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Automated Water Changes - Pumps Plus Gravity


Daniel
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@DavidR was asking in another thread about automated water changes.

My water comes from a well into my utility room where I run it through an reverse osmosis (RO) system. The big pump (red circle) takes the water from the RO system and pumps it through PEX tubing embedded in the concrete slab for our house and pumps the water over and into my large aquarium in the living area.

Water-for-Aquariums-part-1-with-artwork.jpg.c821af0f6484f210322d7efaebee0f62.jpg

The large aquarium has an overflow standpipe that only lets the water get to the top of the aquarium before it goes down the pipe and out to the summer tubbing ponds. This is the automated part of the water change.

The second part is less automated but only uses gravity. Once the water is in the big tank, it is 7 1/2 feet off the ground and will readily flow downhill to the aquariums in the fishroom. The picture below is of doing a water change on the green water tank this morning.

1850367157_WaterforAquariumspart2gravity.thumb.jpg.0aab4f8c6c98a5b0600db73d980339ea.jpg

The floors are concrete so spilling a little water isn't the end of the world. It is nice to not have to use buckets.

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I have something similar to what @Daniel has setup in terms of line in and gravity out.

I have the luxury of having a basement so I set up stuff right underneath my tank.

I stage water in a brute can where i heat it and circulate it with some crushed coral to buffer the Ph. (My water has zero KH)

This stages water that can be pumped into my aquarium via a WiFi outlet that i trigger with a phone app. However, before I do this, I need to adjust two ball vales in my aquarium cabinet to allow water to be directed up into into the tank, and prevent it from dumping direct into the sump.  Basically, the water is forced up the same return lines that the aquarium pump uses.

So this is semi-manual. But allows me to change 40 gallons in a few minutes after I turn off the aquarium pump, turn two ball valves and trigger a phone app.

IMG_6105.jpg.de1fd83e7cd0011aca97be4ea2abde50.jpg

My new, fully automated way of doing things is to just use a drip line on a solenoid to always drip a certain amount into the aquarium on a scheduled basis (seen below).

But I still keep that ability to stage water in case I need to do a larger water change.

IMG_6106.jpg.6d075fd845abd55080eb38c4874e78e8.jpg

Below is how this is plumbed into the room, and tank, behind my aquarium.

IMG_6109.jpg.81df87d77b6a96202872bfad43a21811.jpg

Now what happen is when the water is pumped from the basement into the tank, the excess floods and overflows into the sump. But I have a bulkhead in the sump that allows the the excess water to drain down the waste line (this eventually finds its way into a slop sink in my basement).

IMG_6107.jpg.65d7b6b0672a49e284018fa47b2a8e1a.jpg

Below is how I add water now, routinely, via a drip emitter on a  solenoid/timer. This is easier because it's now fully automated, and the extra water I drip in eventually forces some to trickle out of the sump and down the waste line.IMG_6110.jpg.dce07579d81af884dc0e1b72053b2da1.jpg

Is all of this overkill? Totally! 150% overkill. Probably 200%.

As a guideline, when I set up the tank I plumbed it more how one normally plumbs a reef setup, but I did this intentionally to keep the display tank clear of all equipment (wife's request -- no ugly stuff in the tank please!), and so I could use my sump and return lines exactly like I have setup above.

Also, when I set up my 125g, I told myself it would have to be automated because i was tired messing around with pythons slung down the hallway, java moss clogging the bathroom skin, and/or carrying buckets that I slopped everywhere (and so was the family!).

The thing also anticipates the next larger aquarium in the same spot later in life!

Additionally, this system is plumbed into a breeding rack  in the basement that does drip changes there, but drains out in a different way. But that's a whole different post.

 

Edited by tolstoy21
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39 minutes ago, tolstoy21 said:

I have something similar to what @Daniel has setup in terms of line in and gravity out.

I have the luxury of having a basement so I set up stuff right underneath my tank.

I stage water in a brute can where i heat it and circulate it with some crushed coral to buffer the Ph. (My water has zero Ph).

This stages water that can be pumped into my aquarium via the WiFi outlet that i trigger on with a phone app. However, before I do this, I need to adjust two ball vales in my aquarium cabinet to allow water to be directed up into into the tank, and prevent it from dumping direct into the sump.  Basically, the water is forced up the same return lines that the aquarium pump uses.

So this is semi-manual. But allows me to change 40 gallons in a few minutes after I turn off the aquarium pump, turn two ball valves and trigger a phone app.

IMG_6105.jpg.de1fd83e7cd0011aca97be4ea2abde50.jpg

My new, fully automated way of doing things is to just use a drip line on a solenoid to always drip a certain amount into the aquarium on a scheduled basis (seen below).

But I still keep that ability to stage water in case I need to do a larger water change.

IMG_6106.jpg.6d075fd845abd55080eb38c4874e78e8.jpg

Below is how this is plumbed into the room, and tank, behind my aquarium.

IMG_6109.jpg.81df87d77b6a96202872bfad43a21811.jpg

Now what happen is when the water is pumped from the basement into the tank, the excess floods and overflows into the sump. But I have a bulkhead in the sump that allows the the excess water to drain down the waste line (this eventually finds its way into a slop sink in my basement).

IMG_6107.jpg.65d7b6b0672a49e284018fa47b2a8e1a.jpg

Below is how I add water now, routinely, via a drip emitter on a  solenoid/timer. This is easier because it's now fully automated, and the extra water I drip in eventually forces some to trickle out of the sump and down the waste line.IMG_6110.jpg.dce07579d81af884dc0e1b72053b2da1.jpg

Is all of this overkill? Totally! 150% overkill. Probably 200%.

As a guideline, when I set up the tank I plumbed it more how one normally plumbs a reef setup, but I did this intentionally to keep the display tank clear of all equipment (wife's request -- no ugly stuff in the tank please!), and so I could use my sump and return lines exactly like I have setup above.

Also, when I set up my 125g, I told myself it would have to be automated because i was tired messing around with pythons slung down the hallway, java moss clogging the bathroom skin, and/or carrying buckets that I slopped everywhere (and so was the family!).

The thing also anticipates the next larger aquarium in the same spot later in life!

Additionally, this system is plumbed into a breeding rack  in the basement that does drip changes there, but drains out in a different way. But that's a whole different post.

IMG_6109.jpg

 

 

That’s quite the engineering project.

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57 minutes ago, Paul said:

This is a pretty good option too and a lot less complicated. Also no buckets required.I use the 50ft model. I have a 120 on one side of my house with the rest of my tanks on the opposite side of the house upstairs in the FROG (Family Room over Garage). Works like a charm.  

@Paul, I think I would be using your option if the large aquarium were not so large.

There are 2 slight differences that were important to me.

First, the water change on the big tank happens with a push of a button, and the water is pure and clean with no need for any additives. With a tank that large convenience and water quality begin to loom large.

Secondly, for the gravity part of the water changes, again the water is not tapwater (or well water). All the water changes are with very old aged water from the big tank. I have the same good old python experience as everyone else at that point, but the difference is that the water is of much higher quality.

Sadly to get those 2 difference took planning and great expense, but having lived with the system for 13 years, I cannot imagine not having done it.

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It is not necessarily a small volume. When I have discus like I do now, I change anywhere from 100 to 500 gallons of water a week in the big tank, or 50 to 100 gallons a day. When I had angelfish, I might not change 100 gallons in a month.

I never tried re-mineralization until a couple of months ago, and then as an experiment I gave it a whorl. The result was a lot brown diatom algae. I am sure if I stuck with it long enough the brown diatom algae would have resolved, stuff like that always finds a balance eventually. I may try again in the future. 

But for the preceding 13 years, I have just run RO water into the big tank. From 2007 until 2010 I was dosing minute by minute with a Blackstone dosing pump (below) using 18 M Phosphoric acid to keep the pH in low 5's to help facilitate breeding Heckel discus (unsuccessfully) though other discus in the tank bred during that time period. If the dosing pump was turned off the pH would rise back into the mid to upper 6's.

image.png.b241c34cfa73280ff377f41f2513ce81.png

Many people have reported pH crashes but I have never seen it personally. 

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In roughly a year my water source will be changing. Right now the water is drawn out of the Cape Fear River. It comes out of the tap at around 6.8pH and soft. The ph will drop to 6 and stays there (I use aragonite in the filters to get me back in the 6.8 neighborhood). What’s coming down the pike from the water co. is RO drawn from the aquifer. Right now there’s no indication from the water co. on what the chemistry of the water will be all I can assume is it’s going to be softer than what comes out of the tap now.

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