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All these water changes

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by growitnow, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hello,

    EI methods demand large H2O changes. This puts demands on water use. Automation works for some (and is a great idea) but not for others (feasibility, mechanically impaired, etc).

    Python is a long term stand by, but when doing python on larger tanks that is excatly what you are doing, standing by, waiting, and wasting water during the drain.

    Are there time/water saving methods that fall somewhere between automation and python? For example, I was thinking (not very cleverly) that a good hobby pump might expedite draining and not waste water. But then at completion of 50% drain, getting remaing water out of the hose leading to sink would be a pain. Any practices from experience?

    Thanks,

    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  2. edacsac

    edacsac Prolific Poster

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    No experience here, but I think about this as well. Not as often because I only have a 10 gallon tank right now, but I still do. The DIY and the automation is almost more interesting to me than the planted tank itself.

    I would hate to use a python if I had a larger tank, specifically becuase of the wasted water. It seems to me that there must be a vacuum style pump/motor out there that could pull the water (even across 50') through 1" or 1 1/2" tubing to your sink or drain. I mean if a wet/dry vac can suck up water through 3" or better plastic hose, I'm sure there is a pump that can do the job - even if you have have to wire it up yourself. I'm sure it would be more expensive than a "hobby" pump, but would be worth the "standing around" savings to me.

    Ya, I'm just babbling on , but it is a great question!
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I use larger hose diameters and a DIY version for some cases.
    Others, I also do all my maintenance during the fill, refill process, I clean the glass, trim, prune etc, when the water levels is down low................which is a lot easier than messing with a full tank.............so while it takes time, I put that time to good use.

    EI does insist on large frequent water changes, it's just a tool that can your measures into a tighter range, you have the trade off with less range/more potential build up etc as you reduce the % and frequency.

    Likewise the other way, you increase the accuracy and tighten the range as you increase % and frequency.

    Where that balance lies is up to you.
    It's an arbitrary construct. 50% weekly is just a ballpark range that works well.

    You can do more, less etc.

    When you are done and need to drain the water from the hose, simply drop the pump somewhere low or raise the hose up and whine it up to drain the water out as you reel the hose line in. That flushes the water out as you curl the hose back up for storage.

    Large hoses work super BTW for fill/drain, some use sump pumps, others larger powerheads etc.

    I like gravity.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You don't need to keep the tap water running as you drain a tank using a python style set up. Just make sure the end of the waste water hose/pipe is lower than the lowest water level you want to drain to. Then once you get it started to draining, shut off the tap and let it syphon out the rest. That is how it was designed to operate.
     
  5. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Right on.... you only need to turn the water on to start the syphon... once its going just turn off your tap, problem sloved ;)
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You can make a DIY python with larger hoses connected to the bath/shower which tends to have more flow than a sink.

    I use to drain to the toilet with a 1.25" hose and it took me 1.5 minutes to drain 70% of a 90 gallon tank. On the drain end, I added a pcv elbow with a 1.25" pipe so I could adjust the drain level by turning the elbow at an angle to whatever depth I wanted, very simple and easy.

    I added a garden hose with a U shaped pvc hanger refill with a Tee to prevent the flow from going straight down and messing up the gravel.

    Took about 12 minutes to refill, which if I moved quick, I could scrub and trim about 1/3 of the tank. So I trimmed the entire tank is 3 weeks and did 3 water changes etc all in about less than 1 hour. I do the same for a 250 gal tank but it takes about 1 hour a week all told.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. growitnow

    growitnow Lifetime Charter Member
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    Vaughn, Tom, thanks for your replies.

    Tank is on 32" stand. Drain hose goes from tank, to floor, then to kitchen, then up to waist height to kitchen sink. I do not know if phython once started will sustain siphon, but high tank in this case may be a good thing. Though back pressure from 3ft head (floor to kitchen sink) may not support continued siphon once started w/o leaving water running. Will have to see, good.

    Bigger hose good idea. Not innovative but I could also add disconnects to output line, then connect dedicated drain tube to disconnect for drain, turn on filter to drain rather than python.

    Thanks a lot for input. I don't think I have the capacity to plumb water in, but I may be able (some time in future) to plumb water out to house waste water. That would the the cats..ss.

    "growitnow"
    Bob
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Bob, do the first part and whenever, do the second, just do the 1st and do it now, you'll save a lot of time.

    You can pump the water anywhere you want also, so a filter/power head etc works fine, place the powerhead or filter intake at whatever level you to drain to.
    Then refill.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. riverrat

    riverrat Prolific Poster

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    This may not be practical for you but its a thought. My tank is not far away from my basement door. Just so happen that in my basement I have a utility sink by my washer as many homes do. Happens to be less than fifty feet from my tank and my python is fifty feet. This is really nice for me. I use the utility sink for water changes and with the sink being eight feet below the tank it works very well and I only need to use the water in the sink for a quick start of the siphon action then can turn it off. When I am done with the refill I open python back to the siphon mode and go up and grab my python and roll it up going down the steps to sink turn water off and WaLa! all done. I store python near the utility sink on a big hook on wall.

    This system has made my hobby much more fun and less work. Besides my wife would probably crap if I were to dump tank water in her sink. :eek: I use to use 5gal buckets to service my tank. Ugh! .... I don't miss it. This may not work for you but its just a thought. If its a little further then just make your diy python longer to suit your needs.
     
  10. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    You can also put a T fitting with a garden hose connector and ball valve on the return line of your cannister filter. Just hook up the garden hose, flip the valve and let the cannister pump the water out.
     
  11. edacsac

    edacsac Prolific Poster

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    Phhhtt... I don't know why I'm not doing that. I have an eheim ecco with the valves already in place. :confused:
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Ahhh...the simplicity of a water change eludes many:) Perhaps most of us at one time or another.

    I think folks do put up all sorts of self imposed barriers with water changes, some simple methods allow for huge reductions in effort and motivation, but these seldom get discussed, instead, folks seek all sorts of odd ways to avoid water changes but also dose and then they avoid using test kits as well.

    I'm not sure why so many are so against good large water changes when there are methods to address their criticisms and complaints. We all have the same complaints about them, so using the brain to avoid more repeated work seems wise.

    It is enlightening to see all the various methods folks use to make water changes easier.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. edacsac

    edacsac Prolific Poster

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    water changes are rough on the water bill though. I'd hate to have a huge tank to deal with. In that respect, I can see why some would avoid large frequent water changes. Other than that, I'm learning that frequent water changes is quite key to a happy tank.
     
  14. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Im really lucky to be still on a standard flat charge, and not on a water meter.. not many of us in the UK, or even the world can probably say that.

    For my water changes, I simply stick the outlet (kept on a long pipe for the purpose) out the window, into the water butt outside.. and I use a hosepipe to fill it again, temperature matching by collecting a pint out the tap and using my finger, then connecting the hosepipe to the running tap whilst trying not to soak myself. Im never that far out on temp, and add the water treatments directly to the tank after draining. It takes me no more than about 10 minutes now, although I take longer when Im pruning.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Please note: this is not directed at you personally, but rather, the larger more general question and comments often heard on forums/list/boards etc:

    Are they really the reason why the water bill is so high?
    Even with say 200 gallons worth of tank, 50% weekly water change = 400gallons for the month..........

    Water in CA is going to cost more than most places, it is at about 1.70$ per 100 cubic feet, or 748 gallons. If you go into tiers above the normal rate, it's now 3.00$ per 100 cubic ft.

    400 gallon = 53 cubic ft.
    Or about 0.90$.

    Not even a dollar per month.
    Or about little over 10$ a year.

    If you reduce the water changes to 25% weekly or every other week, you've now saved 45 cents or about 5 $.

    Rates vary, but they are not going to be nearly as high as you are suggesting.
    If waste is an issue, do what I do, water the landscaping with the leftovers.

    If water bills are too high for you, and you truly believe that large water changes on the tank are the cause, you should probably not keep fish tanks. Go non CO2 planted only.

    I'd bet less laundry, quick showers with water saving heads, water conserving toilets, proper ecosystem local native landscaping plants etc would be more of a savings.

    We all have our priorities.
    Folks are going to do water changes if they have fish tanks or planted tanks, whether they are 25% or 50% is not going to make such a huge difference no matter what the argument is. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the agricultural use of water resources, they often get 100 cubic ft for about .05 cents by comparison here.

    Let us look at these folks who have way too much light for a comparison here.
    2w/gal vs 4 w/gal on that same 200 gallon tank.

    400 w x 10 hour per day x 30 day a month = 120 kw
    800 w x 10 hour per day x 30 day a month = 240 kw

    Going rate per kW here: .13 cents.
    120 x .13 = 15.60$

    About 15X more than water cost.
    What about pumps/filter energy cost?
    Heaters?

    Why are there not environmentalist folks in the hobby raising the banner here?:eek: Where is the outraged?

    Instead we have folks telling newbies that they should lots of lighting so they can grow Gloss or HC. Then some suggesting water changes cost more, but it's more likely they just do not want to bothered doing them in the first place.

    Plants or all types grow fine, slower, but fine at 2w/gal vs 4w/gal.
    Many complain that they have to trim too much due to fast growth rates, have other deficiency related issues/CO2 issues etc, all can be solved and made much easier to achieve with less light.

    Now if I have large tank or many tanks, I need to have some priorities.
    One will be how much will all these things cost me?
    If I can afford a 200 gallon tank vs a 10 gal, then I should also be able to afford the upkeep cost that comes along with a large tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. edacsac

    edacsac Prolific Poster

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    Well shoot, then why am I goofing around with a 10gal tank? I want a 200gal!
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes! You will save lots if you use lower light and non CO2, or lower light and CO2.
    Either way, you can get away with a lot more neglect with less light.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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