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Several people have asked me to explain my automatic drip system that I have set up on my 350 gallon tank. I have not really found the time to do the thread adequately, but I will attempt to do a brief writeup to give some of you the know how to set this system up on your own drilled tanks. Please keep your questions brief, as I do not have a lot of time to respond in lengthy answers right now. Also please understand if I do not post responses right away, as I must work my computer time into my schedule as my priorities dictate.

First off, the system is designed to work with a wet/dry filtration system. There are probably a lot of variations that will work as well, but for the purpose of simplification I will stick with what I know firsthand. For my system, you will need a wet/dry sump. Therefore, we generally are talking about drilled tanks with overflow systems. However, this system could also work on non-drilled tanks with an overflow box hanging on the rear of the tank. Now to move on...

The basic concept of my system is to supply a continuous supply of fresh water to your sump, while allowing the excess level of water to drain into a line that you will also plumb into your sump. You will need to drill two holes in the sump, and fit them with bulkheads appropriate for the size lines that you desire to run for your particular application.

Lets start with the drain line. In my system I am running a 3/4" drain line, that is positioned in the rear of my pump chamber compartment. Inside the sump, I have a 3/4" elbow screwed into the bulkhead so that I can adjust the level of the water in my sump to a degree by shifting the angle of the elbow. For instance, if I want to increase the level of my sump water, I will turn the elbow so that it points almost straight up. If I want to decrease the water level, I will turn the elbow down to the side or even lower. This way, you can fine tune your water level to a certain degree. Since you want your elbow to be adjustable and you are talking about a fitting that is INSIDE your sump, you do not want to use pipe glue on this fitting. Your drain line coming from the OUTSIDE of the sump, however; must be glued well at each junction to prevent the line from leaking along it's route to wherever you decide to ultimately drain your system. You can use whatever size line that you prefer.

For the supply line to the system, you will need to pick up a refridgerator ice-maker kit from the hardware store. The kit typically costs about $9.00, and must consist of a saddle valve, small water tubing, and the fitting that you will attach to your bulkhead. Install the intake bulkhead in the front upper portion of your pump chamber. Drill the hole for the bulkhead as high on the sump as possible, as this will be where your fresh water drips will be coming into your system. You then attach the fitting which comes with the kit to the bulkhead, and then run the small tubing for your fresh water to the nearest cold water line in your house. The tubing is small and flexible, so you do not need to fasten it or neatly arrange it at this time. Later, you can arrange it with the appropriate wire or cable fasteners to make the installation look professional.

On your cold water line, you install the saddle valve that comes with the ice-maker kit. The valve will self tap into the line, and you will adjust the amount of water entering your system from this valve. Attach the water tubing to the valve and you are all set.

Now, if you desire your water to be free of chlorine, you will need to add an inline filter at some point in your water tube. I would suggest buying a high capacity filter instead of the ones with the replaceable cartridge, as the high capacity ones are good for around 10,000 gallons (I believe). You can buy them at the hardware store in the same department that you buy your ice-maker kit. With this filter, and with a setting on your saddle valve that allows one drip per second, you will be changing about five gallons of water per day. This means that your filter will not need replaced but maybe once every five years (that's being consertavive), and the filter I am referring to only costs about $40.00.

One more thing I will suggest that is not mandatory (but makes turning your system on and off at will much easier) is the installation of a small ball valve in your water tubing right before the drip fitting. This will allow you to easily turn the system off if needed (for instance, if you are medicating your tank), since the saddle valve is not really meant to do that. I located my ball valve at the front of my sump and just below the fitting, making it easily accessible.

That is the system in a nutshell. It has worked terrific for me so far, and the fish seem to grow almost overnight.

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good job John, I used my system off of a garden hose, it uses the same concept except you will need adapters to attach a saddle valve to the end of a hose, but it will work the same, and it makes it easier to install the inline filter because you can patch it into your hose, I got my filter at Lowers its an Omni filter U25 I think, I think it is what John uses to
 
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