Looking for ideas and input

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AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
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40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Unrelated to satellite reception... but based on the concept of a dish.

Watch this video and then I have some questions regarding my project:


What I am doing: I am constructing a large "pond" or water tank for my cabin on the river to maintain live baitfish for fishing. Bluegills and sunfish and bullheads for catfishing.
I am using a ~1000 gallon HDPE tank (5.5'W x 10.5'L x 2.5'H) and three 55 gallon HDPE barrels for filtration, waste bioconversion and oxygenation concerns.
To keep this "pond" or tank active all year long (through Nebraska winters) I need a method to heat the water for several purposes:

1] To keep the surface of the pond ice free so that gases which are harmful to the fish can escape to the atmosphere.
2] To keep the entire tank from freezing solid and damaging the tank and pipes.
3] To keep the overall water temperature just warm enough to keep the baitfish slightly active during winter, but not too overactive that they would require a lot of food.
4] To keep the denitrifying bacteria active in the bio-conversion filter system so that the bacteria does not die off each winter and require replacement when warmer weather returns.

When I saw the above video in another post here, I thought that the concept might have some merits for what I am tinkering with.
I didn't want to operate electrical heaters all during the winter for the reason of monetary expense, but I couldn't think of any simplistic method to do it otherwise.
Electric heaters are very simple to manage and control the temperature, but costly to operate over a long term.

This "satellite dish based" solar power notion could be my answer, but I need to figure out how to implement it and regulate the temperature so that it does not get too hot.
I don't want boiled fish bait! I am trying to develop a very simplistic approach which will incorporate the least amount of electronic controls and electrical power.

I will definitely have to use some electrical power from the grid to operate pond pumps to maintain the water circulation, but I am trying to limit my electrical power consumption to that alone.

My question here is how I could best harness the solar energy and regulate the tank water temperature with this solar collector during the winter months.

I am contemplating various ideas and concepts, but would be interested to hear anyone else's input because I might learn something new or take a different angle on it. I really like the concept from the video because it is a free source of power and I have a spare dish that would function perfectly. The dish is only large enough for minimal FTA purposes, so I wouldn't be sacrificing a valued piece of equipment for an experimental test.

I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

RADAR
 
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AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
2
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
How about geothermal? You're going to circulate the water anyway, just circulate it thru a 'dry well' to pick up the underground heat.
Geothermal won't work for me here. I cannot dig up the land to put the heat exchange tubes in to extract the heat from the ground water table. Too many tree roots and too close to the river. I wouldn't want to kill any of my trees and I wouldn't want to invite erosion. I need to go with something solar in this case.

RADAR
 

phlatwound

SatelliteGuys Pro
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 25, 2007
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Goosapeak Junction
Yeh, even if you can get something like this working I would think that no matter what, you would have to have a backup heating system, it wouldn't take much subzero no-sun days to freeze you up.
 

FaT Air

HOA Free Zone
Feb 27, 2010
6,668
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97W 48N
On converting the BUD to a furnace. I built the simple sun tracker using LED's for detectors. But only for E-W. The BUD was aimed right at the sun all day long. But the more I read, and calculated, the BUD was only going to generate about 4kw(peak) in full sun. % of full sun days around here are not that numerous nor is daylight very long. ( I would have needed, by the numbers calculated, 10 BUDs and 1/3 of the livable space converted to thermal storage, along with a backup source used almost regularly.
Yes be careful. I cooked an egg in just a couple of minutes over the 84e. It made a 2x4 'scream' immediately, then to charcoal in short time. (see attached)
As for geothermal, a closed loop system with a coaxial "loop". Down the middle and up the outside. (Pipe in a pipe)
I think with some 'creative thinking' may come up with something that is able to drill itself in.
Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut on that and patented it. First!
Solar array to power a pump.
Just have to remember, for the heat to come up, cold goes down. There is going to be ever diminishing returns and a chance of 'freezing up' the system. Especially if 'undersized'.
Could, I would think, be 'charged' during the summer by circulating warm 'summer' water.
I could go on & on, I was seriously thinking about solar and geo, and 'on the cheap'.
Could have also given you about 2 dozen links, but they went by by when the computer they were on bit the dust.
Heating, calories, watts & btu's. It took quite some time.
Heat 1 gram of water 1° celsius = 1 calorie.(except when melting or freezing, can't remember but I think that's x10 calories) 1 Calorie = 0.00116222222 Watt Hours
Maybe we need another forum category: Anything but politics.
 

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AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
2
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
No problem Fat Air, We'll avoid all politics!

You got a bit windy in that last post, but I understood you just fine after reading your post twice. Maybe I am drunk. Ha Ha!
I think I have hit this idea right, but I hope everyone realizes that I don't need to heat the water to a very HIGH temperature.
My neighbor is running a pond with a circulating pump and although the surface is frozen, the water continues to circulate under
the ice and over the waterfall in the pond. He has absolutely NO HEATING system implemented in his pond and it remains free
flowing so far.

I will have to continue to investigate this notion as I really think that it will be a perfect solution with the right setup.

RADAR
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
2
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
Unfortunately I am quite sheltered from the wind. Many trees all around, but I do have open sun in the center of the yard.
I do have a second lot where it is wide open to the wind, but that is much further away from where I intended to install the tank.
I may change my plans in this regard, however. It might be easier to regulate the water temp with the wind generator since the
wind would be available throughout the day and night. At the second lot, I could take advantage of both wind and sun.

Yeah, maybe I'll go that route. The more I think about it, the better it seems to be.

And yes, the tanks are outside (far too big to get through any door, maybe a double barn door, but I don't have a barn).

RADAR
 
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SatelliteAV

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 3, 2004
6,486
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Roseville, CA
My dad used to heat the swimming pool with several raised boxes on the roof enclosed with standard non-uv reflective glass. The frames were 2x4s on side and the box interior was painted black. Several hundred feet of black PVC pipe was laid out inside each enclosed box.

Used a low flow pump to slowly push water up to the roof, through the pipes and back into the pool. A thermostat would shut the pump when the input water temp reached a preset. Had a back flow valve to prevent siphoning and a dry pump.

You could probably reduce the pressure on the filtration system and divert to the solar system when temp demands.

This simple system would require much less maintenance and no worries about tracking, boiling water, etc.
 

johann12

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 8, 2012
316
0
NC, USA
You can not keep the temperature of your bait-fish-tank much higher than the water temperature of the body of water you are going to fish. If the the temperature difference is to much the fish will die very fast on your hook...in minutes or even in seconds,depending on water temperature differences.

If I remember right, the lowest temperature to keep the bio-bacteria alive is around 40 degrees.

The metabolisms of fish slows down the colder the water is and comes to a standstill below 50 degrees or lower, depending of species. So do not overfeed the fish. The less they eat, the less bio-bacteria is needed.
The colder the water the more dissolved oxygen it can hold.

I would sink the whole fish tank into the ground ( the deeper the better), no insulation around tank. Place a bio-filter inside the fish tank. Use a air bubbler. Lay one row of center-blocks on the ground around the hole where the tank is and cover it with a glass window or a glass door on hinges.
The ground temperature would keep the tank warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. The glass window or glass door would keep the '' heat '' in and works more like an insulation and it would also keep debris and predators out. Snow and ice on top of the glass window or door would act like an insulation. If you are worried that the glass window/door would be freeze shut, just use some heat tape with an thermostat and put it inside along the center blocks.
For summer you could use window screening etc.

There should be no need for extra heat.
 
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johann12

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 8, 2012
316
0
NC, USA
My dad used to heat the swimming pool with several raised boxes on the roof enclosed with standard non-uv reflective glass. The frames were 2x4s on side and the box interior was painted black. Several hundred feet of black PVC pipe was laid out inside each enclosed box.

Used a low flow pump to slowly push water up to the roof, through the pipes and back into the pool. A thermostat would shut the pump when the input water temp reached a preset. Had a back flow valve to prevent siphoning and a dry pump.

You could probably reduce the pressure on the filtration system and divert to the solar system when temp demands.

This simple system would require much less maintenance and no worries about tracking, boiling water, etc.
Some folks I work with done the same and it works very well for heating up swimming pools.
But, since water can freeze you would either have to use an enclosed system with antifreeze and an heat exchanger, or you could have an temperature switch that drains the water out of the system if the outside temperature get's close to the freezing point etc.
 

AcWxRadar

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
2
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
My dad used to heat the swimming pool with several raised boxes on the roof enclosed with standard non-uv reflective glass. The frames were 2x4s on side and the box interior was painted black. Several hundred feet of black PVC pipe was laid out inside each enclosed box.

Used a low flow pump to slowly push water up to the roof, through the pipes and back into the pool. A thermostat would shut the pump when the input water temp reached a preset. Had a back flow valve to prevent siphoning and a dry pump.

You could probably reduce the pressure on the filtration system and divert to the solar system when temp demands.

This simple system would require much less maintenance and no worries about tracking, boiling water, etc.
Some folks I work with done the same and it works very well for heating up swimming pools.
But, since water can freeze you would either have to use an enclosed system with antifreeze and an heat exchanger, or you could have an temperature switch that drains the water out of the system if the outside temperature get's close to the freezing point etc.
The use of a separate system filled with an antifreeze agent like is used in imbedded concrete floor heating systems would have to be implemented. On winter nights here, the temperature can fall to -20°F, so the heating system would have to be made freeze-proof. I can maintain enough water circulation within the pond tank and the filter tanks to prevent freezing of the pond water, but if I took that water out to a solar panel heat array with small diameter tubing, I am sure that would freeze up on the coldest nights.

With a system such as this, I could use an A coil from a central A/C unit or a small car radiator and place that in one of the bio-converter filter tanks. Circulating the antifreeze solution through it to exchange the heat to the pond water. I would also use one or more HDPE barrels filled with tubing and surrounded by sand or possibly an oil, buried under the ground, to provide a heat reservoir to tap from when the sun is dark. It wouldn't last very long, but it could provide enough of a buffer to level the temperature variations out better.

With such a setup, I could also include other sources of free energy (wind and other solar collection techniques) to be additive or supportive.

I can't bury my actual fish tank in the ground due to several reasons. This has to do with deer, people and all-terrain vehicle traffic. Can't have them falling into the tank by mistake. I don't want to have to get into fencing the thing in. Also, I want to make the maintenance of the tank simplistic. Above ground I can have drain lines installed in the bottom of the tank for quick draining and cleaning. Also, flooding may be a possible threat, and I don't want to clean all that silt and mud that comes with our floods out of the tank. Above ground I am sure to eliminate that.

What I can do is enclose it in an above ground concrete "vault" just tall enough to set the tank down inside the walls with styrofoam panels surrounding the tank for insulation. In the winter, I can lay insulating panels like you would use for a hot tub over the top, using wire mesh panels for support.

RADAR
 
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