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Old 04-04-2013, 01:31 AM   #1
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Hydroelectricty

Has anyone tried or had thoughts of using hydroelectricity to power their fish room? I'm thinking about making a water wheel that will turn using the draining water from my fish tanks to turn an alternator which will store electric in old car batteries, which will in turn power my lights, heater, filters. Depending on the electrical output. I have been contemplating on how to make my fish room as "Eco friendly" as possible. Do you guys think it's possible to do something of this sort? I still have a lot of research to do, but I like the thought. an other green ideas and advice on hydroelectricity would be awesome! Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:11 AM   #2
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Hmm, I wonder if you could do something with the filter output and a wheel??

I've never thought about it until I saw this post, but it sounds like a plausible idea. Definitely interested to see other peoples input.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:16 AM   #3
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After seeing this post, I believe I may start researching this idea as well. I think with a sponge filter you could set up a mechanical motor that the bubbles will operate a wheel that will in turn operate a pump to regenerate the bubbles through the system. I created something similar to this once in college and maybe if I find the right box of notebooks I could be lucky enough to find my blueprints and notes.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:27 AM   #4
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Yeah, what if you put something on a biowheel filter, and hooked that to the plug of the biowheel. Therefore powering the biowheel for eternity! LOL
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:53 AM   #5
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You can't generate more power than what you are using, you can only reduce the power by recovering some of it. I think it'd be cool though, and it'd cut back on the power bill some (not sure how much). Another thing you can do is hook up a solar cell to run simple filtration or charge batteries.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:58 AM   #6
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I'm hoping I can use it to even run just my lights. That would be awesome! The only thing that would be using electricity to power the wheel would be my rerun pump. Also, if you find your blue prints, I would love to see what your ideas were.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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If you have an under tank sump u could put a propeller in the down pipe and use that to generate electricity
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:33 PM   #8
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I'm all about wild ideas but don't forget the power you get from water that YOU pumped will always be a good bit less then the power the pump used. No free power. Any heat is power lost, any pipe friction is power lost and turning motion into electric is either very expensive or excessively wasteful, something you can't afford in such a micro sized system. I'd still build something to test your idea, you'll learn so much from it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:43 AM   #9
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On Doomsday Preppers, the tv show, a couple in Va used a paddle wheel and car alternator to charge batteries. It was about the size of a large wheel barrel. The stream was only a small one and they got enough power to charge several large batteries and run their refrigerator. You might not be able to run a whole house but you should be able to get some return.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
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I'm an alternative energy guy myself. And I'll help with any part that I can or you would like. I'm just stating a realistic expectation, if you are burning 500 watts an hour to move the water with pumps your generator output would have to be 500w minus losses. It's all doable, from a full DIY geny build to modding an existing motor or buying a premade brushless thats 99% efficient , then just make it spin. I say build on.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:10 PM   #11
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"In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

In all seriousness, while some power recovery is possible, it probably isn't worth the effort. The time and cost investment might not be worth the $5 monthly energy savings... but if it is just more for fun and you like tinkering, then have at it!
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:01 AM   #12
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I have thought about this too. Setting it up with an overflow and even using solar panel as a background for when the lights are on. The solar panel may even be all one would need with a car battery...?
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:18 AM   #13
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Solar panels are a great option. Sites such as Harbor Freight have great deals on solar kits. I use solar lights to light my yard and I am working on making a solar charge station for our numerous power outages.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:30 PM   #14
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I think solar is a wonderful idea as well. But in Alaska with little to no sun in the winter, wind is a better option.
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:38 PM   #15
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If you are already running a return pump then yes you could recoup a small fraction but is that really worth the effort? If no return pump currently spending a buck to make a penny just doesn't add up.

Would be a fun build just to see what you could effectively do however.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:34 PM   #16
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A perpetual motion aquarium huh?
Even if you were only interested in getting some of the energy back, it is going to be a very small amount. Perhaps enough for a very small LED. I don't think the energy or cost saved or environment saved is going to worth the monetary cost or effort and time required. Any environmental benefits will be off set by environmental costs of the manufacturing of materials used..

You can't use a photo-voltaic cell to make energy for the light that is the source of the light. You can't make energy from moving water to move water that is the source of the energy. Same for heat from heat. You're just not going to get enough energy from the limited amount of moving water to power any electrical device.

Your best efforts would be directed to making best use of primary energy source; insulating tanks, insulating and temperature controlling entire room; using efficient pumps; larger compressor, storage tank and distribution valves for air; using larger centralized water filtration and distribution where possible; one long light bar for several tanks; etc. One larger heater, pump, compressor, or light uses less energy, produces more effect than several smaller ones.( Two 50w bulbs use more electricity produce less light than one 100w) For maximum environmental effects obtain main energy from "greener " source.

But "just for fun" you could power some very small novelty thing from small a hydro-electric generator.

"In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" Come on over to my house. On weekends sometimes we defy the laws of gravity. No success in actually breaking them yet, but lots of defiance.
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