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Air loop system , tips&trix


FB2024
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Hi! I am new to this hobby but previously have many years of experience as an angler. For some years now I have been dating a girl who a few years ago had a great interest in aquariums and aquarium fish. She has had a break from the hobby for a few years. But now we have decided together to try to start breeding fish. We have acquired a rack with room for 12 110 liter tanks. We have talked to our local aquarium shop and he is helping us a bit and will buy the fish we possibly succeed in breeding 🙂 There are some practical things I have questions about. I am going to build an air loop system. Have bought 32mm pipes and couplings. In the upper left corner I will place an air pump of the brand Aquaforte Hi-Flow air pump "V30".

 Cap at 1.2 m: 17 l/min

 Cap at 2 m: 7 l/min

 Max. Print: 2.5 meters

 Cable length: 5m, I have acquired an overpressure valve that I intended to place in the higher lower corner. is that a good idea? I will then put stainless air flow valves on the loop and run hoses to the respective sponge filters. Is there something I'm missing or something special I should think about?

It is still a work in progress and its not finished yet .. all tips and trix are much appreciated:)

 

 

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Edited by FB2024
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First of all that looks like a ton of fun!!

The placement of the pump and over pressure valve don't really matter. They can go in the loop anywhere. The key is to truly make a loop though. Some people will just run a line across the wall with drops for the tanks where they need them. But really the pipe needs to form a giant donut of sorts. This allows the pressure inside the line to equalize. Otherwise your first drop will have high pressure and your last drop will have low pressure. 

Also depending on how confident you are with PVC you might want to watch some videos on how to cut that pipe, prep the pipe, and "glue" the pipe.

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You'll want the pump placed high or add a condensation collector of some sort as when you pressurize air, you force the moisture out of the air, and it'll collect somewhere. If the air pump is the lowest thing in the system, that's where the moisture will accumulate and cause issues. If the pump is up high, any moisture will be pushed out into the tanks where it does little to no harm. 

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This is what i intend to do. And then put it on the inside of the rack using plastic straps to mount it on the rack. 

Upper left corner - air pump 

And down in the right corner an over flow valve. 

 

But that valve isnt necessary? 

 

Think these pipes are easy to fit together, there are some rubber manifold inside the pipes. The pipes are made for sewage. 

 

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This is what i intend to do. And then put it on the inside of the rack using plastic straps to mount it on the rack. 

Upper left corner - air pump 

And down in the right corner an over flow valve. 

 

But that valve isnt necessary? 

 

Think these pipes are easy to fit together, there are some rubber manifold inside the pipes. The pipes are made for sewage. 

 

PXL_20240415_093808894.jpg

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@FB2024 you're not in north america are you? most writers here (myself included) use schedule 40 pvc for air loops, anything from 1/2 inch diameter up to 1.5 inch. But it sounds like you're using something different. Do you have any photos? 

Here, if you don't glue/seal your parts, the power of most linear pumps is enough to pop the joints apart. That being said, the wattage and lpm of your pump aren't as high as mine, so you might be okay. 

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Posted (edited)

@TOtrees Nope im from Sweden 🙂 all the pipes looks like the picture. There is a rubber seal in those "mufflers" dont know the english word for it. You use them to connect to plain pipes. I dont think any glue or anything is necessary when using them for water but yeah maybe i should try them first before putting them in the back of the rack 

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Edited by FB2024
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Is that threaded on the inside? If yes, and a rubber gasket, I’d guess you’ll feel okay. 

I noticed your sketch is set up with a cross piece in the middle. I did that on mine and found it wasn’t necessary. If you’re setting it up vertically behind your rack, make sure you install a valve or something similar to drain water from the bottom periodically.

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Posted (edited)

@TOtrees I did put it on the outside just for measuring.  We have to empty all the tanks and pull the rack of the wall with like 5 cm 

 

Now when I put it together I think I will need some type of sealant. What do you recommend to PVC plastic? I know it can be tricky of what to use .. different stuff for different plastics.. this is regular PVC

 

I also did as you said and skipped the middle part .. 

 

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Edited by FB2024
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With that setup, I would run just one PVC header up above and run all the drops off of that one header.  Unless you're worried about drop length for some reason?  There's no reason to run a header at each level when you can just run a little big longer drop.  That way everything is above water level as well.

 

Here's mine.  It continues to the right and runs 10' back along the other wall.  So it's basically a "U".  If I need another drop I just drill/tap a new hole and thread in a valve.  I will say it's a bit of a pain to adjust because of how far up I put it.  But I rarely adjust anything and this way the kids can't easily get to them.

Ignore the paint job.  😄 😄

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Edited by jwcarlson
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@jwcarlson I've never done this before. 🙂 so any tips are appreciated.  now that you say it, maybe I should attach the pipes higher up.  the thing is that our rack is in a living room so it has to look good and preferably not make too much noise 🙂 but it is under construction.  will move up the entire loop.

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I don't know that the pipes need to be higher up out of necessity, but mine are up out of the way.  It works.  Yours could be lower.  Mine is not a "loop".  It's just a long stretch that I've bent into a U.  Maybe I'm getting away with it because my pump is oversized for what I need.  I will say that the end of the line does seem to have a bit less pressure.  But it's not horrible.  I could pretty easily cut into it and complete the "loop".  I have no plans on expanding anything, so I should be good like this.  I would guess you could get by with the same setup.  

 

Here's a way simplified version that's in my fishroom's... side room.  😄  Separate pump, it just a couple tanks, couple aging barrels, and a couple brine shrimp hatchers.  This type of setup would be plenty for your setup, I would think.  Just make it the width of your tank and pre-assemble two drops per tank on average.  There's different colored PVC or paint that sticks to PVC that you could use if you want it to blend in a little better.  I didn't glue or seal any of my joints.  I don't hear any leaks, but I'm sure there's some loss.  If needed I want to be able to disassemble and reconfigure.

Both of the airpumps that I'm using are fairly quiet, but I'm not sure they're "living room" quiet.  It might make sense to run something through a wall and put your pump in a different room or a closet.  Not sure about your house layout, but that's something to consider.

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Edit to add: one of the benefits of having it all up above water level is there's no chance of a siphon starting if your pump fails.

Edited by jwcarlson
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@jwcarlson 🙂 🙂yeah , I don't want to risk water going back to the pump, but if I decide to install it as I originally thought and install non-return valves. can water then get back to the pump? I have several check valves lying around.

 

 

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@jwcarlson 🙂 🙂yeah , I don't want to risk water going back to the pump, but if I decide to install it as I originally thought and install non-return valves. can water then get back to the pump? I have several check valves lying around.

 

 

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On 4/19/2024 at 3:33 PM, FB2024 said:

@jwcarlson 🙂 🙂yeah , I don't want to risk water going back to the pump, but if I decide to install it as I originally thought and install non-return valves. can water then get back to the pump? I have several check valves lying around.

 

 

I'd be more concerned with it draining out onto the floor than into the pump.  

The problem with check valves is they cause a drop in pressure, which basically "consumes" air.

Anything below the water level could get water in it.  But if your pump is lower and the PVC header farther up, then you will be fine.  The worry would be if it's lower and it could fill up your header and there's inevitably a small leak somewhere.  Granted, this is pretty low risk, but you might even decide to shut off the air for maintenance or something.

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@jwcarlsonthe air pump will be above the water surface in a tall cabinet next to the rack. it's the pipes that I'm now thinking a bit about how high I should place them. tomorrow we will remove the rack from the wall a few centimeters to place the pvc pipes

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I have a small (4 foot) piece of 3/4 inch pvc that I made into a manifold for my air system. It looks a lot like @jwcarlson setup in his side room. 
 

At first my pump was way oversized so I installed an extra valve and added a short piece of tubing (the vented air is quieter with tubing added then without tubing added) that I could open to vent off extra pressure. I have since added more tanks (and more air drops) so there isn’t any extra pressure!

My advice is to research, plan and build… then don’t be afraid to tear it apart and build it better. 

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Posted (edited)

My original plan was to put something like this in the lower right end of the loop and a pressure gauge. To let the excessive air out 

Is that any good idea ?

 

Ps. 

That vent on the picture is not the one I got .. but a similar for "gas"

 

And that one made of brass is a "air muffler" to keep the noise down when letting air out 

 

@JMCyeah thats why I joined this forum 🙂

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Edited by FB2024
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  • 2 weeks later...

Air loop is up and running 🙂 some small adjustments and more Air flow valves are needed. I bought some steel valves but I think I like those in plastic more. 

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Looks good! 🙂  I find the metal valves difficult to turn and (at least the ones I have) extremely sensitive to adjustment.  I can find the sweet spot, but feels like I can breathe on it and send it out of whack.  I'm not sure I've seen many plastic ones in the US that look robust.  The yellow ones you have look pretty solid though.  

Happy with it so far?  Looks like you just went one long header up top?  Or is there another run of pipe down above the bottom row of tanks?

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🙂@jwcarlson thanks 🙂 yeah at first the metal valves looked more "exklusive" but Nope as you say, you cant fine tune them and with the plastic ones you just plug them in the pipe .. easy peasy.. both the yellow and the white ones were good ... Cheap stuff from china.  Seems to do the job. Will probably remake the first pipe. Now when im thinking.. Hmm .. I want all the valves symetrical .. hehe maybe it is just over doing it 😁

Yeah I did as recommendations and did just one pipe wille probably just make an another pipe and take half the air from the air pump ? 

Should be fine right ? 

 

 

 

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