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Q:  What pieces are required to set up a flex-tube system for one cage?
A:    1) one water valve (multiple valves are usually not required for large cages)
        2) one valve clip (connects valve to cage)
        3) one barbed tee
        4) one or two stand-offs (stand-offs should be placed every 18 inches)

Q: What do I need to set up an automatic watering system for small animals?
A:  1)Drinking Valve  2)Tubing or Piping  3)Water Supply

Q: Which drinking valve should I use?
A: The Edstrom Standard valve is best suited for rabbits.   The Edstrom Variflo valve is best suited for gerbils, hamsters, mice & rats.

Q: What kind of tubing or piping should I use?
A:  1) The 3/16" flex-tubing works on cage rows upto 50 feet long.  
The 3/8" flex-tubing works on cage rows upto 100 feet long.  
3/16" tubing is required on 3/8" runs for the tubing that runs from the distribution line to the valve.  For this you will also need the 3/8"x3/16"x3/8" tees.
one bucket.
Flex-tubing can be cut with scissors and is easy to install by just pushing it onto the tees.  Stand-offs are recommended with flex-tubing.  These hold the tubing away from the cage so the animals cannot chew it.
2) PVC pipe can be used in cage rows upto 200 feet long.  It can be cut and glued together.

Q: How many valves can I operate off a bucket or pressure regulator?
A:  One bucket can operate upto 75 valves.  One pressure regulator can operate upto 600 valves.

Q:  What should I use for my water supply?
A:  1) You can use a bucket with a tank connector.  Tank connectors come with a 3/16" barb for the 3/16" tubing.  If you are using the 3/8" tubing you will need to purchase a 3/8" barb.
You can purchase a float for your bucket and have constant water supply.
2)  You can use a pressure regulator.  The pressure regulator comes with a 3/16" & 3/8" barb.  It can also be plumbed to PVC piping.  This give you a constant supply.  If you need to add medications you will have to connect to a bucket.  A filter is recommended for use with pressure regulators.

Q:  What pieces are required to set up a flex-tube system for one cage?
A:    1) one water valve (multiple valves are not required for large cages)
        2) one valve clip (connects valve to cage)
        3) one barbed tee
        4) one or two stand-offs (stand-offs should be placed every 18 inches)

Q:  Are there any other parts required?
A:  A drain valve at the end of each line allows for flushing your system.  
You will need to flush out the air to begin with and then it is a good idea to flush your system once a month with bleach water to sanitize it.

Q: Sanitizing?
A: Sanitizing the Plumbing System For household potable water systems it is a good plumbing practice to sanitize the lines on start-up to eliminate bacteria in the pipelines. This is also a good practice to follow for your Automated Watering System. Sanitization of the lines can be easily done by filling them with a chlorine solution and allowing them to stand for at least 30 minutes. It is recommended that the chlorine solution have a concentration of 5 to 10 parts per million (ppm). This will not harm the animals/birds if they should drink it. You can easily prepare a chlorine solution by mixing household chlorine bleach and water. A solution of teaspoon per 7 gallons water will produce a solution of approximately 5ppm. The method of filling your pipelines with the sanitizing solution will depend on the water supply method you are using. If a Storage Tank is used, you can fill it directly with the sanitizing solution. If a Float Tank is used, the fresh water supply must be shut off and then the tank must be filled with the solution. Once you have sanitizing solution as your water supply, you should flush each line (including the line going to the valve) just long enough to fill it with the solution. Then allow the system to sit for at least 30 minutes before flushing the lines with fresh water. Doing this once a month is advised.

Q: How do animals learn to drink from the water valves?
A:  Most animals can sense the water and will learn to drink quickly.  If your animal is having difficulty, I recommend just pushing on the stem a couple times to make the valve drip some water.  They will usually figure it out right away.  If not, I recommend using a vari-flo valve.  These do not require as much force to actuate and I have had great success using these with slow to learn rabbits.  Eventually I can place them on a standard valve.

Any other questions, please email us at

click on pictures to see variflo and standard valves and to see how to setup your automatic watering system.

variflo valve          standard valve     valve on cage      flex tube system     PVC system
edstrom_variflovalve.jpg (141896 bytes)    edstrom_standardvalve.jpg (87155 bytes)    edstrom_valve_oncage.jpg (79750 bytes)    edstrom_flextubesystem.jpg (43025 bytes)      
edstrom_pvcsystem.jpg (66165 bytes)

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