Making water changes easier!? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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Making water changes easier!?

So I have an idea to make my water changes a lot more friendly for me and for my wife / her nerves

My house is on a crawl space, so what I am thinking is running a PVC pipe (hidden) over the top and down through the floor into the crawl space and then out front into the flower bed. Install a ball valve up top to start/stop the flow. I was looking at installing a little pump but one of my coworkers pointed out to me just make it work like a siphon and with the ball valve, I only have to start the siphon once and just close it up when I am done!

The other part is that my tank is right over the water line that feeds the outside faucet. I am just thinking about tapping into that bad boy and running a hose or pvc (some kind of pipe) back up through the floor and into the tank with a ball valve on it.


Open one to drain, then close, open another to fill then close. That easy!!

My only real question, should I invest in a in-line heater for the return, I know many have said they just fill with cold water, but during the winter... that could get REALLY COLD

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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 06:28 PM
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If it were me ( and I plan to do this with my tanks in my fishroom ) I would drill the tank and put an overflow in-and then use drip emiters ( for lawn watering--found at lowes/home depot/menards etc. ) to have an automatic water change system. You could use a timer and water pressure regulator to set the flow rate per day and change 10-15% of the water volume per day.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 06:33 PM
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You could do either. I couldn't believe it when a forum member (who's opinion I respect) told me he just plops in a garden hose and let's it rip. Me, being the adventurous (and lazy) fellow I am had to try it. I did a 50% water change from an outside faucet, cold as hell...and nothing happened. Fish actually seemed to enjoy it.

Now, I kept an eye on things. I didn't turn on the hose full blast or anything, more of a slow trickle. The temp in my tank normally drops 10 degrees Fahrenheit, 15 on a bad day. I try, with the speed of the incoming water, to keep the temperature delta at 10 degrees. This is my method on a 50% water change.

Recently I have stopped doing 50% water changes weekly (just because for my setup I don't think it benefits anything) and started doing weekly and/or bi weekly 25% water changes.

So my advice, take it for what you will, is on 25% changes no worries, run it cold...the fish will be fine. If your a 50% guy, then go slow or maybe look into the heater idea.

On another note, I don't know how much an inline heater of some sort is really going to change the temp of incoming cold water via plumbing. For your situation (assuming you still have that sump with 600 watts in it) I'd set it up to pour into the sump before the heaters and keep the incoming flow reasonable.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 06:34 PM
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I do like shane says, except I do it with my RO waste water from my salt water. I have an overflow that drains out to my garden, and I run the RO waste water into the tank. It has already been dechlorinated by that point, so every time I get a drink or make RO for my saltwater, I get a free water change. I NEVER top off or do water changes anymore. I get about 10% a day for free in my 265g tank plus a monthly ~75% change. Then the water gets used one more time for my vegetables. Sure beats letting it go down the drain. And the only downside is the water is a little harder (~25%) than my tap.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe down the road I would look into metering style system. But right now, money and where its at, mostly my time to do all that lol. Actually this setup I am thinking would make top offs super easy too, didnt think of that added bonus!!

Yea I normally do a weekly 50 - 75% WC... if I go this route, may change it to 2-3 times a week at 30%

and its 800 watts of heating haha

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:32 PM
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Maybe down the road I would look into metering style system. But right now, money and where its at, mostly my time to do all that lol. Actually this setup I am thinking would make top offs super easy too, didnt think of that added bonus!!

Yea I normally do a weekly 50 - 75% WC... if I go this route, may change it to 2-3 times a week at 30%

and its 800 watts of heating haha
Yea, I totally spaced out that you were getting discus (fish divas) and need the big water changes. For what it's worth, my discus and angels don't seem overly affected by the cold water changes. YMMV. Your idea is totally viable without the heater though, it all depends on how fast you introduce the new, cold water. Know what I mean? With 800 watts in the sump I can't see your tank dropping temps like mine does. I only have the 300 watt inline.

Faster than buckets and easier than a garden hose man, lol.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:35 PM
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So I have an idea to make my water changes a lot more friendly for me and for my wife / her nerves

My house is on a crawl space, so what I am thinking is running a PVC pipe (hidden) over the top and down through the floor into the crawl space and then out front into the flower bed. Install a ball valve up top to start/stop the flow. I was looking at installing a little pump but one of my coworkers pointed out to me just make it work like a siphon and with the ball valve, I only have to start the siphon once and just close it up when I am done!

The other part is that my tank is right over the water line that feeds the outside faucet. I am just thinking about tapping into that bad boy and running a hose or pvc (some kind of pipe) back up through the floor and into the tank with a ball valve on it.


Open one to drain, then close, open another to fill then close. That easy!!

My only real question, should I invest in a in-line heater for the return, I know many have said they just fill with cold water, but during the winter... that could get REALLY COLD
remember, the pvc u insert into the tank needs to go as far down as u want the water to drain to i'd make that mistake


ball valve should be far enough down the line that u don't have a chance to lose siphon. again on the first run. i'd probably have it horizontal and always have to start the sipohn everytime. inline heaters are cheap if u ge the right size. u just need it to up the temperature to a reasonable lvl i nthe winter. they work off temperature rise

for instance (fake numbers) at 2.2 gpm and 44 degree incomming water. a 2kw/h instant heater may have a 20 degree rise. the temp comming out would be 64, an for a 50-70% water change acceptable incomming temp. that heater might cost 180 bux?, summer it would have to be off because the rise is higher for warmer temps at 64 incomming water the rise would be like 27 degrees and u would insert 91 degree water at 2.2 gpm

EDIT: if i had a crawl space i would do exaclty what u are listing

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Yea I like my divas they are pretty! haha, just got them yesterday have to post some pictures soon.

Yea even if I didnt have them would be looking at this option anyways, saves me time and dirty looks from the wife when I am doing water changes

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-17-2012, 11:00 PM
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Just so happens that i have this setup in my tank. I have a 3/4 water line coming into tank cabinet. It then goes to 2 300w hydor inlines which brings water from 67 to 80 before going into tank. I also have a 1" overflow in tank that goes to p-trap in tank stand and then goes to my septic tank. This system works incredibly well i must say. There were a few kinks i had to figure out such as bleeding air out of high point between 2 heaters. (See picture 1) and setting the incoming water so that goes just the right speed for the heaters too get it up too temp. If you have any other questions feel free too ask.









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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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That is some intense piping going on there! I may or may not invest in some heaters down the road, probably just go to like 20% daily water changes instead of one big one.

Got it all set up this weekend and works great, wife wasn't happy about the water being shut off for the duration of that part... But she didn't kill me. total time to do a 60% WC about ten minutes, if that! I am very happy and so is the wife.


To drain I used a 3/4" pvc, on the inside goes down to just above the substrate, the ball valve is a little above the floor so that way I can keep a siphon just close it up and done. then just open the spigot and fill it back up!



Shiny pipe is the drain




Refill pipe, there is a black 90 degree piece so the water hits the back glass


Works amazing

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 02:31 PM
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I know I'm last man in on this. If you are worried about too cold a refill just crack the valve and fill it at a slower pace. That will give a gradual change.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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I know I'm last man in on this. If you are worried about too cold a refill just crack the valve and fill it at a slower pace. That will give a gradual change.

Yea, either way. Did a big change last night, the discus darkened up a bit but around 3 hours later the tank was back up to 82 degrees and everyones color looked great.

But due to the colder water, I will be doing several small changes during the week since I am not doing bucket brigade and hoses running across the house now!!

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 04:41 PM
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Congratulations! If I ever have a large setup than this looks like the way to go!


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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 04:57 PM
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Yea, either way. Did a big change last night, the discus darkened up a bit but around 3 hours later the tank was back up to 82 degrees and everyones color looked great.

But due to the colder water, I will be doing several small changes during the week since I am not doing bucket brigade and hoses running across the house now!!

This is a very cool idea, I might have to do it as well. If you don't mind me asking how often do you change water with your discus? With new setup I would think it would be simple now?

What type of plants do you have in your tank as well, setting up my new tank and plan to have discus.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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With this new setup it makes water changes SOOO easy. I still will have to manually go in and vaccum but... I can deal with that.

I was only doing water changes once a week anywhere from about 50-75%

With this though I will probably be doing like 20-30% daily / every other day just for the over all health of the tank and because I can!

hit up simplydiscus.com for all info discus, tons of knowledge, but to answer your question from what I have seen, young discus require pretty much daily water changes. Adults, just depends on your water quality and filtration at least once a week.

Plants

Swords
Micro Swords
Ludwigia Repens (going to be changin this as I am tired of trimming weekly AND the tops are getting lots of root growth with I dont like >.<)
Jungle Vals

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