California Drought and Water Changes

Discussion in 'Water Changes' started by Dom90, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Just curious how everyone else living in California is dealing with this drought and how is it affecting your water changes.

    What's worse is that they have restricted outdoor watering to two days a week is it? My lawn is starting to slowly dry out and die. The guy who owned the house before I did must have been an idiot. He planted grass that requires a lot of water to keep alive...

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  2. Rivieraneo

    RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    Look into turf replacement and try to go with fake grass. I haven't stopped using water or reduced in any way since we have always been frugal with our utilities. All of our water from our tanks goes to an outside storage tank that has an electric pump and we use it to water our outdoor gardens. Hoping for a strong El Nino this winter.
  3. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Hey that's pretty smart but I have no space in the yard for an outdoor storage tank. Would definitely cut down the water bill though...

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  4. Rivieraneo

    RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    I'm sure you do, we started with a 55G plastic drum and upgraded to a 250G food grade container. Cheapo Harbor Freight pump and you're all set :)
  5. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Oh yea I got the backyard space for a 55 gallon drum but see, I use Aqueon water changer and hook it up to my garden faucet... So how would I get the water from my faucet to the drum?

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  6. Rivieraneo

    RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    Another el cheapo aquarium pump with hose pumps water out and I use python to fill back up from faucet :)

    Helps separate your dirty water/clean water hose.
  7. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Hmm yes I get it now. I was using the Aqueon to drain water AND fill up. Probably a bad idea in the long run.

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  8. SnyperTodd

    SnyperToddValued MemberMember

    Just out of curiosity, why do you feel the need to separate your dirty water/clean water hose? What are you going to do, contaminate your tank with.....itself?

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  9. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    The main thing to realize is that the aspirator devices use a lot of water to create the suction. They work great, but are not very good for water conservation, especially if you connect them directly to a faucet aimed down a drain.

    But you can place them on the end of a garden hose just as easily as on a faucet, and the discharge can then go into a large container. That collected water could then be used for garden or lawn watering.

    Still, this is not as desirable as one might wish because you are still drawing a large volume of treated water from the tap.

    The great appeal of the aspirators for me is that they are self priming, can be starved, and pull a very good suction. It's hard to come up with a system as simple that offers those advantages.

    But man, they do waste a lot of water!
  10. TikiBird

    TikiBirdWell Known MemberMember

    Really interesting question. I've just been using a gravel vac and buckets instead of my water changer and watering plants with the bucket water.
  11. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    Most lawn grass is a ridiculous waste of water in my opinion. I think as time goes on, and water supplies are stretched even thinner, people will shift away from the idea of having a lush lawn covering all of their property in areas where nature never intended such a thing to grow. :)

    Here's one of many variations on this theme:

    Anyhow, thinking about what would make a good water-saving aquarium vacuuming system, I thought about "honey dipper" trucks (also known as a vac truck or vacuum truck).

    The idea is that you have a large tank, and connected to the top of the tank, you have a high volume vacuum pump. The vacuum pump creates a vacuum in the tank. Then you connect a suction hose to the tank, and when the vacuum pump is running, you can suck up all manner of nasty stuff, and it will be deposited into the tank so you can haul it away for proper disposal.

    The aspirators we find with "Python style" water changers do the job of a vac truck, and expel the "effluent" wherever you put the aspirator. Usually, that's down the drain of a sink, since you've connected the aspirator to a faucet. But if you connect it to an outdoor hose faucet, then it just goes on the ground right there (that'd flood my basement, but that's not the point). Or you can simply attach the aspirator to the end of a hose, and that lets you put it anywhere you want (like next to a tree to water it as you're vacuuming your aquarium).

    OK. So that's all well and good except that if you're trying to conserve water, the aspirator wastes a huge amount while generating the vacuum.

    So one approach might be to use a vacuum pump attached to a rigid tank so that you've made a miniature vac truck system without the truck part. You could then vacuum your tank just like you would with an aspirator, but you'd waste no water, and you'd be collecting the used aquarium water in the tank. Then you could open a couple of valves and dispense the collected aquarium water out into your yard to water trees or a garden, etc.

    It would require a rigid tank capable of withstanding a vacuum. And the vacuum pump, of course. But it wouldn't waste any water (only some electricity for the pump).

    If you had a tank large enough to hold the full amount of water you want to remove from your aquarium(s), you wouldn't need to empty it except once per aquarium cleaning session.

    This all sounds ridiculously complex and expensive, but it might actually have some merit for serious aquarists in areas suffering from water restrictions. A used pressure tank wouldn't cost much, and you can get small rotary vane vacuum pumps for well under a hundred bucks that claim to move 4 cubic feet per minute. That's plenty of flow rate for draining an aquarium and being able to gravel vac the heck out of it just like we do with an aspirator. So it might be worth considering for some people.

    I really love using an aspirator because it lets me control the sucking action when vacuuming my gravel. I can cover a small hole in the vacuum "wand" with my fingertip to start sucking, and take my finger off of the hole to release the suction and move to the next point. With a siphon, I cannot do this because it will kill the siphon every time I uncover the hole and stop the sucking.

    Now, if you're just trying to drain water from your aquarium, a siphon and buckets are all you need. Or you can use a small submersible pump, etc.

    And a small submersible pump might work for my kind of vacuuming too, if it was hooked up to self prime, as well.

    Anyhow, that's just an idea for one possible way to get the same effect as an aspirator without the water waste.

    I could imagine an aquarium service company being able to justify having a setup like that so they could service their clients without running afoul of water wasting regulations. Most home aquarists wouldn't want to go to the expense or trouble. Then again, people install RO systems and all manner of expensive, complex systems to keep their aquariums running. So who knows?

    Maybe a guy could start a combination septic tank and aquarium service company. ;)
  12. Rivieraneo

    RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    SnyperTodd. My concerns comes with the filth and growth that accumulates inside the discharge hide after use and it sitting until next water change. I'll snap a few photos later this weekend. Flushing with clean water has no effect on cleaning the hose.
  13. SnyperTodd

    SnyperToddValued MemberMember

    I've been using the same homemade Python-style water changer for many years and my hose is still clear and clean inside. No filth or growth. I firmly believe flushing it with clean water after every drain (in other words, filling the tank with the same hose after draining it) has kept my hose clean- there's no other explanation.
  14. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    The other thing that will help is to suck all of the water out of the hose with the vacuum system at the very end, after rinsing the hose out. That way, it's not just sitting with water in it getting all nasty. Not that it might not still get kind of funky, but at least it won't be quite as bad if it's stored dry on the inside.
  15. BDpups

    BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    I lived in SoCal when I was younger. I never could figure out why people wanted to grow Kentucky Blue Grass in the desert.

    And watering lawns, don't get me started on golf courses, is a complete waste of water. No matter where you live.
  16. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    I haven't watched any of the British Open yet this year, but they play at St. Andrews in Scotland.

    And if you look at that course, one of the most revered and respected golf courses on the planet, it always looks to me to be about like what a lot of Wyoming looks like. Windy, dry, and generally not what one would associate with a typical golf course. To me, that's a real golf course! Something that presents some challenge! :)

    When I was a kid, a friend and I built our own 9 hole golf course behind my parents' house. It was an open field, in a valley. A part-time creek ran through it, creating a rather deep gulch where it had eroded down deep into the prairie.

    We set most of the tee boxes up in ant hills, so you were encouraged to NOT take your time teeing off. The holes were old soup cans set into the dirt, and covered with cow pies when not in use. We had holes that were on islands no more than ten feet wide between adjacent gulches. You used a putter and a nine iron. That's all. Most holes were a par 13 to 15, and we lost a LOT of balls!

    We spray painted them fluorescent orange with silver stripes, etc., to try to make something you had a hope of finding in the sagebrush and cactus. This was long before you could actually buy anything other than pure white golf balls.

    I can't post what the real name of the course was, but it was a variation on "Horse Manure Hills Country Club".

    We'd take an old rotary lawn mower (made back before any of those silly safety devices were invented) out and mow areas off for the "greens". If you hit rocks and such, it wasn't much of a loss to that mower. :)

    Anyhow, THAT, my friends, was a REAL golf course! A real challenge!

    Not those manicured greens of uniform grass depth with relatively smooth ground underneath. It was common to be within a few feet of the hole on the first few strokes, and then ten-putt it. It's a real pain when your ball is inches from the hole on one shot, and the next, it's rolled off into a 15 foot deep gulch with nearly vertical sides from which you're expected to "chip out". :)

    I don't have anything against golf, or golf courses. But perhaps they ought to make more of them like St. Andrews. That place looks fairly "natural".

    There's a more serious course associated with a town about 40 miles from where I live. They encourage you to pack a 410 shotgun in your golf bag so you can dispatch rattlesnakes when necessary. ;)

    Oh. Here's the website for this sort of thing:

    And here's the course I was talking about not too far from our town:
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  17. SnyperTodd

    SnyperToddValued MemberMember

    Definitely. I forgot to mention that after I'm done with all the tanks I suck all the water out and roll it up slowly lifting the roll as I go so no water gets trapped inside for storage. I'm sure that helps too.

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  18. OP

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    The worst part, for me at least, is the previous owner was really dumb in planting Tall Fescue in the lawn... One of the grass types that requires a lot of water to upkeep and maintain compared to other types... I have been slowly converting it to Bermuda Grass, which is a lot of work as you can imagine.

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  19. chrt396

    chrt396Well Known MemberMember

    Sorry...I just had to chuckle when I read that line!
  20. Geoff

    GeoffWell Known MemberMember

    This is exactly what I do, too. I've learned to watch out for the ceiling fan as I'm lifting the roll.