Bucket elimination - feedback appreciated - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2004, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Bucket elimination - feedback appreciated

I posted this on another forum so I appologize to those who read this twice.

I live in an area that the water is very inconsistent. I deceided to get RO/DI so I could have stable water. I hooked up my RO/DI unit in my garage because that was the only place I had space. I intend to use straight RO/DI mixed with R/O-Right for my tank. My RO/DI is approximately 15-20ft from my tank.

I was brainstorming about a future project(s) and I wanted to get some feed back on them to see if you think they are feasible and to get any ideas or suggestions you may have.

Project 1 - Tank filling
Put a small tank/holding container in the garage
hook up a float switch from the RO/DI unit to the container
hook up a pump to the container capable of pumping water directly in to the main tank
run a pipe from the pump to the tank (my tank is on an exterior wall with a crawl space underneath so plumbing this should be relatively simple)
put a heater in the container
prepare the water with R/O Right & heat to main tank temp
gravel vac the main tank
flip a switch that would start the pump
I am not looking at wanting to create a fully automated water change system but just something that would make things easier.

Project 2 - Tank cleaning / water the plants (I like this idea but I'm not sure about this one)
Place a rubbermaid container/garbage can outside right on the other side of tank
Plumb a pipe from behind the tank to the container outside
Figure out a way to siphon from gravel vac in to the pipe filing the container outside
connect some kind of pump to the container outside
install a drip irrgation system that originates from the pump and waters my yard/plants
connect a second line from a nearby faucet to the drip irrigation
it would be really cool if I could automate this system to turn on the pump and water at a preset time and if the container was empty to pull the water from the faucet and turn off the pump (I was thinking float switch & solenoid or something like that).
I have no power along that wall outside so if anyone has any creative ideas to get around this issue. I was figuring push come to shove it could come through the wall from inside.

Sorry for the long winded post but once my brain gets going.......
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2004, 10:34 PM
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It could definitely work, especially w/the tank filling. Just need a strong enough pump to push water back into the tank (heating it and checking the water parameters on it every once in awhile is a great idea). Depending on how much tubing you're gonna use, this can be expensive.

For Project 2, it sounds very similar to an overflow system in saltwater. Most of this could be done through gravity, once set up (might require some drilling, or an overflow), although you'll have to rig it in some way to work w/a gravel vac.

My only concern w/these two projects is that in time, if the source of water isn't kept covered, you might end up w/swarms of mosquitos.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2004, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibn
My only concern w/these two projects is that in time, if the source of water isn't kept covered, you might end up w/swarms of mosquitos.
Hmmm.... West nile virus production facility.....

Ok. Both containers need covers, check. Thanks.

As far as being expensive, I figure Project one should be relitively cheap other than the pump. I have a spare heater already so that helps. The time and effort it would save should help make up for that cost. Project two would be costly but I need to put a new drip irregation system in anyway. I haven't spent any money on it yet so I would definately research all the costs before making any decisions. Seems like lately though I have more money than time so throwing some cash at the issue to solve it might actually be feasible.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2004, 11:22 PM
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My neck of the woods... Live-no-more, CA

OK - I've done something very similiar to this... my main concerns was putting the water in the garage. Get's kinda cold in the winter & hot in the summer here, so I decided to place my holding tank next to the aquarium, indoors. Makes it very easy to test & adjust the holding tank water. However, I almost put it in the garage - figured I could just wrap it with a hot water heater insulating blanket and this would keep the temp a lot easier to control... but decided against that due to the occational 100+ summer temps out here.

Just a few notes that I had to learn about the hard way.....
1) be sure to add a pump in the holding tank to circulate the water (and check it every so often to insure it's working correctly) - or an airstone.
2) never let the heater in the holding tank get un-immersed (already lost one heater this way - worked OK for about 2 moths later, then died)
3) use some good pumps (I'm using the Eheim 1250's - the smaller ones just take too long)
4) use check valves to prevent back-flushing (orchard supply has some good ones)
5) use an immesable pump inside the holding tank to pump water into the main tank - an inline pump may loose it's prime after 2 days of non-use (mine did ).
6) Keep a floating thermometer in the holding tank to verify water temp.

On project 2 - I did something very similar as well - but I decided that since vacuming the gravel is going to always have a lot of particulate matter - I just use a 5 gallon bucket and do the vacuming the traditional way. After that - I have another pump to drain the remainder of the tank to the desired level with the outflow piped outside, dumping into the flower bed in the back yard. It's not as fancy, but gets the job done and recycles the water.

Good luck with the project - I find my setup makes changing out the water a breese.

Mark K...
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-15-2004, 11:26 PM
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Both projects very good ideas...
Project one is very workable and not all that large an expense. May I add though that your fish and plants should consider themselves lucky to have you because if I had to do that for this hobby I would probably be in a "Gardening Forum"... LOL
I would love to see your final setup...

Project 2.... Are you serious ? LMAO

Good luck and keep us informed, you got my curiousity up now !
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 01:07 PM
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hehe

Project one is pretty simple. Do as Sn8k told you. It's pretty common for RO unit users.

Project 2 : Are you married ? IMO, less straight or no plumbing to the main tank is better. Less risk on something goes wrong and flood your room. I flooded my living room once because of plumbing and twice because of FLuval canisters. The first two incidents were fine since I was single at that time. The last incident almost costed me my aquarium permit.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Sn8k - Thanks for the great info. Your idea for project 2 seems to simplify things. I like it. I also assume that you have some sort of float valve in your tank to drain it to "the desired level". If you could elaborate on this setup a little it would help. I wish I could put my water container in the house but due to space constraints and SAF (spousal approval factor) I don't think I will be able to pull it off. I was thinking about some kind of insulation for the storage tank in the garage to help with the temps. Is your R/O unit in the garage and if so how are you getting the water from there to your storage inside?

Buck - I work with computers for a living so these things are kind of like technolgy puzzles for me. I kind of get a kick out of dreaming them up and trying to solve them. My fish benefit from my geekieness but they are not always the reason.

Ninoboy - Pretty sad that you can tell from the project that I am married. I read in to your post to keep it simple or at least put in some safeguards. Flood=bad=mad wife=more things for me to fix. What exactly is an aquarium permit? I've never heard of such a thing.

Ok if anyone else has any suggestions or ideas please pass them along. Thanks.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 04:01 PM
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I was just kidding. My wife almost forbid me to keep aquarium in my livingroom because of the mess I made from the floods. If your tank's size is 50gl or above, it could make quite a damage to a room
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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ninoboy - ooh I get it. Sorry I did not pick up on the sarcasm. SAF is big in my house so I understand.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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I stumbled accross this and I think it might work for the drain for project 2.
check it out:
http://www.jehmco.com/PRODUCTS_/HARD...ium_drain.html

I would of course not be able to incorprate the gravel vac in to this and would still need to have that go to a bucket.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenfish
Sn8k - Thanks for the great info. Your idea for project 2 seems to simplify things. I like it. I also assume that you have some sort of float valve in your tank to drain it to "the desired level". If you could elaborate on this setup a little it would help. I wish I could put my water container in the house but due to space constraints and SAF (spousal approval factor) I don't think I will be able to pull it off. I was thinking about some kind of insulation for the storage tank in the garage to help with the temps. Is your R/O unit in the garage and if so how are you getting the water from there to your storage inside?
I actually do the dranning and filling of the tank by manually controlling the pumps & shut-off valves myself. I fealt that monitoring the operation was needed to insure that nothing bad happens - and with the Eheim 1250 pumps (264 gals/hr) - a 50% water change will only take approx. 10 minutes to drain and 10 minutes to fill for my 90 gallon. I was thinking of total automation of this proceedure, but in the end - it was more cost effective to donate 20 to 30 minutes of my time every week, and I do enjoy watching things transpire during the process (thinking about the "bucket bragade" from the sink and back that I don't have to do any longer makes me happy ). Also, I also subscribe to the ole "k.i.s.s." theory (keep it simple stupid) - the fewer things that can go wrong the better.

Yes, my RO/DI unit is in the garage - and it took about 50 feet of tubing to run the water from the RO unit to holding tank in the house. Orchard Supply has the tubing needed for this in stock. Don't forget that when that RO unit is running - you get about 1/3 good water & 2/3 bad water (or concentrate) that will need to be drained back outside. Again, I have the concentrate tube running outside into a flower bed - making good use of the waste water here too.

On the holding tank - I have a big 60 gallon rain barrel that I was originally going to put in a closet in the garage (that just happened to be right behind where I was going to place the tank). Besides the water heater blanket idea, I had a second plan in mind... using some 12" batt insulation to line the walls of the closet - and also putting 2 vent grates (one at the top & the other at the bottom) along the common wall so that cold air from the house could go into the closet - and warm air escape from the top of the closet into the house. After considering the options, and with the wife unit's approval (always a prime consideration), I "dressed up" the rain barrel with a fresh coat of paint and placed it next to the tank.

BTW: Just to keep all the plumbing inside the tank similar - I used the CustomFlo kit... it just makes everything look like it was a designed system. Besides, since I have a black background, the black tubing was a natural.

Best of luck

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again sn8k. Great information!!!
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 08:53 PM
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greenfish:

I am a little late to this thread and would like to clarify. Pardon if these questions have been asked elsewhere.

Is the intent of project 2 to do water changes (lower the level of water in the tank to refill with project 1) or to do a drip type arrangement (water added to disappear with project 2)?
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-16-2004, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRam
greenfish:

I am a little late to this thread and would like to clarify. Pardon if these questions have been asked elsewhere.

Is the intent of project 2 to do water changes (lower the level of water in the tank to refill with project 1) or to do a drip type arrangement (water added to disappear with project 2)?
Sorry if it is confusing. Yes project 2 is to lower the water level as part of a water change. Originally I was thinking about siphoning it with the gravel vac but based on the stuff sn8k wrote it seems to make more sense to do it his way. Basically do a gravel vac and then drain the tank to a set amount (that way I know exactly how much water to add). The whole drip irrigation thing was just a by-product of project 2 that came as a brainstorm when I was thinking about what to do with the waste water.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-17-2004, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenfish
Thanks again sn8k. Great information!!!
Your quite welcome buddy

BTW: I just did my weekly maintenance - vacuum off the detritus where I could, a little judicious pruning, net the leaves & floaters off the top, drain, fill, test, and add micros & macros. Took all of 2 hours - and I do work slow (could have gotten it done in 1/2 the time easily). Although I'm not totally automated, a system like I've discussed above makes taking care of the tank a pleasure... and something to look forward to.

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