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EZ water changes - refill pre-filter?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Gerryd, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    I would like to connect some type of pre-filter (charcoal/micron??) for chlorine (at least) to the output of my tap prior to re-filling the tank.

    I have seen many on the Web, but the less expensive ones ($100-200) only seem to deliver 5-10 gph, which seems like it would take hours to refill 90-100 gallons weekly:(

    I also live in an apt and want/need to hook/unhook easily, so no perm changes/plumbing. Plus, I would like to put away when not in use, and not clutter the countertop.

    Maybe some sort of under cabinet setup where I just quick connect the flex tubing when needed, so it is coiled neatly????

    Extraction is easy with a spare pump and some 3/4 tubing, but the refill has me puzzled a bit. Plus, no permanence.. (but would love to have the auto drain type stuff I read about!).

    Plus, one of my tanks is at least 20 feet away from the tap, so distance is also a bit of an issue.

    Many thanks,
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The ability of a carbon filter to remove chlorine and chloramine is dependent on how long the water stays in contact with the filter. So, high flow rates would require a BIG filter. Why not just use Prime to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine?
     
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Thanks - works great

    I took your advice and it worked fine....

    I was replacing plumbing/hoses/valves/etc and installing a new bigger trickle filter and had removed about 75% of the water on my 180.

    I have/had a phobia about putting any chemicals in my tank, epecially these days where products seem to claim omnipotent powers when used, when all I want is to remove the chlorine/chloramines.......

    I used to use bottled water for large 50% water changes every 3-4 weeks, but since I want to switch to EI, I need to do this weekly, and was concerned about the use of tap water for such a large regular change.......Plus the expense of bottled water, not to mention the carbon footprint to have it delivered was bothering me a lot. Now that I use tap water, my conscience is clear(er) and my wallet is a little fatter....

    Not sure if they were excited by the work or the large WC, but one of my Bosemani males and one of the SAE both jumped into my lap while I was checking for leaks. No harm, but glad I was there............

    Thanks again for a great suggestion.........:D

    Now that I have the setup to easily drain/replace for large WC I will do 50% weekly............
     
  4. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    Seachem Prime so far in my experience is a terriffic product. I add it directly to the tank while filling it with a hose and have had no ill effects. It also goes a lot farther than a lot of the other dechlorinators out there.

    I understand being leery with all the poor products out there but I think you can rest assured that Prime won't hurt anything and will work as stated.
     
  5. Joetee

    Joetee Prolific Poster

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    Couldn't we make a DIY prefilter useing PVC pipe and fittings with screw on caps for cleaning etc with a screen at the bottom and then some filter floss, filled with carbon? The water flow time could be regulated by the tap. It could be 2" in diameter and 24" long or what ever size you would like it.

    Would there be any benefit? Cost effective? etc? How long would the carbon last if only useing it for filling the tank and top offs? Would there be any problem with it setting unused for a week or two at a time? Should it be drained? Any other concerns would also be helpful.
    Thanks

    Joe
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Crazymid,

    Yes I have a large 2 liter bottle of Prime on order.

    I just needed some reassurance that others used tap water with some type of conditioner with no adverse affects on plants or fish :D

    Joe,

    I think Vaughn nailed it when he spoke about the duration of contact time with the charcoal or media.

    If you use a large diameter flow, the contact time will be lessened and the effect on the water would be less. If you restricted the flow to the filter to prolong the contact time, it still would not be that much (I think). Plus, unless you wanted a VERY SLOW flow rate, a large media would be required. Imagining it makes my head hurt:D

    I think you can do it, but not sure it is worth the effort.

    I will however use some type of spraybar or DIY to try and mist or spray the output from the tap into the tank. I read somewhere that this will help to dechlorinate. Not sure if true, but it can't hurt.

    Thanks to all for the input.
     
  7. rcalzadilla

    rcalzadilla Prolific Poster

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    Can you confirm that I am understanding this correctly?

    You recommend doing the following:
    Drain aquarium tank (50% or whatever)
    Add Seachem Prime directly to the aquarium tank.
    Take your hose of city water and put it directly into the aquarium tank.

    What about other supplements such as Banking Soda for PH adjusment; macro or micro nutrients for the plants?

    I have a 125 gal tank. Are you doing this for a 125 gal tank or similar size?
    How long have you been doing this without adverse results to fish or plant?

    tks
     
  8. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I have a 180 gallon tank. I use a 500 gph pump to drain to the desired level (50%) weekly.

    I have been doing this now for 4 -5 weeks and NO ILL effects on fish or plants. Quite the contrary actually.

    Add PRIME to remaining tank water.

    Refill from tap.

    Any GH booster should be added at this time.

    Please navigate to the Estimative Index on the Forums tab for dosing strategies and amounts.

    Hope this helps.

    I know other folks do this for larger tanks than mine, so I feel it is pretty safe.
     
  9. rcalzadilla

    rcalzadilla Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the reply.
    Well, I'll take the plunge next water change. Next Sunday.
    I don't have the Seachem Prime but, AquaSafe by Tetra Aqua ; the container says that it's "Made In Germany" and that should be worth something, technologically speaking.

    raul
     
  10. longahc

    longahc Junior Poster

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    For those of you that just put the hose in the tank and fill it up - how do you match the temperature of the water? Do you have the hose connected to the hot and cold source and get it lukewarm before filling? Do you just add cold water to the tank?

    Thanks,
    Aaron
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    I just open up the cold tap and never the hot.

    Here in S. FL the tap water is not that cold, so no need to mix.

    I change close to 100-120g weekly with no ill effects on any of my fish/plants.

    If you are in a cold weather climate, I would suggest a mix of hot/cold to arrive at a warmer temp. You can always fill a bucket first, and test that temp to ensure your hot/cold mix is ok. Then when happy, fill er up!

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. longahc

    longahc Junior Poster

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    Yep, in Nebraska, tap water can be < 60 degrees F in the dead of winter. Any concerns over the hot water heater supply? I don't know of anything specific that could harm fish/plants but I'd hate to go charging in and find out otherwise. :confused: The alternative is to put some inline heaters in place and control the flow to warm the cold water enough - but that would extend the time for a water change. :(

    Thanks.
    Aaron
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I did some calculating to figure out what wattage of heater I would need to heat the change water for a reasonable flow rate. It is astronomical! I concluded that a hot water heater element would possible work if I could DIY a suitable enclosure - that is around 1000 watts. So, that led me to look at the instant hot water heaters that mount in the wall right at the hot water tap. One of those would work fine, but cost too much. So, I gave up and just adjust the hot and cold faucets until I get about the right temperature.
     
  14. Craig D

    Craig D Junior Poster

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    I have a 125 gallon setup and have been changing 40-50% weekly for almost 2 years now. The tank is drilled and plumbed with filters, UV, heater, etc in the cabinet. I have a hose bib in line with the plumbing in the cabinet and use this to drain off water. I then drag in the hose from outside and fill the tank back up. I live in Davis, CA and the temperature is a balmy 56 F right now but it can be a bit colder in January/February. I use water straight from the hose taking about 30 to 45 minutes to refill the aquarium.


    I use the outside hose because Davis has hard water (carbonate hardness 93 to 650 ppm with a average of 322 ppm or average of ~18 kH) and the house is on a water softener. I believe the excess Na from a water softener is bad for the fish but I may be mistaken. Now Vaughn has me wondering how much this is costing me in electricity this time of year. In the summer it helps keep the aquarium from overheating but now I am giving the heater a work out.

    Is the Na from the softener harmful? What if I switched to KCl salt in the softener would excess K be harmful to the fish or plants?
     
  15. Craig D

    Craig D Junior Poster

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    I am in the process of doing a water change and pondering my last post. I think the problem with water softeners isn't just the Na but the removal or reduction of Ca and Mg. I suppose you could add them back in with Gh booster.

    Hopefully, Tom or someone else who knows a lot more than I do about water softeners and fish/plants will chime in.
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just split the Tap with the water, generally the Na is pretty harsh on plants......
    K+ a bit less so, but KCL or NaCL at really high levels can be bad........namely for plants, not fish.

    If you want less KH, use RO, not a softener

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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