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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 29 gallon tank with an Ehiem 2215. I have been doing water changes with just a 5 gallon bucket, then refilling with a 1 gallon pitcher (to reduce plants getting tangled up). Obviously, this takes a bunch of time.

I was wondering if there is anyway I could plumb this into my existing tubing to my canister and use a fountain pump to fill it up. I do not want it set up all the time, first and foremost.

I was thinking about doing 1 of 2 things. The first would be to put a "T" into my line and put a hose on. I would use an Ehiem quick disconnect (or similar) on the "T" so that I can open and close it up. I would also do the same at the end of the pump. That way I could easily take it off and put it back on. I would do it on the outflow side so that my pump doesn't have to compete with gravity, shutting off the existing quick disconnects I have off before and after the filter.


The second way would be very similar with the exception that I wouldn't use a "T" in my line. I would mearly hook it up to the existing quick disconnect on the outflow, put a quick disconnect from the inflow, and just hook it up to my existing connections. Basically the same idea but simplified. The problem with this, I can't easily drain my tank this way (unless I hook it up to the inflow side, then disconnect, hook it back up to my inflow).



These are the problems I can think about right now:
First, once I get past the top of the spray bar, it may back siphon into the bucket that the fountain pump would be in. I am not all that worried about that. I could only siphon to as low as my spray bar so no risk of overflowing the bucket my pump would be in.

If it doesn't back siphon, it could overflow my tank if I am not careful. Again, not to worried as it's not supposed to be automatic. Pretty easy to keep track of how much water goes out so I know this won't happen with some basic common sense.

The 3rd thing is the durability of these quick disconnects. I have broken the handle on the valve for one (after about 3 years however). But, I could have a problem if one is stuck open, especially if I do it the second way. They also leak from time to time if I don't lube the O ring. No big deal once every year but using these things every week, they may not hold up.


Here is a quick caveman painting to show you what I mean:

 

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I have something similar to what you're describing. I T'ed off my canister intake where I attach a hose to drain the tank, it has a ball valve that I shut off when I'm done. I use two sets of hoses. The other hose is hooked up to a pond pump in my water holding tank. It has an inverted J on the other end that I rest on top of the tank to hold it in place while filling. I just try to make sure I don't forget that I'm filling the tank LOL :D
 

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Fountain pumps will take forever. Are you using RO water? if you're not, you'd be further ahead to just hook to a sink.

I just use a PVC hook over the tank lip and a garden hose hooked to my outside spigot or any sink with an adapter.

This system just looks to add more points of failure. Why bother carrying buckets around? And if you're going to carry it all the way to the tank, why not just dump it in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have something similar to what you're describing. I T'ed off my canister intake where I attach a hose to drain the tank, it has a ball valve that I shut off when I'm done. I use two sets of hoses. The other hose is hooked up to a pond pump in my water holding tank. It has an inverted J on the other end that I rest on top of the tank to hold it in place while filling. I just try to make sure I don't forget that I'm filling the tank LOL :D
That was my original idea on the filling side but I am scared of the hose falling out of the tank. The plus would be I could use it on both my tanks.

I could just use a ball valve but I need one new quick disconnect. I broke the handle to the ball valve so it is tricky to get my canister out, I was thinking I could kill two birds with one stone as they are basically a ball valve and I will have 2 extra. The broken one still seals and works as a connector, I just can't easily open and close the valve. That wouldn't need to close as I don't need both valves to make this system work.

Sounds like my idea will work, I just don't want to over look anything. I can't order parts for a week or so anyway, plus shipping time, so I don't need to figure this out ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fountain pumps will take forever. Are you using RO water? if you're not, you'd be further ahead to just hook to a sink.

I just use a PVC hook over the tank lip and a garden hose hooked to my outside spigot or any sink with an adapter.

This system just looks to add more points of failure. Why bother carrying buckets around? And if you're going to carry it all the way to the tank, why not just dump it in?
The nearest sink to this room is very far away. 50 ft or so, add a few extra to account for the height of the sink and tank. It probably wouldn't please other residents in the house. Not really an option.

I could use a hose from outside but that would be going over about $6000 in studio equipment. I just can't stomach that. Plus there are accustic panels in the way. It's in my home studio setup so I don't want any hoses near that. Otherwise, it would be a great option.



Now, I do understand their is extra points for failure. I add 3. I wouldn't mind installing an extra valve for safety, limiting it more. I have a UV sterilizer and at some point will get an inline heater so it isn't something I am super frightened of.


I have been doing the bucket thing for 4+ years. If I do a 5 gallon, I disturb the plants by tangling them up at best. If I get overly ambitious, I may disturb the substrate. So, lately I have been using a 1 gallon pitcher. 10 trips to the sink is very tedious. I have used a fountain pump before and it's quicker. I just didn't have anything setup.

Maybe a J hook is a better idea. I don't mind draining the tanks with a gravel vacuum but it would be nice to have something easier.
 

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Why don't you just have the fountain pump go directly into the tank with a hose that you could store when not in use. Then you wouldn't have a valve that could fail. It would just be bucket to tank. You could use it on other tanks too. Just hold the hose while filling or use pvc and make a j at the end so it sits there. Seems easier.
 

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They make 50, 75, and 100 foot pythons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Apparently you didn't read the part where the other house resident's would like the hose all over the floor.
Yup, a python is not an option. It's not the length of the tube, it's the fact the hose would either go down the entire hall way or through the living room, into the kitchen. That's not going to work from a living perspective.
 

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I bet once you've spilled water from the bucket a couple of times, the hose won't seem like a big deal. Particularly since it won't spill all over and it will only be there for about 5 minutes.

I do this in all of the setups I service, in multi million dollar homes... They'd rather I did it the right way and didn't make a huge mess then risk dropping a 5 gallon bucket full of water all over their floors.

If the people you live with can't handle a hose for 5 minutes(even pushign up hill will do better than a fountain pump) then maybe considering new roommates would be the bigger concern.
 

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This thread might be helpful (took me a while to find it).
Thanks for the link. Unfortunately many of the pictures are down so I will have to read pretty thoroughly though the link in the thread you linked.



I am still having issues trying to solve out potential negatives. I know there is 3 (well 4 with the valve) extra potential places for leaks but that didn't stop me from putting my UV sterilizer in, or will it keep me from putting and inline heater in which is 4 right there. I know there are alternatives as well, that's fine, I am just thinking this idea through.




For those who can't get over the python thing. I don't need to justify my reasoning and I certainly am not going to move out.

I will explain though, only to hopefully get some better advice. First off, I am a music producer. I play loud music every day of the week, every night of the week. I have random people over a lot. Outside of that, I have an extra car. I am an avid DIYer so I am often taking up space in the back yard and the garage. For the record, nobody said I couldn't do the python thing, but, I get a lot of perks here, I don't want to add any more inconvenience. I never asked anyone if it was OK or not.



What my goal is. I want to isolate this system to my room as much as possible. If I only have to fill a 5 gallon bucket or 2, then do the rest of my work in my room, it is good. As of now, I feel like I can only do my water changes when nobody else is home. As said, I don't like dumping a 5 gallon bucket into my tank so I end up making 5-10 trips with a 1 gallon pitcher. If I could isolate this to where I make one or two trips to the bathtub to fill up a bucket, it's an improvement. That is my goal.
 

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Are there ball valves on either side of the T?

What I see from your diagram is this:

You can block off one side of the T, then attach the hose to the system that runs to your bucket which means the output will run to your bucket. Then block off that side of the T, empty out the bucket, refill, attach your hose to your pump and refill through the spray bar.

Is that your plan?

The only thing I can think of if this is the case is that your water change water you are dumping out will go through your filter. I like to use my water changes as a time to get all the crud and stuff from the sand out of the tank. Also, I typically will wipe the glass clean of algae right before so I will have a ton of stuff floating around. When I do my water change with my gravel vac, I can get all that stuff out. But in your setup, all that junk goes straight into the filter so I think I would step up my filter maintenance as well.

I think its easier and more helpful to use a separate hose & pump into a 5 gallon bucket than trying to plumb into your existing setup but there's no reason why it couldn't work the way you set it up provided you account for all the floaties in your water.

-Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Are there ball valves on either side of the T?

What I see from your diagram is this:

You can block off one side of the T, then attach the hose to the system that runs to your bucket which means the output will run to your bucket. Then block off that side of the T, empty out the bucket, refill, attach your hose to your pump and refill through the spray bar.

Is that your plan?

The only thing I can think of if this is the case is that your water change water you are dumping out will go through your filter. I like to use my water changes as a time to get all the crud and stuff from the sand out of the tank. Also, I typically will wipe the glass clean of algae right before so I will have a ton of stuff floating around. When I do my water change with my gravel vac, I can get all that stuff out. But in your setup, all that junk goes straight into the filter so I think I would step up my filter maintenance as well.

I think its easier and more helpful to use a separate hose & pump into a 5 gallon bucket than trying to plumb into your existing setup but there's no reason why it couldn't work the way you set it up provided you account for all the floaties in your water.

-Charlie
Basically, at all the quick disconnects, there is a valve. My idea would be to have everything open during the tank draining. Then use the valve to stop the water. On refilling, the valve before the canister would stay closed. The water from the pump would have no other choice than to go upwards and out the spray bar.


So yes, the water would go through the filter while draining. I could always use a gavel vacuum when need be but this tank will be 100% planted, I will have no bare spots when I am done. Therefore, I probably would rarely use a gravel vacuum.

I do something similar on another tank I have for drainage. It doesn't have a spray bar, it basically has a plastic "lily pipe" I just take off and drain into a bucket. I just refill with a pitcher. That's at my GF's place though so it wouldn't help to have something that works on 2 tanks.


I am not against having just a J tube, but being able to use it on more than one tank isn't a big deal. I have 2 tanks where I live, one gets a monthly 5 gallon water change at best. This tank gets one weekly. When I move in with my girlfriend, I will only keep one tank (but likely buy a new one and just keep my equipment) so it would be the same situation then. It's more equipment and I like "built in", even if it's still manual but it is safer.
 

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If transporting a bucket is your only option, I'd just use pvc hooks over the tank. They will store in the bucket when not in use. I think you'll actually be happier with the j tube, as it will be quicker to set up and you won't have nearly the hassle of connecting a hose every time.

Built in is nice, but I think you're going to be disapointed in the actual results. The other nice part about the J tub is that you can figure out what the max water change level is with the bucket, and make the j tube adjustable(just a pvc slip union and a few lengths of pipe) and then you won't ever risk overflowing your bucket.)


If you set it up with the canister you'll need an on/off on the side opposite of the spray bar, as it will just start draining from that side until it reaches the bottom of the intake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The J tube may just be the way to go. The nice thing is I can try it out first and see if I like it before I go any further anyway. The only real disadvantage is that I need to store both a gravel vac, and a bulkier tube compared to a hose. I think I will just see how it works and if I decide to go further, I will. It would be nice to not have to hold the gravel vac but at that point, I am just getting lazy lol.
 

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You don't have to hold it. I don't hold it in any of the tanks I do... I don't even use a gravel vac.

Since I use sand, it stays pretty clean due to flow. All I do is hook J pipe, start siphon, and walk away. It stops when it is done(the pipe doesn't go any lower, or you drill a hole for a siphon break like in an overflow) and thats the way the cookie crumbles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You don't have to hold it. I don't hold it in any of the tanks I do... I don't even use a gravel vac.

Since I use sand, it stays pretty clean due to flow. All I do is hook J pipe, start siphon, and walk away. It stops when it is done(the pipe doesn't go any lower, or you drill a hole for a siphon break like in an overflow) and thats the way the cookie crumbles.
Oh, I didn't even think about using the J pipe to drain. That would be perfect if I could dispose of 10 gallons of water. If I can find a container that is more than 10 gallons that is easy enough to carry, that would be perfect. I can't take advantage of that with 5 gallon buckets easily as if I let it stop at 5, I am not doing a big enough change and ads time, and if I let it stop half way, I still can't take advantage of not having to pay attention. Not that I can't use the J pipe to drain, it just doesn't simplify something I got excited about for a second:icon_conf
 

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Some people have used Wheeled rubbermaid garbage cans. I've heard rumors of them not being safe, but the ones I've seen weren't a problem.

Now if you could drain outside or to a drain, you'd never have to think at all. IN my house, water changes feed plants and yards. In houses I service, they usually go to a drain or out the door. The best part about using a bigger hose is you'll be amazed how much faster it is....

I do water changes on my 75g tanks in about 12 minutes. total.
 
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