Tony's DIY WC Contraption
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
Tony F
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Tony's DIY WC Contraption


Got tired of having to call my grandson to help with water changes, him outside turning water on and me holding hose in tank. So I come up with this contraption. OK, so it's not ground breaking (and I'm sure someone else has already done it) but I am a compulsive tinkerer.

steps to use it:
  • place contraption on tank rim, make sure both valves are closed.
  • run clear hose to discharge (out window on grass) and white hose to water supply (outdoor hose bib). Making sure both ball valves are closed, turn on water supply.
  • Open ball valve on discharge side, open ball valve on fill side. As soon as clear hose fills with water (15 - 30 seconds) close ball valve on fill side. Tank is now siphoning.
  • Siphon to desired level, close ball valve on discharge.
  • Open ball valve on fill side, fill to desired level. Close valve.
  • Disconnect and store for next weekend.
I plan on putting an air release valve on top to empty hoses of water before removal.
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:14 PM   #2
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That is a nice neat hose arrangement, as long as the hoses don't have to be extremely long. Really long hoses would tend to get tangled up, I think. You know this can be done with only one hose, but then the valves have to be out next to the hose bib, not at the tank, which I found to be a nuisance. You can do without the air bleed valve if you first disconnect the hose from the hose bib, then with both valves open, just raise the "spray bar" from the tank to let air in.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:14 PM   #3
Tony F
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My supply hose is 25 ft, the discharge is 10 ft. I purposely positioned the tank to be able to fill and drain out a window. I live on acreage, so that's not an issue.

When filling is complete I shut the fill ball valve at the tank. Then I go outside and shut the hose bib, but I can't disconnect from the hose bib because I still have pressure between the hose bib and the fill ball valve. So I have to go back in, open the fill ball valve to relieve the pressure in the hose, then go back outside to disconnect at the hose bib. An air release valve won't do anything to avoid the second trip out. Hmmm, gonna have to think about this for awhile .............

The best part of it is it eliminates spillage. I did a water change this morning with almost no water on the floor!

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Old 08-22-2011, 09:42 PM   #4
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An extra valve at the hose bib will solve your problems good sir! Should be able to pick one up at your local garden center, or order it from amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-58248-Ga...4049214&sr=8-3
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshinetheslacker View Post
An extra valve at the hose bib will solve your problems good sir! Should be able to pick one up at your local garden center, or order it from amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-58248-Ga...4049214&sr=8-3
That's a good idea! I have one of those in plastic, and it has worked for years with no problems - about 15 years calendar time, and half that in actual use. But, won't you still need to go back to the tank and open the valve and lift the "spray bar" to break the siphon?
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:09 PM   #6
Tony F
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OK, Moonshine just eliminated the second trip outside........ shut the hose bib flow, open both valves on the splitter to release the pressure in the hose, disconnect from hose bib.

Then, the air release valve I originally planned will break the siphon.

Viola, By George I thinks we got it !!

Last edited by Tony F; 08-22-2011 at 10:11 PM.. Reason: hit wrong key & posted before I finished!
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:19 PM   #7
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I've got a couple of questions...I've been using a python and it is great...way better than buckets...but I don't like the tremendous amount of water wasted generating the siphon. This looks greats and I think I could probably handle building something like that...maybe.

How do you control temperature? I do 50% water changes so if the water going in isn't at least close to the temp of the water in the tank I could get a big temp swing. I suppose that I could still hook it up to the tap instead of an outdoor bib and then I would have better temp control. Does that sound right?

Second question...what about de-gassing the water? I was under the impression that this was necessary and generally happens with agitation. Since your fill method seems to have little in the way of agitation, how do you deal with gas saturation in the water. Or is this not as big a problem as I am led to believe?

Thanks for the great idea!
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatPeekin View Post

Second question...what about de-gassing the water? I was under the impression that this was necessary and generally happens with agitation. Since your fill method seems to have little in the way of agitation, how do you deal with gas saturation in the water. Or is this not as big a problem as I am led to believe?

Thanks for the great idea!
Depends who you ask. There will be some who haven't had an issue, they routinely fill without degassing and have no problems. Others who have had problems. I have seen the effect of gas saturation in fish- horrible. I always de-gas now, but honestly I think it all depends on your water source. Some sources have a higher concentration than others. Water from a hot water tank will likely have a higher concentration of gas micro-bubbles in it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatPeekin View Post
I've got a couple of questions...I've been using a python and it is great...way better than buckets...but I don't like the tremendous amount of water wasted generating the siphon. This looks greats and I think I could probably handle building something like that...maybe.
You don't have to use the water supply source (sink, shower, hose bib, etc) to initiate/keep the siphon, especially if you're draining to a point lower than the tank.

Two things to try:
1) fill the python hose with water prior to placing the end in the tank. Close the valves and position tube in tank/drain, open valves and it should start flowing.

2) with python drain lower than the tank, place the siphon tube underwater so that the suction tube fills with water. lift tube straight up so it's above the lip of the tank and the water should start flowing. lower the tube back into the water before it empties out and air gets in the line and you should be good. You can then invert the tube (once it fills back up) and vacuum, etc.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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I run a hose out the window to the ground and place the vacuum end in the aquarium. Fill the vacuum end full of water and lift it out of the water until it starts flowing out, then plung the end back under the water. It starts the siphon and no water is wasted.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:34 PM   #11
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Unless it is from a well..... how do you dechlorinate to avoid killing the BB in your filter and harming the fish... if you do not have to dechlorinate... lucky you!! I may asking the same thing as before if dechlorinating is the same as degassing...
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:44 PM   #12
Tony F
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Well water, no dechlorination required. Gassing has not been an issue. I fill slowly, the external heater keeps the temp +- 2 degrees at most


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Old 08-30-2011, 12:18 AM   #13
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As far as temperature goes, I just adjust the incoming water based on feel. Fish likely experience significant rapid changes in temperature in the wild. For example, if a fish rapidly descends from shallow water into deep water, the temperature will be quite different. I try to keep the incoming water a little cooler than the tank temperature. Maybe the fish think it is a spring shower.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #14
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I have one similar to that made from PVC. I only have one hose though, and my ball valve screws on rather than being glued in. I've sized it so that when the short side is in the tank the siphon runs dry when a 40% water change is complete, and then I move the drain hose to my water source and reverse it. I also use the water source to prime it. With the long side in it 90% drains the tank. In my case I have a corner filter, so I set it behind that to avoid fish getting in. I suspect a foam filter intake would also solve this issue.
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