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View Full Version : OT, glass sight gauge for water tank?



The Artful Bodger
02-21-2012, 03:28 PM
Hi, we have a ground level water tank for collection of rain water from the roof which is used for the garden etc. It is not used for drinking (but if we ever have an emergency, earthquake etc, we may need to).

I would like a means of determining water level without taking the lid off the tank and it would be even better to do it remotely.

I have concluded the most practical method is with a vertical sight glass which will connect to the collection pipes which always hold water to the level of the water in the tank.

Now the question, what can I do to the sight glass to avoid it gunging up inside with green growth or whatever? I thought that I could pour a bit of bleach in the pipe without compromising the quality of the tank water? Something like a spoonfull, the tank holds 7000 litres but I imagine a little tipped in the sight gauge will barely if ever mix with the tank water.

Maybe something better than bleach?

No, I dont want a dip stick on the tank, nor an ultrasonic remote reading electronic gauge. I really think a sight tube is appropriate if I can solve the likely issue of the water in the tube growing stuff and getting all gunged up.

Thanks for your comments.

bollie7
02-21-2012, 03:36 PM
T.A.B
what about having an isolating valve for the sight glass and a drain valve so you can drain it periodically to keep it clean. You could also fit a float painted a highly visible colour. Something like a ping pong ball (if your sight glass tube is big enough in dia) painted fluro pink or something.

regards
bollie7

rohart
02-21-2012, 03:37 PM
And a bit of anti-freeze for good measure ?

For the old-fashoined approach, a large estate house near us has its original water tower. There is a float in the tower, connected by wire and pulleys: float, up to pulley, down to pulley at ground level, up to pulley* ten feet up, down to counterbalance weight.

The pointer is on the part with an asterisk, and reads directly from a real size scale.

Alternatively, you could use one of those new laser rangefinders, if you could interface to it.

Prospect
02-21-2012, 03:51 PM
Hi, In the dugout we have on the farm where we raise some trout we have to add packages of blue dye to the water periodically to reduce the growth of algea. It reduces the available light. Plants don't like it but it doesn't hurt the fish. I wonder if you add some food colouring or blueing to the water if that would help. John

millwrong
02-21-2012, 03:53 PM
You're right, a sight glass will gunge up over time. Also, it's breakable so not the best for outdoors.They also require valves for the cleaning process, unless tank drainage is ok? A simple float attached to a rod that pokes out of a guide port in the tank lid will provide all the remote viewing you might need.

macona
02-21-2012, 04:00 PM
Hi, In the dugout we have on the farm where we raise some trout we have to add packages of blue dye to the water periodically to reduce the growth of algea. It reduces the available light. Plants don't like it but it doesn't hurt the fish. I wonder if you add some food colouring or blueing to the water if that would help. John

I don't think that was blue dye, probably copper sulphate. It is used to keep algae down in stock ponds. It is used therapeutically in aquariums for some disease control on fish as well.

NOT what you want to use on a garden.

Some bromide tables probably won't hurt. I have always drained my hot tub on the grass and never hut things.

Toolguy
02-21-2012, 04:52 PM
You could install an elbow in the top of the tank pointing down and a ball valve or other type valve near the bottom pointing up. Thread a hose barb into each one. Connect them with a clear plastic hose. Leave the valve open to see water level. Close valve to remove hose for cleaning or replacement.

Duffy
02-21-2012, 04:52 PM
Where you have water and light, you will have algae. IF you found a pair of boiler gauge glass valve assemblies and the glass tube, at a give-away price, you would STILL have to clean it. The rod on a float is far and away the most expedient solution.

Weston Bye
02-21-2012, 05:02 PM
The rod and float gets my vote, too. You could enclose the rod on the outside the tank with a glass or acrylic tube, plug the top and put a little pennant on top for wind direction.

john11668
02-21-2012, 05:57 PM
Normond hydrostatic gauge is very effective !

http://www.whitbytanks.co.uk/normond-hydrostatic-gauge.php

Prospect
02-21-2012, 06:12 PM
[QUOTE=macona]I don't think that was blue dye, probably copper sulphate. It is used to keep algae down in stock ponds. It is used therapeutically in aquariums for some disease control on fish as well.

NOT what you want to use on a garden.

Hi again, No the blue dye is not copper sulphate. I know that for a fact. It is a food grade dye as in food colouring, but I don't know exactly what. John

wmgeorge
02-21-2012, 07:38 PM
A magnet and float inside a thin PVC pipe with a sheet metal ring around the PVC pipe on the outside, painted red or whatever. Magnet / float is always on top of the water, and the metal ring outside follows....

firbikrhd1
02-21-2012, 09:15 PM
If you do choose to use a sight "glass" instead of the other suggestions, I suggest using a Plexiglas tube rather than glass. We had glass tubes originally on fire apparatus and they broke regularly until we went to Plexi ones.

I agree with what others have said about algae and grunge building up inside the tube. In an attempt to reduce water level gauge problems with electronic gauges on apparatus we went to sight tubes. The tubes we had got a coating inside them with regularity (approximately monthly) even though the water in the tanks was changed (used) very frequently (sometimes several times a day) and the apparatus parked indoors out of sunlight when not on calls. The water in our tanks was from hydrants which are a part of the municipal drinking water system so the water was chlorinated. Even so, eventually we still had algae issues in the tubes.

Eventually we went back to electronic "sight gauges" with lights for the quarter levels. They had their share of issues as well. My opinion is that nothing you use will be trouble free in the long term without regular maintenance.

Although it's not the most convenient, the most reliable method of insuring water levels is by looking directly into the tank or using a dip stick.

The Artful Bodger
02-21-2012, 09:41 PM
Thanks everyone and a special thanks to wmgeorge....



A magnet and float inside a thin PVC pipe with a sheet metal ring around the PVC pipe on the outside, painted red or whatever. Magnet / float is always on top of the water, and the metal ring outside follows....

Thats what I will do as I can put the PVC pipe remote from the tank and it will not require any regular maintenance.