Contemplating some type of auto water changer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Contemplating some type of auto water changer

My 125 shares a wall with our downstairs powder room, so I am thinking about setting up some sort of water changing system. I'm not sure of the correct terminology as it wouldn't really be an auto water changer or an auto top off system. My tank is drilled with 4 holes in the bottom (2 intakes and 2 outputs from my canisters). I already have a drain, that I connect a hose to plumbed off of one of the intakes. I think I could very easily tie this into the drain from the sink in the powder room. What I am not sure about is how to get water back into the tank. I don't want to have to you any additional equipment (i.e. pumps, etc) or a bunch of ugly plumbing (tank is in the living room, and is surrounded by walk ways on 3 sides) what are my options? Right now I hook the same hose up to the sink using a waterbed fill/drain kit, which is kind of a pain. I'd love to hear of any ideas you all have.

Side thought: If I can figure out an easy way to get water into the tank, maybe I could run a constant trickle and modify one of the drains to reach the top of the tank, so that a little water is always draining. Is that a feasible solution?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 07:57 PM
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How are you adding water into the tank now?

I drilled a hole under my stand to the basement. Incoming and outgoing water go to the sink in the basement through a hose, python.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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I connect a hose to the sink in the powder room by way of a waterbed fill/drain kit. This is the bbiggest pita of the whole process as the hose is 25ft long and the tank is about 3 ft from the faucet. I know I could get a shorter hose, it's the same hose I use to drain the tank.

Also, if I could eliminate the need to use the drain/fill kit, it would nice.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 09:41 PM
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hmmm. You'll need to connect a water line to one of the holes in your tank with some plumbing. There's no way around it.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
hmmm. You'll need to connect a water line to one of the holes in your tank with some plumbing. There's no way around it.
Sorry, I should've been more clear in my question. I know I'll have to run a water line. I'm not sure how to go about doing it. Can I T off of the lines in the powder room some how? Many something similar to what's used to run water to a fridge?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 11:54 PM
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Yes, just like the fridge. You'll need a valve to control flow and a carbon house filter inline to remove contaminants and chlorine, assuming you'll do the constant trickle water change. I guess you can do without the filter.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 01:14 AM
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How far on the auto part do you want? Just a much simpler way to do the water change or more something that comes on and does it without attention?
Some things that figure into the question are small , some really large. For a slow drip, the water temperature is not as big a question as if it is done all at once so that you need a mixing valve for temp control. For full auto with a way to let the temp come to room temp, a reserve water barrel under the stand may be good. More info on what you have in mind may help to cut the chase?
Tapping into the lines under a vanity is often not that hard but then the devil is in the details!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
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I was really just looking for an easier way to do the WC. But, it's kind of a slippery slope kind of thing. If I'm going to go through the trouble of running a water line to the tank, I may as well go a little further and do a constant drip set up. I don't want to do anything that would require aging barrels or extra pumps.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 02:15 AM
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There are several designs and several different people's automatic water change systems in this thread: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...esign-diy.html

It might be helpful if you page through and have a look at the pictures/diagrams/explanations/links to supplies.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Zapins. When I tried Googling it, I kept getting examples that were far more elaborate than what I was looking for. I'll check these out.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 04:06 AM
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Awc

With an Apex controller and some float switches, I added a small pump to drain the sump to a level just above the pump.

Then using a carbon block chlorine/chloromine filter controlled by a rainbird solenoid, it refills the sump until the float is triggered.

if your sump is not that big, you could do more than one cycle a day.

The chlorine filter only does 8 gph, but so long as the pump is not sucking air, it doesn't matter how long it takes to refill.

The cycle starts/finishes about an hour before the c02 comes on.

99.9% of all algae was eliminated, even after I was able to turn the lights up to 120mm of par at substrate.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 02:58 PM
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Really simple:
Run the pipes with backflow prevention and ball valves.

One from your supply (can go over the top)
One to your waste line (follow plumbing codes both times). This one needs to go through a bulkhead on your tank. Side or bottom does not matter. (If you are there to monitor it a siphon over the side will work)

No auto-timer.

When you want to do a water change open the 'drain' valve first. Let it run until the water level is a couple of inches lower in the tank.
Then open the 'fill' valve.
Stand by and add dechlor occasionally as long as the 'fill' valve is open.

Monitor the water level. You may need to adjust the valves so the tank does not overflow or go below the level of the 'drain' inlet.

When you have done enough of a water change close the 'drain' valve, and allow the 'fill' pipe to run until the tank is full.

All the rest is the details:

Drain pipe should have a cage so it does not inhale fish.
Drain pipe can change directions inside the tank with a couple of 90* elbows, and you can set the level where you want to stop a water change. ie: Set the inlet halfway down in the tank to do a 50% water change. Then you do not have to run the 'fill' pipe until you are ready to refill.
Drain pipe can be plumbed with a gravel vac sort of set up. You need to operate the vac.
Drain pipe must be plumbed to code. It could just dump into a sink, bathtub or toilet. Not attached to house plumbing. This is a gravity feed system. The more drop you can arrange from tank to discharge the faster the flow.

Fill pipe can be combined hot and cold water. Washing machine supply will probably have the right gadget to do this. Temperature control is still a bit of a challenge, but is possible.
Fill pipe can be routed through the side or bottom of the tank, but the actual outlet should be above the water level. This is one way that you are sure the tank water NEVER backs up into the house plumbing.
Fill pipe can be plumbed with a float switch sort of auto fill, similar concept to a toilet. When the water is drained, the valve opens and the tank is refilled. Works to top off a tank between water changes, too.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PamAndJim View Post
I was really just looking for an easier way to do the WC. But, it's kind of a slippery slope kind of thing. If I'm going to go through the trouble of running a water line to the tank, I may as well go a little further and do a constant drip set up. I don't want to do anything that would require aging barrels or extra pumps.
Okay , with that in mind, you can get down to details. Personal choice but I don't like the slow drip as well for changing water as I do often use the siphon to get extra debris off the tank floor. Is this something that you want or does the slow drip appeal more?

On looking around the powder room, is there a spot like under a vanity where you can get to both hot and cold lines? It would make it super handy if a vanity backed to the wall where the tank sets???
Any chance of simple tie into the lines from the hard plumbing to the vanity sink on both hot and cold and extend them through the wall to under or near the tank? If you could see doing that, A surplus faucet from Craigslist can often be had for free and used as the mixing valve for temperature control. Tie a plastic tube to the faucet and up to the tank?

Take a look and see if any of that works?

One of the really nice things about larger tanks is that they will take a lot more abuse on things like temperature so that it's possible you might get away with a 25% water change even just using cold water.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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The sink does back up to the same wall. But, its a pedestal sink. So, I'd have to be able to make it aesthetically pleasing. What I am thinking of is breaking through the other side of the wall (where the tank is) and installing something like a washer outlet box that could facilitate the drain and water supply. Thoughts?

Also, to answer your first question, I do have a powered gravel vac that works pretty well and doesn't require a water change. So, I could run a constant drip system and do a weekly gravel vac.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 01:34 AM
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Several different levels that you can go for making the change. I would favor just adding a tee fitting in the line just above the cutoffs under the pedestal. One hot and one cold. then run through the wall with whatever type plumbing just might like to work. Easy but somewhat more expensive is the flexible line like refrig icemakers are plumbed with. Maybe thirty dollars for two? But that depends on how you are equipted, etc.??
At the tank side, if you are not against adding a box in the wall, a cheap or salvage bathroom faucet would work nice to adjust the flow and control temperature. Maybe a permanent 1/4 inch line up to the tank or the current fitting for the python but leave it attached?
Just some thoughts on how to go.
An alternate to using the tee is replacing the current cutoffs with a cutoff with two outlets?
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