Setup alternatives

garyfla_gw(10 Florida)February 14, 2006

hello Everyone.

Got my new setup about a third done and have some problems that I;'m just going to have to work around unless someone can make some suggestions.

original plan called for a 5x6 foot waterfall and according to calculations this would require a 16oo gph pump

I settled for a 1200 as I wanted a very slow flow.

Couldn't have the waterfall 5 feet high so settled for around 3 and it works fine now with two problems.

I had to throttle back the waterfal so excess water is diverted back to the aquarium which mean the flow is way too strong. I'm using a spray bar to divert the water, I expanded it the entire length of the tank. Six long now with 25 holes and still seems way too strong.

I was going to heavily plant the 150 aquarium but can see a lot of problems with the current and CO2 loss.Maybe I should just forget submerged plants??

I was going to use a very rich substate for Aponogetons

and aquatic ferns for the background but don't see how now.

Any suggestions here??

Another problem is the stream that recieves the waterfall

It is 8 inches wide accross the entire back of the aquarium.

Was going to use black lava rock as a substrate over AV soil but way too much current.

Do you think long fibered sphagnum over red lava rock.??

Shouldn't restrict the flow and provide a good planting media but I suspect it would break down rather quickly??

i think a 800 gph pump would have been more than needed

but I have all the mechanics setup now.

Hopefully I made myself clear?? lol.


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back2eight(South MS)

I have no clue, sorry I can't help! I am also setting up a 150 gallon with a water feature. I would be interested to see how yours turns out, and will tell my progress on mine, too. I have to buy more silicone for the background, so construction is at a halt right now as Home Depot needs to order some more. IT would be much easier to do without a water feature! But they look so nice. Mine is going to house dart frogs. Are you going to put any animal in yours?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 9:36AM
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Garyfla, why didnt you get a pump with an ajustable flo rate? that would solve your problem, you do mention that you had to "throttle down" so maybe you do have that feature, if so, your only choice would be to move down to an 800gph or lower, unless you add more water features, that might slow the current a bit, Id change the pump out, it seems the best possible way to solve your problem, as for the stream, is the problem due to the angle its in? or becuase of the amount of water thats being sent to the tank? If its the angle you can try making small "dams" out of rocks and driftwood to create "still pools" that you can place plants in, if the problem is the amount of water being returned to the tank your problem will be solved if you switch out the pump. I quote you, "Hopefully I made myself clear?? lol" =) good luck!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 10:04AM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Go to the hardware store and buy a valve. I don't recall what they are called or what they are used for, but they work. It's basically an inline valve (like you would use to turn the water off to your sink) but they use quick connect fittings and will connect to PVC or flexible tubing. If you can't figure out what I am talking about, let me know. I can take a picture of it for you tonight. I have a ~800gph pump, and I turn the regulator down a bit to keep it from pumping as much. I find I go through less RO water that way, and it is quieter. If you use flexible tubing, you will need to use the harder stuff with the nylon braiding in it.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:46AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Okay, knew I should have added more details. What I'm trying to do is kill a bunch of birds with one pump lol.
This setup is located on the south wall of the shadehouse
on an 18 inch stand 12 inches from the wall. Water fall is against the wall 3 feet above the aquarium and the stream is in the 12 inch are behind the tank. Water will be pumped from a lily pool outside the shadehouse ,into the waterfall collected into the stream ,into the aquarium and returned to the pool by overflow from a standpipe. I want it to serve as a heat sump ,swamp cooler,filter for the aquarium as well as lily pool. The pump is 3 feet deep in the pool crosses 10 feet and rises another 6 feet where it is released into the falls. A total rise of around 10 feet even with a 3 foot waterfall rather than 5. I consulted one of those pond building charts that said 1600 gph for 1/8 by 60 inch waterfall. Since I wanted a 5 foot wide steady drip
I went with the 1200. Rather surprised at how powerful this pump I'm using rigid 1 pvc for the plumbing and standard ball valve to control water through the falls. When this is shut the water diverts into the aquarium.
DH Wouldn't a valve create pressure on the pump??. I've always been told to run a pump wide open as back pressure will shorten the life of the pump. I'm experimenting with cutting the spray bar in half so part of the discharge can be directed to the glass by rotating the pipe. Of course I will need strong circulation when using as a heat pump.
Tony I bought this pump mail order so I don't see how to return it. Besides the first thing I did was crack the intake housing . Wife will beat me if I buy another The "dams" idea might work just have to be certain that the water is not impeded and every drop returns to the tank or big problems lol back 2 eight. Definitely go with a water feature they make setups so much more interesting. In my case the 150 will be an aquarium the terrarium will be above and behind it hopefully integrated into the rest of the shadehouse. At this time the only animals I want to house are a pair of birds,Honeycreepers. Of course there will be fish in the aquarium and maybe some forrest crabs if the system works lol I'm trying to combine all my hobbies into one location thatt works lol
Thanks to everyone for the help. I feel a bit overwhelmed by this but figure if I get the mechanical parts right the rest will be easy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 3:25PM
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Thats what I thought, if you use a valve it will create back pressure on the pump, my dad mentioned to me on one of my many projects to always make sure I had the right pump for the job, and to always run a pump full power as any back pressure will shorten the life of the pump, an ajustable flo rate feature (electrical, not machanical, built into the electrical wire, not the plumbing) would actually slow down the rotation of the pump hence no back pressure =)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 6:03PM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Yes, a regulator valve will create some back pressure. I've run mine with the flow cut way down for 9 months, 24/7 and it hasn't shown any trouble so far. If you are that worried, you can use a relief valve. For those who are a bit rusty with their hydraulics/pneumatics, a relief valve allows you to set the cracking pressure, but it will vent the excess pressure out. You could vent it right back to the reservoir. It is not a standard plumbing part. Grainger has them for as little as $30 or so. Just be sure to get one with a very low minimum pressure (preferably 0psi) because your pump is probably extremely low pressure as it is.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 11:38PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

According to the charts with the plumping setup and
lift i should be getting no more than 850 gph at the falls
and 975 in the tank with falls shut. The pump is only rated at 12 feet. i want circulation in the tank of course,3 to 4 times is recommended for planted tanks. You would think 25
quarter inch holes in six feet of length would be enough. lol By simply twisting the pipe I have a lot of control of the dischrge. Of course another advantage of higher flow will br the cleaning of the pipes. Wouldn't you think the flow will decline over time??
Of course with all that flowing and dripping there will be no CO2 in the tank. I wanted to give lace plants one last shot CO2 injection will be impossible with that much flow. Still can't figure out why the charts are so wrong.
Another option would be to add a discharge into the pool
but would prefer no surface disturbace.
I'm still struggling with what type of wall covering to use. Greenhouses are generally designed to retain heat rather than displace it.
An engineeer told me the only certain method would be UV and IR blocking Carbolite with automatic refrigeration!!
He didn't tell me how to win the lottery to pay for it lol personally I think he's wrong!!lol
DH I may revert to that valve but think I'll push ahead with the setup to see how much of a problem it is.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 7:07AM
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Back in "87" I purchased a "Little Giant" Submersible pump from "Grainger" I used it in one of my salt water set ups with a "ball valve" style valve, it worked great, but on the second year of use it blew the upper seal, I took it back and the guys told me that it was due to back pressure, they asked if I noticed a decrease in the out put, so I told them yes, they asked if I had noticed gravel or any other I told them about the valve and was told,"that'll do it" They told me it was my fault, but since they knew my dad they were nice enough to replaced it with a model that had that built in flow controler, I used the new pump on both my 100G salt water tank and after that my 150 for a total of five years without a hitch! after that I gave it to a friend that just moved to Florida 8 months ago and he still has it in use today, so I would still be careful with the use of the pressure relief valve, as the pressure still has to build up in order for it to work =) and remember, I am in no way an expert in this area and only give my personal expeirience in the matter =) good luck!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2006 at 9:59AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Thanks for the info. I had an Iwaki that ran 24/7 on a SW setup from 81 to 01 without one hitch!! Wonderful pump but they run about 3 time the Supremes and I've had nothing but trouble with little giant. When the lights went out for 32 days I gave up on Sw lol. The 150 is from this setup.
I got the supreme for 90 bucks which made me choose it lol It can be submerged or inline which is great.never thought about too much flow lol.
Right now I'm playing with the twistable discharge and added a closed port which i can use to water overhead plants
and automaticly refill from the rainwater reservoir. What a work saver that should be. Would like to have a drip system
but decided it was too complicated.
Now the next problem how to keep the water warm but not too Know anything about thermodynamics??
How many watts to heat 1100 gallons to a low of 60??

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 7:08AM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Nope, but it is going to be a lot :)

All I can tell you is my hot tub is 800 gallons and uses a 240VAC heater. I don't know the watt rating on it offhand, but typically the 240's are 5500 watts. This is overkill for you obviously, since you are maintaining a temp 40 degrees cooler than me, but it will depend on how fast you want it heated and how well insulated it is. My hot tub has a nice cover and thick walls, so it holds heat well. A pond is going to lose heat constantly. How hard could it be to heat water to 60 degrees in florida? I would imagine most of the year you wouldn't need to heat it at all.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 11:16AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Well, i guess what would be most useful would be some tables so as to figure heat loss and gain such as they use for buildings.?? For aquariums they generally recommend 1-2 watts for a rise of 5 degrees per gallon. Which would calculate out to around 2000 watts lol My hot water tank only draws 2500. i think the thing to bear in mind is I'm not trying to raise the temp of the water just maintain it.
Would think this would be a big difference in wattage required??
In my neck of the woods the all time record low was 27 for 4 hours and the low daytime was 55. We just broke that record Monday with a daytime high of 54 the low was 34 so not a record. I recorded 38-60 in my shadehouse. has frosted 6 times in the last 30 years. Normal winter temps are 65-75 throughout winter with greatest possibility of frost in Feb.
Some of the peculiarities of this climate with cold Is the front must push straight south with no wind otherwise the gulfstream heats the air. The sky must be dry and perfectly clear,only way radiation cooling is allowed. Temps below freezing are impossible without all these conditions. Another peculiarity is that at sunrise the radiation heat from the sun is tremendous so if you cover something it quickly cooks lol. 15 to 20 degree raises are common in an hour.
So the max in my situation would be 30-35 degrees for around 5 hours MAYBE 1 week a year
Any ideas how to figure this out?? i certainly appreciate the help.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 2:31PM
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Sorry, I wish I could help but Ive never traveled in those woods =)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 3:43PM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

Nope, no idea. just buy something that you know is too big and wire it to a thermostat :) grainger appears to have some 1500 watt heaters for $150 and they run on 120VAC. I would start there, and if it isn't enough, add a second one. I would just make sure that you don't let your fish get near it, maybe put it under/behind some eggcrate or something.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 7:54PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Whoa!! 1500 watts lol. I was thinking more like 300 in 3 places. One in pool ,inline and tank. I can get these for around 25. Would much rather have it fail with too little than too much. The biggest heat loss should be in the pool
and I could cover it with bubble wrap,use styrofoam on the tank which has 3 sides insulated anyway to slow heat gain The plumbing is underground. In the past I've always run the shadehouse at 32 as a low because I have a bunch of plants that require cool rests.Those that need warmer are moved into the house.
I provide heat lamps for the birds which never roost anywhere near them lol.Was told they should experience nothing below 60.I'm sort of at odds with this as they range into very high altitude naturally.
Getting too late in the year now to test a system but who knows what Ma Nature will do next lol Thanks for the help

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 5:11AM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

I don't know, 300 sounds low to me. I wouldn't think it would have any noticeable impact on that much water. But I'm no expert, I've never even had a fish tank. lol


    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 2:13PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Acyually there would be 900 watts total.3- 300 watt heaters one in the pool one in the tank and one inline.
This should distribute the heat as well as lower the impact of a failure.Would also make it possible to isolate
each section if one failed. Such as cut off the pond during a cold spell.
have no idea if this is enough wattage but hey, can always upgrade. Probably won;t get to test this year back up in the eighties again.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 4:50AM
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deadhamster(Z5 MI)

oh I thought you meant 3 100's for a total of 300. 900 doesn't sound bad at all. I just picked 1500 because it was about the lowest I saw there.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 9:51AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

These would be standard aquarium type heaters.They make them from 50 to 500 watts that I know of and I'm sure you could get much higher at Bio houses. My thought would be that 3 sorces of heat would be more efficeient.. and also
far less likely to all fail at once.
heaters are very important to my setups as we have no house heat. The worst thing that can happen to them is stick on even a 150 watt can boil water
Another thing is they tend to stratify without strong circulation. so they tend to shut off before ideal is reached.
I just bought a new heater for my paludarium that uses an electronic chip as a thermostat. Supposedly it's acurate + or ~ 1 degree. The bimetals tend to fail when not used.
In my case i go maybe 10 months between uses. Then when you need it it don't work lol.
I suppose somewhere there's a table so I could calculate heat loss and gain which would give me a better idea of what's necessary
But so far I'm not having much luck with tables!! lol

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 2:50PM
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