Automatic Water Change - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Automatic Water Change

I am creating a high tech 75 gallon planted setup, with a 60 gallon tank underneath to hold filtration, co2 reactor ect. I have figured out most of it so far but now I am trying to figure out automatic water changes. My original idea was to have a micro controller monitoring floats to pump out a fix amount of water and open a valve to refill the 60 gal. tank.

I don't really like the complexity of the design, now I am thinking that I would like to dill the 60 and let gravity tank the water away, and doing a continuous drip. I would like a system that is robust and easy to maintain, I have a couple ideas one I like much more but I would like the opinions of those with more experience.

I included pictures on how to set up the overflow I think I like option A better as it would let me set up a beananimal overflow it I ever wanted to repurpose the tank someday. Which would be better or is there a 3rd option? Also Should a put a pea trap where the pipes exit the tank?

Thanks for your input!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 04:11 PM
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Add a small pump to drain the water out of the sump and send it to the drain. Set the pump on a timer.

Have another overflow hole with larger diameter hose(say 1") about 2" from the top of the 60 Gallon sump for overflow emergency. This is a fail safe so no wet floors occur.

To refill, you have a simple float switch. This is plumbed through a carbon prefilter from the tap. You can use cold tap and run through this if you change the water slowly. The small pump doing the water change would do that fine.

If you like to do a mix of semi automated and larger water changes, then blend the hot/cold tap through the water filter(best idea really).

So you need a drain and hot/cold in coming water, a small pump, float switch, timer, and emergency overflow drain.

You can do the continuous method, but there's no need, it's wasteful really.
Small batches(say 10% right at the start of the light cycle) or large batches say 2-3x a week are better. Otherwise you dilute away any of your nutrients you add.




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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 04:47 PM
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I made an automatic water change system a few years ago (actually two separate systems, one that feeds from the house water mains, and one that uses barrels of RO water.) The systems have been running for the last 5 years. A few other people have posted their designs in the same thread so it might be helpful for you to look through the pages at the diagrams/ideas to help you figure out what you want.

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...esign-diy.html

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 05:49 PM
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Really good advice from above.

I'm not really a big fan of "drip" water change systems, because I think that the water changes are much more effective at clearing out waste and other unwanted stuff if you pump it out in large volume.

Definitely use a small pump to drain the system. Solenoid valves that operate at no pressure ("gravity valves") are expensive or crappy. A small fountain pump can be had for like $10 to pump the water out. I used a bilge pump from a boat for my auto-top off because I wanted it to run off low voltage (12V).

I'm paranoid so I put 2 float sensors in my tank and in the reservoir tank. You can wire them in parallel or series depending on which failure case you want to prevent (stuck open or stuck closed).
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 06:02 PM
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Draining the tank and then refilling is definitely more efficient at changing the water than continuous flow. However, the issue with using pumps to drain the tank water first is that they can get clogged or not work properly, then you have to worry about overfilling the tank and spills, or draining the tank and then the tank doesn't fill up again and your plants half dry out.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2014, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Add a small pump to drain the water out of the sump and send it to the drain. Set the pump on a timer.

Have another overflow hole with larger diameter hose(say 1") about 2" from the top of the 60 Gallon sump for overflow emergency. This is a fail safe so no wet floors occur.

To refill, you have a simple float switch. This is plumbed through a carbon prefilter from the tap. You can use cold tap and run through this if you change the water slowly. The small pump doing the water change would do that fine.

If you like to do a mix of semi automated and larger water changes, then blend the hot/cold tap through the water filter(best idea really).

So you need a drain and hot/cold in coming water, a small pump, float switch, timer, and emergency overflow drain.

You can do the continuous method, but there's no need, it's wasteful really.
Small batches(say 10% right at the start of the light cycle) or large batches say 2-3x a week are better. Otherwise you dilute away any of your nutrients you add.
If your water heater is some distance from the tank however you are filling with cold water in the beginning until the hot replaces the cold in the piping. Unless of course you are using an instant heater next to the tank.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2014, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply's, I didn't realize there was such strong opposition to the continuous method, I had really only heard from a few that advocated it. I was starting to feel silly for getting such a large sump if I were to opt for the continuous method instead.

I have just been a bit nervous with the idea of allowing a pump to remove a portion of the water automatically. I think I have to sit down and rethink the whole sump again.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2014, 07:40 PM
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The continuous method is safer and easier, but more wasteful. Other than that there really isn't much difference between the two.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-05-2014, 04:44 PM
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I set up a continuous water change system for my two bigger tanks 14 months ago, and couldn't be more pleased!
My tanks are drilled and sumped, so this was cheap and easy to do.
I filter approximately 1200 gph in my 125, and 700 gph in my 65 High, so waste/detritus is not an issue.
Tank bottoms are kept clean of debris.
It makes more sense, in my situation, to keep it simple, and not have to wait for the possible failure of solenoid valves, pumps, or timers.
If interested, you can see what I did, starting on #6 post of my 125 journal linked below.

125 Gallon Planted Angelfish Tank

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 01:26 PM
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I run a continuous water change system on my 75g. It's a drilled tank with a 20g sump that is drilled also. I have a drip supplied pre-filter into my sump and is feed off my household cold water service using a saddle valve (like you'd use to tap in a refrigerator/ice maker). The overflow from the system is through a 1" bulkhead on the 20g sump into a 3/4" vinyl hose feed into the wall and down to the basement where it ties to the house sanitary line.

I change out about 5 gallons a day which roughly equates to 90 gallons every 2 weeks. I do not have a heater on tank as the pumping and pipe friction keeps the tank at a steady high 70's. I am on city water; I do not treat for chlorine nor do I attempt to temperature match. By time the water diffuses through the sump it is a non-issue.

Having a constant water change system does not make the tank maintenance free. I clean the sump and tank every 8-10 weeks by siphoning off 5-10 gallons of water and detritus/debris.
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