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Does anyone here know about automatic water changing systems? I would really love to set one up for my 100 gallon tank. Doesn't have to be fully automatic - just something that prevents me from having to drag around hoses or buckets all the time. I remember seeing a setup a long time ago with PVC pipe hooked up to something outside, with a knob/switch(or something) used to turn the in or out water flow on/off. Turn the knob, the tank drains to a set level. Turn a different one and clean(tap) water flows into the tank. Add water conditioners, etc. and you're set.

I'd love more information on something like this!
 

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So there is this really good video Joey did about that. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LimJJasPUlo

I've done a lazy version of this because I live in an apartment. I basically use one long 25ft hose to siphon out the tank directly into the drain. I then fill a bathtub with water and use a powerhead to push the water into the tanks. No buckets. Just hoses. I'll get to fully automated eventually. Good luck!
 

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So there is this really good video Joey did about that. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LimJJasPUlo

I've done a lazy version of this because I live in an apartment. I basically use one long 25ft hose to siphon out the tank directly into the drain. I then fill a bathtub with water and use a powerhead to push the water into the tanks. No buckets. Just hoses. I'll get to fully automated eventually. Good luck!
Hoses are my worst enemy. I hate them. :| I will check out this video, thank you!
 

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depending on your setup you could also do something like a continuous drip system with an overflow. that way it's constantly refreshing the water in the tank. You would still need to dose ferts though. If you're interested there are calculators out there that will tell you how much water you need to drip per hour to get x amount of water changed...
 

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There are lots of ways to go and much of it depends on how each tank is set up. Some questions to point in the right direction for ideas may help?

Lots of options so how do you feel about DIY some basic plumbing like PVC pipe drains? Do You have canister filter or sump? These give some items and a head start on the draining part.
How are you set for drains? Floor drains in basements are a natural but most of us are not that lucky. Got any drain nearby, like through a wall to a bath or to the outside? If you happen to back up to a kitchen or bath wall with plumbing it can make it simple to punch through a wall with some PVC.
How is the floorspace near the tank and stand? Got room for a barrel of reserve water if it is hidden so it looks good?

I know that sounds like I'm doing the shuffle but what you have now is really big on what you could/ would/ should do next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
depending on your setup you could also do something like a continuous drip system with an overflow. that way it's constantly refreshing the water in the tank. You would still need to dose ferts though. If you're interested there are calculators out there that will tell you how much water you need to drip per hour to get x amount of water changed...
I will look into that, thanks!


There are lots of ways to go and much of it depends on how each tank is set up. Some questions to point in the right direction for ideas may help?

Lots of options so how do you feel about DIY some basic plumbing like PVC pipe drains? Do You have canister filter or sump? These give some items and a head start on the draining part.
How are you set for drains? Floor drains in basements are a natural but most of us are not that lucky. Got any drain nearby, like through a wall to a bath or to the outside? If you happen to back up to a kitchen or bath wall with plumbing it can make it simple to punch through a wall with some PVC.
How is the floorspace near the tank and stand? Got room for a barrel of reserve water if it is hidden so it looks good?

I know that sounds like I'm doing the shuffle but what you have now is really big on what you could/ would/ should do next.
I was previously running an FX6 on this tank, but I sold it when I tore down all my tanks last year. Now I just have an AC110 that I've been storing under the tank. I don't plan on having a heavy stock load, just something that the AC110 can support.
The tank is currently set against the wall in the main room of my house - I live in a 700sqft guest house on my parents property. The wall that it's against backs up to my carport outside. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it'd be easy to punch through a wall that backs up to outside. No drains that I know of, unless the one my washing machine is hooked up to counts!
Hmm...you know, I might be able to move the tank somewhere else in the house though, so that it's next to a window (the bottom of which is lower than the tank).
I have no problem doing some basic PVC plumbing and such, and I'm sure my step-dad could help me if I need it.

As for floor space, the tank is right up against the wall with nothing on either side of it. Anything that needs to be hidden would have to go in the tank stand (about 5 feet wide, but divided in the middle).
 

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Okay, some info and some ideas to get you started, maybe?
Let's think about the outside wall. It may not be as hard as many assume. The standard wood wall is really pretty easy as it is just a very simple sandwich of inner wall covering like sheetrock on top of 2X4? studs and then the outside covering. So two big things before rejecting that idea. One is what the outside wall is covered with and how it works. Simple wood is the easy thing to find as it cuts so well. A bit harder is if it is cement board and worst might be brick. Can be done but harder to cut brick well.
Maybe works, maybe not?
Any chance of it being over an unfinished basement or crawlspace? Those are nice for making it easy.
Second on the outside question is where do you go once outside. Drains to flowerbeds are nice as the tank water is so rich in nutrients that work well for garden plants. If you don't want to dump out where it is a problem to walk, etc., considered going out and then back in to a drain?
One biggie problem with outside plumbing can be cold weather. How cold does it get in your area? Pipes can be insulated but it can be trouble.

Some things I have done vary from real easy to very difficult. Toughest was a full blown auto change using a reserve water barrels, siphon from tank to tank to drain off overflow and using a pump in the reserve to force water to the tanks. With float switches and solenoids to turn the water supply on to refill the barrel, it was fully auto and needed no care as the water was only treated with chlorine. The chlorine just gassed off before then next water change on timers. Worked great except the siphons which were a constant problem!
I now use a barrel and have a faucet in the former bedroom which we have made playroom for hobbies. Turn on the faucet to fill the barrel while adding dechlor, let the water warm to room temp and then on change day, I pump it to the tank using plastic tubing run across the floor and/or up the hall, depending on which tanks. I have drains through the outside walls for tanks in the hobby room as well as one out the other wall of the dining room. In this part of the world, water for plants is almost always good so I take care of a couple beds on change day.

Any chance of being on a crawlspace or is the guest house on a slab? Still lots of options that you can work through. The drains are usually easier as it does just take punching out through a wall and letting it run downhill. When you get down to it, houses are often not that tough and you can kick your way through many walls. Saws and drills make neater holes, though.
 

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Seems like more work and effort than just using a Python.Attach to faucet drain tank reverse flow add prime or? check for temp. and sit back and relax.Also with these systems you are adding more equipment to screw up the looks of your tank...
 

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Seems like more work and effort than just using a Python.Attach to faucet drain tank reverse flow add prime or? check for temp. and sit back and relax.Also with these systems you are adding more equipment to screw up the looks of your tank...
If you use a canister filter you greatly reduce the use of visible equipment, by plumbing below the tank, first to drain, then to refill. But, you have to design an inconspicuous spillover drain to avoid overfilling the tank if a solenoid or float valve fails.

A problem with auto water changes is that you still need to do weekly tank maintenance, like cleaning the glass, and that it is harder to vacuum the substrate surface. Plus, it is too easy to just ignore the weekly maintenance, as I know from my experience.
 

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A problem with auto water changes is that you still need to do weekly tank maintenance, like cleaning the glass, and that it is harder to vacuum the substrate surface. Plus, it is too easy to just ignore the weekly maintenance, as I know from my experience.
LOL.....thats not a "problem"! Or at least its no different than the "problem" you have by keeping tanks in the first place. I do understand saying it makes it easier to ignore the maintenance; but why would you say its harder to vacuum the substrate?
 

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The difference in whether it is more work than using a python is often in how one perceives the effort involved. I hate the drudgery of doing the same work over and over like dragging out the python while I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of building a smooth working system to avoid the hoses, etc. And there are all levels in between a fully auto system and dragging the hoses. So we can often get back to how much work it involves to avoid the hose or bucket.
Until a guy figures out how much or how little effort it takes to change, how can he know which suits him better?
The original post was looking for info and is that not what a forum is about? I can't read anything in the post to show he wanted to be talked out of the idea!
I'm certain there is no one "best" way to change water so I like to throw out some info for folks to think about and then let them decide if it is too much trouble or just how high they want to fly on the project. I think a good place to start is to gather information on some ways to go about it.
 

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LOL.....thats not a "problem"! Or at least its no different than the "problem" you have by keeping tanks in the first place. I do understand saying it makes it easier to ignore the maintenance; but why would you say its harder to vacuum the substrate?
When you are siphoning the water out of the tank for a water change you can rather easily use that siphon as a vacuum cleaner for the top of the substrate. If you have an auto change system, everything is fixed in place, so it can't be used as a siphon. You have to set up the siphon, much as you would have done to drain the old water out. That makes it a separate chore, thus "harder" to do.

I set up at least 4 auto change systems for my tanks in the past 10 years or so. I would set up another one if I was not renting an apartment now. So, I'm not arguing that it is a bad idea, just pointing out what else you have to consider when designing such a system. The best system I had gave me no problems at all, and dripped in water at a rate that gave me about a 50% turnover of the water per week. This was for a tank that had been drilled at one end when I got it. Continuous Water Change System - DIY Aquarium Projects - Aquatic Plant Central Unfortunately my photos are stored on a site I no longer can access, so they are all missing.
 

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So many of the small decisions will depend on what we each want and how our tanks set. I like to remove debris during the water change so I find a simple drain near the tank works well. I don't mind the time and effort of moving the tube around as long as it doesn't need a bucket, etc. to dump. My drain is a simple 3/4" PVC pipe under the stand that goes out the back, along a wall and through the house wall to a pipe that distributes water along the foundation in a flower bed. During dry times in the plastic soil of my area, we find it worthwhile to water the foundation to avoid shrinking and slab cracking so the water change is good for several things. To make the siphon work for me, I use a squeeze bulb with an added section of tubing to make it long enough to stick in the drain pipe and still reach all parts of the tank. Without needing to suck the tube to start the siphon, draining is pretty simple and gives me a good chance to really get up close and watch how fish are behaving. Most get nervous but that does show they are active and alert and I feel I need to check that at least once a week anyway so why not during the water change while removing debris?
Filling can be simple drudge work with buckets or full auto with lots of levels in between. Originally my system was set for tanks in multiple rooms so a reserve water barrel for water to come to room temp and be treated seemed right. On several occasions, I've found having a ton of water ready for the tank was a life saver. Like when you've gassed the tank?
A pump in the barrel and a long tube to run down the hall is okay for this with different rooms to service. A remote switch on the pump is a nice thing to avoid spills.
But I'm now backing down and maintaining fewer tanks so I'm looking at different options. One is to add a connection to the hot/cold lines in a bathroom just through the wall from the main tank. There I might add a cheap faucet as a mixing valve to control the temperature and go to the tank with a line. It is a 125 so a bit of off temperature water doesn't change it the way it might in a smaller tank. I find large tanks are much easier to keep stable. A solenoid valve on the line with a remote electrical control would keep the clutter around the tank down to minimum.
But then for what the original poster may want, there are lots of options that depend on what he has, what he wants and what he wants to do to get there. The answer is likely to be something that none of the rest are actually using.
 

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When you are siphoning the water out of the tank for a water change you can rather easily use that siphon as a vacuum cleaner for the top of the substrate. If you have an auto change system, everything is fixed in place, so it can't be used as a siphon. You have to set up the siphon, much as you would have done to drain the old water out. That makes it a separate chore, thus "harder" to do.

I set up at least 4 auto change systems for my tanks in the past 10 years or so. I would set up another one if I was not renting an apartment now. So, I'm not arguing that it is a bad idea, just pointing out what else you have to consider when designing such a system. The best system I had gave me no problems at all, and dripped in water at a rate that gave me about a 50% turnover of the water per week. This was for a tank that had been drilled at one end when I got it. Continuous Water Change System - DIY Aquarium Projects - Aquatic Plant Central Unfortunately my photos are stored on a site I no longer can access, so they are all missing.
I understand what you're saying; but I dont necessarily see that as a "problem". If you've got an automated system yes you'll have to take that "extra" step of setting up and using a siphon. But all you have to do is a quick siphon of the detritus which is a fraction of the time needed to use that siphon to do your full water change.
 

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here my fish tank that i made video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2pMxAvz7bg
Ph always 7.0
drip 60 GPD:surprise::surprise::surprise:

Is that ro water?

Bump: I had a hole drilled in the back of my tank and ran a drain to the sewer in the basement then I ran a line from my RO to the tank into the aquarium. Every night I drain the 10 gallon RO tank into the aquarium and the excess water drains out the drain and I add salty shrimp for the 10 gallons added.
 

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One idea which I'm thinking about doing on my 125g is drilling the back at desired water height for the outlet or drilling the bottom with 3/4 inch pipe run into a tee at the desired water height. The with the tee there is less chance of blocking up , extra safety. Either option the waste water is plumbed up to outside the it runs over the garden.

For the inlet my plan is to plumb it in to house plumbing, using a 12volt 3/4 inch electric solenoid valve. The valve powered by a transformer and switched on and off by a timer. Probably run it 4 times a day, I would rather in small amounts and more often than large amounts less often as of the water change. Then for the cloramine I'm hoping to run a "evolution Aqua detox dechlorinator" which is an in line filter.
 
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