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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A project I've recently finished working on.

I have three tanks connected to each other with fish bridges. A ninety gallon, a 110 gallon, and a thirty-ish gallon. The fish can (and do) move from one tank to another through the bridges.

I carefully set the heaters so all of the tanks maintain the exact same temperature.

A powerhead pumps water from the far left tank to the far right tank, forcing water back through the fish bridges, thus keeping the water in the bridges from becoming anoxic and stagnant. The siphon maintains in event of a power outage with no risk of flooding.

The tops of each tank obviously had to be exactly level for this to work. I had to build my stands carefully.

Each tank has its own heater and filters, though obviously with the water constantly mixing every filter helps filter all of the water. The ninety gallon has a fluval canister and a HOB. The 110 gallon has a fluval canister and a DIY homebuilt wet/dry pot scrubbie filter with a sump, and the small tank has two HOBs. This all results in about twice as much filtration needed for the fish I have.

Some of the nice features of this set-up:

Water changes are accomplished with one water change rather than three. The water inlets for the bridges are low enough than I can do a fifty percent water change without breaking the siphon between the tanks.

Large total volume of water for increased stability. Total volume including sump and the few gallons in the bridges comes to something a bit north of 250 gallons.

The fish can move about, find new environments, territories, and mates, as well as avoid fish attempting to terroize them.

The bridges can indivudually be capped off if needed. Or a bit of screen can be ziptied to an inlet if the siphon and water mixing/filtration needs to be maintained without any fish going through.

Do the fish use it? Yes! Though more at night than in the daytime for some reason. It's fun watching them in the tubing though.

Why? Because it was a fun project, the kids think it's totally cool, and it's always interesting looking in each day and seeing who moved house.

Ok, now the pics and the video:

Here's the YouTube video:


And the pictures:















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Now that's thinking outside the box. I like it ,pretty neat idea, I have never seen anything like this. Kinda like the hampster tube thing but with fish. :thumb:
 

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That's sweet. I've always though about connecting the water on my tanks, if the fish were compatible, I would consider it. I bet they love being able to swim long distances from one tank to another. Godd job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry about the lack of captions in the pics. The first picture is the "cave" entrance to one of the downtubes into the bridge. The second, fifth, and seventh are the downtubes inside the tanks, and the third, fourth, and sixth are the bridges themselves. Note the valve to allow me to start or stop the siphon easily and slowly when necessary so I don't have to try and move a heavy bridge full of water.
 

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neat idea but won't those tubes be too small when your fish are full size?
 

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That is awesome.... Oh, how much trouble I would be in, if I even considered making something like this in my living room.....

Wifey would make me sleep in one of them.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cromak said:
neat idea but won't those tubes be too small when your fish are full size?
The biggest adult fish I have are still able to fit through, though they usually don't. Anything bigger though wouldn't work at all unless the piping was probably 6" which would cost a fortune.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rhinox said:
I've seen this before but not on this scale. Got any pics of fish in the tubes? It would ammuse the heck out of me :p
Every time I see a fish in one of the tubes it seems I don't have a camera (or my phone) handy. Every time I sit and wait with a camera, they avoid the bridges. I think they're camera shy. I think I need to rig up a motion activated camera. :) I'll get some pics eventually though, and when I do, I'll post them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's a few pictures and a youtube video of an electric yellow going through the bridge from one aquarium to another. She actually started from the aquarium on the left and ended up on the one on the right, but she was halfway through by the time I got my video recorder going. She then went almost all the way back to where she started before turning around again and making it into a brand new environment.











And the youtube video:

 

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I have to say this is one of the coolest thing I have seem. Make you wonder if fish can remember the tunnels and how smart they are comparing to rats.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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This is absolutely friggin awesome! I would love to see a diagram and parts list for this design. I am trying to understand the siphon and powerhead concept but am not keen on physics. If I am right you use the siphon to fill the tube with water, but how does the powerhead cause the water to flow through the cave system. Does the sytem just maintain a specific water level? so moving water from A to C cause water to redistribute from C to B to A then back to C? Thanks for the good show!

Will
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
zcfish said:
I have to say this is one of the coolest thing I have seem. Make you wonder if fish can remember the tunnels and how smart they are comparing to rats.

Thanks for sharing.
The electric yellow in the pics and video that moved into the middle tank yesterday has decided to make her way back to the original tank sometime during the night. It could be luck but I'd say she remembered the route. I've had others make the return trip too, even before taking the other bridge, so memory seems to play a part.

I'd expect mbunas to have reasonably good spatial memory anyway, since they're so caught up in defending territory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Implicitraindrop said:
This is absolutely friggin awesome! I would love to see a diagram and parts list for this design. I am trying to understand the siphon and powerhead concept but am not keen on physics. If I am right you use the siphon to fill the tube with water, but how does the powerhead cause the water to flow through the cave system. Does the sytem just maintain a specific water level? so moving water from A to C cause water to redistribute from C to B to A then back to C? Thanks for the good show!

Will
I might diagram this up on google tonight when I get home, but in the meantime, the parts list is fairly simple. The hardest part is finding (and paying for!) the clear acrylic pipe. I was lucky and got a good deal and was able to get it locally, but it was still $50 per six foot length. I needed four lengths, though if I had been thinking right and made the cuts right I could've done it with three.

You can get clear elbows and couplings too, but they're even more ridiculously expensive, to the tune of over $100 per elbow! So I just used regular PVC stuff from any home improvement center.

Other than the piping, the parts list consists of a half dozen to a dozen PVC elbows, couplings, and other fittings, including the valves to start/stop the siphon and flexible hosing for the valves. Total cost for the project was around $300 with 2/3rds of that being the tubing itself.

You pretty much have it right on how the siphon works. Since the tanks are all connected via the siphon, the top of the water in each tank will also be exactly the same. That's why I had to build my new stands very carefully to make sure the tops of the tanks were exactly the same, especially since each tank is a different size.

The powerhead pumping water from A to C forces water back from C to B, then from B to A since the natural tendency is for the water to all seek its level. Thus keeping the water in the tubes fresh and the water chemistry across everything completely consistent.

You're right about filling the tubes. That's what the red valve is for ( I need to find a way to hide these better). Just using an air pump (or lung power) I open the valve, and suck the air out thus filling the tubes with water. Close the valve and there's nowhere for the water to go, or for air to get in, so the siphon remains. I also cap off the smaller tubing after the valve just for safety.

To release the siphon, I just slowly release the valve and I can gently allow the water to drain back into the tanks without any sudden giant splash. The tanks won't overflow even if they're full since the water just drains into my sump tank through my overflow (only works until the siphon is broken, since the overflow is only on one tank.) The tubing doesn't hold that much water anyway. Total volume for both bridges I think I calculated at around 4 or 5 gallons.
 
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