A setup idea to poke holes in.

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sirdarksol

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I'm planning on setting up a shelf of a handful of interconnected tanks (no more than a dozen, probably significantly less than that).

The setup will be this:
There will be a wooden shelf with at least three levels. The top and bottom level will each have a single 20 gallon or 30 gallon tank. The middle levels will have 5 gallon to 20 gallon tanks.
Each level will be lit by fluorescent strips.
All of the tanks will be drilled for drainage when the water reaches a certain level. The top tank will drain into the tanks on the shelf below, which will drain into the tank on the bottom. Poret foam will be used to pre-filter each of the drains, to keep the fish from going for a ride, and to provide biological media.
A pump in the bottom tank will push water up to the top tank.
There will be an emergency drain in the bottom bin that will either run to the basement drain or to a Rubbermaid container. Either way, this will be backup in case the pump fails. That way, I won't have a mess of water to clean up.

I had originally thought of doing air-run filters with Poret foam, all using one large pump, and I may fall back on this, but doing so will force me to heat each individual tank. This could work out if I do a lot of shrimp or plant-only tanks, but I'm thinking that a lot of these are going to be species-only tropical tanks.
The other advantage of this setup would be ease in water changes.

I figure I can have this going in a month or so, which, knowing me, means that it will be at least six months before I even start working on it. That means I'm going to have plenty of time to tear the entire idea apart and put it back together a dozen times or so.
So please, poke, prod, and point out flaws in the idea.
 

Nick G

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I see no reason why a set-up like that wouldn't work, however if the drains are pre-filtered with foam, then you'll need to ensure that the pump isn't sending water to the top tank faster than it can drain out through the foam!
 
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sirdarksol

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Nick Goody said:
I see no reason why a set-up like that wouldn't work, however if the drains are pre-filtered with foam, then you'll need to ensure that the pump isn't sending water to the top tank faster than it can drain out through the foam!
An excellent thought. Thankfully, the Poret foam setups are great for this kind of thing. You use a sheet of the foam to block off an area of the aquarium (in this case, I would bend it and seal off a corner), leaving a wide area for the water to pass through. Less chance of the entire thing getting blocked, and plenty of space for the water to pass through.
 

Nick G

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When my Kribs spawned in my Nanocube I decided the current was too strong for the fry, so came up with a cunning plan to reduce the flow. I tied some foam over the outlet, which worked brilliantly until the filter at the back of the tank filled up and overflowed because the water couldn't escape quickly enough through the foam! Your poret foam sounds a lot more effective than the stuff I used though!
 
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sirdarksol

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The Poret is very similar to normal filter foam, just a little stiffer, and made to be longer-lasting. The difference is that the water is going to have a much larger area that it can get through. Instead of having to travel through a small block, it's going to have a 12" by 3" sheet that it can pass through. Each square inch of the sheet will allow a small amount of the water to pass through.
The other thing I can do is put the top level of the Poret below the lip of the tank, essentially creating an automatic overflow safety, in case the Poret does get blocked up.
 

harpua2002

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I guess what I'm not quite understanding is the purpose of draining the top tanks to the lower ones, rather than running everything off of a large sump. I'm not quite understanding the purpose of the poret foam either (I'm not familiar with the product). To keep fish from going for a ride, wouldn't it just be easier to affix intake strainers to your bulkheads? Seems like a lot less chance of clogging too. And, aside from simple spot cleaning/gravel vaccing, wouldn't you just do the bulk of your water changing from the central sump? If you cram the sump full of bio media, the foam as bio media shouldn't be needed in the individual tanks.

I'm not trying to poke holes in your ideas at all, maybe I'm overthinking it or thinking about the system from more of a salty point of view.
 
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sirdarksol

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The sump is a possibility, but it will take a smaller pump to get the water to the tanks if I set them all up to cascade. If I did a typical sump, I'd have to get a pump that could provide the pressure to a line to each aquarium.
My purpose for doing this is more for energy efficiency than it is for filtration efficiency, so I'm not necessarily looking for high water flow.

Here's a link to the Poret foam.

With any of the filtration setups they have pictured, this would be very similar, but instead of the pipe feeding out into the rest of the tank, the output would just be cut behind the filter.

Anyway, this is why I ask these things. Now I'm second-guessing myself (as I knew I would). Being asked questions and having things pointed out gets me thinking about my setup in new ways.
My other option is to use an air pump to run the filters. Water changing would be a pain, though (I mostly worry about this not because I'm lazy, but because I'm lazy and I know that I will slack if I don't facilitate relatively simple water changes. )
Another possibility would be to plumb the tanks directly into the drain.
 

kuhliLoachFan

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The easiest way to make water changes easy is to buy a pump and a "python" water changing setup. Plumbing is a lot of work. You said you were lazy right? A hose long enough to make it to the shower drain or a bathroom/toilet is all you need for the draining part, and a python is the best way to do the filling part. You could just use the python for both but I find that draining it wastes a lot of water.

W
 

peacemaker92

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Even though I can't really imagine it clearly, can't wait to see the setup! Good luck, SDS!
 

chumzhujun

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please post a picture.,,
 

FredBjammin

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Trying to picture this, take plenty of pics when you start this project.
 
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sirdarksol

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kuhliLoachFan said:
The easiest way to make water changes easy is to buy a pump and a "python" water changing setup. Plumbing is a lot of work. You said you were lazy right? A hose long enough to make it to the shower drain or a bathroom/toilet is all you need for the draining part, and a python is the best way to do the filling part. You could just use the python for both but I find that draining it wastes a lot of water.

W
I have a Python. I do use it for water changes upstairs (by the way, if the sink is lower than the water level of the tank, you don't have to have the water on to drain. Just turn it on long enough to get the siphon started. However, I usually use the Python hose to drain the water into my gardens) I will be using it for filling. However, it is a pain to switch it from aquarium to aquarium on waterchange day, especially with the little tanks, where the switch takes longer than the drain. As I said, I know that if I don't facilitate easy water changes in one way or another, I will slack on the water changes.
As far as plumbing being a lot of work, it isn't for me. It's actually kind of fun ;D. I've replumbed a significant portion of the bathroom. I've also done other plumbing projects for aquaria.

Edit: I'll try to draw a diagram of the intended setup and post it here.
 
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