.25 sq/ft @ 3/4" × 2.5 (weight factor per sq/ft) = ~ 33.5 lbs
If we add the back panel to the overall weight then
30" × 30" ÷ 144 = 6.25 sq/ft × 2.5 = 15.75 lbs
15.75 lbs + 33.5 lbs = 49.25 lbs
We could say all the extra fittings and valves come to 10 lbs which brings us to around 60 lbs now the chart recommends for 60 lbs you run around 4. I ran them ~ 5 to 5 1/2" apart to space out the load.
Counter sank and predrilled the holes a little smaller for the wood screws I used 2 1/2" long ones
Board and panel finally together just had to move his gate valve (bottom right) over a tad to allow for opening and closing of the panel door
Put the other auxiliary panel on the back side of his one row of aquariums the lighting is a tad dark didn't want to freak out his stock
Now we just have to put the other 2 panels up and plumb the system then it is off to drilling holes in the sump for the drain. He was thankful for the time but I was more thankful because I got to view all this inventory from his last shipment and this is what the system will be used for.