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The Crucial Cut ........

Category: Aquaponics | Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:17 pm

I did a leak test on the 200litres drum and found one of the access hole is leaking.

( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
There was a crak at the joint of the moulding of the drum due to excessive forced used to shut the stopper. I repaired it from the outside with silicone rubber and kept my fingers crossed that the job is done.

I did another leak test this morning and ...... arrghh!!!! water is still trickling out. On closer examination I concluded that the sealing must be done both on the inside and outside.

In order to reach the area that is having the leak from inside I'll first have to make an opening large enough for my hand to get in. Since I have to make an opening for the fish to go into, I guess I might decide where the opening should be to convert this drum to a fish tank.

On the Floor Position ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
The drum will be placed on the floor in this position(it is now against the wall) with the two opening parallel to the floor. I feel that this is the best arrangement because should any one of the screw on caps (the white things) decide to leak while in operation, at least half of the water would be retained. I do not need any drain hole so I see no reason to have one right at the bottom. What do you think?

Minimised Cutting ( photo / image / picture from KK Ng's Garden )
This is how I am going to make the opening at the side of the drum and when it is lying down on the floor it would be facing up. I am thinking of 15cm wide and if it is not wide enough, the maximun I would go is 30cm. I want a small opening enough for me to put my hand in to do work like sealing the leaks for starters, pump placement and off course catching the fish for the dinner table when it's time ... hehe!!! A small opening would also mean less water loss due to evaporation and more difficult for the fish to jump out to go for a walk!!!

I hope I had covered all different aspect for the conversion from drum to fish tank before I make the crucial cut.

OK the expected cost so far:
1 pc 200 litres Drum = $45.00
5 pcs 25 litres cans = $20.00
1 pc Funny Hand saw = $3.90
1 tube 300gm silicone sealant = $6.00
1 pc 600litres/hr submersible pump = ?
PVC pipes and fittings = ?

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Jerry Sullivan wrote on Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:40 pm:

Hi KK,
About the leak: What is the total cure time for the silicone rubber? Sometimes it is as long as a week. The position of the tank caps indicates that with a full tank of water you will have about 220 lb/99.97kg pressure on the leak. You may want to think about making the water pressure in the tank work for you by gluing a gasket on the inside with the silicone rubber. The water pressure would push the gasket against the leak. Cover the whole cap since you do not need it. Again, please be aware of the total cure time for the silicone rubber.



Jerry Sullivan wrote on Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:02 pm:

Hi KK,
About the cut: The weight of a full tank will be about 440 lbs/200kg. This may create stress on 90 degree angles at the corners of the opening. Rounded corners would reduce the possibility of a tear as the weight of the water strains the edges. Have you thought of a strap around the tank to keep the tank round if the pressure expands the cut opening? As the tank is filled you could measure the opening to monitor stress. At least until you are sure that everything is O.K. The integrity of the tank may be such that all this is over-thinking the setup.....but then, you do have a tear at the cap opening. 200kg is a lot of weight. Caution and lots of thought is always good.



Jerry Sullivan wrote on Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:53 am:

Hi KK,

Me again:-) About the fish: Will you need to oxygenate the water? You may need to provide a small air pump with an air stone to supply additional oxygen to the water to keep the fish alive. I do not believe the existing setup provides enough aeration for the fish. Is there additional equipment not documented in the setup diagram?
The walls of the tank will make it dark in the tank. Do you intend to have a light to illuminate the tank with a timer to turn it off at night? Happy fish are tasty fish:-)



KK Ng wrote on Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:15 pm:

Thanks Jerry for the very useful comments. For the gasket I'll have to see how it is like from the inside.

Whew!!! Luckily I haven't made any cut yet, you are really a life saver because I totally forgot about the pressure. I'll have to redesign the opening to cater for the pressure. As for the tear opening at the cap I think I'll have to drill a hole at the end of it to prevent it from migrating further. Thanks again Jerry.

There will be some sinlight in the morning and it is very bright where I am going to place the tank so lighting is no problem. For the aeration matter it is still underconsideration because I was thinking of using a shower head for the returning water to assist in the aeration. Yes I want ot have happy fish!!


Jerry Sullivan wrote on Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:31 pm:

Hi KK,
About the inside setup: If you raise Tilapia it is my understanding that the males like 'separate caves" or secluded areas of their own, with a sandy bottom. The females lay their eggs in these caves and the male fertilizes them. She then removes them, taking the eggs away in her mouth. Quite often in an environment as a aqua-ponics tank, the female has to be removed for the safety of the unhatched eggs. Have you designed in a separate tank for females with eggs?



KK Ng wrote on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:23 pm:

Hi Jerry, I have not considered breeding fish yet and have not totally decided what kind of fish to use. Will consider your suggestions should I decide to breed the fishies too!! Thanks.

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