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I have a 100 gallon stock tank under 5 35 gallon grow beds in a greenhouse. To hopefully reduce the amount of water tapped from the main tank each cycle, (fill and drain), I cut a 55 gallon food grade barrel in half and filled them with safe water. I then created a manifold from 1" PVC tubing and filled the lines with water. The manifold runs from the main tank to the 2 others over the top of the rims. I had hoped that the principle of water seeking a common table would keep the main tank more full as it gets quite low at the end of each cycle. It does not seem to work. Any suggestions?

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Can you show us a picture?  I don't quite understand?  How is the manifold supposed to keep the water levels equal when you are going over the top of the rims? 

Or are you talking about water bridges?  Water bridges require that you keep all the air out of them to keep them flowing so you have to make sure no air can leak in at the joints and that you get all the air out of them and keep all the air out of them when you put them in place.  Also, 1" pvc isn't all that large for a gravity drain.  How fast does your pump use the water from the tank?  What size plumbing does the pump take?  If the pump is way faster than a 1" gravity drain can work then it is going to pull water out of the main tank far faster than it can equalize into the main tank.

Thanks TC for your insights and questions. Not able to get a good pic of problem. Your point relating to the pump flow vs. the size of the water bridge material is valid. I think the best cure at this point is to dropkick the water bridges idea and go to a bottom mounted manifold. I was hoping to not have to use this as I have had problems with getting good seals on the systems I have built in the past for graywater. Do you have a good source for Uniseals?

Uniseals

I can provide them.  There are other sizes available but the sizes listed seem to be the most commonly asked for.

The smallest gravity drain size I usually do is 1 1/2" but I do a lot with 3" pipe as well.  I learned that the outside of the 3" sewer pipe fittings are close enough to the outside of the 3" schedule 40 stuff that I tend to push the sewer pipe couplings through the 3 inch uniseals so I can use the lighter weight (cheaper) pipe with the uniseals but I suppose I probably could get the other size uniseal if it wasn't so confusing figuring out which one to get.

 

Some tricks with the uniseals is you need to make sure to place them such that you will be able to push the pipe through without giving yourself a hernia by pushing at a bad angle.  A T on the end of the piece of pipe you push through makes a good handle to push against.  And rubber couplings can make connecting pipes from different tanks together much easier since you don't have to get the placement as perfect as you do when using regular PVC fittings.

Well, as I was working on the system I discovered that the seal on the stock tank, (the bulkhead) was leaking and needed replacement. In doing that I also found a local and reasonable source for Uniseals. Got the manifold done by dark, posted pictures. Hoping the 1" PVC will work. I went with that as it was the size of the opening for the bulkhead and it seemed easier to go with what was there. I'll let you know how it works. I had larger tanks in a greywater system with only 1/2" pipe and it was adaquate. However, there was not a pump. More later....



TCLynx said:

Uniseals

I can provide them.  There are other sizes available but the sizes listed seem to be the most commonly asked for.

The smallest gravity drain size I usually do is 1 1/2" but I do a lot with 3" pipe as well.  I learned that the outside of the 3" sewer pipe fittings are close enough to the outside of the 3" schedule 40 stuff that I tend to push the sewer pipe couplings through the 3 inch uniseals so I can use the lighter weight (cheaper) pipe with the uniseals but I suppose I probably could get the other size uniseal if it wasn't so confusing figuring out which one to get.

 

Some tricks with the uniseals is you need to make sure to place them such that you will be able to push the pipe through without giving yourself a hernia by pushing at a bad angle.  A T on the end of the piece of pipe you push through makes a good handle to push against.  And rubber couplings can make connecting pipes from different tanks together much easier since you don't have to get the placement as perfect as you do when using regular PVC fittings.

Just make sure you put a good grate on to keep fish out of those pipes before you get fish.
Actually I think I did one better. I used caps on the inside of the pipes but drilled multiple holes in each one. This gave the pipes stability against the wall of the tank (s) but will allow water flow without fish traversing the tubes. Thanks for your input, really enjoy your videos and pics.

TCLynx said:
Just make sure you put a good grate on to keep fish out of those pipes before you get fish.
Paul are you using a timer for flood and drain or are you using bell siphons. Might consider the later if you dont have a sump. If you drain more than 20 percent of tank volumn on each pump cycle you might be pushing it for proper fish health. Koi will take the pump down but not much else on a continous basis. You could also double your fish tank volumn and keep your stocking rate light and that would help with pump down levels. A one to one ratio of fish tank to gravel is pretty standard.

David:

     My hope is that by adding the 55 gallons in line with the main tank that the draw down situation will be relieved or almost eliminated. Basically this adds 50% more water to the system. I am using a bell siphon method as of now as I'm trying to keep the system as energy lean as possible. I have 5 very small fish right now, taking my time getting the fish part stocked as I'm not big on killing things unintentionally. Thanks...

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