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Water, water, anywhere ?

Posted 09/18/2011 at 12:09 AM by Spaced Cowboy
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So, as I've mentioned, there's not much space around the tank, I'd traded the "fish room" (see diagram in Blog entry '[URL="http://reefcentral.com/forums/blog.php?b=359"]Room Preparation[/URL]') for a larger tank, and I wanted to make water-changes as automated as possible. The rear wall behind the tank is an exterior wall, and all the space behind it was used as an already too-narrow driveway; on the right of the tank was the afore-mentioned fish-room, and on the outside of the only remaining wall was the main fuse-box for the house. I really didn't want salt-water too close to that!

So, there was only really one place I had the space and "hide-ability" to put the water tanks - at the other end of the house, some 70' away...

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/waterplan.png[/IMG][/CENTER]

There are three water-lines shown here. The black line is salt-water-out, the red line is salt-water-in, and the blue line is RO/DI water in. Now even this wasn't that good an idea...[list][*]Part of the proposed area was cement, part was dirt so I'd have to lay new cement to support the weight of the water tanks.[*]There was no water supply or drainage available so I'd have to lay down a drainage pipe to the nearest house water vent (actually at the front of the front yard about 30' away) as well as provide a tap - the tap's not so much of a problem because the water main for the rest of the yard actually runs right next to that area of the yard.[*]Neither was there any power available. I would have to tap into the sub-panel that ran the swimming pool, and lay a line from there (through armored cable) to an exterior switch-box. Not a problem, but still needs to be done.[*]It was 70' away! That means I need a way to transport the water over that distance in a measured manner.[/list]
The first thing to get sorted was the water-supply. This was just a matter of tapping into one of the existing underground pipes that supply the sprinkler system. The back yard has a master-off valve, so I didn't even have to switch off the water to the house while I was doing it...

So, the next step was to fix up the concrete. I dug out the soil and stones (you can see them piled on the old concrete) then drilled into the existing path to lay some rebar. I then just mixed and laid the concrete down, and brushed/scored it to match the pattern on the already-existing concrete... Once it was laid down, I let it set for a few days, just to be sure. While I was doing this, I built a fence on the garden-side, to hide the ugly-white tanks that were going to be placed on the concrete.

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/concrete1.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/concrete2.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

Once the concrete was set, I ran the three plastic water lines in the above diagram all the way from one end of the house to the other, going down through the floor into the crawl-space (and boy is that name accurate!) at the tank-end, and stapling (with staples that allow for free movement) the three plastic water-lines to the joists, all the way down to the other end of the house. There's a crawlspace-vent at the far end of the house by where the water-tanks will go, so I just brought the lines out through that vent.

The other ends of the three (single-piece, no joins) plastic water-lines all come out behind the tank and I'll link them up later to provide my water-change and ATO... First, though, there has to be somewhere for the red and blue lines to source water from!

So the next step was to start building the framework for some shelves to hold the water-storage tanks. I had ordered a 225-gallon free-standing circular tank, and I already had two 70-gallon rectangular tanks. The plan was to use the 225-gallon tank as salt-water storage, one of the 70-gallon tanks as RO/DI, and the other 70-gallon tank for mixing up salt-water. The framing was built with this in mind, and I also wanted some extra shelf-space for storing the various components I'd need when mixing up the NSW. The positions of the large & small(er) water tanks are as in the diagram above - NSW on the right, RO/DI and mixing-tank on the left, so the framework looked like:

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/small-water-storage.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/large-water-storage.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

The left-hand side has a storage area for salt-mix on the ground, then the RO/DI water tank will be on the first shelf, then the mixing tank will go above that. I'll install a ball-valve onto the mixing tank output so that I can drain fully-mixed new salt-water directly into the large tank using gravity. On the right-hand-side, the ground space will be taken up by the larger salt-water tank, and above that we have a storage shelf. On top of both, I'll place a slightly-angled roof to protect the tanks from the sun and rain a bit.

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/water-shelving.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/water-roofing.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

It's difficult to see from the photo, but you can just about make out that the second photo above shows the slanted roof. The cheapest exterior-type wood I could find for the shelves/roof was in fact redwood fence-boards - $0.99 each at Home Depot! Once all these were screwed into place, finally, I installed the tanks...

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/small-tanks.jpg[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/large-tank.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

... and some pull-up shades over the front of the frame to further protect the tanks from the sun, and to prettify the tank storage area, so there wasn't an eyesore in that corner of the yard. I'm quite pleased with these because you can just roll them over the top of the frame onto the roof, and they're totally out of the way when you need to get into the top areas. You can just about see the roof on the frame in this one as well...

[CENTER][IMG]http://www.0x0000ff.com/imgs/fishtank/tank-shade.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

Ok, that's enough for one post - the tanks are physically present, although nothing is linked up. Still, quite a lot of progress as far as I'm concerned [grin]
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