Building a fish room III: Air and fish

Its been a while since I updated on the fish room, although it has been finished and there are currently fish. I was lucky enough to have air already plumbed into the room and distributed to several series of valvles on both walls. The only thing I had to do was distribute that air to the tanks to the filters. I decided to use sponge filters, similar to the ones we used in the Wainwright lab, as they are inexpensive and seem effective. In the small 2.5 gallon tanks I just have an airstone as the fish are not kept in there long, only during experiments. During my PhD we used PVC tubing with holes drilled into, metal valves in the holes, to distribute air. In one room along the top of the shelves I had tubing running, distributing air to each of 33 five gallon tanks. Doing this in my current setup would require a lot of PVC and valves. Instead I decided to have a line of air coming from the wall to one PVC tub per shelf. On the PVC I had 4 holes drilled, then put brass valves in the holes. These valves distribute the air to each shelf, allowing me to regulate air flow to each shelf. To regulate airflow to the individual tanks, I used gang valves.

So as air come out of the tubing on the wall, it goes into a PVC tube distributor, which then distributes the air to each shelf, the gang valves allowing control of airflow to each tank. All the tubing to the tanks run in the back to avoid clutter in the front of the tanks. This setup allows control of airflow to each rack, shelf and tank. So far the air pressure has been strong enough to supply air to four 33 gallons on the bottom shelf and several 10’s and 5’s with no trouble. We’ll see how it goes as more tanks are filled.

Now that I have air, water (which I age in a 55 gallon nalgene similar to what I did for my PhD, except the water here is not nearly as hard) and tanks I got some swordtail species in, about 8 or so. Inside the tanks I decided to go with a combination of what I did for my PhD and during my postdoc. In the smaller tanks (2.5, 5 and 10s) I have a little bit of gravel and a plant (anubias). Some gravel allows the plant to anchor and for some beneficial bacteria to grow, the lack of gravel makes it easier to clean and see if fish are eating properly. In the large 33 gallons, I have full gravel and several plants. These will serve as stock tanks as the fish grow and reproduce.

The entire back wall is setup and running. Some of the periphery shelves I still need to hook up all the air, but I figure I can do that as we need more space. So, as a friend once said in reference to his lab, “The death-star is fully operational.”

Below are some pictures of the air system and some fish.

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