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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is all just an experiment and thats why I was a little reluctant to share earlier. So far it's working out great so I feel very comfortable that my idea wasn't a flop. My buddy told me to put a patent on it. I've personally never heard or seen anything like it. When I was looking for parts and trying to explain to the people from the pet store and the guy whole sold me the tank, no one had ever heard of anything like this before. I just got the idea from 18 years of laying on my couch, stareing at my p's and thinking................."Dam I want a big tank" and then the next day cleaning my tank and thinking " I sure would hate to have to vacuum a huge tank." So after 18 yrs of thinking I came up with this idea. It's been modified in my head many times over the years and when I finally got to the finished product, I don't think I would change a thing. Let me know what you think. And remember.... I have copyrights :laugh:

When I ordered the tank I told the guy that I wanted 6 holes drilled in the tank for me. I told them to divide the tank into six equal quadrants, 3 on each side. Then drill 1 -1" hole in the center of each rectangle. When he faxed me the diagram of where he thought I wanted the holes, he had all 6 holes right down the middle. I faxed him back a to-scale diagram with dimensions so he would get it right. He was a great guy to work with and he wanted to make sure he got it right. I had already picked up the 6 parts I needed from the pet store so thats what I used to gauge for hole size. They had a 3/4" threaded rod so I thought 1" holes would be big enough. Think again. The thread is a bit bigger than 1". There was no way to make this work without using these pieces because NOBODY had anything remotely close. My only option was to bore the holes out. Believe me that scared the sh*t out of me. I did a little test run with the disc grinder on the top first. When I was comfortable everything would be alright I started on the holes. It only took about 5 -10 min a hole so it wasn't that bad. I just kept thing "what if I crack the bottom of the tank?" I guess I could get a huge ass snake.
After that was done I could finally get started. I broke one of my jets trying to force a piece of pvc inside before we got started. We also snapped one right after we started. This was the key ingredient. This is the only piece that I could find that will fit through that hole with a threaded rod long enough to grasp onto on from beneath the glass while sealing it off inside. I looked everywhere for replacement parts. I didn't even know what this thing was. I had a hard enough trying to find it a year ago when I first started looking. I had a picture in my head of what I needed when I started looking. I went to hardware stores, plumbing suppliers, pet stores eveywhere trying to find what I needed and no one had anything with a long enough threaded rod to get all the way through the glass. Finally my last resort pet store about an hour away had what I needed on the back of all there fishtanks that they had running. I told the guy that I needed that part on the back of their tanks. He didn't even know what they were but he went into the back where they keep all their crap for store use and found a bunch. He sold me 6 for like $10 because he didn't have a price for them. I should have bought some extras at the time. The next day I tried everyplace in town and no one had anything like it so I took the hour drive again figuring they would have some left for sure. When I walked in I saw the guy that got them for me the last time was with a costumer. Some high school girl came right over to help me. I showed her what I needed on the tank. She said they didn't have anything like that in the store. I told her to look in the back. She checked it out and still told me they had nothing. I could see something from where I was standing that looked like it so I pointed. She's liike" oh yea" and gave it to me. It was too big. Way too much for me to grind out of the holes. I told her to keep looking because I really needed it. She looked for a while and insisted they had nothing smaller. She even let me snoop around in the back and I had my 2 1/2 yr old daughter with me grabbing everthing in sight. NOT a pleasant experience especially in the mood I'm in. I couldn't find the size I needed anywhere. I asked her to ask that guy who helped me before where they might be he was still buisy with a customer but he told her that size had been discontinued. He told her another place to check but still nothing. I waited around for almost 2 hrs with my daughter in a huge pet store " I wanna see nemo, I wanna see bunnies, I wanna see snakes" dragging me all around while I'm trying to track this guy down because I knew he could help. I finally got him , I had to wait another 15 min til he was done with another customer but it was worth the wait. He went back into the wharehouse and found a bunch. I was soo happy I proceeded to spend $200 in his store on heaters and powerheads. I also bought 4 extra parts :nod:
I had all intentions of making this a "matter of fact" post without the long winded stories but I guess I'm incapable of that :laugh:

Heres a pic of the hole placement



Inside the tank I placed my 2"x8" blocks to hold up the egg crate. Then I layed on my stomach for about 5 hres dumping and shaping the sand to where I wanted it. I made my six equal quadrants with the sand funneling it towards the holes, making sure I kept far enough away from the holes so my sand doesn't get sucked out while holding a nice steady slope to the holes. This probably took the longest, along with filling SLOWLY so I did't disturbe the sand. This shold take care of funneling all the crap to the holes so the crap doesn't build up on the sides and the corners. It should also be a pretty good place for the bacteria to bed.






On top of the blocks and sand I layed my 2'x4' sheets of egg crate. I wish this stuff was a little more rigid but it works. The squares are about a 1/4". Hopefully too small to alow chunks to big through that will clog up my holes in the bottom.





On top of the is 2" American heritage rock to allow all the crap to sift through

Underneath the tank I ran my 6 downspouts, with a shutt-off valve on each one just in cas theres a leak in the main line on the ground, I can shut the water off at the source instead of draining the whole tank. On the floor the 6 downspouts connect to 2 main lines which carry the water to 2 more shut-off valves which carry the water to the floor drain. The down spout valves are alway open unless theres a problem below. To empty the tank all I have to do is open the 2 valves by the floor drain.





These hose fit right down the drain. I just lifted them up for a visual.



And to fill it.. I plumbed a faucet in right to the top of the tank.



I've been leaving it at a little better than a constant drip on both ends so my p's are constantly getting sh*t drained from the bottom where all the toxins hang out with a constant fresh supply of water comming in from the top. That should about cover it. Any questions or comments let me know.
 

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do have declorinator some how in the incoming water? i like it. i actually have thohgt of something like that but u took it alot further. so that is the only filter u have on the tank then?
 

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Nice! Good idea! I think the small amount of water entering the tank at any given time negates the need for a dechlorinator. Its a small percentage and plus it's consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes it's constantly draining and filling. I leave both valves open. I'm starting out with like a drip a second and see where that takes me. So far I increased it a little every day. It's really simple to increase or decrease, I just want to see what it does to the water bill first. If it doesn't effect it much I'll increase the flow to a point where I feel comfortable paying. I usually open up the valves for a few seconds every day just to blow all of the crap out of there and then fill it back to a tape mark I have on the back. That way I can monitor what I have to increase or decrease to get an even flow. If the water level moves a half inch in a days time thats a lot.

I started out the tank with 2 canister filters that I took off of my existing tanks from the appartment. I wanted to introduce some bacteria into the water before I dumped my fish in. I ordered "right now bacteria" which was suppose to be a guarantee. It was suppose to arrive the day after I dumped my fish in. It ended up showing up a week later. My tank was already cycling on it's own by then and all the harm would've been already done if anything was to happen. I just did a shitload of water changes in that time. When I got the stuff it had very few instructions and one of them was "do not freeze". This package traveled through the midwest for a week when the temps were in the teens and your telling me that it didn't freeze. He told me he put that on there so people don't store it in there freezers. When I did finally get it, and dumped it in it did nothing to improve the water quality in my tank. If anything it made it worse. This is suppose to be freeze dried bacteria frozen onto corn flakes. My buddy used it twice and said it worked great. I think he said Wayne recommended it to him. If it could go bad, I just dumped a half pound of cornflakes in my tank. When I did that it definately made it worse. My parameters are finally starting to stabilize.
When I'm convinced my water is stabil I'm gonna try to pull the canisters off one by one and see if the undergravel and drip system can handle it on their own. If they can't, well it's a hell of a way to clean and do water changes.
 

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let us know how it turns out. i think this is the most practical automatic drip system i have seen. how long did it take to cycle that tank? maybe u should try some bio spira? i have always had great success with bio spira. i am thinking of getting a 260g tank built for me and i think that i will try what u have done there (if that is ok with u). how do u do water changes and how often? during feeding time how do u pick up food that was not eatin?
 

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that is the only thing about automatic drip systems that has completly stumped me how to get the declorinator into the line. i think that when adding water to any tank, no matter what the amound, one needs to add declorinator. the only thing that kinda makes sence is to put the declorinator in an IV bag and run a line with a valve into the pipe that the water goes into the tank.
 

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Stick is a f*cking genius. This idea should be pattened. I don't know how in the hell he came up with the idea (maybe a little wacky tabacky helped) but it is the easiest way to clean a huge tank. In fact after seeing his setup, if I ever got a huge tank I would definitely use his system. Too bad stick, you cant trade mark this idea because I helped you do it. BTW if I do get a huge tank I am getting a 2000 gallon. That way you will never outdo me again. JK
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm really not too worried about a declorinator. When I first started with my p's I was 16 and didn't know about all this stuff that everyone now says you need. Example. declorinator. Maybe the water around here is better than most places, but I've never had to add anything to my water. By the time I finally found out what everyone else was putting in their tanks, my fish had already proven to me that they don't need all the additives. Judging by the growth rate and the average life span of my fish, I think they'll be fine without the declorinator. I am blessed with good water in my town. Some of you in other parts of the country may not be so blessed. I that case I'm sure you could rig something up.

Like I said I usually open the valves full throttle once a day till I see that the water comming out is clear. Thats why I have clear tubing at the end instead of running the pvc all the way to the drain. The amount varries every day.

When you have 20 pygos in one tank( I think I lost my smallest little one eyed red, I haven't seen him around in a few days) there isn't any left over food so I don't have to worry about getting the left overs out. The competition for food is fierce and they all make sure they get all they can to eat.

Shoe, go ahead. You can use my idea. I'll bill you later when I get my pattent :laugh:

X-Drugy, if you think sitting on a bucket and drinking beer while telling me where I could use a little more sand qualifies you for copyrights, think again :rasp:
 
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A lot of people who do add dechlorinator never tested their water in the first place for Chlorine or Chloramines. If it doesn't contain Chloramine then the Chlorine will soon dissipate in a tank with good flow.

I don't believe either are particularly toxic to fish anyway. I think its a bit like Nitrates, not ideal to have them high. And extreme doses may prove to be dangerous!

Just my view!
 

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few problems i see.

sand- seems of no use, will just get sucked down the drain
auto water changer- chlorine and the fact that the faucet isnt ever going to be exactly as fast as the tank is draining or it can be faster

other than that, great idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
illnino said:
few problems i see.

sand- seems of no use, will just get sucked down the drain
auto water changer- chlorine and the fact that the faucet isnt ever going to be exactly as fast as the tank is draining or it can be faster

other than that, great idea.
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The sand serves 2 purposes. It creates a lot more surface area for the bacteria to colinate and it funnels the waste towards the holes. You're probably thinking that with that much water pressure, everything shouild just get sucked right out when you open up the valves. I thought the same thing. It doesn't work that way. Trust me, I did a dry run ton see how much pressure was going through those 6 holes. There was no way it was sucking sh*t up from the corneres of the tank. You'd be amazed at how little water presure there is. It would be different if I closed all other 5 valves off and drained all the water from one point but I drain all 6 at one time. The first time I drained the tank after everything was set up, I put a 5g pail underneath the drain tubes so I could see how much sand came washing out......Out of about 20g I might have been able to get a couple of teaspoons of sand out, and that was all within the first couple of seconds after opening. Since then I haven't had any experiences with losing any sand.

As far as the chlorine.... I've never used anything in my 18 yrs of owning p's and I've had nothjing less than amazing results with my fish. Either I have great water or someone is just tryin to sell you somthing. You be the judge... either way, I'm not too worried about it.

As far as the tank not draining as fast as it's filling....It doesn't matter. I thought I explained that. I have a tape line On the back of the tank that I use as a guide. The water level has not fluctuated within half the width of a piece of masking tape yet. Either way, whether it's a half inch low or a half inch high, the only thing that matters is that the fish are getting a constant supply of fresh water while getting rid of some stale stuff. If it's not enough, I'll just crank the knobs a bit.
 

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You tell em stick. Nobody on this board can questions stick's judgement on tanks or raising piranhas. He has the biggest tank on this board and he has a flawless setup. He has grown pygos at a faster rate than anybody I have ever heard of or known. So don't question his ideas. He is the guru of growing healthy P's and has the dream pygo tank. If you want questions answered I suggest you ask him he knows more than most of us. BTW stick I am still getting a bigger tank than you and I am using your idea for a setup
Oh by the way everybody, it is sticks bday tommorrow, everybody buy him a p for his 750gal. He has plenty of room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did a bunch of work recently to the tank so I just thought it would be easier to add on to this post than to try to describe how it was set up to begin with. A lot of my pics have been over written and are on my old computer so I guess this will have to do.

This is the material that I had used originally to bridge the blocks and the sand to begin with. It is basically the grid you see on ceiling lights.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS066.jpg

and this is how it held up. If you look at the bottom you can see it wasn't nearly rigid enough to hold the weight of the stone without sagging. It sagged so bad that it actually laid on the sand, not allowing the waste to flow through to the holes when I drained the water. These pics shows how it sagged

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...-12-1400014.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...01052007014.jpg

So I had to corral all my fish to one side using this contraption I made.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS070.jpg

And push all the stones off each panel one by one then remove the old pannel, fix the sand underneath, and then replace it with this new fiberglass cat walk material I ordered from my father in laws business. This stuff wasn't cheap but it will definately last the life of the tank

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS058.jpg

Here's a couple of shots of the new material

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...01052007020.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...01052007024.jpg

I actually ended up putting my swim suit and getting in the tank after I got the first panel of the new stuff in. I have a couple of pics of that but they are none to flattering so I chose to leave those out :laugh: The water was absolutely disgusting after I started stirring the bottom up so I had to take a break in between pannels to clean the water and make sure they were getting oxygen. Keep in mind the tank is still full of fish at this time

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS065.jpg

After all the crap settled you can see how much better this material is

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...ewbottom011.jpg

I added more rocks and evened them out and prepared to put the driftwood back in.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS069.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...USERXMAS068.jpg

I was also getting sick of cleaning the snail off my powerheads so I designed a cradle for them so I could hang them from the ceiling of the tank so the snails cant get at them. I made a cardboard template of what I was looking for and had my father in law have his guys at work make a replica out of stainless steel.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...ewbottom013.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...ewbottom014.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...ewbottom015.jpg

The new addition to the decor is this rock I found on a jobsite a couple of years ago. I had it soaking in water for 2 yrs, to wash it and dowsed it in boiling water a few times to sterilize it. I could shoot myself for not remembering to take a pic of it before I put it in the tank. This thing is twice the size of a basketball and probably weighs close to 100 lbs. Again I had to get in the tank and have 2 of my buddies lift it up to me so I could lower it to the bottom safely.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...justfish036.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...justfish034.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g59/Pete...justfish032.jpg

I'm currently raising convicts in my daughters 55g so I can introduce the babies to the tank. I'm hoping they take up residency in the cavities of the big rock and start their own colony.

I'm still working on some plumbing upgrades but this was the major chore for the winter. I'll keep the pics comming as things get completed.
 

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your a genius dude.
i have never had to add declorinator or any to my water either i guess i am just lucky on that part.
 
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