My version of Witt's tumbler

My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby JimWelsh » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:24 am

With my male PJ Cardinal carrying eggs for the third time, I thought I'd better try to implement Witt's Artificial Incubator described on Page 220 of his book. Never having used or even seen an undergravel filter, I went to PetCo and bought their "Premium Undergravel Filter 29/20L Gallon" kit (SKU E689645), just to see what, exactly "undergravel lift tubing" looks like. OK, it's 1" thinwall tubing.

But wait! Serindipity! This kit includes two clear rigid plastic tubes about 4" long that are 1 1/16" inside diameter, together with soft plastic "grommets" (for lack of a better term) that fit over the 1" airlift tubing perfectly! No need to do Witt's rather tedious sounding softening with a butane lighter and getting the two pieces of airlift tubing to fit over each other! Yay!

I cut one piece of the airlift tubing down to about 6" long. I was able to take a 2" square piece of 120 micron Nitex mesh I had laying around (time will tell whether or not I will need to use a coarser mesh because this clogs too easily -- I probably will end up using something coarser), fit it over the 1" airlift tubing, and slide the grommet end of the clear plastic piece over both airlift tubing and mesh until the tubes overlap about 3/4" or so. Then, I trimmed the Nitex neatly with some really sharp, small scissors.

Next, I proceeded to dismantle an old airpump (specifically, an AirTech 2KO, but probably many would work), and true to Witt's description, the diaphram fit perfectly inside the 1" airlift tubing, and a 1" piece of rigid airline tubing fit perfectly in the existing hole in the diaphram.

I then bought a small fountain pump (specifically, a Beckett model M130AUL), and took the 1/2" OD Male on one end 5/16" OD Male on the other reducing adapter from another pump I had laying around (this time a Beckett M60AUL). The small end of the reducing adapter accepts 3/16" ID 1/4" OD flexible airline tubing perfectly. To prevent the airline tubing from being pushed out of the reducing adapter, I pushed it through the adapter first, then heated the "inside" end in a flame briefly, and used a meat thermometer to flare the end. This flared end retains the end of the airline tubing inside the reducing adapter, and keeps it from being "blown" out by the pressure. I then connected the adapter to the pump.

I used an inline airline tubing valve (I like the Gardena Micro Drip Irrigation 1374 Nozzle control valve) in the flexible airline to control the flow. I've tested it, and with a total of 5 feet of airline tubing between the pump and the tumbler, I think the flow with the valve fully open is a little too strong (can't really tell until I get another egg mass to test with), and with the valve fully closed, there is no flow.

The only detail left is the pair of 1" heater clamps w/suction cups to attach the tumbler to the side of the tank, and maybe an airline clamp/suction cup too.

Here are some pictures to help:

Here's the tumbler with the parts exploded. From top to bottom are 1) Petco Undergravel Filter rigid plastic tube with grommet, 2) Mesh, 3) Airlift tubing 6" section, 4) Airpump Diaphram, 5) Rigid ariline 1" section, and 6) Flexible airline tubing:

[mg]http://www.etslabs.com/images/JWelsh/Cardinal%20Egg%20Tumbler%20Exploded.JPG[/img]

Here's the same thing assembled:

[mg]http://www.etslabs.com/images/JWelsh/Cardinal%20Egg%20Tumbler%20Assembled.JPG[/img]

This is the flared end of the ariline tubing in the reducing adapter before snugging it into place:

[mg]http://www.etslabs.com/images/JWelsh/Tumbler%20Flared%20Tube%20End.JPG[/img]

And the Gardena valve:

[mg]http://www.etslabs.com/images/JWelsh/Gardena%20Valve.JPG[/img]

I'll let you all know how well it works once I have an egg mass to tumble!

Jim
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby lance » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:47 am

look's good Jim

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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:51 am

That looks good and simple to construct.
I am interested in seeing it in operation!
Good work!
John
"The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth" Jean De La Bruyère (1645-1696)
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby JimWelsh » Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:26 am

Thanks, guys! I was excited about it seeming easier to construct than Witt's original plan. I'll keep you posted.
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby JimWelsh » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:19 pm

Well, I'm going to have to wait to try it out. Looks like Dad ate the eggs on Day 4. :roll:
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby JimWelsh » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:51 am

This is now Day 5 of Dad's new clutch of eggs. I finally get to try out my tumbler! I got it all set up in a larval rearing tank. I have no BRT yet. I do have most of the parts, but still need to put it together. At any rate, I have a setup with two, 10 gallon tanks one above the other on a simple commercial pressed wood stand. The top 10 gal is drilled to accept a bulkhead, and has a 1" PVC standpipe covered with a sponge and some netting. The bottom tank serves as the sump, and has a heater and a small powerhead that feeds a 1/2" return line back to the top tank.

First thing I did was replace the Nitex mesh (dumb idea -- too fine) with material from you basic commercial pet store fish net.

Anyway, I got Dad to spit his eggs fairly easily without even having to net him. I just had to TRY to net him, and he quickly spit them out. My first attempt at using the tumbler as shown above was a failure because the length of airline tubing caused too much friction, and I had no flow to speak of, even with the valve fully open, and using the bigger pump. I then replaced the long airline tubing section with a 1/2" ID section, and reduced the airline tubing to just a short 4" section just before the tumbler. That turned out to be too much flow, and was blowing the egg mass out the top of the tumbler, so I then inserted the Gardena valve midway in the short airline tubing section. The result is just the right amount of flow to keep the eggs suspended when the valve is fully open. The valve is creating extra friction, and just enough, as it turns out.

I'd prefer a solution where the flow was just right with the valve partially open, so I had some room for adjustment, but what I ended up with looks good to me. I wouldn't call it a "tumbler" as much as I would call it a "swayer"; the egg mass is rather flat and a little curved, shaped kinda like a big contact lens. It is staying in the tumbler, with the concave side facing up, and suspended about 1/4" above the net, and swaying from side to side. I don't know how important actual "tumbling" is to the process, but I suspect keeping the mass well aerated with a constant supply of moving water is what is important, and that's just what they're getting.

I don't know how many resources (time, greenwater, rotifers, attention) I'll have to give these cardinals when they hatch, since I've got my batch of H. reidi seahorse fry on day 5 now, and they get "first dibs" on everything! I'll keep you posted on how well the tumbler works, and we'll just take things one step at a time.
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby efren » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:59 pm

what happened with the tumbler?
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby JimWelsh » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:51 pm

It was very difficult to get the flow "just right". If there was enough flow to actually make the eggs "tumble", then there was a good chance they would get blown out the top of the tumbler. If the flow was low enough to make sure the eggs stayed in the tumbler, they tended to just "bob" and not really tumble. Last batch of eggs I tried in this tumbler just "bobbed", and got a nasty fungus infection.
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Re: My version of Witt's tumbler

Postby efren » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:00 pm

thank you i think i will left the eggs in the males mouth
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