Any reason to avoid setting up a constant drip system?

Rosegardener

I am planning a 125g fresh water tank, and debating the merit of setting up a constant drip system. My water company use chlorine.

My random thoughts:
  1. Dripping at 1 gal per hour, that's 24 gal per day, an average shower is 18 gal.
  2. I would be wasting or using 24g x 30 = 720g of water every month? I can put a timer, so I could cut it down to say half or even less.
  3. However, the second new water enters tank, wouldn't part of it leaves with the drain? So after say a month, wouldn't some 'old' water remains?
  4. Chlorine normally takes a day to gas out? in my case, at 24g per day, would a chlorine filter be essential? I have no problem in installing one.
  5. Any known cons on constant drip? Is it a waste of time and water?
Any help would be appreciated.
 

DoubleDutch

My thoughts

If the eveporation is less, the tank will overflow.
You're constantly topping of the water constantly which will lead to more minerals in the water (due to the evaporation).
 

FishDin

You need to use the correct formula to determine how much you are actually changing. I used to have an excellent tutorial on this, but can't find it. Here are a couple that popped up on a quick search, but you can probably do better. I decided not to build a drip system because I couldn't justify the huge increase in water use required to reach even a 50% weekly water change. I think you will find that 24 gal per day will be insufficient, because you are not actually changing 24 gal per day.

"Because you are mixing new and old water in the same vessel the rate of exchange is not the same as a manual water change. The equation for determining turnover rate in a mixed water vessel is T=9.2(v/g) where T= the number of hours it takes to turn the volume of the aquarium over one time (one complete exchange), 9.2 is the purity coefficient (99.999% of the tank volume), g= the flow rate in gallons per hour, and v= the volume of the aquarium in gallons."

Effective Water Change Calculator
 

Cherryshrimp420

Drip system is one of the best but most expensive ways to maintain good water quality. Some water meters are not able to measure a drip so you might get charged for more than you used.

I recommend filling up a large holding container and then pump water from that into a drip into your tank. This way you can aerate/dechlorinate/heat the water as needed
 

Linda1234

I'm setting up a pair of 400 gallon aquariums next year and intend to run drip system on both of them. For water exchange; the way I intend it to work is that the sump draws water from the top of the tank into the sump. I will add water to the bottom of the tank. When the water level is too high in the sump it will flow out a hole at the end (past the return pumps) into the drain.

For rate of injection I am considering two approaches. One is to use an emitter (commonly used for irrigation - they are a $1.50 piece that is rate limited between .5 gph to 3.0 gph); the other is to use something similar to a dosing pump if they can handle the input pressure from a faucet. The idea of using a holding tank or pail is unappealing because i would have to constantly refill it which defeats the purpose of reducing effort maintaining the aquarium. I mean if i put a 40 gallon pail behind the tank it would have to be refilled every other day. There are devices called meter values (around $100); but not sure of their flow range or precision - but still looking into them. My system is marginally more complicated because i will have to input (tap water and ro water) and the flow from them needs to be marginally constant to keep the tds relatively stable. Some drift over time is acceptable given the slow rate of change but still i would prefer it stay within a target range. I will use an automatic monitoring system (such as neptune or bluebird) to track tds/ec, ph and temperature).
 

Rosegardener

You need to use the correct formula to determine how much you are actually changing. I used to have an excellent tutorial on this, but can't find it. Here are a couple that popped up on a quick search, but you can probably do better. I decided not to build a drip system because I couldn't justify the huge increase in water use required to reach even a 50% weekly water change. I think you will find that 24 gal per day will be insufficient, because you are not actually changing 24 gal per day.

"Because you are mixing new and old water in the same vessel the rate of exchange is not the same as a manual water change. The equation for determining turnover rate in a mixed water vessel is T=9.2(v/g) where T= the number of hours it takes to turn the volume of the aquarium over one time (one complete exchange), 9.2 is the purity coefficient (99.999% of the tank volume), g= the flow rate in gallons per hour, and v= the volume of the aquarium in gallons."

Effective Water Change Calculator
That is the formula and calculator that I was looking for! Thank you!!

I think most hobbyists advocate a 25-30% weekly water change, in my case of 120g, that would be 25% - 30g, or 30% - 36g of water per week. Using your formula to achieve the same amount of 25%-30%, a constant drip will use more water, but not by much:

120g tank,
6g per day of dripping every day, water used in a week will be 42g. By the end of the week, according to this calculator : 31.17% of new water in the tank, 83.8 gal of old water left.

5g per day, 35g water used per week, 25.1% new, 89gal old water left.

So we will use 5 - 7g more water per week operating on a drip system instead.

I am in the planning stage, so I would like to pipe the old water from tank overflow into 55g plastic drum, put a sump pump into it and use a float valve to operate the pump to move water for garden's low pressure irrigation.
 

FishDin

Cool. Glad that was helpful. When I was looking at doing a drip system I think I was looking at 100% change per week which is probably why I balked at the amount of water required. I couldn't find a use for the the excess water either. An extra 5-7 gal. per week would not bother me though.

I enjoy doing water changes (50%/week), and I only have 4 tanks, but I'm sure I would quickly get used to not doing them if I had a drip system.

I do use a basement reservoir for water change water and pump it up to my tanks on the 1st floor. Without that set-up I would probably only have one tank.
 

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