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Raceway Live-holding Systems


By Bob Fenner

Pacific Aquafarms Under Construction 

A picture tale of Pacific Aqua Farms Set-Up

Raceways are built in place set on top of their polyethylene tote reservoirs which double as supports and holders of large volumes of water.

Here the initial 1" plywood walls are being glued, fastened in perpendicular to the doubled base of 4 by 8' sheet bottom. Supports at top are for holding sections in place.

Side view showing temporary screw and wood holders at joints of first of two layers of ply making up the raceway walls.

Detail showing brace, clamp, first ply/wall layer.

Joints are finished out smooth as are any deviations in the plywood for strength, beauty, ease of cleaning after they are finished externally.

The second 1" plywood thickness being added to the first with adhesive, screws. All will be covered sealed in turn by sheet PVC heat bent by friends, associates Robert and Chris Krechter at RK2, San Diego.

Ten total raceways to be constructed for holding live corals... and a few more for transit live rock, live internet camera display of specimens... to fit out the facilities at the new Pacific Aqua Farms sites 15,000 square feet.

... What happened to my pix? Arrghhh, there are times like this that I loathe computers, the Net. RMF

Smile Bob... it's better for your blood pressure.

Raceway... design, fab.... for holding sys., SW    6/20/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Michael> My partner and me are setting up a large aquarium only store. We are interested in setting up multiple raceways for the coral and rock holding systems and were hoping that you could point us in the right direction for information on building these. I have read the page here on the raceways built by Pacific Aqua Farms and I think that this would be ideal. <These are gorgeous units... and very service-able... gel-coated... at the right height...> I have no experience with building raceways and certainly not with ones made from wood. How can I learn more about specifications for wooden raceways to give to my carpenter? <Mmm, likely they'd know enough... need to spec. how many, size through-puts for plumbing, or do this later yourself...> You're site has always been an outstanding asset to my company as a source of information and I thank you as always. Have a wonderful day! Best Regards, Michael P. Gillespie Aquatic Creations LLC. <NH> www.AquaticCreationsOnline.com <Mmm, there are pre-made nestable (thank goodness for freight reasons) units, like from Red Ewald (.com nowadays), and there are possibilities of welded PVC sheet, even acrylic and glass if these are not to be too big, or many... might be a/the route to go... Dick Perrin at Tropicorium... moving up from plywood and two bys with polyethylene liners to vinyl, EPDM to Butyl liners... How many units of what size are you talking about? Have you looked about for used gear? For the tanks, sumps et al.? Can be quite a savings... Bob Fenner>

Re: Raceways   6/20/07 Hello Mr. Fenner, <Just Bob please Michael> Thank you for your response. We have not yet chosen a location so I am unsure of the size and number of units that will be incorporated into the set up. I hadn't even thought about looking into used items and will start to do so since as you mentioned this could be a great way to save. <Yes> Another thought that I have for the raceways would be to utilize a surge system for water movement within each of the units. <Interesting... most folks opt for more linear water movement by centrifugal pump action... airlifts are cheapest to employ... and Dick Perrin's "over-under" arrangement of elevation of specimens and water circulation is close to ideal for both culture and display purposes... Will the surging make it hard to view specimens? Maybe so...> My plan is also to stage the filtration and surge device over each raceway to maximize floor space. Do you foresee any disadvantages to this? <Better to isolate this material/gear under the holding tanks... "Water runs downhill (payday's on Fri.)"... the space above is expensive to not use otherwise in production... Look for totes... for sumps... used if poss.> Again, many thanks to you and the WWM crew! Best Regards, Michael. <Welcome my/our friend. BobF>

Re: Raceway.  6/20/07 Hello Bob, <Michael> Thank you for the recommendations. I have not seen an airlift used on the large scale. If this is a less expensive alternative it would certainly be worth looking into as keeping down on overhead is of great importance here. I have installed many rack systems that make use of the vertical. I have absolutely no experience with the raceways and was hoping to find a way to put the vertical to good use other than just hanging the light fixtures. I guess that I'm just a little paranoid about wasted space. <Raceways can be made to be two, three "layers"...> Do you have any other recommendations on maximizing floor space that will be used by the raceways? We are in New England and rent will likely be expensive! <I understand and have a bunch of such input. Do please feel free to send along a shop drawing of available space, the relative size of objects you'd like to place...> Per your recommendation I have contacted Red Ewald and have already received a list from them. This looks like it would be a good option if I am unable to find the appropriate used gear. <Yes... Do you have a recent catalog from Aquatic Ecosystems? www.aquaticeco.com/ Wonderful folks, and an amazing selection of gear for our and related pursuits> Again, many thanks Bob for all of your help here. Michael. <Glad to co-conspire with you. BobF> Broken Image Links  2/18/07 Mr. Fenner - <Joshua> I've been an admirer of your work for quite some time and I've recently been re-reading the business section of your website for tips.  Over the past several years I've gone from "fish store employee" to "freelance aquarist" and now I'm gathering as much information as I can as I'm looking into starting my own business sometime in the future. <Ahh!>   The purpose of this e-mail, however, is to let you know (in case you were unaware) that some of the image links in your business articles seem to be broken.  In particular the images in the article at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/pafarmstks.htm seem to all point to a directory that no longer exists.  I'm hoping this gets fixed as I'd quite like to see the examples listed. Thank you, Josh Adams <Thank you... Another "ghost in the machine"... will have to re-add. BobF>

Holding system manufacturers?  - 04/11/2006 Hello Bob,   Miguel from Fraggle Reef here, you guys have helped me out on several occasions, and I was wondering if you had any information on companies in the Los Angeles area or anywhere nearby that manufacture retail/wholesale holding systems?   <Mmm, yes> I know of rk2 systems, but Chris is apparently in the Colorado office, and I was looking to get the ball rolling immediately, and wanted to compare prices and services.  I was planning on making it a centralized system, in a relatively small area, holding system space for corals is 17'x18', so I wanted maximization of that space, and would put it together myself, all I needed was the actual raceways manufactured, along with the rk2 style smaller holding systems for inverts.  Thanks much for your time, it's very much appreciated, thanks! Sincerely, Miguel Fraggle Reef <Well, the Krechter's are very good at what they do, and friends... but their products are indeed pricey. Another couple of choices worth chatting with till you decide are Alan Lem at Advanced Aqua Tanks and Craig DeWalt at SeaClear/Tradewind/CASCO in Cerritos... A note also re checking around to see if some folks have some gear that they might want to sell used. I would call the large livestock wholesalers and ask their owners re this... Totes, tanks, even mechanicals and controllers can be had for much less... and really... does it matter much if they're scratched up a bit? Not to me. Now, if "price is no object"... Bob Fenner>

Re: Holding system manufacturers?  - 04/11/2006 Hello Bob,   Very true, I'd rather have a scratched up el cheapo tank than pay a premium for the same tank unscratched, I'll contact some of the wholesalers and see if they have extra gear, thanks much for the tip. <Certainly welcome. Works to all's advantage for you to have/use...> In the meantime I'll also contact Alan Lem and Craig DeWalt to get some pricing on the raceways, thanks again for your time Sincerely, Miguel <Real good. Do please send along pix once all is in process. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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