Heating Water for Changes - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Heating Water for Changes

I have an under sink water filter that I use for my tank. I have been mixing it with hot tap water in a bucket, but I am tired of hauling buckets to my aquarium. I'm thinking of running a 3/8inch hose directly from the filtered water tap like this:

directly to my tank and have an inline water heater to bring the temperature near the 78 degrees of my tank. Do you think an inline water heater can raise the water temperature ~ 20 degrees?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 02:50 AM
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An in-line aquarium heater won't do the job, as they're not designed for such high pressure, high flow situations.

If you can't age your water to bring it up to room temperature, it may be a good idea to have a large container - like a Rubbermaid Brute trash can - and a high-wattage submersible heater.

How quickly do you refill your tank? Typically, the temperature difference with water changes isn't a bad thing for your tank. Water change time - especially in the winter - is typically when my critters are the most happy, it's when they molt, breed, play.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 02:50 AM
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What temp is your filtered water? I've done the same thing from an undersink filter without any heater. Did it for years with no adverse effects. I did use 1/4" though for longer contact time in the filter.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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It wouldn't be under any pressure, I can just put the tube over the end of the faucet....


My water temperature is ~ 60 degrees, and I would like to start doing 50% water changes... but that is a PIA with a 50 gallon tank and a 5 gallon bucket

If I didn't heat the water with a 50 percent water change it would lower the tank temperature to 69 degrees ((78+60)/2)....
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brogan View Post
It wouldn't be under any pressure, I can just put the tube over the end of the faucet....


My water temperature is ~ 60 degrees, and I would like to start doing 50% water changes... but that is a PIA with a 50 gallon tank and a 5 gallon bucket

If I didn't heat the water with a 50 percent water change it would lower the tank temperature to 69 degrees ((78+60)/2)....
I use cold water straight out of those hose. Missing from your equation is that you do have an aquarium heater doing work as you add the water. So then, it becomes a question of how fast you add the water. I too was dragging buckets for what seemed an eternity, no more. I drain, I add my de-chlorinater, and I set the garden hose into the tank on what I would call an aggressive trickle. It takes about 30 minutes to add 50% water back into my 90. Meanwhile I tinker around cleaning the glass, trimming plants, and checking on stuff.

Haven't lost a fish yet. My tank dips from around 80 to right about 70 during this process.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:50 AM
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I heat my water before it goes into tank with 2 hydor 300 inlines. It brings temp from 65 to 80 before entering tank. You just cant have it on really fast. Not only that but i have a overflow which goes to waste water so i just let it run for about 3 to 4 hours.



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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 01:59 PM
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For the most part, water pressure in the US is 60-65PSI straight out of the faucet. (That's in ideal situations)

That's quite a bit of pressure.

Is your under sink unit RO/DI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brogan View Post
It wouldn't be under any pressure, I can just put the tube over the end of the faucet....


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 02:53 PM
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Haven't lost a fish yet. My tank dips from around 80 to right about 70 during this process.
But what if you could hear them screaming?
Dunno, a small dip seems no problem, 10F diff seems a bit much to me.

sws - the water system pressure wouldn't matter if the end of the hose is open. The shutoff/valve would be before the heater if I understand correctly.

brogan - regurgitating a couple of ideas:

1) Slow down your water changes so the aquarium heater has a chance to keep the temperatures up. Small dips (2-3F) shouldn't be a problem. Add the water right where the heater is located so the thermostat switches the heater on quickly.

2) Skip the filter, use a regular faucet to add temperate water, add some Prime or similar to deactivate Chlorine/Chloramine.

3) I think the inline heaters would work if you refill the tank slow enough. Not a cheap solution. Or you could use an intermediate container (bucket) with heater(s) where you add the water and then transfer it from there, either via gravity (place it somewhere above the tank) or via a pump (bucket in the stand?). Fill the bucket, let it sit for 20 min to warm the water, then drain, etc.

4) Consider smaller, more frequent water changes. Like 20% every other day. This is where you start to think about automating your WC and making them daily 10%.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:06 PM
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If it isn't too drastic of a change, cold water can actually stimulate some fish to spawn. It makes them feel like it's the rainy season and that's when they breed in the wild. So I probably would just do smaller water changes and let it stay cold.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:10 PM
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+1!

In many cases, it's as cheap - if not cheaper - to automate changes than it is to buy and use heaters.

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This is where you start to think about automating your WC and making them daily 10%.


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:17 PM
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I do 50% WC daily on my discus grow out tank, and the BEST way I figured to make my water changes easier was to get a trash can barrel from Home Depot for $15 invest some money into a small power head and a heater.. and of course the hose. My water changes are so much easier, my wife even does the WC for me while I'm at work... ez pz


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:24 PM
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But what if you could hear them screaming?
Dunno, a small dip seems no problem, 10F diff seems a bit much to me.
Hmmm. I hope not. I just kind of figured it probably dipped that much in nature when it rains, but now you have me thinking. They don't look upset...aside from the usual cichlid grumpiness of me being in their tank, lol.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 03:37 PM
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Hmmm. I hope not. I just kind of figured it probably dipped that much in nature when it rains, but now you have me thinking. They don't look upset...aside from the usual cichlid grumpiness of me being in their tank, lol.
i was always told and seen with my own two eyes that it simulates rain fall and helps for breeding to use cold water, this is what i always have done with all my tanks
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 04:20 PM
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There might be examples for particular ponds and puddles where large temp fluctuations take place. Heck, my back yard pond has daily 10F changes, and seasonally goes from iced-over to 75F.

But in general, I would think the large rivers where our fish originate from (perhaps a long time ago) don't show much in terms of daily fluctuations. I'd think that the (small, gradual?) dips in temperature that trigger spawning etc are more of a seasonal event. Besides temperature, there might be other things (rain changing water hardness? day length? etc) that turn our fish on.


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-16-2012, 09:18 PM
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I am seeing 3 problems, and a few answers here:
A) Carrying buckets. (My back is aching right now from yesterday's work!)
B) Creating the right blend of tap and filtered water to suit the fish. (Been there; Done that)
c) Heating that blend to something close to the tank temperature.

I have that sort of spout and a piece of vinyl tubing fit over it snug enough to fill a Rubbermaid Brute, as long as the water flowed down hill mostly. (Long enough bit of tubing to create a siphon effect was enough). The flow is slow enough that an in-line heater would probably be significantly helpful. If that is not enough...

Fill the garbage can on wheels with whatever blend you want and heat it some way...
a) Hang an aquarium heater in it.
b) Blend it with hot tap water.
c) Heat some water on the stove in a stainless steel or enameled container (gas heat is cheaper than electric heat).
d) Run a pump with an in-line heater. If you already have one on hand. If you have to buy something, a simple aquarium heater is cheaper.

Fountain pump of about 100 gph @ 4-5' head will fill the mid-sized tanks slowly enough that any further temperature change is blended with the tank water, not a large mass that might chill the fish. Use this pump also in the garbage can to mix the blend of water, dechlor and whatever else you add, and to evenly mix the heated water. A very large tank might be better re-filled with more like 200 gph pump.

Python, and use tap water (blend of hot and cold). Won't work if the tap water is the wrong water chemistry, and it will not very likely work over that spout unless the tank is downhill all the way.

My current method:
My tap water is fine for the fish, but I also collect rain water.
Sump pump in the rain water collecting barrel, via garden hose into the house, into Rubbermaid Brute on wheels.
Let it sit overnight to bring it to at least room temperature.
Blend with hot tap water (roughly 25% hot tap + 25% cold tap + 50% rain water) so that the TDS is somewhat lower than the tank, but not too low, and the temperature is within a few degrees of the tank (hand test, rarely bother with thermometers)
If I have to heat water on the stove I have a big roast pan that spans 2 burners.
I have a couple of pumps to get the water from garbage can to tank. Small pump for small tanks (or else the substrate gets blown around), large pump for large tanks.

Other solution: Auto fill system as suggested above. Means some plumbing to get it set up, and there are a few options, depending on your lay out. Auto fill can be run slow enough that there is no big problem with temperature, even if the fill water is cold.
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