Fish tank guts

I did a town run yesterday and picked up some of the parts I need for the single barrel fish tank/grow bed unit I’m working on.  I think the stuff I got at Thurman’s was a real coup.  I got a 1/2″ elbow and all the PVC I need (raided the store’s boneyard) for less than a buck.  The stop at Kaija’s wasn’t as thrifty a stop but productive never the less.  I spent less than $10 there on the T and tubing for the fill.  I probably got more tubing than I will ultimately need, but better safe at the start.  They’ve got the testing kits I’ll need once I populate the tank with fish.  I did a quick diagram of my plan for Matt and he expressed an interest in having a couple in the shop to sell to customers.  That might be fun.  We’ll see how busy I get with other things.  Terry may want to take on that project.  That would be cool.

Wad’s going to bring in one of the pump so I can see what kind of connection I need there.


I’ve been working on the guts of the barrel.  I had initially thought I would use wood for the rocker valve, but think I may use heavy wall PVC instead.  It can be shaped using heat to a shallow C shape with pinched chisel ends.  It can be drilled for the pins necessary for the rocker, counter weight spindle and connection to the water bottle weight.

I’ve still got some things to work out.  How fast do I fill the bottle to shut off the flow to the grow bed?  Do I put the all the overflow into the bottle or do I meter it?  How much counterweight will be needed to offset the empty, or nearly empty, bottle to pinch the tubing and produce a quick fill of the bed?  How fast should be bottle weight drain?  Should I use a shorter bottle to give myself more flexibility in the depth of the water in the fish tank?  I’ve got some agave quart bottles that are quite a bit shorter than a regular drink bottle, and the plastic is thicker/tougher as well.

I’m thinking, now that I know I can get PVC inexpensively from Thurman’s bone yard, I’ll might be able to make the stand out of PVC.  A single piece of thick walled PVC can be sliced lengthwise once at the top and twice at the bottom (perpendicular), heated at the seat of the slice and bent out to form the horizontal stand and legs.  I won’t know if this works until I try it.  Crafting the chisel ends to match the valley of the horizontal arms will allow a clean pinch of the water supply tubing.

I still have to come up with a barrel.  LouAnn has a barrel minus its top I can use for testing, though I don’t know what it’s contained in the past so don’t know if it’s perilous to fish.  I really need a good clean barrel and supply for more of same if Kaija’s decides to sell these units.

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