Turning the Chore into More - Water Changes. Best Options?

Trekkie

Premium Member
For the last few years I've been changing water dilligently every month (or so) of about 20% of my 75 gallon tank.

The process is labor intensive, blocks up the kitchen (wife aggro), and can be messy at times.

My current process consists of:

3 5 Gallon 'paint buckets' I got at Home Depot
3 small heaters, 3 small powerheads.
HiS 60 GPD water filter (mounted under kitchen sink)

I fill the three buckets, this can take a day or so to get the 15 gallons of water especially in the Winter when the water is clod which slows down the water filter. We add in the salt, let the pumps stir them between 24 - 72 hours. the variable is more of where this turns into the chore part and I let them sit on the kitchen counter evaporating off a bit because I don't 'feel like doing it' .

Knowing I'm only going to improve my procastination skills I was wondering if there were any other options I might look at.

What other options has anyone done then this entirely manual method? My 75 gallon tank is about three years old and everything is hung on it, as it has no internal overflows. I've been debating getting a 125 or so gallon 'reef' tank and migrating the rock over into it due to my fish passing away a few months ago. Right now I've got rock, some sand, and that's aboutit. Ididn't do any coral/anemonaes so it's an empty reef right now. I was wondering if I put in a larger tank, if there were any things I could look at that might be able to lower the labor of the water changes.

Thanks for the ideas.

Tom
 

draleigh

New member
Look at getting one of the brute trash cans, i think they hold around 20-25 gallons? and they make a roller (casters) tray that it sets on. Then you can get something like a mag3 or mag5 for the mixing and you already have the heaters. If you use PVC to plump you could have a couple vavles in it, one open to mix the water then close that one and open the other to fill the tank.

I guess you would want to keep the 5 gallon buckets for draining the 20 gallons.

something like this. just an idea
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waterchange.JPG
 

draleigh

New member
Look at getting one of the brute trash cans, i think they hold around 20-25 gallons? and they make a roller (casters) tray that it sets on. Then you can get something like a mag3 or mag5 for the mixing and you already have the heaters. If you use PVC to plump you could have a couple vavles in it, one open to mix the water then close that one and open the other to fill the tank.

I guess you would want to keep the 5 gallon buckets for draining the 20 gallons.

something like this. just an idea
<br>
waterchange.JPG
 

drstupid

Aquarist emeritus
for me, a sump in the basement makes life much easier wrt water changes, and keeping the living room free of fish related equipment. it's best not to remind the wife how much i spent on all that peripheral stuff.

i've tried lots of schemes, and now just keep it simple.

i use two 44 gallon brutes, on casters, one for mix water and one for pure RO/DI for top off use. on one lid i put a float valve, and leave a line dangling off it. i hook that up to the RO/DI, move it from brute to brute depending on which one i'm filling.

i use a maxijet 1200 to mix, and only use it for about three days, until the water is well mixed. then it just sits until i need it. powerheads and pumps used for mix purposes get lots of stuff built up on them, and require regular cleaning in vinegar diluted in water, powerheads are much easier to clean in that fashion, and they are easy to remove once the water is mixed.

i have a 1 gallon pitcher that's great for water changes and adding water to the top off bucket (i only have a 5 gallon reservoir for that in case of ATO or skimmer problems). i have a branch off my return pump with a ball valve, and use that to do quick water changes (fill a bucket, add new mix water with the pitcher, repeat in ten minutes or so). real changes involve siphoning detrius out of the sump and fuge instead of using the return pump. it does make it easy to do weekly changes.

my system is big enough that small weekly changes don't require the mix water to be heated beyond room temperature.
 

draleigh

New member
i agree with the sump in the basement. On my system i turn a valve and the waste water goes down the drain, turn another one and the top off is added, water change done in about 3 minutes. I was giving ideas
 

Trekkie

Premium Member
unfortunately we only have a crawl space, not a basement. Would love to be able to plumb something in under the floor.
 

just dave

11th in '11
On my 280 I have a 33 gallon Brute plumbed into the system. It's supplied water from the sump and drains back into the sump. It has a valve plumbed into the bottom of the container with a hose thread adaptor. When I want to do a water change I turn off the feed to the 33gal container, connect a hose to the valve at the bottom and dump it into a floor drain, close the drain valve, fill the container with new SW and open the feed valve and the new water mixes with the system. I'm done.The aquarium is never shut down. If you don't have a floor drain and don't want to or can't drain it out via gravity you can use a small pump to pump it out. You can also mix new SW in it ( I have a separate system for collecting RO/DI and mixing SW) and when it's ready you can open the feed valve and let it mix in with the system water. You can control the feed via the valve so if you water is too cold you can let it mix in very slowly.
 

drstupid

Aquarist emeritus
no criticism intended, draleigh, just encouraging him to think simple first.

i have a friend with a reef in a small 1 floor condo in south philly, he has a smaller brute on casters he keeps in his utility closet. he uses that for mix water, and makes top off in 5 gallon buckets.

if you can fit that into your home's layout, i'd start there. one big container for mixing is easier on you and easier on the wife (takes up less space). i'd also skip the heaters, unless you're doing really large volume changes. a 5% change with the water at room temperature is not going to be a problem.
 

shootist

New member
if you do decide to do something under the floor maybe you couldstart a thread. Ive been tossing it around trying to think of easy ways to access it along with filling/draining. There is all that nice cool unused space down there would sure like to start using some of it and the wife wouldnt even notice :}
 

blcard

New member
just dave--

I was curious on your design. Do you have one pump pumping to the brute and another pumping back to the sump?

If so, how do you match their flows so they don't overflow.

Or, do you use a gravity drain at the top of the brute to get it back to the sump?
 

hebygb

New member
I do it manually as needed... I am in an apartment, so I have to buy my water at the store. I mix up the fresh SW using RO/DI, I use a hand mixer to mix it up. I use my water at room temp. Check SG and match in tank.

I turn all pumps off, drain 10% out of the sump using a powerhead and a hose, reverse it to add the new water in. Add vitamins. Done.

Takes about 15 minutes. Not a drop on the floor.

Ideally in my house I would follow the brute can methods described above. but without the luxury of a place to hide stuff or a RO/DI unit you have to do what you can.

Besides, carring 80 LBS of water from car to apartment adds to my workout.
 

just dave

11th in '11
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11649827#post11649827 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by blcard
just dave--

I was curious on your design. Do you have one pump pumping to the brute and another pumping back to the sump?

If so, how do you match their flows so they don't overflow.

Or, do you use a gravity drain at the top of the brute to get it back to the sump?

I have a small Blueline pump feeding it and it gravity drains back into the sump. You could split off of a main pump to feed it if you wanted. Besides offering easy water changes without ever turning off the display aquariums pumps, it adds water volume, acts as a detritus trap, and gives me a convenient place to acclimate fish.
 

thor32766

New member
an easy as mentioned get two brutes pump the water out and then pump the water in. Put marks on the tank to see the level needed to take out.
 

kcress

New member
How about a piece of 6 or 8" PVC that comes to your crawlspace entry. where it makes a 90 with a cap set on it. Plumb a heater in it. Drill it at the far end. Run a pump that sucks from the end and returns to the front. This would mix the whole thing.

You could fill it automatically from the RO.

Once full pour in X cups of salt. Turn on the circ pump. After a couple of days. Turn a valve that instead of circing the water sends it to your sump. That valve could be under your tank so the only outside stuff is tossing in the salt.

It would need some refinement but we could probably work out something simple and effective. Hang it from the floor joists with a few straps.

You'd probably need an air pump and stone to help the relatively closed "mixing torpedo" get the gas balances right before using the new batch.

Heck you could even use a TEE just big enough to reasonably pour salt in and have it come thru the floor under your tank.

It would get everything out of your house. Wife => :)
 
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