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Dandy Pearl

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After having read this post:

I got some inspiration to build my version. Thanks Bill! Without you this wouldn't have happened. Please check out his post.

Functional requirements:

  • Compatible with Aquarium Co-Op root Tabs
  • Spring-loaded for easy reloading.
  • Long enough to reach down into deep tanks
  • Angled tip to reach deeper corner areas of the tank
  • Angled tip to insert tabs into shallow substrate (flat insertion)
  • Stiff enough to place root tabs in tough/dense substrate
  • Made from aquarium safe materials

Non-functional requirements

  • Look Cool
  • Made from as many on hand materials as possible
  • Can be made with only the tools on hand
  • Minimize the number of purchased parts
  • Can be dis-assembled for cleaning, modification and repair


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Here are some of the source materials I scrounged from around the house.

  • 3/8 copper tubing
  • NM residential 14AWG wiring
  • Heavy gage stranded wiring
  • Pipe hangers

I cut the tubing at 20 inches because one of my tanks is 21 inches tall. The overall length ended up being something like 24 inches long.

I ended up using the ground wire from the the NM cable. I thought the stranded wire would be stiff enough for the push-pull motion and flexible enough for the bend in the tube. When test fitting it, the strands kept getting hung up inside, and I couldn't "tin" them with the propane torch I was using. A heavier 12 gage conductor would have been better had I had a scrap piece on hand. 




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Measuring the Root Tab.




This pic shows the process of straightening the tubing. Keep the tube at the same angle as you work it in the vise starting at one end down to the other. Rotate the tube 90 degrees and go end to end in sections again. Repeat as needed.



I drilled out the end before making the bend to hold it in the vice easier. 21/64ths. The fit is a shade loose. If I need to tighten it up, all I need to do is squeeze the end of the tube a tiny bit with a pare of pliers, or the vice . . .



I screwed some temporary blocks to the bench as the vice had a nice round surface to create the gradual bend. I ended up bending it slightly more than the picture.\



Epic failure for a finger hold made from one of the pipe hangers with a BIG hole drilled in it.


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Here is the finished product. I was too excited to take pics of the fab and assembly. Here is essentially what I did.

I used a 3/8 tubing compression Tee fitting to create the finger grip. I drilled a hole all the way through it so I could slide it down the tubing. ~$3.50

The end of the tubing is made from a 3/8 compression fitting to 1/8 NPT adapter (~$1.50) , 1/8 NPT cap (~$1.25) with a hole drilled in the end.

There are two compression springs (~$0.90 ea) which were doubled up to get the force I needed.

I used a section of 3/4 inch coupling (~$2.50) for the plunger at the end of the ring. I had quite a time trying to get the little wire attached to the ring. This was actually the hardest part of the build. I ended up drilling two small holes in the ring, I put the wire through one of the holes bent it over and passed it back through the second hole gave it a tight twist and soldered it together.

The business end actually has a spring that's 2 inches long to go around the bend. I attached the spring to the wire by flattening the end of the wire and shoving it into the spring. Once I like how things are working, I'll add a dab of super glue or epoxy to make sure it stays.

Here are the pics of my Steam Punk inspired Root Tab Insertion Tool.




I'll add another post to show the 'guts' and other details of the tool.

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Here are the details for the internals.

This pic shows how the wire is connected to the thumb ring. It also shows the two springs and the pass thru hole drilled in the end cap.928981614_RTTPusherDetail.jpg.36ec58f3c3b6c00fe6d7e1c0185abe0d.jpg


Another view lined up as it would be installed.517514278_RTTPusherDetail2.jpg.dc0521b6cbee56b70cade47ccc924243.jpg


This is the end with the spring used to go around the bend in the end of the tube. The wire wasn't flexible enough to pass nicely over the bend. That was what why I wanted to us the stranded wire, but I think this result will work out better.



I didn't intend this, but the only permanent fixment is the connection for the ring to the wire. The finger rest and end fitting are held only by friction of the compression fittings. I may add a dab of glue to the joint of the end spring and wire if it doesn't stay put. Hope fully I can break it free if the spring ever needs replacing.

Thanks for reading, and as always, Happy Fish Keeping!🐠

RTT Tube with Plunger.jpg

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