More tanks with more efficient setup? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
More tanks with more efficient setup?

Allo Folks,

Anyone have any exp. using alt. power sources other than household utility electric, like solar or wind generator setups. I want more tanks (lol who doesn't..right?), but my roommate is not happy with the idea of a higher electric bill.

I am also trying to sift through thousands of posts already here to find out how, if possible, to link up multiple small tanks (5-10gal) to one pump/filter source. Is this done with a sump system? does anyone know of any good links giving a detailed "DIY" step-by-step example of this or other types of systems that would achieve this.


really appreciate this site and all you other fish nuts!!!

-WYRD n Thanx
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 02:30 PM
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Sorry I don't know of any detailed plans. Your idea goes with a post I had about insulating any unviewed tank sides, back, and the underside to lower heating costs (slightly). I apologize if I'm stating what you have already considered . It's a neat idea!
Most commercial systems I have peeked at have pressurized water supply output to each tank coupled with an overflow system. A DIY system, especially if you want energy-efficiency, probably would need to use a siphon system between tanks with a final overflow into a sump at one end of the system. How are you planning on filtering? A large wet/dry? If you have different size tanks, you'll possibly have water current issues if there is a constant flow through all tanks in a series. High flow in small tanks, low flow in the larger ones. You'll have an increase in heat loss (through the added plumbing) so if you live in a colder area, you'll want to insulate the hoses. You still may end up running the heater(s) more since the smaller tanks have more surface area/volume for heat loss and your linked larger tanks will tend to cool more rapidly than if they were not linked together.

The only significant downsides I see, other than possible "spaghetti" plumbing all over the room!(!) is the same problem modern fish stores (recirculating water) have versus the old mom and pop pet shops (individual tanks). ALL the water is shared and if any disease gets introduced, you could spend more on medicating all that water than you'd spend on electricity. The other major worry is a clog in the system, depending on how you design it, could flood your room.

A gas generator would cost you a fortune to run. I'd bet it would take a long time to break even on electricity costs with the purchase cost of a solar panel or wind turbine.

Welcome to the forum!

Last edited by DKRST; 04-20-2011 at 02:34 PM. Reason: Welcome..
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 08:08 PM
Wind turbines can be quite easily DIYed to provide power. Its just not a ton of power, but there are lots of step by steps or examples if you google search the turbine can be made quite cheaply. Thing with all solar panals, turbines, ect is they provide irregular DC current, where as all our equipment for tanks needs constant AC power. You need more then just a turbine to get usable power usually. Its the turbine, then a current regulator is in the system somewhere. Anyway your solar panals/ turbine charge a battery. Most things you look at they use car or boat batteries I forget. Then attached to the battery is a DC to AC converter. So you get AC power to run whatever you can run.

For filtering multiple small tanks that is fairly simple. Easiest way is a BIG airpump. How big depends on how many tanks. Anyway you use air tubing and control valves to run a branching airline to the tanks. Usually one or two airlines to a tank. These are used to drive sponge filters. This would be more efficent since air pumps consume less power then most filter pumps and cheaper and more easy to modify.

However the biggest power consumption is the mostly the heaters and then the lights. For small tanks have you made sure you are running florescents in all tanks?

.... I'm probably drunk.

This is how I lurk


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post #4 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
Much Thanks to both of u. I figgered the solar/wind thing might not be what i was looking for, but the large sump and "BIG" pump might be right down my alley.

-WYRD n Thanx
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 08:28 PM
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+1 to both the above posts, in my opinion its kind of silly to try and do some sort of solar or wind powered system, these are an investment meant to be recouped over 5-10 years. Smaller then ones meant for houses just wont generate enough power to be worth the DC to AC converters and the effort you put in installing them. A more reasonable solution would be to offer your roommate to pay 60-70% of the electric bill.

The one big sump hooked up to multiple tanks is your best bet at efficiency but like posted above comes with the risk of having all your fish exposed to the same water.
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 08:59 PM
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If you decide on the air pump route, realize Mikaila31 was not referring to the typical diaphragm pumps. She's talking about the big magnetic piston pumps ($60+). They are the modern replacement for the old belt-drive piston pumps, and I think the belt drives have long disappeared now - they were "high-tech" in the 1980's. I had an old one supplying all the undergravel filters in my aquarium service business then (6@20 gallons and a 29g). I had air to spare.

Neat thing is you can locate the pump in another room or closet to minimize noise. Just buy a spool of air line tubing. This system, be it sponge or undergravel, is by far the easiest to set up (not interconnecting each tank's water supply).

Last edited by DKRST; 04-20-2011 at 09:06 PM.
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-20-2011, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
kewl deal, thanks for the input
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-21-2011, 09:40 AM
if you got the time, aquabirdge the tanks together and then run 1 canister or sump, draw water from the last tank, return it into the fist tank... Just will take a lot of time.
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-21-2011, 11:52 AM
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That is a very cool idea and would be visually appealing. It's a more decorative version of what you proposed.
Aqua-Bridge
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-21-2011, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
That is WAY KEWL!!! Thanks guys n gals


-WYRD n Latre
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