UPDATE: NEW PICS This is totally cool. Auto water change. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-28-2006, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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UPDATE: NEW PICS This is totally cool. Auto water change.

I gotta tell you guys I am so excited with this new auto water change setup. I basically followed Sergio's thread with a few modifications. Later I'll add some pictures - soon I hope.

Anyhow, this is how it is on my 90 gallon. I have to time the sequences, so for now its just manual. I have four Intermatic digital timers mounted high on the wall in a wood box I built.That is so I don't have to go low into the tank's stand to adjust. There are two timer's per tank. I spray painted some 1.25" PVC as a conduit to hide/tidy up all the extension cords.

I can press the digital timer's manual override button (ON) and the water drains out from a "T" in my filter's outflow - via an Eheim 1250 Hobby pump and an Asco 3/8" solenoid - through a wall and through a hollow threshold I routed out. Then behind a washer and dryer to my utility sink's drain. The run is a bit over 20 feet. After enough is out, I press the button again (OFF) and that cycle is complete. I'm using some cheap black 3/8" polyethelene from US Plastics and John Guest type RO fittings... About $12 bucks for 100 feet of the polyethelene. Much cheaper than John Guest RO tubing and rated over 100 psi.

Next I press another timer's button (ON) and a different solenoid opens up and the fill cycle starts. This solenoid is by autotopoff.com. I'm using the same type of 3/8" tubing on the fill cycle except some 1/4" polyethelene near the tank. This is because the fill cycle solenoid uses 1/4 RO fittings. Its plenty fast too. The fill cycle stops when a float switch relay powers off that solenoid - thus shutting off the tap's flow. The float switch is also made by autotopoff and is encased in 1.25" PVC caps which are drilled to let water flow in and out, but are essentially snail proof. Autotopoff recommends cleaning/checking the valve once a month.

Once its programmed, it will be automatic 5 nights a week - around 12% per night. I haven't looked at the chart Scolley sent me so I'm not sure on water percentages yet. But IT WORKS, NO LEAKS, AND ITS TOO COOL!

Thanks Serg, Steve and Scolley! You guys were terrific help! Next I'll do my 65 gallon on Sunday!





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......

Last edited by Betowess; 12-09-2006 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Additional info.
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post #2 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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I timed a drain of about 2.5 inches of water which is a guess for about 12% of the volume. That took 24 minutes. So I programmed the timer to do that every night at 10 PM Monday thru Fri. That same timer will cut power to the solenoid at 10:24 PM M-F stopping the drain cycle.

Apparently 3/8 inch poly with a 1/4 inch I.D. is plenty large enough drain tubing for a 90 to 180 gallon tank or even larger.

Then I turned on the fill cycle and timed it to replace the water and that took 21 minutes which was faster than I thought it would be. So I set the timer to Start the fill cycle at 10:30pm and cut off at 10:52pm. Hopefully it will be done and a minute to spare and power cut off in case the float switch ever freezes in the on position. I read that float switches tend to freeze in the "ON" position if they get gummed up. So the timer is the fail safe.

It did drop the temp by a degree with both the thermal Eheim's heater and the 300 watt Hydor both kicking in to bring it back up. So tommorrow, I will back down the tap's flow rate. I have a John Guest brand cut off/ball valve on each tank's 3/8" polyethelene fill line - just for that purpose. I am going to target for a slower fill time of an hour or so. That way the heaters can keep up with the cold tap water.

Another advantage, as Sergio pointed out is the spray from the spray bar with the lowered water clears up any surface scum. Tonight the tank was pearling like champagne and no surface scum. If anyone is contemplating going auto on water changes, I have to say its worth every penny in cost and research time.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #3 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-29-2006, 04:48 AM
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Very exciting stuff Bob! Looks awesome. Keep us posted on the pluses and minuses!

Sergio C.
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post #4 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Serg! I'm certainly psyched and relieved. It was a lot of work, but fun work - as you know.

OK, I now have the 65 gallon auto as well. Unfortunately, I put the fill solenoid in backwards and of course the water kept coming out. At least I was able to yank out the 1/4 poly and correct the orientation - so alls well. The little autotopoff solenoids make an eerie sound when not oriented properly!

The Eheim 2128's thermo heater can't really keep up with the temperature drop, even with the ball valve turned ~ 95% off. There is still a steady stream, but temperature drop is less than a degree (Celsius) so no worries. Too much psi in the tap probably. Near 70 psi is my guess. I'll try to slow it down even more tomorrow night. And both fills will be at ~ the same time so maybe that will help, though I doubt it.

The drain cycle took around 14 minutes to complete. I didn't finish timing the fill cycle as I stopped mid-stream (no pun intended ) to fix the 65 gallon's fill solenoid. But I think it will be around a 45-50 minute fill. I'm going to target an hour long fill, if I can get that line's ball valve a little tighter without killing the flow.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #5 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 05:01 PM
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Auto waterchanging is indeed cool. Brings tank enjoyment to a completely new level.

How do you deal with dechloring?


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post #6 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 05:25 PM
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That sound realy cool! my fish tank is next to a wet bar so the water is right there.
My cold water is in the mid 50 deg range out of the tap is that to cold for an all cold water change?
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post #7 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest View Post
Auto waterchanging is indeed cool. Brings tank enjoyment to a completely new level.

How do you deal with dechloring?
Hey Wasserpest.

I'm on well water - so no declor. But Steve on Sergios thread said he has no problem with declor because the amount of water added at one time is insignificant and the chlorine dissapates - with no fish probs.

The other big advantage is no surface scum. Zilch scum after the water courses the top for 30-50 minutes.

Consider reading Sergio's thread for a lot of info. Now I think the little 1/4 RO
Autowatertopoff solenoids are enough to drain even a 100 gallon, seeing how I can drain 12% of my 90 gallon with a 3/8 solenoid with 5/16 orifice in 21 minutes... (brand was Asco and cost over $75). The autotopoff's are about half that cost.

Its so easy to do this. The drain saddles are the way Steve Colley and I connected to the drain. Its at ROwatersystems.com Online Catalog
(http://rowatersystems.com/catalog/m2...e_2817276.htm).

They also have a no plumbing connection into the sink's tap. US Plastics has a great price on John Guest type fittings and polyethelene rated to near 100 PSI. I haven't experienced any leaks yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramirezi View Post
That sound realy cool! my fish tank is next to a wet bar so the water is right there.
My cold water is in the mid 50 deg range out of the tap is that to cold for an all cold water change?
This is the only issue for me as well. The key is having enough heat and letting the fill cycle last long enough in duration. My tap is very cold too. I'm slowing it down even more tonight. I only have the Eheim's thermal heater on my 65 gallon. On my 90 gallon - with a Hydor inline heater on an XP3 and a Eheim 2128 with its internal heater - it was able to keep the temperature up OK.

I can't express how great it is going to be not having to do 70 + gallons a week of prep and change. Even my wife think's it cool, and more time with the family!





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......

Last edited by Betowess; 10-31-2006 at 05:33 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #8 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-30-2006, 11:07 PM
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Congratulations on getting this up and running Bob. You'll love it! As WP indicated, it changes everything!

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Hey Wasserpest. I'm on well water - so no declor. But Steve on Sergios thread said he has no problem with declor because the amount of water added at one time is insignificant and the clorine dissapates - with no fish probs.
Did I say that? Gosh! I hope not!

If memory serves I was not describing what I was doing, but was instead speculating on what might be done. Maybe.

As it turns out, I did not elect to do that. Instead I am pushing my tap water through two carbon matrix filters in RO canisters before it enters the tank. It strips the chlorine out. Fortunately I don't have chlorimine as that would only turn my chlorine into ammonia. But I don't and the two carbon blocks do a decent job of chlorine removal - I'd recommend it to anyone.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #9 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-31-2006, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Wasserpest. I'm on well water - so no declor. But Steve on Sergios thread said he has no problem with declor because the amount of water added at one time is insignificant and the clorine dissapates - with no fish probs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley View Post
Did I say that? Gosh! I hope not!

If memory serves I was not describing what I was doing, but was instead speculating on what might be done. Maybe.


As it turns out, I did not elect to do that. Instead I am pushing my tap water through two carbon matrix filters in RO canisters before it enters the tank. It strips the chlorine out. Fortunately I don't have chlorimine as that would only turn my chlorine into ammonia. But I don't and the two carbon blocks do a decent job of chlorine removal - I'd recommend it to anyone.
No you didn't say that...

Sorry Steve, I was referring to a different Steve (Steve5520) who is from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, not our "Scolley" who also happens to be a Steve. My bad - for not going back to Sergio's thread and looking up his PT user name...

Anyhow, Steve5520 doesn't worry about using declor and has had no probs.

And btw, thanks again. You saved my butt on the X10 info...





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #10 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-31-2006, 03:42 PM
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"Auto waterchanging is indeed cool. Brings tank enjoyment to a completely new level."

It really does, doesn't it?

I did in fact say that I have NEVER used dechlorinators. I've had tanks for many years and never had problems. The questions raised here made me curious though and I did a bit of research.

Most of the communities around here issue annual water quality reports. I was able to find St Clair Shores (where I live) and several surrounding communities. I saw reports for 2004 and 2005, results seem pretty consistent.

Max allowable chlorine (by EPA regs) is 4ppm. The HIGHEST I found for any community was 0.8ppm.

So those numbers make me feel better.

Now to continue with my logic (?? if it is logic)...

I figure if you do a change of XX% of the total volume, the chlorine added to the tank water is significantly diluted. It will disipate on it's own in a fairly short period of time.
As I said, I have never had problems (not to say folks in another area of the country might have, water processing could be different), so I never added anything.

If I did see any evidence of problems, there are a few things that come to mind.

Right now I change 10% (15 gallons of 150) once a day. This currently takes one hour. The drain cycle, which is the controlling factor on my setup is on a timer. Digital timer, capable of 7 or 8 seperate cycles. So, if I chose to, instead of 10% once a day, I could do 5% twice a day, 2.5% four times a day or whatever. It would add even less residual chlorine at a time, making the dilution even weaker. It would allow time between changes to disipate.

At some point, I am considering doing what scolley did, building a filter using RO canisters. I really want to do this more for the particulate that might be in the tap water. My plan is to get 3 cannisters and use a 10 micron sediment, 5 micron carbon and 1 micron carbon. That should take care of most dirt and chlorine. Total cost will probably be around $60 or so (unless I get lucky and find someone with a junk RO unit I can pick up cheap).
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post #11 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-31-2006, 06:04 PM
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Simply adding a carbon filter, the 9 3/4" in lines by the refuill line will solve that issues of chlorine. 20$ device, should take 15 minutes to add.

Several folks in the Bay area use this set up dating back 5-7 years or so.
They do 30-40% 2x a week and use EI.

Works great.
I've always been a semi auto person, a simple drain valve and refill hard plumbed seem to suit my taste, takes no time actually since I drain the tank top prune anyway, during the drain and refill, I do all the needed work anyway, but I like to clean well and do larger water changes.


Regards,
Tom Barr




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post #12 of 49 (permalink) Old 10-31-2006, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Just looked at Wasserpest's autowaterchange thread again. I guess you were the original pioneer here at the PT! BTW, your tanks look great in your house. I never saw those until today. You could always add digital timers to your setup to prevent any overfill.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #13 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-01-2006, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Well, after adjusting the ball valve about as low as I could get it without killing the fill cycle water, I got a 50 minute fill time in my 65 gallon tank. The temperature dropped ~2.7 degrees F over that time (from 25.3 to 23.8 Celcius).

Does anyone think this is acceptable, or should I plumb in a spare 300 watt Hydor I have into this 65 gallon which only has the built in Eheim heater in the filter?

I would rather not have to add the Hydor, but I don't want to over stress the fish with this much temperature change - five nights a week. What do you think??

The 90 gallon has two heaters and can almost keep up. The 90 gallon had about .6 degree change in Celcius (or 1.26 degree F.) over a 48 minute fill duration. I assume this is acceptable?

Edit: I went ahead and put the Hydor heater inline on my 65 gallon to be on the safe side... but would love to hear some opinions.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #14 of 49 (permalink) Old 11-01-2006, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Betowess View Post
Just looked at Wasserpest's autowaterchange thread again. I guess you were the original pioneer here at the PT! BTW, your tanks look great in your house. I never saw those until today. You could always add digital timers to your setup to prevent any overfill.
Thanks Bob, much credit goes to Naja002, who helped me figuring out some of the waterchanging details via many PM's.

I catch all old water in another tank, and draining that tank is what initiates the water change in my 100gal tank. A timer wouldn't work that well, it's more of a semi-automatic water change. But like Tom mentioned, I still need to do some pruning and glass cleaning anyway, so hopefully I am around and alert if the float switch or solenoid stick somehow.


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post #15 of 49 (permalink) Old 12-09-2006, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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OK. Here are a few pictures. To start the show a tank shot from tonight - before the water change started...





Here is the timer box. Each tank has its drain digital timer on top and its fill timer below. I wanted easy access in case I ever want to drain and fill manually - without bending down low under the tank (in the dark).






The timer turns on a hobby pump and opens a 3/8 inch Asco brand solenoid valve (rhe lower valve in the box).This starts the drain cycle. This box is for my 65 gallon. The upper smaller solenoid by Autotopoff.com is the 1/4" fill cycle solenoid connected to the tap. Someday, when I build a decent stand for the 65 gallon I'll incorporate all of these components inside the stand. But that might be a long while.... Note the black 3/8" drain line out of the larger brass colored solenoid and the 1/4" black fill line in/out of the little "autotopoff" brand solenoid.






Here is the Coralife Tee out of the canister filter. It goes to the intake of the Eheim hobby pump to start the drain...






The drain lines run through the wall. Next under a "routed out" wood threshold I fashioned on the cheap. This is a utility room. (I haven't painted it yet). The fill lines also run under here. Fills connect to the utility sink's taps with parts from ROWatersystems.com. They are under a section called RO accessories. In a subsection called: Feed Water Fittings. ro accessories Sergio told us about them and uses the same ones.






After the "threshold", the drain lines run under a box holding up a hot water heater. Then behind washer/dryers and into the drain via "drain saddles" in this picture. They are in the same ROWater accessory subsection called: "Drain Clamps" - ro accessories. Those are some expensive check valves before the drain saddles.John Guest Check Valves List . Each tank has its own drain and fill lines and corresponding pump and solenoids/float switches etc.

I have check valves going into the drain to protect the tank from any drain contamination. I've also included check valves from the tap to protect our house's water from getting any E coli etc. from the tank - (hopefully). Yes, fish tanks have E coli in them. I found this out from a marine biologist friend who had his FW tank checked out.






Here are a couple of drain pictures... I drain approximately 12% of the tank five nights a week. (I think its 12%??).






Behind the spray bar is the fill cycle's float switch...Here is a link to it: AutoTopoff.com It is on a start time after the drain is completely finished. It takes 24 minutes to drain 2.5 inches of the tank five nights a week. And maybe an hour or so to fill back up... The float switch and relay is made by autotopoff and is really easy to set up. No wiring!
Also, the float switch powers off one minute after fill cycle is complete as an overfill fail safe. BTW, these float switches are encased in a snail proof PVC enclosure made out of 1.25" PVC caps. They have holes drilled in to let the water flow in/out...






It connects to a relay which first opens - then later closes the autotopoff.com "fill" solenoid connected to the tap water line. In the first picture you can see the relay (black box) sitting on top of the CO2 monitor. But it actually sits behind the Milwaukee CO2 monitor (second picture) in a funky little box I built... It only has 18" long leads to the float switch so it needs to be nearby.








My tap water pressure is so high that I have a ball valve turned almost all the way off. This is to slow down the flow so the heaters can keep up with the cold tap water.
Note on the right the fill line is 3/8 black polyethylene coming into the ball valve, then I have it reduced to 1/4 black poly.(There is a 3/8 poly drain line underneath too). The little Autotopoff solenoid is 1/4 inch and that is plenty of water pressure. So to recap, the fill starts as 3/8" black polyethylene from the utility sink's water line and reduces to 1/4 inch black poly a few feet before the tank. The reason one should use "BLACK" colored poly is to prevent algae building up.(We can thank Scolley for that insight!!)

Note the step down from 3/8 inch to 1/4" is a standard John Guest reducing stem (grey colored fitting) from ROwatersystems. This is a great place to get fittings for the polyethylene which came from USPlastics.com. USplastic.com also sells them. But the ROwatersystems website is easier to navigate.John Guest Fittings and tubing







Originally I was going to plumb the fill back into the canister filter, but I like being able to see the water and know everything is as its suppose to be... And in hindsight, I should have plumbed the whole fill line as 1/4 inch poly. 70 psi is plenty of water pressure through a little hose.This is the fill line out of the small autotopoff solenoid. See its filling, automatically. I LOVE it.






Here is an ugly picture of the solenoids inside my 90 gallon stand. The Eheim 1250 hobby pump is underneath them. I've not had any leaks yet, thank goodness!
Notice an abundance of silicon all over my $75 Asco 3/8" solenoid which starts the drain. Don't want to get ZAPPED!






And a final picture of the 90 gallon tank (with my faux hood off) and filling up. The light fixture is normally only ~ 5" above the water, but I moved it up for a better picture. The fill takes around an hour and is splashy noisy. I like it.





And a special thanks to Sergio, Scolley, and Steve5520 for help during the design phase. I couldn't of done it without their expertise.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......

Last edited by Betowess; 12-13-2006 at 07:54 AM.
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