Water changes: tips, tricks and suggestions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes: tips, tricks and suggestions

Greetings Everyone,

I will be starting my first planted tank in the next couple weeks. I plan to use the EI fertilizer dosing method, and therefore will be doing ~50% water changes weekly. Coming from the reef aquarium world, where 10% weekly water changes are considered "frequent", this 50% per week thing has got me thinking. Many of you have tanks in the 40-60 gallon range, and must be changing out 20-30 gallons per week (more if you have multiple tanks). Assuming that many of these tanks are displayed in living areas far away from a water source and drain, lugging around that much water every week must be a huge PIA. Also, water changes of that size must require that you match the water temperature closely, which can be difficult unless you have a reservoir of water someplace where you pre-treat it for temperature, alkalinity, etc...

I figured that some of you with larger tanks and/or multiple tanks have come up with some clever methods for doing water changes. So, if you have some clever way to avoid carrying five gallon buckets of water and sloshing it around the house every weekend, I want to hear about it. Post pictures and let us know how you have made your weekly water change as painless as possible!

Thanks!

Cheers,
TMQ
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Last edited by Mighty Quinn; 12-17-2018 at 12:33 PM. Reason: grammar
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 02:22 PM
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I use an Aqueon water changer. My nearest sink is probably 50 feet away but I just bought some extra tubing at Home Depot to make it longer. I actually run it outside to drain, just to get a little more elevation difference so it drains more quickly. And then I connect it up to my sink to fill back up. For temperature I just have a cheap TDS meter that does temperature too. So I just adjust the faucet until it's the temp I want and then I flip the switch to start filling the tank. I use straight tap water, not RO, so that works for me. RO water would be harder to deal with. Others might have tips for that.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 02:38 PM
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I use a Python (virtually the same thing as the Aqueon). I drain the tank water into my bathtub and then hook it to my sink, but before filling up the tank, I adjust the hot and cold to get within a degree or two of the tank. Once the water is matched, I fill up the tank, adding Prime right when the tank starts filling (treating for tank volume). This hasn't disrupted my biological filtration whatsoever nor has it done any harm to the livestock. As the tank is filling, I add my GH booster and once it's filled, I add my dry fertilizers. Without trimming, it only takes me about 30 minutes every Saturday to complete a water change.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 03:51 PM
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For me I drain the water right out the window the tanks are next to (1st floor) into the garden. Then I use the bathroom sink, which is right across from the room I have the tanks in, to fill back up. What I do is replace the fitting on the sink with on that a 5/8 RV hose will hook to, and run the hose to the tank (25' hose). I do not have anything fancy for water temp, I just use the hand test at this point. Pretty quick and efficient if you have the setup for it!



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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 03:57 PM
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The Python has been the best invention in fish keeping in the past 30 years.
I change out appx 160 gallons weekly between all my tanks.
If I didn't have a Python this would not be possible for me.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:15 PM
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At this point, I use a python for filling the tanks on the first floor, after attaching to kitchen sink. The 90 is drained via siphon to toilet or deck, while the two little tanks (10 and 6) are siphoned into a bucket. The time to change the 90 alone is almost an hour due to much lower water pressure at kitchen sink.

In basement, the 180 and 125 are both drained with siphon outside. For these tanks, I built a U shaped PVC drain that fits over the rim and down to approx half the depth. This makes draining set and forget. One of the hoses is a python 1/2", the other is 5/8" and there is a big performance difference between the two. A couple of years ago, I had my plumber add hot and cold taps in the basement at the water heater. I connect the larger hose to the spigot at the water heater through a washing machine Y adapter. Turn hot and cold on to approx the right temp and fill. Just timed it, and for the two big tanks and a 20 it took less than an hour and a half to do 50% changes on all 3. I can cut off some additional time by getting another 5/8" hose.

In all tanks, the water conditioner is added when I walk back over to the tank after turning on the hose. I've tried adding it all at once at beginning, spreading the addition throughout the fill, and at the end (lapse in memory). Currently just add it all at beginning.

180g - Tropheus Bemba, Syno Petricola
125g - Planted SA Community, Firemouths & Acaras
90g - High Tech Planted
20g - low tech planted
6g - Eheim low tech nano planted
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
I use a Python (virtually the same thing as the Aqueon). I drain the tank water into my bathtub and then hook it to my sink, but before filling up the tank, I adjust the hot and cold to get within a degree or two of the tank. Once the water is matched, I fill up the tank, adding Prime right when the tank starts filling (treating for tank volume). This hasn't disrupted my biological filtration whatsoever nor has it done any harm to the livestock. As the tank is filling, I add my GH booster and once it's filled, I add my dry fertilizers. Without trimming, it only takes me about 30 minutes every Saturday to complete a water change.
This is exactly what I do, and it works well. I also recommend getting the "hook" attachment for the python. It makes filling the tank easier.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:59 PM
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Same here. I use Python for drain outside in the patio and to fill again connected to my kitchen sink. Works awesome making easier to work with.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your responses! This has been tremendously helpful. As a former saltwater guy, the concept of putting water directly into the tank from the tap is quite foreign to me, as is adding the de-chlorinator treatment directly to the tank. Sounds easy enough. I will definitely invest in one of those Python water changers!

Thanks Again!
TMQ
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Last edited by Mighty Quinn; 12-18-2018 at 12:57 AM. Reason: grammar
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2018, 10:56 PM
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I use RO water and add GH and KH booster to get to 4˚ for each. My local water is far to hard to run straight into the tank. I found a water softener brine tank that I use to store water in. I have it in the basement utility room and run the RO filter straight into it with a float valve to shut it off when full. I then have a heater and power head in the tank to bring it up to temp. I have a long 5/8" vinyl hose that I first use to drain my tanks either outside or into the basement floor drain. I then use the same hose and a transfer pump to pump water from the storage tank into the aquariums. My storage tanks holds about 50gal. I found mine on the curb but I bet if you go by any shop that installs water softeners they throw out some every day. You'll have to plug a couple of holes in the sides (hot glue and a piece of milk jug on the inside) and I then drilled a hole near the bottom and installed a bulkhead fitting.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-19-2018, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mighty Quinn View Post
Thank you everyone for your responses! This has been tremendously helpful. As a former saltwater guy, the concept of putting water directly into the tank from the tap is quite foreign to me, as is adding the de-chlorinator treatment directly to the tank. Sounds easy enough. I will definitely invest in one of those Python water changers!

Thanks Again!
TMQ
Another tip, if have fish make sure to stuff the python end with sponge material or the like to ensure have no problems with micro-bubbles- they can stress fish over the long-term and even kill fish that are sensitive in one exposure. With the sponge at end of the hard plastic tube, the micro-bubbles are forced together to come out the end larger and then they rise to top of water line and burst.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2018, 07:05 PM
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Another vote for the Python here. Just one thing I cannot stress enough, NEVER LEAVE IT UNATTENDED!


Can't tell you how many times I've gotten distracted until I hear water hitting the floor! But back then I was flooding a basement with floor drains so it wasn't AS terrible. These days, on wood floors, I make sure to stand there and watch the entire time. I've come close, playing on my phone, looking up and having to sprint to shut off the faucet in time.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2018, 07:34 PM
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Another vote for the Python here. Just one thing I cannot stress enough, NEVER LEAVE IT UNATTENDED!





Can't tell you how many times I've gotten distracted until I hear water hitting the floor! But back then I was flooding a basement with floor drains so it wasn't AS terrible. These days, on wood floors, I make sure to stand there and watch the entire time. I've come close, playing on my phone, looking up and having to sprint to shut off the faucet in time.


I usually have my wife standing at the faucet so she can turn it off lol


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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-20-2018, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Mighty Quinn View Post
Greetings Everyone,

I will be starting my first planted tank in the next couple weeks. I plan to use the EI fertilizer dosing method, and therefore will be doing ~50% water changes weekly. Coming from the reef aquarium world, where 10% weekly water changes are considered "frequent", this 50% per week thing has got me thinking. Many of you have tanks in the 40-60 gallon range, and must be changing out 20-30 gallons per week (more if you have multiple tanks). Assuming that many of these tanks are displayed in living areas far away from a water source and drain, lugging around that much water every week must be a huge PIA. Also, water changes of that size must require that you match the water temperature closely, which can be difficult unless you have a reservoir of water someplace where you pre-treat it for temperature, alkalinity, etc...

I figured that some of you with larger tanks and/or multiple tanks have come up with some clever methods for doing water changes. So, if you have some clever way to avoid carrying five gallon buckets of water and sloshing it around the house every weekend, I want to hear about it. Post pictures and let us know how you have made your weekly water change as painless as possible!

Thanks!

Cheers,
TMQ
I can certainly understand your hesitation at changing 30+ gallons of water every week using 5 gallon buckets. Been there once, never again. While my current method is not for everybody, it does work very well.

If you look at the first few pictures of my build thread below you will see what I ended up with. Basically, I built a floor drain in the stand, right under my main tank. I also have hot and cold water plumbed directly into the stand. Sitting in the bottom of the stand is a 20g tank (think salt water sump). I fill this 20g tank up with tap water and can temperature match it to the water in the display tank. While this is happening, I drain water from the display tank right into the floor drain.
Once the 20g tank is full, I add the de-chlorinator (Prime) then pump the water up into the display tank. About as easy as I could come up with.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-21-2018, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Basically, I built a floor drain in the stand, right under my main tank. I also have hot and cold water plumbed directly into the stand. Sitting in the bottom of the stand is a 20g tank (think salt water sump). I fill this 20g tank up with tap water and can temperature match it to the water in the display tank. While this is happening, I drain water from the display tank right into the floor drain.
Once the 20g tank is full, I add the de-chlorinator (Prime) then pump the water up into the display tank. About as easy as I could come up with.
That is really awesome! I love it! Thanks for sharing!
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