View Full Version : Mike Wells, Question on your rack setup

09-29-2002, 09:07 AM
Mike, This might be a stupid question, but can you explain the way you set up the pvc pipes, in some of the tanks you have the pipes midway with a strainer, I assume thats the water out pipe since the water will not drain beyond that point for safety sake..... on the other tanks you have a extension pointing down or up with no strainer, is this for water in?
if not, then I take it you fill the tanks manually by hose.
With this setup how does the bottom of the tanks get clean? and if you manually have to siphon off the bottom what are the benifits to this setup?
What I'm getting at is that Is it feesible to do this for say 10 tanks or it only saves time for a greater number of tanks ?

09-29-2002, 01:35 PM
Hi Chuck, All of the PVC pipes you see are drains. I drilled all of the tanks half way up to accommodate 3/4 in bulk head fittings (slip) I can rotate the stand pipe in any position for desired water changes. I can remove them, flip a valve at the drain and do them all at once with out using the stand pipes. Yes I still have to clean the bottom of the tank but that's pretty quick a few minutes in each tank which I do while there all draining.

I'm far from being finished I still have to run all of the water lines for filling, If things work out they will double as a massive drip/Flush.

Below are some pics to better explain


09-29-2002, 01:36 PM

09-29-2002, 01:37 PM

09-29-2002, 01:38 PM

09-29-2002, 01:38 PM
No Stand Pipe

09-29-2002, 01:43 PM
Nice looking fish Mike..

09-29-2002, 01:53 PM
Hi Mike : Are they 50 or 90 gallon tanks on the top?


09-29-2002, 02:12 PM
Cool. when did you say you were arriving in Vancouver to automate my tanks? think i need to move again somewhere with a basement.

09-29-2002, 02:18 PM
thanks Mike now i understand....

09-29-2002, 02:18 PM
Beautiful set up Mike- I am going to steal your idea there when I set up my out-back building next Spring! Frank

09-29-2002, 02:20 PM
They are all Seventy-Five Gallons each Jim.

Ha ha ha Pril.... You just keep trying to get me to come out to Vancover. LOL Some day ;)


09-29-2002, 03:18 PM
Nice setup Mike, so are you refilling manual?


09-29-2002, 04:07 PM
think you need to come here to the kootenays to hunt...MIKe. ;D i even have a hunting partner for you. very experienced. :o ;D
dont come without fish under your arm though;

09-29-2002, 04:13 PM
Yes Dave, At this point we still refill manual. Some time in the near future It will be finished. :-\ Just finished the Heating one thing at a time I guess :)


09-29-2002, 04:27 PM
Hi Mike,
Are those some of the PBSS? If so now I know you sent me the second teamers man. Next time i want the starters. they look great mike some day i will have a fish room like that.

09-29-2002, 04:55 PM
Oscar, My Bro from El Paso. Guess again LOL... You know your tanks are full of starters ;D


09-29-2002, 06:59 PM
so where's the mustang now?

09-29-2002, 08:51 PM
Its long gone Jason. I was not going to pay to have it stored :'( Perhaps one day when my boys are old enough will build another.


09-29-2002, 09:52 PM
Just pulling your leg my friend I have nothing but love for all my fish, they are the foundation to nothing but grade a babies. They are getting bigger badder and I love them. My wife loves them to so thats a good thing.
Oscar :jester:

09-29-2002, 10:05 PM
Hey Mike,

Make sure you let me & Ron know when things are finished and the tanks are all full of discus to sell. We're still looking forward to coming out and seeing the new set up.


09-29-2002, 10:23 PM
Come on out Gary :-)


09-29-2002, 11:43 PM
don't sweat it Mike, my toys are gone too sold my Intercepter and Katana this summer :( :( :(

09-30-2002, 09:31 AM

Looks like a good, planned set up. I was pondering how to go when I set up my fish room and that way looks to save some time and be easy to handle.

Thanks for the info!


09-30-2002, 10:21 AM
Thanks Mike for the explanations and pics! I hope you dont mind if I 'steal' your ideas also! ;D I like the fact that you can easily set the amount of water draining. I cant wait to see how your going to setup the filling system! Keep us posted!

09-30-2002, 11:31 AM

How do you get the siphon started on the drains? Is it just gravity? Or do you start siphon with a pump?

09-30-2002, 04:43 PM
Thanks John & Ronrca... It took some thought and planing. I wish I spent the time when we set up the main hatchery things would be so much eayser.

Lynn, The head pressure from the water starts the siphon when doing more then a 50% water change. Break the siphon on one of the stand pipes and it will stop.


09-30-2002, 07:03 PM
Very nice job on the tank dranage system mike. I did the same thing on mine also with the pipe inside the tank to regulate how much water to remove.

10-01-2002, 02:37 PM

Nice setup.

Where'd you get the "slip" type BH fittings?


10-01-2002, 07:10 PM
Wow, wicked set-up Mike.

I was just wondering how much water you change each day and how you prepare it ? That is if you dont mind sharing your secrets ;)

Thanks heaps Ben .

10-01-2002, 07:22 PM
I ordered some bulk head fittings from an on line source and thought they were cheep, so I sent them back and found good ones at Active Plumbing supply right here in town. They were more $$$ but much better quality.

Ben, a lot depends on the stocking density. Normally 50% in the mornings after there first feeding and 50% in the evening after there final feeding. We are blessed with good tap water for growing out discus. 300ms pH 7.3 - 7.5


10-02-2002, 10:40 AM
Mike, Thanks for all the info on your setup. How hatcheries are set up interests me almost as much as the fish. The close up pictures really help explain exactly what you use and whats going on. Nice and clear too. I have one question. Why did you elect to run the pipes in front of the tanks? I would have had them in the rear but after looking at yours running them in the front wouldnt bother me as much as I would think. I was just wondering why. Rich

10-02-2002, 01:51 PM
Hi Richie- i would do it the same way. The need here for Mike is easy access, not for looks. When you need to work on the tanks daily, you will really appreciate that they are in the front to move the out-take tube, and when you need to change a pipe, the same will be true. Frank

10-02-2002, 06:17 PM
Hello Mike,
Would you be so kind and post a detailed picture of your rack construction.
The single row in particular. I am looking into doing the same thing. Are the fasteners (nails, screws) the only thing holding up the base from the legs?


10-02-2002, 07:52 PM
Cheers Mike, few thats alot of water im gonna have to start changing good thing im renting no water rates ;)

10-03-2002, 09:42 AM
Hi Frank.
Thats what I thought. I cold see that top row being a little bit of a hastle reaching all the way back. I was wondering if he might have a plan to cut into the line in a few places, and T in so he could use a shorter hose; say 4 feet vs 12-16feet for vacumeing. For instance along the floor put a T in point it up and put about 2 feet of PVC in. When your gonna clean the bottom of the tanks just siphon into the waste line. It could be caped off when hes through but as long as the waters running to a lower level I dont think thats necessary. I dont know if you can picture what I'm thinking. I hate dragging hoses around. My tanks are in my den. They get hooked on everything. Think Beer. Rich

10-04-2002, 12:46 PM
I'm sorry I did not answer your questions sooner, Its been a very busy week for me.

Frank is correct, It makes pulling the stand pipes and servicing the plumbing a breeze.

Alen, the rack was assembled with nail guns then each of the legs were drilled and bolted. I would not recommend using screws and nails alone... Too much weight.

Its a simple 2x4 construction the tanks sit on the rails, front and back.

I did make a mistake though... I should of placed bricks under the legs to keep moisture from getting to them. If Time and funds allowed I would have made the racks out of 1 1/2" steel tubing.


10-04-2002, 12:46 PM

10-04-2002, 12:47 PM

10-04-2002, 08:38 PM

What a neat set up. Where did you get the bulkheads and where is the valve to open the drains? Does each tank have its own valve?


10-05-2002, 05:08 AM
Just a suggestion Mike; rather than using bricks under the legs. use hockey pucks...
Been using them for years, they work great !!!!

My stands are all steel .. 2 x 2 x 1/4" angle iron... Built them myself; I found the material to be competative in price; and they do last forever . I used 3/4" bolts( all thread) for leveling adjusters. Lots of coats of paint( brushed on)!!

10-05-2002, 09:21 AM
Hockey pucks...............its a Canadian thing.

10-05-2002, 09:48 AM
Quick question...I'm on the verge of starting to build my own racks for a fish room. I've never heard of putting bricks (not to mention hockey pucks) under the feet of the racks! Why would there be moisture at the feet? (difference in temperature between top and bottom of the room is my guess) and how would a brick or puck stop this? I was planning to put down a pool liner on the floor and tack it to the walls of the room about 6 inches up. Would this help the moisture problem, or make it worse? ???

10-05-2002, 10:12 AM
Ok well most of us discus water changerers are great at flooding.
Cary floods so badly he keeps a row boat in his basement to row to the stairs.
ive had a flood or two....not sure about Mike....maybe hes never flooded.
but protects from wood rot.
speaking of canucks and pucks......the queen is coming to play hockey here in a few days. maybe someone can use her puck she drops for under a tank.

10-05-2002, 10:15 AM
I am planning a rack too, so this thread has been great!!!

Mike, thanks for the shots of the rack legs....I was planning on using screws, but will now re-think that!

Another alternative to bricks or hockey pucks is an item that is sold for porch posts.....its a peice of metal( i think cast-iron) that looks like a 4-prong crown, the post sits on top so its not in contact with the cement. The post is finished with moulding so you can't see it.

Fishfinatic.....cement/concrete is porous and can wick moisture, even if it seems dry. If you ever stored a cardboard box long term on a cement floor, it will no longer be rigid. In a fish room this is probably 10x worse. Most people have their fish rooms in the basement or garage with cement floors.
The pool liner sounds like a good idea. Would it be too slippery after spills?

;D ;DLynn

10-05-2002, 10:31 AM
Me, Never Spill water on the Floor ha ha ha that's very funny. I have prob run more water on my floors then most hobbyist put through there tanks LOL

Yes Lynn is right Concrete and spills rot the wood in a hurry.

By the way Lynn your in Pitt which is only 2 hrs away.... When you coming to visit???


PS.... ever been to Wet Pets? Its about 20 south of Pitt off I-79

10-05-2002, 10:58 AM
Okay...NOW I feel stupid :-[ Spills - of course! It all makes perfect sense now. I've had several wooden aquarium stands ruined by years of water damage at the base. It got to the point where I had to put down a piece of tarp before I did the water change because the floors were getting water damaged! I just thought that the brick had some magical powers or something ;D Thanks for enlighting me!

10-05-2002, 11:33 AM

I'll be out to visit when I have more tank space! ;D
I know I can't JUST visit, gotta bring something back!
I am trying to get my basement converted into a fish room and then look out!!!!

I go to WetPets all the time! Its the best LFS I've found around here. 8)


10-05-2002, 11:47 AM
Next time your there tell Brian I said Hi....

That 890 gallon Salt water Show tanks a sight :)


10-05-2002, 07:53 PM
HOCKEY PUCKS- they stop water from capillerating . They also stop vibrations and willl not detereate....

Yea, just try and "get" the Queen's hockey puck... LOL. she proberly thinks it is some sort of Eskimo delicacy.....

Yes we are still Eskimo's up here ...want to buy some ice????
Free hockey puck with every order over 1000 kilograms... delevery not included...


01-02-2003, 03:08 PM
mike, the long beams running from side to side that your tanks sit on.. are they all doubled up? 2 2x4's together to give you a 4x4?

if so when is this necessary. i am planning on a rack to hold 12" wide tanks on top and 18" wide tanks on the bottom. rack will be 10' long with feet placed 4' off one end and 3' from the other end.

also, do you have a 2x4 running from to back under each edge of the tank? if so, do 2 tanks share a 2x4 or do the both get their own?

any tips for me before i begin? so far i've bought 6 2x4x10's and was wondering if i need to buy 4 more to double up the front and rear beams.

Discus Don
01-05-2003, 01:46 PM
Excellent topic here, with lots of good ideas. I doubt that I'll be able to put them to good use any time soon, but my curiosity and thirst for practical knowledge is never satisfied. :)

Questions for you Mike, if you have the time (and patience) to answer so many....

How does one go about drilling a tank? Several of my tanks came with little notices saying "Do not drill". I believe they were only on the larger tanks (50g and up), which use tempered glass. Are 20's/29's generally made without tempered glass to make drilling possible? And what sort of drill bit is used? Drilled from the outside in, or the inside out? Me naivety makes me think that it would be easy to break/ruin a tank fairly easily.

As for the bulkhead fittings, I've perused the plumbing aisle at Home Depot for what seems like hours for my own little "efficiency improvement projects" (which I should post some pictures of), but I've never seen the bulkhead fittings. Are they easy to find? And how are they installed/sealed? Simply with pressure? Or do they require sealant around them?

I've got my eye on the 3rd bay in my garage for a fish "room", but I've got to find a place for all that *stuff* first!


01-05-2003, 07:18 PM
Yes you are right Don, drilling a glass tank can be costly. The drilling may go well; however any movement of the bulkhead fitting can crack the glass. Personally, I do not like to drill glass tanks under 10 mil. thick.


Angels Only
01-06-2003, 04:23 PM
Don, drilling glass is not difficult if you have the right tools. Tempered glass should not be drilled as the stresses it is under will cause it to crack into many small pieces like car windshield glass with just a slight stress from the drill bit.
Here is a link on drilling.

Please note that I have cracked a couple of tanks out of over 100 drilled :)

01-06-2003, 05:31 PM
Drilling Glass tanks is very easy. You are correct you cannot drill tempered glass and smokey is right the thicker the better. Make a jig, take your time and you will have no problems.

Mike, It's not the thickness of the runners that the tanks sit on but the amount of vertical support you give your rack. I like a leg between each tank.... depending on the size of the tanks.


01-07-2003, 02:38 PM
use gaskets guys, and if your still worried about the thin glass cracking make big washers out of plexi to stiffen the area around the bulkhead up

01-10-2003, 04:02 PM
Here's a question for 'ya:

Where to get glass drill bits that are 3 1/2"?
I am installing some 2" bulkeads and need to put holes in 38 gallon tanks. ;D

01-10-2003, 04:53 PM

http://www.crlaurence.com/ProductPages/frameGen.asp?Product=EDD312&ProductID=10741&Origin =

pricey. only 142.90 CDN$ (around $90 US)


btw. you need to have an account to get prices. If you want prices on other sizes let me know by IM. I'll look them up for ya.

01-10-2003, 06:30 PM
Hmm. Actually, That is cheap compared to much smaller sizes I have seen.

But what to use to drill with it? A regular drill? Or something like this? (http://www.crlaurence.com/ProductPages/frameGen.asp?Product=CRL2&ProductID=11849&Origin=) Can you give me a price on that?

01-10-2003, 06:33 PM
828.70 canadian$. I have drilled very few holes. But only 1 1/8" But I have used a hand drill. So have a couple other people I know. Gotta be carefull.

But for that large drill bit, I don't know if it would be safe to use a hand drill. too much torque. Might break the glass. Who Knows. ??? ???