Any Cons to a Continuous Drip Water Exchange System? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Question Any Cons to a Continuous Drip Water Exchange System?

Hey all,

I am setting up a 5 gal. planted tank. I have researched how a drip system works and i think i have that down. I'm thinking that a continuous drip of about a gallon a day exchange would be a good steady water change - keeping water parameters stable.

I have always wanted to do one and i hear they work well.
Still I wonder why I rarely hear about them?

Any cons to a constant drip water change?

Before i set it up, I'd like to hear from anyone that has done it and if they liked it or not?



Thanks ahead of time,

Kirk
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:23 PM
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con: something going wrong and overflowing for hours while you're sleeping or at work.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:25 PM
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besides effort and price of setting the drip system up.

my water changes are minimal and mostly used to remove floating/dead plant material. This still needs to be done manually.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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BTW: Luckily I'm on well water w/ decent parameters. Yeah!! I think that's what held me back before i moved.

Here is a nice calculator for figuring the drip rate relative to your required/desired volumes: http://www.angelfish.net/DripSystemcalc.php

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:48 PM
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I know a few people who maintain large fishrooms this way. I think the only real drawback is chemical. The water company will change the supply due to conditions from time to time. In the summer they add ammonia at times for instance.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scapegoat View Post
con: something going wrong and overflowing for hours while you're sleeping or at work.
Yes, that is certainly one BIG con!! Ouch

Hopefully a foolproof overflow would sufice with maybe a backup drip tray w/ a drain?

I bet an overflow could be carefully and well enough designed.

Did this happen to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
I know a few people who maintain large fishrooms this way. I think the only real drawback is chemical. The water company will change the supply due to conditions from time to time. In the summer they add ammonia at times for instance.
A big con - chemicals in tap water is important to mention for others to consider.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-14-2014 at 05:45 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 07:44 PM
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It depends on what you value most; water chemistry stability or maximum nutrient and waste product levels.

If your available water is essentially unlimited, then yes, a drip method would be optimal, albeit with the risks already mentioned by others.

If you have limits (physical or financial) on the amount of water you can use for your changes, you would probably be better off just doing periodic larger water changes, but small enough to not cause too big of changes in water chemistry.

For the same amount of water, the periodic, large changes method will produce lower levels of nitrates and other waste products.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2014, 08:15 PM
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One subtle disadvantage of continuous drip water changing is that it reduces the "opportunities" for hands-in-the-tank maintenance. A big water change takes enough time that you tend to do other tank maintenance at the same time, rather than sit and be bored. With continuous changing, you have to set aside scheduled times to do that maintenance, and if you are a bit lazy as I am, those scheduled times can be ignored.

I used continuous water changing for a few years, and had no problems with it, but I had a slow enough water addition rate that the few times my overflow siphon was lost I caught it before any water overflowed. My water flow rate really was a dripping rate, not a flow.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 08:32 AM
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Cons? Monitoring the tank for 24 hrs to ensure 90,840 drops of water go in!

I have been doing this on my 2 largest tanks for 8 months now.
You have to check your addition valve daily for flow consistency.
I was using the brass needle valves, like you use on a swamp cooler initially,
but after about 2 weeks, they were unusable! Can't shut them off, or adjust the flow down enough!
Got some plastic 1/4" valves from Lowes, that are working out well.

The other issue I had (with the brass valves) was flow would get excessive, if I wasn't watching it.
I had die off of Apple Snails because of it. I believe they are more susceptible to Chlorine?
Fish never appeared to be affected.
My tank maintenance now mostly consists of pruning plants, wiping down the glass weekly, adding ferts,
and swapping out a filter pad in the wet/dry (one minute job),

125 Gallon Planted Angelfish Tank

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-15-2014, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Nice replies folks!

This is the kind of info that is not exactly so obvious from the start. It's nice to hear so that i can approach the set up with someone else's perspective and experience.

Thanks,
Kirk

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. MW
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constant drip wc, constant flow, water change alternative

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