Help On Automatic Water Removal
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:32 PM   #1
Miasmictruth
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Help On Automatic Water Removal


I want to add a continuous water change system to one of my tanks. The problem is there is no drain that is convenient so I will have to pump out the water periodically.

I have most of the system thought out in my head. My hang up at the moment is what is the safest way to trigger the pump and what pump and floats ect I need.

My idea is to drain into a 5 gallon tank as I will only be draining 5-10 gallons a day tops. So would want to trigger a pump with a float and have a back up float that would shut down incoming water if the pump failed to trigger.

I am sure this has been done 100 times so if someone knows a simple safe set up to this could you point me in the right direction. So far what I have found in my searches seems less then ideal. However if there isn't a better solution that I suppose I will go with that.

Thanks again for all your help!
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
jflng
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I stuck a cheap bilge pump in a small plastic tub. Old aquarium water enters from the PVC and is routed elsewhere through the hose when the pump activates:


Works great!
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:22 PM   #3
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I've had good luck with these type of float sensors for auto top-off



They're really cheap, and mine have been reliable for ~3 years. You can put 2 in for each parameter you're trying to monitor for added safety. If they fail, I think they commonly fail in the "open" state. You can put them in series or parallel depending on what type of safety margin you want, or if you use some sort of microcontroller (arduino, etc.) you can program some good safety measures in also.



Works great![/quote]

This is a really good setup. The only thing about those float valves meant for boats is that they're not designed to be submerged all the time. They'll start to get corrosion and algae buildup on the internal electrical mechanisms, but it looks like in your setup it just pumps all the water out as soon as it comes in.
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Old 11-28-2014, 02:50 PM   #4
Miasmictruth
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Thanks! This is perfect, exactly what I am going for.

Do you by any chance have a name, part number, company or anything like that on the senors and pump?

Also does the pump have its own built in sensor and runs stand alone, or do you have to wire a sensor to it?
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:19 PM   #5
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There will be many different pumps and controls that might work. One point to consider on the pump is how high and how far the water has to be pumped. While bilge pumps as mentioned are good for pumping when it does not have to pump high, they tend to be less powerful when compared to a 110VAC pump. It is somewhat harder to get a strong 12VDC pump and supply to do a heavy job.
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Old 11-28-2014, 06:00 PM   #6
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Just wondering what you thought about using a Condensate Pump if I had the tank sectioned off like a sump so it had some prefiltering?

I have a small one attached to my heating and air conditioning system that seems to work well enough now that I think about it.
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Old 11-28-2014, 06:01 PM   #7
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I'm not at home to check right now, but I think I got a Johnson 500gph bilge pump from BassPro, and whatever cheap float switch that was next to it in the store. I think it was 24VDC, but I could be wrong about that. I just added an AC/DC adapter I had lying around so I could plug it in.

I never considered the possibility of corrosion buildup on the float switch that PhysicsDude referred to. It was a cheap part, so that could be a concern. It's been going strong for about a year+, though, and it always sits in an inch or so of water. No problems thus far, but maybe I should inspect it to make sure all is well.

I have the output running about 10 feet in length and 3-4 feet up, and it has more than enough power for that.

Total cost was somewhere between $35-$45
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:00 PM   #8
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I think bilge pumps have at least as much head as most aquarium pumps. The bilge pump that I have running my auto top off is rated for 550 gph, and it pumps water about 6 feet vertically to my tank. I fill my ATO reservoir directly from my sink faucet via a 10 foot hose, and the bilge pump can pump the water into my tank faster than my sink faucet can fill up the reservoir.

I prefer the bilge pumps because I think the impellers are tougher (made for nasty bilge water!) and because with a system that has to activate pumps via relays, I preferred 12V over 120V for safety reasons.

Petco sells pretty good 120v pumps which have 1/2" threads on the input and output which makes them easy to use, and they're like $12 for the smaller one(200 gph?), and $20 for the larger one (300gph?). I have a few of each that I've used over the years with good success. They're not super powerful, the smaller one can barely pump 6 feet of head, but the larger one has a decent flow at 6 feet of head, not as much as my bilge pump but not far off.

Here's a good $20 bilge pump with integrated float switch:
Amazon.com : Seaflo Automatic Submersible Boat Bilge Water Pump 12v 750gph Auto with Float Switch-new : Bilge Pumps For Boats : Sports & Outdoors Amazon.com : Seaflo Automatic Submersible Boat Bilge Water Pump 12v 750gph Auto with Float Switch-new : Bilge Pumps For Boats : Sports & Outdoors


Petco pumps: (looks like they're on sale online)
http://www.petco.com/product/109837/...escription-tab

Quote:
Originally Posted by jflng View Post
I never considered the possibility of corrosion buildup on the float switch that PhysicsDude referred to. It was a cheap part, so that could be a concern. It's been going strong for about a year+, though, and it always sits in an inch or so of water. No problems thus far, but maybe I should inspect it to make sure all is well.
With an inch or so of water I don't think you'll have any issues. Mine is in a auto top off reservoir, where its constantly submerged in water. It still works after 3 years, but I can tell the inside of the float switch has water in it and isn't as sensitive as it used to be, but I haven't had any issues yet. I keep telling myself I should replace it, but have just been too lazy to do so.
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Old 11-29-2014, 03:49 PM   #9
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I understand the use of 12VDC for safety and agree with that thinking. I just wanted to mention that different pumps will work better for different height of "head". The right 12VDC will be good but it is something the check before buying. Some will be designed to pump a few feet up out of the bottom of a small boat and may not work if asked to pump up out of a basement.
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Old 11-29-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
I understand the use of 12VDC for safety and agree with that thinking. I just wanted to mention that different pumps will work better for different height of "head". The right 12VDC will be good but it is something the check before buying. Some will be designed to pump a few feet up out of the bottom of a small boat and may not work if asked to pump up out of a basement.
Yes that's very true.

also to consider is that bilge pumps are not meant for 24/7 operation, and so if you used them like an aquarium pump, they would fail pretty quickly, and they probably burn themselves out if there is blockage. Aquarium pumps are higher quality all around, which also makes the bilge pumps cheaper for how powerful they are.
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:14 PM   #11
joe the fish
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Wink Continous water problem

Hello, you need a low water cut off switch, it works on pressure so nothing to get stuck and pump burn out......also I would put an overflow with a second pump basically 2 exact same systems.......its better to spend a few extra bucks and be safe rather than screw up whatever is on your floors......
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