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Tank circulation via linked spraybars?

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by Gerryd, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey all.

    After reading the recent thread by Tom re: the c02 meter and the amount of variation of c02 levels in the tank, plant beds, etc, I was thinking of trying the following for better tank distribution of c02 and flow.

    I know others use spraybars in their tanks.

    Tank dimensions 72x24x24.

    Basically I would create a 3 sided frame of connected spraybars that would have 3 vertical levels. The 3 sided frame would cover the back and both sides. The levels would be at 6" vertical levels, 6", 12" and 18".

    I would connect the frame to my twin outflows to power it, so to speak.

    The spraybar sections would/could be turned in slightly different directions to point up, down, straight, etc.

    I was thinking that this would provide flow in just about ALL sections of the tank, especially those where I tend to plant heavily, backs and sides. This would also push towards the front and middle of the tank somewhat.

    Then maybe a powerhead of two at each end to push the flow from the frame, across the front of the tank.

    It would take quite a few sections of spraybar and connectors, but it SEEMS like it would work.

    Before I buy 800 feet of spraybar and connectors, do you guys think this is viable?

    My only real concern is with the size of the spraybar holes and how much flow/pressure I would need to drive through the frame adequately AND UNIFORMLY.

    I wouldn't want the areas closer to the flow for example to get good flow and the most remote sections get nothing.

    Thoughts?

    Am off to surf for what I would need to put this together....

    Thanks,
     
  2. midazolam

    midazolam Junior Poster

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    While thats a creative approach, I think as with a lot of things in life we have to ask to what ends? If you can achieve adequate growth through conventional means (which certainly many people do) what would be the purpose of such a device. As an intellectual pursuit...a real life solution to a theoretical problem...I understand. As a lazy person, I say why bother :)
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey,

    1. Better and more uniform flow brings more nutrients (including c02) to the plants and washes away debris and waster products.

    2. Better plant growth overall and thus less algae.

    3. Aesthetics as the frame would be BEHIND the plants for the most part.

    4. Possible removal of extra powerheads currently required to help reach these 'dead' zones or areas of less flow and current. This would enhance #3.

    I am looking for better growth overall. I have 'adequate' and am shooting for higher that's all. Just thinking outside the box a bit and experimenting............
     
  4. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    I think it sounds like an interesting idea. I look forward to hearing your results and seeing the setup if you decide to give it a go.
     
  5. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    What about taking the same idea except making a loop that goes around the entire tank edge on the inside underneath the substrate. Then add t-fittings every 6" on that loop and make the third leg of the "T" female threaded and mounted so it point directly upwards. Then put small PVC threaded plug caps into each of the t-fittings. Now you have a nice loop manifold that is completely hidden beneath the substrate, and since it makes a complete loop the water pressure will remain pretty even throughout.

    Now that you have the main structure, make a bunch of 12-18" long pieces of PVC with a male thread on one end and a cap on the other, and drill holes along the length at evenly spaced intervals for your spray bar holes. Now you can install these vertically by digging slightly into the substrate wherever there is a t-fitting on the main manifold. Remove the male threaded cap from the T-fitting and replace it with your new spray bar pipe. This way you can choose where your spray bars are located at any time and you can make sure that the spray bars are always hidden behind plants. You can also easily change things around as your aquascape changes.

    Since the spray bars run vertically it also allows you to rotate the spray holes different horizontal directions instead of vertical directions. That might be better for achieving proper flow around the tank and plants. You can make the verticals different lengths as well if desired to keep them out of sight over the top of shorter plants as well. With this setup you can easily adjust for proper total flow and pressure through the spray bars by adding or subtracting a few vertical spray bars to the whole setup.

    It is just an idea, but it might allow you a lot more freedom and ability to hide everything while still giving you the capability you are seeking.

    Have a good one, Jeremy

    P.S.- Another benefit to having the spray bars run vertically is that if you adjusted all the spray bars just a little bit the same direction (i.e all slightly clockwise or counter clockwise), all stray currents would combine together to create a slow circular current in the entire tank in addition to the individual smaller flows. You wouldn't really be able to do that with spray bars that are run horizontally.
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jeremy,

    I like your idea as well.

    If making a 4 sided rectangular frame, I would NOT use any T in the front section.

    I doubt I would add a vert or two in the front lol

    1. What size PVC would you use for the frame and verticals? 1/2 is easier to hide. I have a 3/4 loc-line now. I think 1/4" would be too restrictive of flow????

    2. I was thinking 1/8" drilled holes for the spraybars. Thoughts??

    Other thing is to find non-white PVC. Grey or black will blend in better with my black flourite substrate and my black background......I know it exists, but white is predominant........

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Off to home depot to see what it would take...........
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think the total area of the holes in the spraybar should be a bit less than the cross section area of the tube. That makes them pretty small, but if they are much larger, most of the flow will be from the holes closest to where the incoming flow is. However, I still believe a flow slot works better than flow holes. But, that makes the maximum lenght of the spray bar be around 3 inches for a half inch ID tube inlet.
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Vaughn,

    What is a flow 'slot'? Is it just a cutout section in the pipe as opposed to numerous holes?

    Could you help me understand your comment here?

    I just spent < $10 on all the PVC, elbows, etc I need to make this.

    I will build the frame and the verts to scale to see how it looks.

    I was concerned about flow out of the holes closest to the input as well.

    Can I drill smaller holes closer to the source and go a bit larger further away?

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    EDIT:

    I built the frame and input pipes. I still need more vertical pipe (10' was not enough lol) and then need to either drill or use a slot as Vaughn suggests.

    I used slip T instead of threaded.....

    I may add some more T's later.

    Here is a link to a couple of pics of the frame. Just missing the rest of the vertical pipes and the drilling.

    Image of Full frame - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    By a "flow slot" I meant using a small Dreml saw blade to cut a slit along the length of the tube. But, the area of that slit shouldn't exceed the cross section area of the inside of the tube, to keep flow coming out the whole length of the slit. Since about .06 inch is the smallest practical slit width, the area of that slit would exceed the ID area of the tube if the slit is much more than 3 inches long.

    I found that tiny holes tend to get plugged up pretty quickly, with biofilm. Clearing them out was a major problem for me, and the spray bar didn't seem to be giving as much circulation as I had without it. That is when I switched to the flattened cone type outlet with a slit opening. It works much better for me.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You should be able to make one for about 10-20$ and about 30 minutes.
    CPVC 1/2" will do nicely.

    I use to use these for RFUG's.............but they could be mounted on the rear, or even add CO2 under the gravel I suppose, some did that in the past.

    You simply make a large grid out of the CPVC and add lots of flow through it.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    As a general rule of thumb, you want the water in your plumbing system to never be traveling more than 5ft per second as far as efficiency is concerned. Keeping it lower than that prevents friction inside the piping and the velocity head from ever contributing significantly to added resistance on the pump, which would reduce flow (possibly significantly) while still using the same amount of electricity. A 5 ft/s velocity of water in the plumbing system is the same resistance as far as the pump is concerned as it takes to pump water vertically about 6”, so 6” of head pressure is what the pump sees. Water flowing at 10ft/s through the same system is the same resistance as water being pumped vertically a little over 1.5’, so as you can see it is not a linear relationship. The faster the water goes through the plumbing system the more head the pump sees and your waste losses compound very fast when you go over 5ft/s velocity in the pipes. This wastes pump capability and electricity and you don’t gain anything. Using larger pipe at least for your main vertical feeds for your setup (at least ¾” pipe) will be the cheapest bang for the buck that you could ever do as far as your entire filtration and circulation system is concerned. ½” PVC is about exactly 0.622” inside diameter, so to keep the water going less than 5ft/s for optimal efficiency there should be less flow than 5ft/s x 3600s/hr x 12in/ft x 3.14 x 0.311in x 0.311in.

    0.311” is the radius of the pipe
    3.14 is the pi multiplier for finding the area of a circle (pi x radius squared is the formula for the area of a circle)

    This calculates out to roughly 65,600in3/hr. There are 231in3 in a gallon, so that is 283 gal/hr flow. That means that ideally you want no more than 283 gal/hr flow through each of your risers in your ½” system otherwise you begin losing a lot of efficiency, cutting flow capability, and adding a lot more needless resistance on your pump with no net gain at all. Going much higher than that number will severely restrict the total flow that you end up with through your system as a whole.

    If you go to ¾” pipe on your verticals that feed the manifold, you just replace the 0.31” radiuses in the equation above with 0.824/2 or 0.412”. If you calculate it all out you find that anything up to 500gal/hr for each pipe is a safe maximum. You can do the same with 1” as well and you end up with 807gal/hr for each pipe.

    Now in as far as making sure that you get good flow to all parts of the system are concerned I have a few recommendations. I agree with you, there is no reason to put T’s along the front of the tank, but the manifold pipe running across the front and connecting the two sides does serve a valuable purpose. It balances the water flow and pressures equally throughout the entire manifold. Think of a long 12” airstone with a single input at one end. Most of the bubbles that flow out of the airstone will flow out within the first few inches and then the flow will begin to drop off unless there is a lot of reserve air pressure in the line to push all the way to the other end. You could get the same amount of bubbles and do it more efficiently having the air enter the airstone from both ends in a loop configuration. This would create equal pressure throughout the entire airstone, and you would get a nice even concentration of bubbles across the entire 12” of stone. That difference and more evenly balanced flow is what the pipe across the front of the system that makes the loop is doing for you.

    Ideally, your setup would have the best flow and least resistance (assuming that you have more than 1000gal/hr of pump flow which is possible with that size tank) by having 2 1” verticals that feed the system. Then T down to ¾” and run ¾” for the entire existing under substrate setup that you have now in your photobucket pictures. Just use T’s with ½” third legs though instead of ¾”. Then add an additional pipe across the front of the tank to connect the two sides, and run that in ½”. ¾” is not necessary for just balancing flows. Also, still make all of the vertical spray bars out of 1/2”. That will equalize all of your pressures well, and you will get nice even and equal flow out of everything with the water traveling about the same speed everywhere through your plumbing setup. Changing the diameters of the pipes in this way and making them smaller as you travel towards the ends of the system uses the plumbing itself to balance flow rates out so there is much less of an issue with trying to balance everything out by number of holes and hole diameter in the vertical spray bars. It will still be an issue, but it won’t be nearly as sensitive of an issue and problems will be minimized.

    If you have less than 1000gal/hr of total pump flow, just do the bridge along the front to connect the two ends to form the manifold loop, and then feed the entire setup with two ¾” pipes instead of ½” pipe and leave the rest as you already have it and you should be fine.

    Good luck, Jeremy
     
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