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hareysfish

Air line ring main

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Scott, a ring line is definitely better. It ensures even pressure to all 4mm airline which reduces fiddling and constantly adjusting air valves. The even pressure is also easier on air pump if you have a diaphragm pump. If you use a wide diameter rigid line (50mm PVC pipe) his acts like a pressure tank which can be good for larger setups although I personally use 19mm or 25mm polypipe if less than 150 tanks but wirh polypipe, I don't use a main ring, rather  multiple joined ring lines above each tank tier. This lets me use the same length 4mm airline tube everywhere so much easier to set up / hot swap or skip using air valves altogether  (if all tanks have same water depth ).

I also use 2 air pumps on the same ring for redundancy. If one air pump fails, air is still provided to all tanks but with noticibly less volume. I try to keep all air pumps the same make & model to reduce spare parts and easier to swap out. The air pumps are on a dedicated electrical circuit which is backed up.  I stick all my pumps high up out of the way to avoid any back flow as even a little water in the line changes air distribution dramatically. 

Also with air pump, don't have any constriction or elbow in the hose to air ring. Increasing diameter or if a corner is needed then use a Tee piece (increase diameter). Use a flexible air hose if possible to reduce vibration and noise. Diaphragm air pumps are high volume - low pressure which is good for less noise and electrical consumption.

If you have a blower, the ring main is still better for ease of use but if you have good air valves, the ring main isn't as necessary. Blowers are high volume - high pressure pumps. Noisy, hot and expensive to run but great if you have 1.5 - 2m deep tanks or 500 - 1000 tanks. I'd still have a spare (second one) available though. 

 

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Thanks mate for the replies,  when I was in town I used 2 x LP100's on a free flowing ring for about 80 tanks , with not much of a  problem ,  but now,   I'm using bore and rain water mixed, on about 40 tanks , I'm finding the airstones are blocking up more frequently, naturally with the extra minerals in the bore water, so I was thinking about blocking of one end to keep the pressure up , or keep it free flowing and just keep cleaning the airstones. 

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What minerals? I'm instantly thinking of Iron Hydroxide Fe(OH)3 as it is dissolved underground due to aerobic & acidic conditions but precipitates above ground as the oxygen redox potential increases with natural aeration. I worked on a Murray cod and goldfish farm in Kilcoy which had a huge problem. It would settle out a centimeter thick within a day. 

If you slow aerate a water settling tank, you can let the minerals naturally settle out and just use the cleaned water (top of water column) for fish. You may need to settle it for a week depending on your mineral content. Or vigorously aerate and then let it totally settle for a day. Again depending on your water chemistry. 

Another option is to remove the airstones completely. You don't need many bubbles or small sized bubbles to move water or oxygenate. It just depends on what you are comfortable with. I'd use 2 x LP40's for 80 tanks (40cm high) without any airstones for example. 

If you block one end of airline, the air stones closest to pump will get higher air pressure assuming they will clog evenly (they wont). But it doesn't really matter if some filters get more air than others if you have plentry of air. 

Another possibility is to remove minerals with a solar evaporator which is much easier than it sounds. Essentially a water holding tank with clear plastic top cover in the sun with a stone to create a dip in plastic which collects the condensed (evaporated) water into abother container. No moving parts or running costs. This let's you use your bore water no matter how bad the water quality. It's essentially distilled water. You can re-use your old aquarium water this way which will have less minerals than the bore water. 

If you really want to keep the airstones, an overnight soak in light acidic bath should remove the precipitated minerals. Higher maintenance but relatively easy. 

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Thanks mate for the helpful tips,  I never really thought about using no airstones, as airstones are a basic requirement to everyday fishkeeping,  we are tought from the first tank we ever owned.

I'll also take into consideration the no / bigger cornering with the main I have already.

Once again , thank you. 

Cheers Scott 

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No problem. Very welcome.  

The less gear you use, the less things can go wrong. I prefer not to use air valves too but I'm picky about quality airline. I don't think fish care what equipment we use. I'm sure you will work something out. 

If you do want to use airstones, you can try the plastic circle segmented ones that form a multi coloured cylinder. They have very coarse bubbles and come apart if you need to clean them. 

Or perhaps a screw (not galvanized ) into the end of airline. Again coarse bubbles. Easy to clean. 

Try no stones and see how you like it. Much less back pressure on your air pump and can probably reduce the pump size/electricity by half. 

 

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Cheers mate,  I'm  already using the coloured pull apart ones(both floating & sinking ) atm ,  so , I'll try the light acid bath you suggested and give them a good cleaning. And I'll try the no airstone approach, but don't know how it will go with the corner filters, but , thank you for the advice that I never really thought off..

Cheers Scott 

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Light acid bath and can try for a longer time if not successful. You want to dissolve the mineral build up without destroying the stone. if using a plastic airstone, the acid can be more aggressive.

Corner filters (gravel filled, etc) work fine without airstones. You can also use plastic flowerpots and a short length of polypipe as uplift as a corner filter. I cut a small hole at top of polypipe to thread the airline though to stop it coming out. Or if you have unwanted 15mm PVC pipe, even better. The best part is the flower pots stack for compact storage when not in use.

 

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