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Over Cleaning the Barracks


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I'm at 'work' at the moment which stops me from being able to take any photos and/or post those photos here to better explain myself, but I've done a lot of reading/trawling through pages/posts on barracks and havent found what I need - at least I dont think I have yet, as work is also stopping me from seeing many of the pics you guys have posted in old posts.


After having read the many, many posts (see reference list at the end), I thought I'd start yet another barracks post.

My barracks is very similar to one of Shadoh's posts: http://ausaqua.net/f...showtopic=10550, except I have a couple of mm gap between each bay and the rear sump. At the moment, I have only three males housed in there, with my fourth currently looking after the little ones :)/>

The barracks will hold 9 when fully populated.

The problem: poo...and other debris. The flow from the filter makes its way along the length of the rear sump and does a right turn at the end to enter the housing bay at the end - cool. The flow then slowly, very slowly, makes its way under each partition till it presumably gets to the 9th bay and then takes another right turn to return to the filter. Sounds good so far...

But the debris is lucky if it moves into the bay next door. I rarely have to siphon anything from the sump chamber (which I need to add more filter media to, but that's a different issue). Having the debris drift into the neighbours space is okay at the moment, as each occupant has at least one free space next to them, but it will be less than ideal when the No Vacancy sign goes up.

I need to alter the water flow a little but need advice on the best way to do it. I was thinking of maybe using the spray bar idea (http://ausaqua.net/f...?showtopic=9040). But will this encourage enough front-to-back flow to get the :censor:/>/> moving?

The sloped system is an option, where I can just build a wedge-type platform to sit under the whole system. Problem with this would be the central dividing partition doesnt go all the way up to the lid, so as the water height there increases, from the tank leaning back, so would the opportunity for escape attempts. This could be countered a little if the spray bar was positioned along here.

Or do I need to modify the spray bar to have tubing running around the bay to the front so it blows the unwanted stuff straight back into the sump area?

But would that screw up my overall flow?

Physics is not a favoured subject, so the capability of working out water flow is beyond me. The only way I figured out what it is currently doing is by watching the creep of tannin stained water work it's way through the bays.

The flow is extremely slow across the bays, even though the filter is not particularly small. The flow in the sump would be too much for the fish. The drag it creates under each bay partition is enough to encourage any fish lying there to have their fins gently wafted underneath (strangely, my HM seems to enjoy this), hence the slight shift in waste from one bay to the next.

Okay - the post is way too long already - sorry. I'll add pictures later, and as requested (now Razzi has shown me how to use the camera).



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Mate - the wife is planning a holiday for the family around the sunshine coast (I think), next year. I may just have to find a way to your neck of the woods to pay you back for all your kindness and help over the past couple of months.

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I think a spray bar made with sprinkler system parts would be fairly cheap. Get some of those little dropper taps so you can control the flow. Is there really that much poo? Once the tank is well cycled poo should break down pretty quickly and the dissolved waste handled by the filter. Turkey basters are really good for removing poo when you're spot cleaning. But I'm wondering if you're being more fastidious than you need to be.

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It's highly possible I'm being overly anal with the waste...all of my tanks still seem to still be getting to the cycling stage - I don't know if it's me , the Adelaide water, the fact I don't have that many fish yet, or the 1000's of other variables I'm yet to learn about.

Ammonia in all my tanks is less than 0.25 and has been for weeks. Nitrates and Nitrites are all still zero. Even in the display barracks I had in the lounge is still at these numbers, although there was a spike in ammonia after I moved the boys and decided to do a gravel clean. But that settled pretty quick with a 50% water change, and now the girls are in there and it's all back to 0.25 and zeros.

I'm ordering a new custom grow-out tank this week, 60x30x40. I'm intending on using sand as a substrate and heavily planting plus pots, etc. I'm considering going down the fishless cycling route by adding ammonia to begin with, but then that would make it different from the rest of my tanks, and I'd rather the fry went into something similar when I move them.


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Ok... Here is my setup (will have to split into several posts to meet the maximum image requirements of the forum.

Keep in mind, my barracks has a gap at the rear of each compartment only.

This is the spray bar. It is a piece of plastic tubing, sprinkler connections screwed into holes drilled into tube. I used a rubber furniture stopper to plug up the end.


Airline tubing is added to the sprinkler connectors. Each tube will be threaded into each compartment to supply fresh water.


This small divider is made out of plastic embroidery mesh and a poster holder. It stops the Bettas swimming under the gap if using tank bare bottomed, or stops gravel spilling through the gap into the sump.


More to come....

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The divider and tube in place


I decided today to go back to using gravel. It is purely for aesthetic reasons... Water will enter via the airline tube and get sucked down through the gravel into the sump to the filter.


Then add plants and fish...


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I can do that...I think.

Do you have a snail, or two, in each bay? What snails are they?

What do you use as dividers? I'm considering either some binder cover or possibly some aquarium background cut to size.

I think my gaps are smaller. I'm currently bare bottomed and the guys haven't managed to squeeze underneath yet. Occasionally the HM lays against it and allows his fins to be drifted into the next bay but I don't think his body would fit under. If I go a small diameter gravel, it would also stop sideways drift of waste, as well as look better.

Sweet - much appreciated mate. Gives me more to do this weekend ;)

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Ok. To answer your questions...

No snails in the tank. I'm sure some will just magically "appear" ...lol

My dividers are made out of black corflute. I prefer something more rigid than aquarium BG. Especially when taking them in and out of the tank when giving the fish "flare time"

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I'm at home and planning my trip to Bunnings tomorrow - silly glass stones...

The connection on the end of the spray bar to connect the filter tubing to - is that anything specific or just an elbow joint with a thread on it?

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Well...it's done, or at least a version of it is done and it seems to be working.

The gap under my partitions is only just an air tube in width so I didn't need the mesh barriers. I also forgot to pick up some larger tubing to connect the filter to the spray bar, so I improvised and made a direct connection, which had the added benefit of me not needing to support the bar with a clamp or anything (though I might anyway).

I also made the silly mistake of switching to sand as my substrate...and then made the massive mistake of not washing it enough. Thankfully, I had a couple of filters doing nothing so I employed them into the barracks sump as well, and everything cleaned up pretty quick.

So - finished product:


I found some black corflute to separate the sump from the front viewing area, and to use for carding. Not happy with the sand at the moment. I need to add in either more sand or some gravel over the top to better bury the sir tubing and to give the plants more to hold on to.

Here's a closer pic of one of my LFS rescues enjoying the new digs:


Thanks heaps for all the help and suggestions, Jarrod.

Muchly appreciated!


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