After using my previous creation for many months, design flaws became apparent. The water flowing left to right from cell to cell was not as good a flow as planned. Water added to the end produced a nice flow for the first 4 cells.. then after that there did not seem to be much. If you added something like meth blue and watched it move through the system.. you found it made it most of the way but not to the end. The flow pushed water but it did not seem to carry the new water evenly to the end. So, the thought that the first cells were getting better water changes than the last cells made me go back to the drawing board.
The new plan calls for the same idea of water flowing under a divider and over another divider.. but this time it was overflowing to the back of the cell into a gutter instead of the neighbors cell. Each fish will have its own supply of fresh water. Water will be dripped from above into each cell and the overflow will go out the back. There is very little access of another fishes water coming into a cell, hopefully reducing the spread of any disease. I also wanted bigger cells for the fish so the entire condo is 4′x1′. The individual cells are 4″ x 9″.. giving the fish 3 more inches of room and water than before. The other 3″ is the gutter that runs along the back with a 1″ outlet for water to drain into the filter system. Each condo will hold about 10 gallons and with four and the 30 gallon sump the entire system will hold 70 gallons of water. I will be able to shut off the system and remove 25 gallons from the sump whenever I need to.
Since I have some free time I headed to Lowe’s and got my plexi bought and cut to make the first prototype. I will eventually have 4 of these on a shelf unit.. all draining into a 30 gallon tank where the water will be filtered and pumped back up to the condos. From experience, they will need tweaking so I got enough to make one. I used just one sheet [under $50] and they cut it for me. First 3 cuts were free.. then I think it was .50/cut. I knew from before I wanted to use long pieces to reduce all the glueing so I have:
a bottom [4′ x 12″],
front and back [4′ x 6″] ,
2 sides [11.75″ x 6″]
back of condo [ 3′ 11 3/4″ x 5 3/4″]
overflow [ 3′ 11 3/4″ x 5″]
11 side walls to the condos [9″ x 6″]
Since I took lots of pictures I am going to break the construction into phases so the blog posts don’t get too long. Next post is getting things ready.