Aquarium cross connection issue?


I have a very large aquarium that is being built into a wall. I want to plumb it as shown in the sketch located http://20d.us/Plumbing /. Water from the shower valve will be used to start the siphon for vacuuming the gravel in the bottom of the aquarium. After cleaning water from the shower valve will be used to refill the aquarium. Do I have a cross connection issue here? Any suggestions?
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Yes you do. Is this "shower valve" going to be used as a shower valve too? Or is it only being used as a mixing valve to achieve a predetermined water temperature for the fish? Are you going to use a venturi to create the siphonage? Can you finish the drawing and show where the discharge is to, and how? Answer these questions and we can elaborate farther.
Bob Wheatley
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No.
Yes. I may buy a thermostatic mixing valve from leonardvalve.com a little expensive perhaps. The shower valve will be used if I decide to go cheap.
Are you going to use a venturi to create the

No. The shower valve will be used to purge the pipes and vacuum wand of air with the drain closed. Then it will be turned off and the bottom drain will be opened and the siphon should start. After cleaning is finished the bottom drain will be closed and the shower valve opened to refill the tank with 75 degree water. Then the wand will be disconnected and put away.
Can you finish the drawing and show where the discharge is to,

The drain pipe runs 10 feet horizonally at floor level and exits the house through an exterior wall. The water will drop about 12 inches into a outdoor pond. I may create a small trap at the outlet with some elbows. No connection to the house sewer drains.
Do I need a vacuum breaker? Or is this impossible to do right? This way would work very well I think, if it can be done in a acceptable manner.
some poor pictures here http://20d.us/House /
floor to ceiling cupboards will be placed on the 2x4 platform to hold the tank and plumbing.

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Okay, all things considered the following would be a better selection for your intended use: (In lieu of the "shower valve") http://www.chicagofaucets.com/catalog/catalog.php?PartNum 5731V104LR&FamilyID 4
This Chicago CF5731V104LR with integral vacuum breaker is better suited for your intentions. First, make sure the faucet is at least 12" above the top of the aquarium. Then connect the rest of your "contraption" with hose connections. This should simplify things somewhat and make the connections more portable. The integral vacuum breaker will help prevent back-siphonage in case of a pressure drop. I will add that without a venturi you may have trouble starting the siphoning action when you want but it could occur when you don't want it.
Bob Wheatley
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http://www.chicagofaucets.com/catalog/catalog.php?PartNum 5731V104LR&FamilyID 4

My initial plan was to use one of these to fill the aquarium. To vacuum I would start the siphon manually and drop the siphon hose into a drain pipe much like the one used for a clothes washing machine. No cross connection at all. I can do it easily. Definitely a inexpensive solution. Is this the preferred solution and I should abandon all cross connection plans?
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I would suggest that you use the service sink faucet with the integral vacuum breaker connected with a hose. You could rig a tee for a thermometer to keep control over temperature for filling. For cleaning I would invest in one of the aquarium pumps that are made specifically for that purpose. None of this stuff is expensive and it all hides away when you are not using it so that you enjoy the beauty of the aquarium without a bunch of pipes and hoses hanging all over the place. Look at some of the pumps available here:
http://www.lgpc.com/Export/ByCategory.aspx?TypeID=8&CategoryIDD
http://www.aquadirect.com/store/customer/product.php?productidT7&cat#5&page=1
Bob Wheatley
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http://www.aquadirect.com/store/customer/product.php?productidT7&cat#5&page=1
Lots of pumps around here. Two new ones just arrived for this tank. Pumps generally do not self prime and must be operated with a flooded inlet.
My tanks have always been freshwater. I tried salt water and don't care for it. I use undergravel filters for my main filtration. I try to keep my fish loads low. However its is normal for me to have very large fish in this tank. A recent fish was 30 inches. Lot of poop. Lot of food. Fish poop and uneaten food settles to the tank bottom and must be removed regularly. So I use one of these twice weekly to vacuum the bottom. http://www.bigalsonline.ca/catalog/product.xml?product_id 107;category_id 01;pcid1347;pcid2Around 30 gallons of water gets removed as well to be replaced with fresh. Sometimes 200 to 300 gallons will be removed. The gentle siphon is just right for cleaning. Too much suction and gravel gets removed from the tank.
I was able to simply stick the siphon hose end out my patio door before. I have also used a venturi attached to my kitchen faucet. This location is not near a exterior door or sink. 30 gallons is too much for 5 gallon buckets. 300 gallons impossible. The job can be messy. A few gallons escape sometimes. The job is mostly done by a housekeeper. Normally I put the wand and hose into the tank to fill it with water. Then I put my thumb over the hose end and pull the hose out of the tank. Then I stick the hose out the door and the siphon starts.
Pulling 20 feet of wet dripping hose out of the tank creates some mess I would like to avoid. I would like to shorten the hose considerably. I would like to start the siphon by purging the air using water from the house. I would like this chore to be easy. Simple to teach a woman without English. This tank cannot have any holes drilled in it.
Wall to wall, floor to ceiling cupboards are being added to hold the tank. All wires/pipes will be concealed. The undergravel filter will have a central column.
These shower valves look interesting. http://www.symmons.com/products/res_product_detail.cfm?idy5&category=1&function=2
and these http://www.plumbingworld.com/backflow.html
I like this best. http://www.leonardvalve.com/proddetails.asp?iA44
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You need either an air gap or a check valve (anti-siphon device) before the Tee (supply side) to prevent tank water from siphoning into the house water if the shower valve is open but the house water is for some reason shut off (for example). Remember, someday you might sell the house and the tank might be operated by an idiot.
Secondly, you need a good carbon charcoal filter in line with the supply (2 stage would be best). Without a filter, if your community is still using chlorinated water, your fish will suffer but probably survive but if they use or switch to Chlorimated water, it will kill the fish within hours. Treating the water requires that you removed the fish during cleaning or treat the water in buckets before adding to the tank but filtering (and charcoal is sufficient to remove chloramine) will allow you to top off the tank and clean without fear of killing your fish. Filtering is slightly more costly than treating water but if you want a direct connection, a definate must have.
Sick fish will have reddened gills and lie gasping at the bottom of the tank. I don't know of a cure but there might be one.
Last year my city switched to Chloramated water and a friend who was watching my house while I was on a trip decided to clean the tank because one fish looked ill. Long story short, she didn't know about the changeover and killed my fish. Damn Oscars were 8 years old and 10" long, I was really pissed that day. Chloramine kills the same way CO kills air breathing people by displacing the oxygen in the blood and suffocating the animal.
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isnt there a whole newsgroup just about this topic?

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Tell me where to look. I can't seem to find it.

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Good advice about the fish however I have 40 years of aquarium/pond/fish experience.
I am on my own private well. No chlorine.
I have found double check valves and reduced pressure backflow preventers. Which would you suggest?
Would a filter in line with these devices may help their performance?
I believe these devices need to be tested regularly?
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Good, but a filter can't hurt, especially for sediment.

Dosen't matter, the pressure reducing backflow preventer is intended for applications like this. You probably don't need or want full pressure water flowing into the tank anyway. You can find these in the sprinkler parts isle.

A filter should not effect the performance of a backflow preventor. Is that what you asked? Some filter holders may incorporate the backflow preventor in their design.

Filters do need to be changed regularly. Usually after a certain volume of water has passed through but paper filters (IMO) should also be replaced on a time schedule. Testing is possible but more difficult than just keeping track of how much water has gone through. A volume/flow meter would be definitive but something like 100 refills of a 50 gal tankP00 gal is not too hard to track. Once a year would probably be OK depending on your use. See the recommendations on the filter cartridge itself.
There are many newsgroups on fish and aquariums. Search your newsgroup reader for Aquaria or Fish. I don't know which are good and which are polluted with spam.

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