The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, like always I am on the quest for automation that is cheap but still effective. One of the biggest pains is usually water changing. I plan on plumbing in my next two tanks I am setting up so that I can do the work easier and possibly include automation. After reading about someone autowater change that didnt involve the use of some kind of RO system(that was mentioned anyway) it became a little more appealing to me for a few reasons(one less unit to install, one less expensive item to buy, one less unit to maintain, one less fert to dose like RO right, etc. etc.). So I was thinking, if one were to setup such a system that will fill a large container daily, then at the end of the day pump that into your tanks, would a circulating pump in the storage tank be enough to 'age' the water / offgass chlorine so one wouldnt have to use dechlor (in a 24hr period)? I am trying to see if the K.I.S.S. method can be applied to water changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,628 Posts
I think chlorine would dissapate over 24 hrs, but don't think chloramine will. Chloramine is now a common chemical used (in place of chlorine) because of its ability to sustain a longer duration. I am not sure of how long this water needs to sit before the chloramine would dissapate. if your going through the trouble of doing an autowater changer, why not try and rig up a dosing system that could add the de-chlorinator to your reservoir during filling.


You may want to call your local water company and find out what they are using.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
626 Posts
I really am the last person to make a comment regarding keeping a system simple, but I would say it would probably be less complicated to dose dechlor via an Eheim Liquidoser than to setup an "aging" tank. This depends on the size of your tank as well. If your water does not contain chloramines, and doesn't contain a great deal of chlorine, you may be able to skip that step altogether by setting the system up to perform small, but frequent changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
gmccreedy - just chlorine, as like I stated in my first post. Chloramines takes a week minimum to dissipate some say (that’s why many municipalities have switched to it) but some folks on the forums say that might not even be the case. But I would have to keep track to make sure they dont switch to it here.

SuRje1976 - the problem with the eheim liquidoser is that it will probably cost more than the whole water change setup. And I am going to be using 1 tub doing daily water changes on at least 3 tanks, I'd have to buy 3 liquidosers then and one tank has no way to mount the unit (its an all in one enclosed deal like a nano cube just bigger). The 'aging tank' would also serve the purpose of bringing cold tap water up to room temp.

boink - I usually go for water pump/powerheads instead of air stones. I might not have been clear in my original post, the aging tank would have a pump in it that would probably pull in water from the bottom and spray it upward so there should be constant movement at the surface.

After doing some more research it seems I find a lot of sources saying that chlorine will dissipate in 24 hrs. Seems like some that setup WC tanks like this also include a carbon filter coming off the cold water line that is suppose to remove chlorine. I suppose that wouldn’t be hard to do, I was just trying to determine how simple an aging tank could be setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
674 Posts
yea i had thought about using one of those inline filters that are about 20-30 so i didnt have to use dechlorinator, but i dont think it removes enough in one pass for fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Seems like the inline units really on very low flow rates to be very effective. And the carbon only lasts so long. I probably wouldn’t rely on carbon alone. Which brings me back to my KISS method, if carbon isn’t reliable, will require additional parts, filter replacement, and long fill times, perhaps then the simple 24hr aging tub with a circulating pump in it would work just as well. If no one has specifically done this before I might buy a chlorine test just to verify on the test run (if I build something like this).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
I haven't done this for FW but for saltwater - you can run your tanks into a common sump which is connected to a Litermeter (which is a fancy dosing pump). You can pick up used medical dosing pumps on Ebay for less. Since this is a FW setup you can run one line from your aging tank directly to the sump and one from the sump to your water drain. You can do periodic water changes this way. Use a float switch from your RO/Di into you aging tank. Brute garbage cans make nice cheap water change containers also. I drilled the tanks myself using a inexpensive diamond hole bit you can buy from ebay as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't done this for FW but for saltwater - you can run your tanks into a common sump which is connected to a Litermeter (which is a fancy dosing pump). You can pick up used medical dosing pumps on Ebay for less. Since this is a FW setup you can run one line from your aging tank directly to the sump and one from the sump to your water drain. You can do periodic water changes this way. Use a float switch from your RO/Di into you aging tank. Brute garbage cans make nice cheap water change containers also. I drilled the tanks myself using a inexpensive diamond hole bit you can buy from ebay as well.
No RO/DI remember I am trying to see how simple an inexpensive this can be done. It will be multitank but each tank will have its own sump as they are completely different setups & different temp. Yes the rubbermade brute garbage can was what I would probably try (priced out the 44g one at Lowes for $42, hoping maybe its cheaper at Wallmart). Yes the point of what I am doing is to do an daily water change (thats why I am concerned with the ability for chlorine to dissipate in a 24 hr period). I could extend the time frame to 48 hours to be on the safe side but then I would have to get a much larger tub that would be inconvenient. My goal is about a 50% or more wc weekly broken down into daily amounts of about 10-15%. I would probably include float switches but to first test out my K.I.S.S. idea I am going to do it as a simple timer with no real controller. I'd just find the amount of time it took to fill it, maybe go a little bit over, and install an overflow to the drain so any extra amount just goes down the drain. Same with the sump tanks, will have an overflow drain, assuming I run a large enough drain line should be able to handle a bit extra just incase. I have looked into the medical dosing pumps for auto nutrient dosing, but as part of my K.I.S.S. test I am going to try the much cheaper Tom Aqualifter pump thats rated at 3.5 gph and $10. Just to clarify, the purpose of all this is to test how easily and cheaply automation can be done. If I find something isnt reliable then I will improve upon it until I find the easiest cheapest reliable auto system for water changes and dosing that I can. I'll probably give it a test run of around a month without having fish in the tank so that should allow sufficient time for tweaking the setup and monitoring performance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
I haven't completely read through this, but here are some thoughts:

If Your Water Company only uses chlorine then all you need is a carbon filter inline of the incoming water. However, that gives you no guarantee that they won't start using chloramine long-term or as a one-time deal. Either way--You Lose. There is something called "Super Activated Carbon" (SAC)(something like that anyway) that will break the chlorine/ammonia bond, remove the chlorine, but the ammonia remains free. I doubt that the little bit of ammonia matters much to a fully cycled system. However, the SAC isn't really cheap, but I think it would be inexpensive enough to be practical.

Another, and better option I think would be the Auto dosing of dechlor as SuRje1976 mentioned. A liquidoser or other pump would work well, but if expense is a factor--the air-dosing setups work well and would allow you to also incorporate auto-fert dosing. Either way, Prime is available in a system for up to 48hrs (yes, new info from Seachem) now, and can be overdosed. I would highly recommend spending the few extra bucks (~$20 total) for a Good timer like the intermatic DT27 (I think) that works very reliably with water pumps, air pumps, etc. An auto-air dosing system can be built very easily with less parts than currently shown in the threads here at PT. Same basic concept--just no need for the drippers, etc.

Also, I personally feel that an "Aging tank" is a waste of time, space and money--unless it serves a valid purpose of some kind. From what I can gather--you are just considering it because of chlorine/chloramines. If so, its not necessary. Just use the carbon filter and/or auto dose Prime straight into the tank.

One last thought: You shouldn't need any type of solenoid for the drainage--but that really depends upon how your drainage is setup. If you are going to drain via an external line, say from the canister--then you will need a drainage solenoid. However, if You are going to drain directly from a pump in the tank or sump or some other means were the water is going to go over the top of something--the siphon can be broken very easily and inexpensively. Let me know what Your setup is and I can offer more later......

I realize that this thread is a bit out-dated, but my be of help to cl or others.....:tongue:

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
No RO/DI remember I am trying to see how simple an inexpensive this can be done. It will be multitank but each tank will have its own sump as they are completely different setups & different temp.
2 thoughts:

1) If you are going to be draining from sumps--then you don't need a drainage solenoid or an incoming water supply solenoid--will save $$$. And You only need 1 Good Timer per setup, excluding auto-dosing.

2) The Auto WC system on my feeder fish holding tank cost less than $50---and that includes $20 for a Good Timer.

I don't know if You have anything setup yet or not. If You want some input--let me know.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
2 thoughts:

1) If you are going to be draining from sumps--then you don't need a drainage solenoid or an incoming water supply solenoid--will save $$$. And You only need 1 Good Timer per setup, excluding auto-dosing.

2) The Auto WC system on my feeder fish holding tank cost less than $50---and that includes $20 for a Good Timer.

I don't know if You have anything setup yet or not. If You want some input--let me know.....
No haven’t got anything setup yet. Still haven’t even built the stands for the tanks yet. I've never been a big believer in aging tanks but it seemed like the simplest and cheapest way to do what I want. Will also bring the water temp up to room temp which will be convenient for my unheated tanks. I also dont think carbon filtration would be nearly as cost efficient as simply having an aging tank, considering that you have to replace the carbon frequently and that it could potentially absorb things in the water that it doesn’t need to. There isn’t any solenoids in the drains, the only solenoid in the design so far is the one on my cold water supply line. Their will be a pump in the reservoir to fill the tanks, and a pump in each tanks sump to drain (or I could put a solenoid in the system but I think a pump would be a cheaper solution) For timers I am more than likely going to be using the Aquacontroller Jr. The reservoir and each tanks sump will have an overflow to the drain so that water level sensors and accurate timing wont be necessary. Any excess will simply drain off. Not being a plumber, one of the things I am not sure about is how well water will flow down the gravity drain, being that it will be flat, across one room, 90* bend and across the back wall of the room, through the wall to the utility room, another 90* bend and then to the drain in the floor. In all that’s close to a 30' run of pipe that will be flat on the floor. I fear it may back up instead of flowing down easily, which could severely effect the design. Anyone know? Nothing is set in stone yet as I have only begun to gather materials, so I am still open to suggestion. Jedi mind tricks dont work though.:tongue:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
Ok, this may take more than one post, and I'll probably add a pic or diagram or both, so give me a little time. But for starters:

The carbon filter would just be inline on the incoming water supply--it would not be removing anything from the tank water. The incoming water is carbon filtered before it ever reaches the tank--and that's it.
Carbon filters are not that expensive to use or replace. You can pick up a carbon filter that will do 10,000-20,000g of water or more. That's fresh, clean incoming water only. Not Tank water. But You still have the chloramine issue--even if its just potential. By the way: Its called "Catalytic Carbon" and it takes care of chloramines--see below.

A simple, inexpensive multi-tank drainage system can still be setup without a problem, and without solenoids. As long as the drainage end of the drainage system is lower than the starting point--you won't have a problem. Time will vary depending upon the variables of the particular setup, but that's not an issue. As long as there's a siphon break--you're good to go.

Heating the water is another issue. The easiest fix without a storage tank is to install a heater set to a minimum temp--but that can get expensive pretty quick. Also, for about the cost of a brute storage tank--a Hydor 300 watt inline heater could be installed on the incoming water supply. That should at least take the chill out of the water.

As for the overflow drain for excess incoming water--its not needed. Just use Float Valves. The Kent Marine Float Valves (~$19) works very well, as do these from USPlastics:

UsPlastic Float Valves

I have both and they both work Great. The USPlastics are cheaper, adjustable and come in sizes from 1/4"-3/8""OD and 1/2"MPT. For the money (~$8) they are a Great Value.

Incoming Water Supply: Hydor Heater ~$50. Refillable Catalytic Carbon Filter w/ housing et al ~$37 Shipped. USP Float valves ~$8/sump. Incoming water supply is done. ~$87+$8/ float valve divided by the number of tanks= $ cost/tank. No, Multiple solenoids or Float Switches that have to control Something.
The Float valves will stop the water where you set it and will also double for water top-off. A float switch needs electricity and needs to control something--a solenoid, pump, whatever. Those switches are just added expense/setup. I have about 4 float switches from walmart--I don't use them any more. Both float valves listed above are rated up to 100psi--so they will do the trick--No Problem. The Kent Marine works with the High Pressure of my RO Unit, but is more expensive and isn't as easy to adjust as the others.

How many tanks are You looking to setup on this.....?

What size tubing/pipe are You planning on using for the incoming water supply and the drainage system.....?

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
Here's a couple clickable thumbs to full sized pix:




The first pic is of a simple siphon break. It can be used on pipe or tubing. Cheap? Yep, just drill a hole in the drain plumbing in a place where the water will spray back into the sump, tank--whatever. The pump will pump out the water to drain, when its stopped by a timer the siphon break will allow air in and --Break the Siphon. Works Great! Simple, fast, effective and cheap! Just use a hole small enough to break the siphon--that's all. But You can see now why this won't work on an external drain line like off a canister filter. Its perfect for a sump though......:proud: Either way, as long as You are Not pumping up hill--you will need a way to break the siphon or control the flow. You can control it through a solenoid ($$) or just use a siphon break. Up hill will take care of itself.

The second pic is just the USP float valve, showing the water coming in as soon as it is lowered. Once the pump starts the drain the water lowers--incoming water starts to flow in. The "waste" of Good clean fresh water is really minimal and will take a long time to pay for, in savings, compared to a float switch and maybe timer.

More questions:

Where is Your drain plumbing going to be running? i.e., Through a living room or basement/garage? How important is the plumbings visibility?

How close are these tanks going to be to each other? Stacked? Side-by-side? Separate rooms?

Either way, Let me know what Your thoughts are and we can go from there......

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, here is a quick diagram of the basic setup I drew up earlier. Some of the details aren’t there but you get a general idea. The main concern is for my larger two tanks, there may be some other smaller ones on the system as well but I haven’t decided. Click the pic for larger:

And yeah, I know there are some misspellings on there, you dont have spellcheck when your writing by hand. I always mispell solenoid lol.

The carbon filter would just be inline on the incoming water supply--it would not be removing anything from the tank water. The incoming water is carbon filtered before it ever reaches the tank--and that's it.
Carbon filters are not that expensive to use or replace. You can pick up a carbon filter that will do 10,000-20,000g of water or more. That's fresh, clean incoming water only. Not Tank water. But You still have the chloramine issue--even if its just potential. By the way: Its called "Catalytic Carbon" and it takes care of chloramines--see below.
Yes of course the carbon is in the supply line, I didn’t think I implied otherwise? As far as the carbon filters its something I hadn’t discounted but due to the extra cost, regular maintenance, iffy chlorine removal, and possible hassle getting the flow rate correct I decided to try the aging reservoir. I may still go with a carbon filter, haven’t decided yet. The utilities here currently use only chlorine, but of course there is always the potential for that to change though when I spoke to one of the engineers he didn’t think they would be switching anytime soon.

For heating the water for the tropical tanks the hydor wont do crap especially in the winter, so just for the tropical tank(s) I was going to use an inline instant heat unit , I had a link to one that could at least go down to 80* and if I recall was $60-70. I dont have the link handy.

As far as the float valves go - I could use them but my current design they are unnecessary. The overflow drains will be used, for one as an emergency drain in the case of an incident, with the side effect of not needing precise control on the fill. I was planning on getting the flow and timing down so that just a couple extra gallons would overflow. It would also be a whole lot harder for the overflow to have an issue compared to a float valve, though I am sure there pretty reliable. The only real part for the overflows will be a $5 or less bulkhead in each sump. I dont really know why I dont see more setups with an overflow drain for safety, other than I suppose not everyone has a drain or something they can plumb it into handy.

Visibility - well if the tank was against the common wall with the utility room it would be a no brainer. Unfortunately that spot isn’t good for viewing so its going to be on the far wall. The plumbing will run to the back of the room, across the back, and through the wall to the utility room. It will be exposed but only very little since there is already a large office desk it will go behind, I'll just have to put something in front of it were it goes across the back wall. I haven’t figured out the sizes yet, probably 3/4" for the fill and 1" or so for the drain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
Ok, here is a quick diagram of the basic setup I drew up earlier. Some of the details aren’t there but you get a general idea. The main concern is for my larger two tanks, there may be some other smaller ones on the system as well but I haven’t decided. Click the pic for larger:

And yeah, I know there are some misspellings on there, you dont have spellcheck when your writing by hand. I always mispell solenoid lol.

You can eliminate the cost of the 2 pumps, the storage container and the bulkhead for it by simply auto dosing dechlor straight into each tank. Take the solenoid shown and put it on one leg, add a solenoid to the other leg, and 2 timers. Add Your instant heat unit prior to the 2 legs and that should be all You need.

Yes of course the carbon is in the supply line, I didn’t think I implied otherwise? As far as the carbon filters its something I hadn’t discounted but due to the extra cost, regular maintenance, iffy chlorine removal, and possible hassle getting the flow rate correct I decided to try the aging reservoir. I may still go with a carbon filter, haven’t decided yet. The utilities here currently use only chlorine, but of course there is always the potential for that to change though when I spoke to one of the engineers he didn’t think they would be switching anytime soon.
From what little I have looked into it, it appears that the catalytic carbon is good for about 9-10X as much chlorine as it is chloramines. So, a 1,500g would be Good for roughly 15,000. But with the size of those tanks I can understand why You are concerned about cost. However, You would still be covered in case the WC decided to dose chloramines. Yet with just chlorine in the water You can just aerate your storage container and the chlorine will dissipate in 24 hrs. Yet That will offer no protection against chloramines should they enter the water system. Kind of a Judgement call. Personally I would go with auto-dosing (air) into the tanks or the storage container. Personally, I would dose it straight into the tanks and skip the storage container--At this point I really don't think its necessary.


For heating the water for the tropical tanks the hydor wont do crap especially in the winter, so just for the tropical tank(s) I was going to use an inline instant heat unit , I had a link to one that could at least go down to 80* and if I recall was $60-70. I dont have the link handy.
I understand, but I wasn't figuring on tanks this size or this much incoming flow. If You find the link--I'd like to check it out.

As far as the float valves go - I could use them but my current design they are unnecessary. The overflow drains will be used, for one as an emergency drain in the case of an incident, with the side effect of not needing precise control on the fill. I was planning on getting the flow and timing down so that just a couple extra gallons would overflow. It would also be a whole lot harder for the overflow to have an issue compared to a float valve, though I am sure there pretty reliable. The only real part for the overflows will be a $5 or less bulkhead in each sump. I dont really know why I dont see more setups with an overflow drain for safety, other than I suppose not everyone has a drain or something they can plumb it into handy.
I considered an Overflow drain for my sump, but decided against it because I wanted to pump/drain the water out for WCs. I would still like to incorporate one for "safety", but I haven't put much thought into it. I don't really think that I have an argument against what You are planning to do.


Visibility - well if the tank was against the common wall with the utility room it would be a no brainer. Unfortunately that spot isn’t good for viewing so its going to be on the far wall. The plumbing will run to the back of the room, across the back, and through the wall to the utility room. It will be exposed but only very little since there is already a large office desk it will go behind, I'll just have to put something in front of it were it goes across the back wall. I haven’t figured out the sizes yet, probably 3/4" for the fill and 1" or so for the drain.
Ok, that's what I was getting at: What size pipe/tubing You were planning on using and its "Hide-ability". Doesn't appear to be any issues on the plumbing sizes.

I would suggest skipping the storage container and running direct lines with either solenoids (auto) or ball valve (semi-auto).

Are You planning on draining the tanks for WCs, or just adding new water while the "old" goes out the overflow....?
 

·
Children Boogie
Joined
·
16,743 Posts
can't you make an de-ionizer? The physics behind it is easy right?
I think most homes have in in their hot water boiler to reduce heavy metals.
I don't know if that'll reduce chloramines.

You need an anode & cathode & a small current from a battery or something.
Who's a physics major here?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
I have been running an autowaterchanger on my 180g for nearly a year now and it is awesome. It is plumbed into the house. I use a sump tank that has been drilled with overflows which are connected to the house drain so that I only have to add water and any excess will overflow. I do have an incomming cold water line that has a soleniod valve on it which is connected to a timer.

I don't have your problem of having to remove chlorine/chloramine because my house is on well water.

I do use auto fert dosers made using the cheap TOM Aqualifter pumps for my plants and the same could be used to dose dechlor just before waterchange.

I dodge the whole heat issue by limiting the waterchange to ~10% daily. This 10% of cold unheated water added to the tank only drops the tank temp by less than 2°C which is not a signifigant enough change to do any harm the fish as most species experience larger day/night temp swings in the wild, not to mention just swimming between areas of a watere that are getting direct sunlight, and those in the shade. And the temperature of the tank returns to normal within an hour.

I also would not mess with the holding/aging tank as that would complicate the setup, and require additional components that are at risk of eventual failure and possible flood.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top