Help Us Design a Fish Room!

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ariellemermaid

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So we’re installing a new 200g system in a finished basement. It just recently occurred to me that because there’s an unfinished room off the basement, we have open trusses, and we’re going to have a hole in the ceiling anyway from installing new electrical circuits, that we can have a fish room!!

The room houses the hot water heater and furnace with a concrete floor and drain (not sure if it drains to the septic tank or just a pipe outside as an emergency). The room is adjacent to a bathroom so it would be easy to punch through the wall for both water and septic drain access.

So, let go! My idea would be to fish water tubing above the ceiling, down the wall, and out through a new hole in the wall behind the tank. I’d like to accomplish a mixing station with auto water change and ATO. I could either put the RODI under the sink and pipe it through or, better, just bring the fresh water RO line through the wall and mount the RODI in the unfinished room.

Auto water change. I would do this with an Apex DOS pump so I’d need two lines for that. What kind and size of tubing should I run that’s compatible with this pump and “safe” above the ceiling and behind walls? I could run the waste line directly to a pipe under the sink in the adjacent room and avoid a waste container. Concerns with that?

ATO. This is where I need the most help. I know what not to do; run the DI line directly to the tank on a float valve both for safety and TDS creep. A friend lost $20K plus of tank to that and got out of the hobby. So, using a solenoid valve is an option but 1) all solenoids fail eventually and 2) what if a power outage coincided with it being in the on position? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that risk. I’m fine to have a DI reservoir that I manually refill but then how do I pump the water from there to the tank and through what kind of line? I doubt if my Tunze ATO pump would be very effective with the 8’ head height plus maybe 20’ ceiling run and 8’ down run. Plus is running soft tubing in the ceiling and wall a good idea? If I do use a solenoid to fill a reservoir I’d be more comfortable with that because the floor in that room does have an emergency drain, but I’d have to figure out a system other than the Apex to control it. So what does an ATO look like with a reservoir in one room and the tank in the other?

Thoughts, feelings, concerns? I’m looking for really specific advice here on what to buy and what to do; the tank has been in the garage for like 8 months while we got a new floor installed and whatnot so we are beyond ready to get going on this! Tank and house safety are huge concerns for me, and I love redundancy. We have 3 quarantine tanks if that tells you anything.
 
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I have an ATO system set up similar to what your after I think. It’s fully automated for automated RODI refilling if needed, but I always do it manually and also check the RODI output etc

As far as the Tunze Osmolator is concerned you can.buy an outlet socket that means you can use a more powerful pump. You need to turn up the regulator dial inside the Tunze unit as well.


I have mine connected to a eheim compactOn 2000 to pump the water from a 425 litre RODI container into the tank basically controlled by the Tunze.

You need to be very aware of the potential for siphon effect and ensure it’s dealt wit just in case, I’ve drilled downward pointing holes in the outlet tubs pointing into the ROD container on some systems, but on the ATO for my main tank I’ve created a T piece to join the ATO output tube and a hose pointing up from it. This breaks the siphon

For the DOS just use Apex DOS tubing

If you plan and get this all correct it will make running the tank so much easier. I have 2 large systems and other than monitoring I have very little to do

Hopefully that makes sense
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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I have an ATO system set up similar to what your after I think. It’s fully automated for automated RODI refilling if needed, but I always do it manually and also check the RODI output etc

As far as the Tunze Osmolator is concerned you can.buy an outlet socket that means you can use a more powerful pump. You need to turn up the regulator dial inside the Tunze unit as well.


I have mine connected to a eheim compactOn 2000 to pump the water from a 425 litre RODI container into the tank basically controlled by the Tunze.

You need to be very aware of the potential for siphon effect and ensure it’s dealt wit just in case, I’ve drilled downward pointing holes in the outlet tubs pointing into the ROD container on some systems, but on the ATO for my main tank I’ve created a T piece to join the ATO output tube and a hose pointing up from it. This breaks the siphon

For the DOS just use Apex DOS tubing

If you plan and get this all correct it will make running the tank so much easier. I have 2 large systems and other than monitoring I have very little to do

Hopefully that makes sense
Alright so it sounds like we’re talking about all soft tubing then. I’ve never had a rat problem but I worry slightly about an animal being able to bite into the tubing in the ceiling space. I did think about the siphon possibility; it sounds like you’ve made siphon breaks on both sides just in case. And found a T piece that fits the output tubing diameter. I like the idea of using the Tunze with a more powerful pump since it already has failsafes built in; thanks for pointing out this adapter exists! Was the power cord on the adapter long enough for you? I think I’d have to find an extension; I’m just guessing at the length but I’d need up to 40-50 feet to get it from the fish room all the way to the Tunze controller on the tank.

Also do you use a waste container or put it down the drain? I’d have to figure out a way to connect DOS tubing to a drain although do you have concerns about a possible siphon on this line as well? If a siphon happened on the waste drain line it would drain the entire tank, or at least sump anyway! Then when the ATO turns back on the sump would be replaced with freshwater.

In terms of automated RODI container refilling are you just using a float valve or a solenoid connected to like a Raspberry Pi or something?I know you mostly do it manually and I probably will too. It’s probably safest to just use a container large enough to get through any vacation than worry too much about automated refilling.
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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I’m just shopping for some tubing. It looks like the minimum I need is 42’ but I’d be more comfortable with 50’. Or in other words 100’ since I need 2 lines. It looks like the stock DOS tubing is 4mm ID 6mm OD. Interestingly RODI tubing appears to be about 4mm ID as well. So I wonder if there’s a way to run RODI tubing through the ceiling and walls and then connect it to DOS tubing on the tank side. The idea being the ID is identical and therefore there’s no bottleneck however RODI tubing is thick and therefore more difficult for any animal to bite into (or accidentally tear into). Plus, if the drain side was RODI that would be super easy to attach to a sink drain!

Edit: I just opened my DOS pump and the tubing appears to be almost identical to RODI. In fact the DOS tubing fits into my RODI fittings just fine! So the idea would be RODI tubing in the ceiling and wall, then a quick connect RODI fitting on the tank side with the DOS tubing on the other side of the quick connect.
 
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I have an ATO system set up similar to what your after I think. It’s fully automated for automated RODI refilling if needed, but I always do it manually and also check the RODI output etc

As far as the Tunze Osmolator is concerned you can.buy an outlet socket that means you can use a more powerful pump. You need to turn up the regulator dial inside the Tunze unit as well.


I have mine connected to a eheim compactOn 2000 to pump the water from a 425 litre RODI container into the tank basically controlled by the Tunze.

You need to be very aware of the potential for siphon effect and ensure it’s dealt wit just in case, I’ve drilled downward pointing holes in the outlet tubs pointing into the ROD container on some systems, but on the ATO for my main tank I’ve created a T piece to join the ATO output tube and a hose pointing up from it. This breaks the siphon

For the DOS just use Apex DOS tubing

If you plan and get this all correct it will make running the tank so much easier. I have 2 large systems and other than monitoring I have very little to do

Hopefully that makes sense
Cool!
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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From what I can tell, the Tunze (European) adapter attaches to the controller using 2 bare wires. Any idea what gauge wire this is- that’s what I would have to run/extend? Then in terms of what water hose to run would depend 100% on what size hose whatever pump you use accepts.
 

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Alright so it sounds like we’re talking about all soft tubing then. I’ve never had a rat problem but I worry slightly about an animal being able to bite into the tubing in the ceiling space. I did think about the siphon possibility; it sounds like you’ve made siphon breaks on both sides just in case. And found a T piece that fits the output tubing diameter. I like the idea of using the Tunze with a more powerful pump since it already has failsafes built in; thanks for pointing out this adapter exists! Was the power cord on the adapter long enough for you? I think I’d have to find an extension; I’m just guessing at the length but I’d need up to 40-50 feet to get it from the fish room all the way to the Tunze controller on the tank.

Also do you use a waste container or put it down the drain? I’d have to figure out a way to connect DOS tubing to a drain although do you have concerns about a possible siphon on this line as well? If a siphon happened on the waste drain line it would drain the entire tank, or at least sump anyway! Then when the ATO turns back on the sump would be replaced with freshwater.

In terms of automated RODI container refilling are you just using a float valve or a solenoid connected to like a Raspberry Pi or something?I know you mostly do it manually and I probably will too. It’s probably safest to just use a container large enough to get through any vacation than worry too much about automated refilling.
Ok the Tunze adapter. You can keep the ATO sensor, control unit and adapter near to the tank.

You would need a long extension cable to go from the ATO pump to were the adapter socket is maybe near the tank. You then just plug the extension into that socket and then when the Tunze commands water it turns the power on

I think the adapter socket comes with 2 wires which just plug into the receivers on the Tunze control wire from memory

As far as the DOS units are concerned mine just drain outside for the waste. They shouldn’t siphon BUT just to make sure mine are raised high enough above both systems that it cant happen. I have a fish shed rather than room and the DOS units are just under the roof but within easy reach

On the RODI refilling yes I just use basic physical float valves for both the RODI ATO and RODI new saltwater containers. Both 425 litres.

I have a booster pump with pressure switch and generally i do a refill overnight and when the tanks are full the float valves seal and turn off the booster pump. I then turn the water off in the morning manually.

I also have a basic backup float valve ATO on my large system just in case the Tunze failed whilst I away. It would provide 4-5 days emergency water.

Ive detailed everything built into my system from around page 70 of my build thread in link below in case it might help everyone
 
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ariellemermaid

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Ok the Tunze adapter. You can keep the ATO sensor, control unit and adapter near to the tank.

You would need a long extension cable to go from the ATO pump to were the adapter socket is maybe near the tank. You then just plug the extension into that socket and then when the Tunze commands water it turns the power on

I think the adapter socket comes with 2 wires which just plug into the receivers on the Tunze control wire from memory

As far as the DOS units are concerned mine just drain outside for the waste. They shouldn’t siphon BUT just to make sure mine are raised high enough above both systems that it cant happen. I have a fish shed rather than room and the DOS units are just under the roof but within easy reach

On the RODI refilling yes I just use basic physical float valves for both the RODI ATO and RODI new saltwater containers. Both 425 litres.

I have a booster pump with pressure switch and generally i do a refill overnight and when the tanks are full the float valves seal and turn off the booster pump. I then turn the water off in the morning manually.

I also have a basic backup float valve ATO on my large system just in case the Tunze failed whilst I away. It would provide 4-5 days emergency water.

Ive detailed everything built into my system from around page 70 of my build thread in link below in case it might help everyone
Thanks, and nice tank! Since it’s technically not up to code to run an extension cord above the ceiling or behind walls, I think my plan would be to keep the socket close to the ATO reservoir. Then maybe just run speaker wire to connect the socket to the Osmolator. Good point about the waste line; keeping it a few inches below the water line instead of at the bottom should protect against a siphon disaster.

I guess I just need to figure out what pump I’m going to use, then I can figure out what tubing I need.

Also good point about the backup ATO; my tank (Red Sea XXL 750) comes with a small container with a float valve and so I’ve been trying to think about how to use it, if at all, with a fish room ATO. How do you prevent it from activating during auto water changes though? Maybe just changing out the extra volume the sump collects when the return pumps turn off? Or taking the water from the tank? This will be my first tank with a sump, so still thinking through how all of this works.
 

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Thanks, and nice tank! Since it’s technically not up to code to run an extension cord above the ceiling or behind walls, I think my plan would be to keep the socket close to the ATO reservoir. Then maybe just run speaker wire to connect the socket to the Osmolator. Good point about the waste line; keeping it a few inches below the water line instead of at the bottom should protect against a siphon disaster.

I guess I just need to figure out what pump I’m going to use, then I can figure out what tubing I need.

Also good point about the backup ATO; my tank (Red Sea XXL 750) comes with a small container with a float valve and so I’ve been trying to think about how to use it, if at all, with a fish room ATO. How do you prevent it from activating during auto water changes though? Maybe just changing out the extra volume the sump collects when the return pumps turn off? Or taking the water from the tank? This will be my first tank with a sump, so still thinking through how all of this works.
If your using DOS the water level in the sump won’t change because you set it to take out water up stream and add clean water down stream so the level is constant and your usually only changing small amounts. I change around 15-20 litres per day in the large tank.
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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If your using DOS the water level in the sump won’t change because you set it to take out water up stream and add clean water down stream so the level is constant and your usually only changing small amounts. I change around 15-20 litres per day in the large tank.
I see; so you’re simultaneously pumping water out and in at the same time, just in different parts of the tank so ideally you’re not pumping out much new saltwater and the level never drops (also all pumps remain on). It looks like the DOS pump is pretty slow, so I guess that makes the most sense. So 15L would take at least 4 hours by the pump specs but I’m guessing in practice it takes longer than that.
 
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SPR1968

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I see; so you’re simultaneously pumping water out and in at the same time, just in different parts of the tank so ideally you’re not pumping out much new saltwater and the level never drops (also all pumps remain on). It looks like the DOS pump is pretty slow, so I guess that makes the most sense. So 15L would take at least 4 hours by the pump specs but I’m guessing in practice it takes longer than that.
DOS is very noisy and annoying when pumping so I have it running between 1-6am when it doesn’t bother anyone.

Its very simple to use and program you just tell it how much and the period and it calculates how much per dose.

And yes the level doesn’t change as the same amount comes out as goes in.
 
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Ok, electrical is in and the fishing route looks easily repeatable. I hope to get started on that this weekend when my 3/4” tubing arrives. I’m undecided at what level I should bring it out of the wall, but that’s mostly an aesthetic decision.

Next problem is that the sink to house the RODI drains has a very short section of straight pipe. One saddle fitting for an RODI line will fit no problem, but 2 is out of the question without doing some crazy weird plumbing (like putting a sideways U in or something). I need 2 for the RODI and AWC waste lines, and the P trap doesn’t seem like a good idea. So my breakthrough idea would be to buy a second saddle, but only use half from each set with the 1/4” line connector on each side. Any concerns on why this wouldn’t work?

Other option would be staying on the other side of the unfinished wall and going in through a 1 1/2 pipe but that would be a challenge to repair if we ever move.

03DD22D4-E07B-4A9A-A8A6-A3EAACA176FD.jpeg
 
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ariellemermaid

ariellemermaid

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Another option I thought of this morning; use a Y connector with a single saddle drain. I’d be a little worried about back pressure through the Y but could also put 1-way couplers on each drain line. The max flow from the DOS appears to be 1.4gph, so basically a trickle. And the RO drain line seems to be fairly low flow as well. Doing it this way I’d be able to make a slightly smaller hole in the wall and cleaner plumbing under the sink. Thoughts?
 

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Suggest you plan to fish more things between those locations and make it easy to send other lines. For instance might you want a larger volume water change - pvc pipes. Apex cables. Your two dos lines, your ato line, etc.
also, consider if you could just put all equip in that room and send water to from the tank. Easier to work in a room than under a tank.
 
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ariellemermaid

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Suggest you plan to fish more things between those locations and make it easy to send other lines. For instance might you want a larger volume water change - pvc pipes. Apex cables. Your two dos lines, your ato line, etc.
also, consider if you could just put all equip in that room and send water to from the tank. Easier to work in a room than under a tank.
Yeah having a detached sump room would be great, but I didn’t really entertain that until it was too late and I’m sure the plumbing and returns would be quite the challenge to figure out.

In the end I ran 5 RO lines (Alk, Ca, ATO, AWC x2), a 50’ aquabus cable, and a large 3/4” vinyl tube. I figure I can always use the latter for big water changes (connect it to a pump in the sump), otherwise I don’t really have a plan for it at the moment. But that seems like a good start. I’m planning to buy the ATK v2; according to the specs that pump should have enough head height. If not I can always pivot to a DOS.

What I didn’t realize until recently is the meaning of “aquabus” I.e. invoking “serial bus” where you can daisy chain devices together. And each Apex pump and device comes with 2 aquabus ports. So unless I’m mistaken I should just need 1 aquabus cable, and from there I should be able to connect them to each other! So I’ll have all my dosing, AWC, and ATO devices in the fish room. What I don’t know yet is whether I can plug the PMUP ATK pump into the 1-link on one of the dosing pumps, or whether I’ll also need to buy the 1-link extension box thing.
 
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ariellemermaid

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Ugh. Looks like I will need the 1link module to power the ATK/PMUP (ports on the DOS are input only). So a $335 ATO in total. Definitely more than I wanted to spend but on the flip side I get an ATO and a huge reservoir in a different room, so that’s still a win I guess.
 
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