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Old 11-14-2008, 07:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sand Fall

So I have read the page on building an underwater waterfall, and am having some troubles. I have made 2 failed prototypes and am getting kind of annoyed. Does anyone out there have experience with this? Is a powerhead with tubing running from it's exit a better way? Does playsand work? Should I try different airstones?
Whoever has gotten one of these to work is a freakin' genius in my book, or maybe I'm just slow.

Any help would be awesome.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

guess I am on my own
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

this has been discussed before, and I think the reason for a lack of responses is because, in general, there is a bit of a lack of interest in doing this. Not because it's not a nifty idea, but because it's better done as a showcase for a few minites, than a long-term decoration. The fact is, most people on this site will want lots of flow in their tanks to adequately disperse nutrients/Co2, and this, in turn will also disperse whatever is going through the "fall." The ways to get around this would be:

A: Something going through the fall that was heavy enough to not be pushed around by the normal flow in the tank. You'd need a much stronger pull than air to get this up and over the fall, and it would in turn fall much faster than sand, hence, ruining the effect of the gentle waterfall.

B: Enlarge the "pool" at the bottom which collected the sand to return it to your uplift tube. Too large, and this can be unsightly, to say the least.

C: Reduce the flow in the rest of the aquarium to avoid the sand spilling out. Cardinal sin in most books around here

I'm not sure if that answered your question at ALL, and for that I apologise. I haven't tried this myself. As far as this particular application, you might be one of only a few people here actively trying at it, and for that you are to be commended. Most people (myself included) won't go into a realm already known to be a potential headache, and I'm eager to see if you make it past that to implement this as a constant decoration in your aquarium.
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

Quote:
Originally Posted by jargonchipmunk View Post
this has been discussed before, and I think the reason for a lack of responses is because, in general, there is a bit of a lack of interest in doing this. Not because it's not a nifty idea, but because it's better done as a showcase for a few minites, than a long-term decoration. The fact is, most people on this site will want lots of flow in their tanks to adequately disperse nutrients/Co2, and this, in turn will also disperse whatever is going through the "fall." The ways to get around this would be:

A: Something going through the fall that was heavy enough to not be pushed around by the normal flow in the tank. You'd need a much stronger pull than air to get this up and over the fall, and it would in turn fall much faster than sand, hence, ruining the effect of the gentle waterfall.

B: Enlarge the "pool" at the bottom which collected the sand to return it to your uplift tube. Too large, and this can be unsightly, to say the least.

C: Reduce the flow in the rest of the aquarium to avoid the sand spilling out. Cardinal sin in most books around here

I'm not sure if that answered your question at ALL, and for that I apologise. I haven't tried this myself. As far as this particular application, you might be one of only a few people here actively trying at it, and for that you are to be commended. Most people (myself included) won't go into a realm already known to be a potential headache, and I'm eager to see if you make it past that to implement this as a constant decoration in your aquarium.
Thanks for the tips. The size of the "pool" is not an issue. I will put a pic up to show what I mean.
Design of the apparatus is my main issue, and removal of the bubbles from the sand to disperse the air through the surface so as to leave co2 in the tank. I have another sheet of vinyl so round two this week.
You would think more people would choose to try something more challenging, however I do understand the comfort factor. Me, I get bored and want something not many others have. Cake + eating = good.


Last edited by mcsinny99; 11-17-2008 at 04:36 PM..
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

removal of the bubbles, in this case, will not keep your Co2 levels higher. If you use water flow instead of O2 flow to move the sand, you're only moving MORE water. The only reason the bubbles make the sand rise is the amount of water they force up the tube. This water flow at the surface area is the reason for any Co2 loss, hence, pushing the sand with pure water flow and no bubbles might just INCREASE Co2 loss. I dare say it's inevitable. Not because you're replacing bubbles with water, but because by doing this you're increasing flow. Although if the sand isn't moving how you have it now, you'll have to increase flow regardless, so whether you did this with a powerhead, or by using MORE bubbles wono't matter either way. I'm no chemist, so someone correct me if I'm wrong on this, but gas exchange happens at the surface of the water, the Co2 attempting to reach an equilibrium with the gases above the tank. When you increase the surface area (bubbling, or excess rippling the powerhead would cause) this increases the surface area of the water, allowing the natural gas exchange to occur faster.

Are you having problems keeping Co2 at proper levels with the bubble setup, or have you not tested it yet? (I assume the second since you haven't planted yet, just wondering) I know people are steered clear of using sumps for the most part because of the increase in surface area and de-gassing, but I've seen some of them used to great effect, although I'm assuming they had to pump a lot more Co2 in to keep up.

Maybe with the powerhead though, if you got one with low enough GPH flow, you could simply divert the flow before the top of the water to go out of the tube sideways so you didn't disturb the surface too much. That being said, it would take a very steady hand where the pressure was concerned to use this method and get sand flowing, but not shooting all the way across your tank Also, you'd have to come up with a way for the water to flow through the intake of the powerhead but not sand. I guess you could make an intake tube that was situated in a different area of the tank where sand wouldn't be flying around.

By the way, the bubbler on the right side is there for the fishie's health and not your sandfall apparatus, correct? I'm not trying to assume anything, but you have to have an uptake tube surrounding the bubbles to create the low pressure area for water to be forced up. Easiest way to do this would be to use any uptake tube you have sitting around from an old UGF or something and stick the air tube down through that (same way a sponge filter works to pull water through the sponge.. I'm sure you know all this but I just wanted to mention it in case you were unawares.)

But hey...Christopher Columbus wasn't looking for America but he found it. Maybe you aren't discovering the best way to make an underwater sandfall, but instead designing the best way to really irritate African Shellies with your "sand rain"

Last edited by jargonchipmunk; 11-18-2008 at 06:09 AM..
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

Yes the airstone is for the fish, it will be removed. My idea is to channel the excess air bubbles through a tube to exceed the surface barrier, thus no release of co2 other than that that is in the tube column of water. It is a 75 so could buy/create a reactor, however with the low volume of plants involves in the setup I think a diffusor at the opposite end may do just dandy.
I have started to look at mechanical means of moving the sand. A pulley/belt type means would make a very dependable type flow at controllable volumes. However, mechanical movement of anything in a tank can mess with the fish so this is why I am avoiding it.
I think the main issue here is the pressure differential vs. air speed vs sand weight.
By the way if anyone wants to "hulk out" and "SMASH", try this out.
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

mcsinny99 your thread pushed me to register. I'm into diy myself, by copying or generating ideas, my hole tank setup is diy from scratch.

I have tried this kind of waterfall effect as an experiment, but not in a tank.
Using a cylindrical vase filled with sand to 1/6th (excuse my English) just to see if the elevation is working.
It works. It worked because the sand is falling near the hose's inlet. Accordingly with your tank setup you should find the right apparatus to fit in.

So, assuming you have seen this http://fishforums.com.au/viewtopic.p...c3783e7528658a take a simple watering hose of a diameter of 2cm. Cut the inlet and outlet (for sand) analogically before the hose's ends. You will need a powerful air pump to rise the sand. I didn't use an airstone, i found out that the air tube was producing more sand rise and fall. You won't have the need of a 'sand collecting reservoir' as the site described.
Tip: try it using a hose than a pvc pipe. It's flexible and you could try different angles...
Just try it to see if the elevation works...

I must warn you though that it is not a stable environment, in my opinion it won't last very long. The first problem for example, you will encounter, is bubbles coming out from sand-inlet instead of rising the hose/tube. This is micro-management of diy and placing. You can avoid the above by placing the airtube's outlet higher than the sand-inlet at the fifth picture of the site.

Hope all this makes sense.
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

Quote:
Originally Posted by olyon View Post
mcsinny99 your thread pushed me to register. I'm into diy myself, by copying or generating ideas, my hole tank setup is diy from scratch.

I have tried this kind of waterfall effect as an experiment, but not in a tank.
Using a cylindrical vase filled with sand to 1/6th (excuse my English) just to see if the elevation is working.
It works. It worked because the sand is falling near the hose's inlet. Accordingly with your tank setup you should find the right apparatus to fit in.

So, assuming you have seen this http://fishforums.com.au/viewtopic.p...c3783e7528658a take a simple watering hose of a diameter of 2cm. Cut the inlet and outlet (for sand) analogically before the hose's ends. You will need a powerful air pump to rise the sand. I didn't use an airstone, i found out that the air tube was producing more sand rise and fall. You won't have the need of a 'sand collecting reservoir' as the site described.
Tip: try it using a hose than a pvc pipe. It's flexible and you could try different angles...
Just try it to see if the elevation works...

I must warn you though that it is not a stable environment, in my opinion it won't last very long. The first problem for example, you will encounter, is bubbles coming out from sand-inlet instead of rising the hose/tube. This is micro-management of diy and placing. You can avoid the above by placing the airtube's outlet higher than the sand-inlet at the fifth picture of the site.

Hope all this makes sense.
I had not seen this site, and let me say THANK YOU! The concept of the eductor may be the way to go. I am fairly certain that a python sink fitting is a small eductor and might work perfectly, the tough part here seems to be hiding the pump and keeping it seperate from the sand. I will give your method a try as well, but ideally I would like to be able to leave it running. Have you tried the eductor method?
Thanks again, very helpful.
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Old 11-30-2008, 05:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sand Fall

No, never tried the eductor method, sorry. It was to much for me and my tank was fully planted already. I have no clue how this could had worked though. Nevertheless, go for it and please keep us posted.
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