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Cheap Refugium

kpage

Wonderpus
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Jun 24, 2009
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214
#1
So I'm trying to set up a cheap refugium. I am planning on having 2 syphons so that I don't have to buy a pump. So from tank to refugium and then refugium to wet/dry filter. The only think is that the 10gal tank has one of those reptile thermometer stickers, which is on the inside of the tank (I originally thought it was on the outside). The corner of one end is beginning to peel. I filled the tank with water and waited a couple of days to see if there was any copper, which there wasn't. So do you guys think it will be ok to hook it up to my octo tank?
 

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Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#2
First: if your "tank" has a reptile thermometer sticker on the inside, then it is probably a glass reptile cage, which is NOT an aquarium. Glass The glass used on glass reptile cages is thin and can't handle the weight and pressure that water puts on it. Check to see if the glass in your "tank" is as thick as a real aquarium of the same dimensions, and if it's thinner DON'T use it.

In theory the design you propose will work fine, as long as each siphon can keep up with the flow provided by your return pump. You are letting gravity get your water to its lowest point, and using a single return pump to get it back to the top - so no problem.

That being said, I don't trust siphon type overflows. If bubbles gather in your siphon tube, or your siphon stops working for any other reason, then you will have an overflow, and your pump will run dry. With two siphons you are doubling the chances of having this kind of problem. I would play it safe by drilling each tank, and using overflows that don't depend on a siphon. If you have downstairs neighbors, a flood of only a few gallons could cause $2000 or more in damage to their ceiling. If a small flood is no big deal for you, then go for it. Otherwise, I don't recommend that you take the chance with siphons, but that's me.
 

kpage

Wonderpus
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#3
No it is a fish tank, but was used to house a reptile. Hmmmm this is a good point. Well I think I'll give it a go and look for pumps a bit later. My only other worry is that the adhesive would get into the water and hurt the octopus. Is this possible?
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#6
I hate to do this to you but I vote with Joe-Ceph on not using a siphon system. We worked and worked and worked to get something reliable (and I saved or final master piece as a reminder in case I EVER consider it again). Siphons fail ... often. The only one that didn't was the reverse siphon we created putting the tube tank together because we failed to put a siphon breaker high enough in the return pipe :heee:. Fortunately that was only a couple of gallons while we were standing there talking and noticed what was happening. So even using a pump, you need to be concerned with siphons during a power outage (fortunately, power outage and tank fill is what we were testing) and be sure there is a hole somewhere in the line that will break a siphon. Additonally, if you have not done this before, be aware that you need to allow enough room above the water line for water to back flow. If you choose to look at a different tank, look for a deal on a 20 (same foot print but taller) for some wiggle room.
 

rryyddeerr

Vampyroteuthis
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263
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Northern NJ
#7
A siphon feeding a container being drained by ANOTHER siphon IS going to fail and flood. There is no way to keep them both siphoning at the exact same rate. You can get a completely functional diamond-crusted hole saw bit on eBay. They work great and there are several threads and YouTube vids dedicated to their successful employment. Drill it, get some bulkheads and you'll be in business with no worries.
 

SabrinaR

Larger Pacific Striped Octopus
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#8
How does one know if the glass is tempered or not?
 

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#9
I've never heard of the glass on the sides of a tank being tempered, but the bottom is sometimes. At least for windows, tempered glass is marked with a "T" or the word "Tempered" in the corner, which may or may not be true for aquarium bottoms, so if it is marked you know it is tempered. If not, you don't know, so either call the manufacturer and ask, or take a chance. For what you are doing, you'll be grinding holes in the side, so don't worry about it.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#10
Since I have never attempted this with glass, the only reference is the antecdotal comments from my not so local LSF. They drill tanks often and successfully drilled Puddles 10 year old framed 65 tank for us (that I was almost sure was not going to withstand the drilling since the manufacturer did some odd things to create two other holes). The only tank his dad (the one that does the drilling) won't touch is a standard 55. Their antecdotal experience with this size has led them to believe that this partiular mass manufactured tank uses tempered all around and is likely manufactured in primarily one facitilty.
 

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#11
I found this list of common fish tanks and their attributes, including an indication of whether the bottom is tempered or not. Here's the link

It shows that a standard 55 gallon tank does (probably) have a tempered bottom, but again, probably not tempered sides.
 

CaptFish

Colossal Squid
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#14
So I can drill tempered glass?
NO.

Tempered glass is regular glass that has been heat treated to increase strength and thermal shock resistance to prevent injury by changing the break pattern.

All fabrication (cutting, drilling, edging) is done prior to tempering.

The manufacturing process of making tempered glass results in the glass having a large amount of stress between various portions of the glass. Highly tempered glass will often crack at the stress points near the hole. Since the amount of hidden stress increases with the degree of temper, the success rate of drilling tempered glass reduces with the increase in glass temper.

There is no way to know the amount of temper in a piece of tempered glass, so there is no way to evaluate the amount of risk involved in trying to drill it.

Therefore, experts DO NOT RECOMMEND attempting to drill tempered glass.
 

Joe-Ceph

Haliphron Atlanticus
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#16
kpage;157476 said:
oh, lol ok. Thanks for telling me that! Maybe I'll make one out of plexi then..
You can drill grind or cut regular glass, but not tempered glass, so find out which you are dealing with by doing the test with an LCD screen and a polarizing filter. It's highly unlikely that the sides of any aquarium are made of tempered glass, so I recommend that you do the test before you abandon the idea of drilling.

In general, when you put a piece of tempered glass between two polarizing filters (like polarized sunglasses), you can see how the tempering changes the way light travels through the glass (you'll see colors and patterns that are invisible when there is nothing, or non-tempered glass, between the two polarizing filters.) The glass on most (all?) LCD screens is polarized, which is why the test above works, but you can also to it with two pairs of polarized sunglasses (or one pair if you can separate the lenses). The glass used for refrigerator shelves is always tempered, so you can use that as a baseline to get an idea of what tempered glass should look like between your polarized filters.

For the science nerds:
Tempering shrinks the inside of the glass relative to the outside. The outside surface is compressed, causing micro cracks and imperfections in the surface to be closed, making it harder for a crack to start. This also means that the density of the outside of the glass is a little different (less) from the density of the inside. Light travels through the denser parts a little faster than the softer parts, they also have a different index of refraction (this is called birefringence). This difference manifests as different colors, when polarizing filters are used to filter out the noise. Heat tempering is done on metal rollers, and the parts of the glass touching the rollers heats and cools at a different rate than the other parts of the glass, resulting in the checker-board pattern you sometimes see when looking at car windows through polarized sunglasses.
 

DWhatley

Cthulhu
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#17
I just had a tempered glass door fall from its support hinges in the middle of the night. Talk about a mess! There were thousands of small pieces.

I think Joe-Ceph's point is though that you are very likely to be able to drill the sides of any of today's tanks but if you want a bottom drill, the chances of it being tempered increase greatly. Certainly the test (and baseline experiment) are well worth the time.

I did some forum surfing on the topic of tempered sides and found both a reference to Joe-Ceph's polarizing test and to an individual that drilled one that had tempered sides (start at post 6).
Mine was. It fit into a small trash bag when I was done sweeping it up
The topic brings up an interesting thought. With the octos ability to see polarized light, I wonder if tempered sides would effect them.
 

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