John's DIY auto-temp fast/easy fill system

John58ford

Member
Good evening fishlorians.
Continuing my drive to make my fish room more little helper friendly, I have finished making sure that it isn't "required" to be able to haul a bucket or roll a barrel through the house. This thread will list the parts required and how I built my fast fill system featuring a temperature regulator. There were lessons learned.


20210224_180709.jpg


First, as usual I gather parts. Unlike most of my other DIY, this one involves high pressure hot/cold water, permanent installation and potentially rapid flooding of my home: It's not cheap. I think this adventure cost about $125-175 depending on your requirements.

I used:
1x temperature regulator sourced from Amazon, (yellow)everything else is locally sourced or on hand unless noted.
2x 3/8m-3/8m-3/8 compression tee, to tap into sink(red)
2x 3/8f comp-1/2f npt X16" stainless hoses to go from tee to regulator (green)
1x 1/2 npt(s) to 1/2 npt(t) adapter (included with regulator)
1x 1/2f-1/2f npt gate valve (blue)
1x 1/2m-hose bib adapter (pink)
1x drinking water grade 1/2"x50' RV garden hose.
1x hose bib ball valve (black)
1x hose bib to 1/2" barb (white)


20210223_174824~2.jpg


20210224_172217.jpg


1x 1/2" I.D. vinyl hose chunk
(1/2" cpvc from here down)
Tee fitting (red)
3" section
90 degree (blue)
1.5" section
3x Street elbow (yellow)
2x 6" sections drilled with a single row of angled 3/16 holes.
2x pipe cap (green)
(I designed this rig to "lock" onto the rim of my tanks, it is pretty resistant to being removed in case the hose is jostled.) Assembly note: glue the horse shoe, but don't glue the "tee" it's ok if it leaks and you may need to adjust your spray bar design.


20210223_173707~2.jpg


20210223_172728_HDR.jpg


1x chunk of 2x4 lumber
2x insulated cable straps


20210223_220017.jpg


Remember to wrap all the npt stuff with teflon tape, especially if you use a similar china sourced low temperature temp regulator. They aren't certified like the more expensive american made scald protectors, but I also couldn't find a good american made that ran below 85 degrees.

On the tee valves I procured, the female portion of the tee has an Allen wrench nut inside it, 2 of 3 I procured were not tightened and would look like a compression fitting failure. One of my existing source valves had been assembled with a stainless steel pipe that was assembled wrong and had stretched, I chased this issue for about 6 hours: when I figured it out and went to ace to get the third tee (first tee was destroyed in high velocity spirited adjustment methods) and a new source valve they said they didn't even know the tee could be disassembled. The new one was also loose.

I switched my sink from stainless pipe to stainless braided hose because I prefer the hoses rubber bushed compression fittings, they tend to put up with impact better.

When starting the regulator up, it helps to run the hot water in the sink (from the faucet) before turning on the hose. The regulator takes a while to get to full temperature otherwise and it already has the extra work of heating the hose.

The hose and valves do seem very very shock resistant when switching the valve on and off quickly. I don't believe this rig will break during anything I sound consider normal usage.

I was able to add a calibrated dot with paint pen to my regulator, the hot tap water I have is at 140, the regulator calls for 160f (did I mention it's not american made?). The adjustment knob indicates about 86 degrees to give a very good average 81f at the hose bib. The regulator resists the whole home toilet flush and cold water dump from the sinks just fine, I do not believe any fish will be cooked during water changes. The water flow is also near violent, I do expect to need to build longer spray bars. It filled the 5 gallon in less than a minute and a half, though your water pressure may vary.


20210224_173642.jpg


Hope you enjoy taking a look at this rig, I will be setting up overflow resistant float valves in the next few weeks but it was a good start. Tomorrow I will try to run it simultaneously with my easy drain system, whole tank flushing should now be possible, as well as sub 5 minute 50% water changes in the 29s.

Here's the link to the drain system in case you missed it: John's DIY siphon system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489514
 

jake37

Member
I have three questions if you pardon me:

First which temp regulator did you use - was it one like this one ?
https://amazon.com/Tremax-Thermostatic-Connections-Temperature-Fahrenheit/dp/B08C2WSHJH

Second - I had been told to never use water that runs through the hot water heater since the heater might have sentiments that are harmful to the fish. Is this actually true (your system require water from the hot heater) ?

Third - with this system how do you remove the chlorine from the water before it enters the aquarium ?
 
  • Thread Starter

John58ford

Member
jake37 said:
I have two questions if you pardon me:

First which temp regulator did you use - was it one like this one ?
https://amazon.com/Tremax-Thermostatic-Connections-Temperature-Fahrenheit/dp/B08C2WSHJH

Second - I had been told to never use water that runs through the hot water heater since the heater might have sentiments that are harmful to the fish. Is this actually true (your system require water from the hot heater) ?
I love questions, everybody benefits

1. I can't make a super solid recommendation on the product until I get a couple thousand gallons out of it but it is looking good in initial testing. (Other than the threads needing more teflon than usual) it's this one: Atmama Three-way Thermostatic Mixing Valve, 1/2NPT connections, Solid Brass - - Amazon.com

2. I have heard that about water heaters too, easy visual check is make some hot water ice cubes and look and for settling cloudy pockets of calcium after they freeze. My test had to do with several weeks of TDS testing and running every test api or seachem make while studying the conductivity of various minerals. I found it safe. I also drain and flush my hot water heater from the low point about twice a year, in addition to having extreme soft water. I would worry more if it was water like I had in michigan years ago, whenever I drained the tank there it looked like a gravy mix for the first several seconds.

There is a counter to the hot water heater thing in general though, it might need its own thread: if you have a recent-ish certified hot water heater, it passed a chemical reactivity and longevity test on consumer safety testing, they worry about that due to the possibility of explosion if the fittings are plugged or a part corrodes. Any non-hot water heater parts you might get out of your water are present in the cold side too so if you do the recommended maintenance, I don't think there's anything to worry about.

(I forgot to answer) yes, this system is using the hot water heater, and I have always temperature matched my buckets at the tap as well so it's not new .
 

Alejandro

Member
John58ford said:
Good evening fishlorians.
Continuing my drive to make my fish room more little helper friendly, I have finished making sure that it isn't "required" to be able to haul a bucket or roll a barrel through the house. This thread will list the parts required and how I built my fast fill system featuring a temperature regulator. There were lessons learned.


20210224_180709.jpg


First, as usual I gather parts. Unlike most of my other DIY, this one involves high pressure hit/cold water, permanent installation and potentially rapid flooding of my home: It's not cheap. I think this adventure cost about $125-175 depending on your requirements.

I used:
1x temperature regulator sourced from Amazon, (yellow)everything else is locally sourced or on hand unless noted.
2x 3/8m-3/8m-3/8 compression tee, to tap into sink(red)
2x 3/8f comp-1/2f npt X16" stainless hoses to go from tee to regulator (green)
1x 1/2 npt(s) to 1/2 npt(t) adapter (included with regulator)
1x 1/2f-1/2f npt gate valve (blue)
1x 1/2m-hose bib adapter (pink)
1x drinking water grade 1/2"x50' RV garden hose.
1x hose bib ball valve (black)
1x hose bib to 1/2" barb (white)


20210223_174824~2.jpg


20210224_172217.jpg


1x 1/2" I.D. vinyl hose chunk
(1/2" cpvc from here down)
Tee fitting (red)
3" section
90 degree (blue)
1.5" section
3x Street elbow (yellow)
2x 6" sections drilled with a single row of angled 3/16 holes.
2x pipe cap (green)
(I designed this rig to "lock" onto the rim of my tanks, it is pretty resistant to being removed in case the hose is jostled.) Assembly note: glue the horse shoe, but don't glue the "tee" it's ok if it leaks and you may need to adjust your spray bar design.


20210223_173707~2.jpg


20210223_172728_HDR.jpg


1x chunk of 2x4 lumber
2x insulated cable straps


20210223_220017.jpg


Remember to wrap all the npt stuff with teflon tape, especially if you use a similar china sourced low temperature temp regulator. They aren't certified like the more expensive american made scald protectors, but I also couldn't find a good american made that ran below 85 degrees.

On the tee valves I procured, the female portion of the tee has an Allen wrench nut inside it, 2 of 3 I procured were not tightened and would look like a compression fitting failure. One of my existing source valves had been assembled with a stainless steel pipe that was assembled wrong and had stretched, I chased this issue for about 6 hours: when I figured it out and went to ace to get the third tee (first tee was destroyed in high velocity spirited adjustment methods) and a new source valve they said they didn't even know the tee could be disassembled. The new one was also loose.

I switched my sink from stainless pipe stainless braided hose because I prefer the hoses rubber bushed compression fittings, they tend to put up with impact better.

When starting the regulator up, it helps to run the hot water in the sink (from the faucet) before turning on the hose. The regulator takes a while to get to full temperature otherwise and it already has the extra work of heating the hose.

The hose and valves do seem very very shock resistant when switching the valve on and off quickly. I don't believe this rig will break during anything I sound consider normal usage.

I was able to add a calibrated dot with paint pen to my regulator, the hot tap water I have is at 140, the regulator calls for 160f (did I mention it's not american made?). The adjustment knob indicates about 86 degrees to give a very good average 81f at the hose bib. The regulator resists the whole home toilet flush and cold water dump from the sinks just fine, I do not believe any fish will be cooked during water changes. The water flow is also near violent, I do expect to need to build longer spray bars. It filled the 5 gallon in less than a minute and a half, though your water pressure may vary.


20210224_173642.jpg


Hope you enjoy taking a look at this rig, I will be setting up overflow resistant float valves in the next few weeks but it was a good start. Tomorrow I will try to run it simultaneously with my easy drain system, whole tank flushing should now be possible, as well as sub 5 minute 50% water changes in the 29s.

Here's the link to the drain system in case you missed it: John's DIY siphon system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489514
Amazing work! as a dad with an 8 year old who has a fish room I agree anything we can do to help them do their own care is Great!

We hose water into tanks and all our systems have set overflow levels that pipe to the ground outside. But we've never controlled for temperature - instead relying on changing water at rates the tank heaters can cope with.

I have two questions - how did you account for copper in the water from either the pipes or the hot water service. My understanding was hot water drew more copper from the pipes as it passed through. Perhaps you have no copper pipes?

And if you don't measure what you add how do you add other chemicals like minerals or chlorine controls etc.
 

jake37

Member
Hi - sorry i edited my post as you were replying but how do you do with chlorine when you send the water directly to the tank?
 

Alejandro

Member
In our case we have a large tank of prefiltered water that has been through a carbon filter then settled.
 
  • Thread Starter

John58ford

Member
Alejandro said:
Amazing work! as a dad with an 8 year old who has a fish room I agree anything we can do to help them do their own care is Great!

We hose water into tanks and all our systems have set overflow levels that pipe to the ground outside. But we've never controlled for temperature - instead relying on changing water at rates the tank heaters can cope with.

I have two questions - how did you account for copper in the water from either the pipes or the hot water service. My understanding was hot water drew more copper from the pipes as it passed through. Perhaps you have no copper pipes?

And if you don't measure what you add how do you add other chemicals like minerals or chlorine controls etc.
The copper in the pipes is a good question, and maybe a chemist could share it better but, the worst (copper) pipes you will find under a home are usually the cold lines. The cold causes sweating and in an oxygen rich (outside the pipe) environment the pipes can oxidize and turn green much quicker. Inside the pipes, oxygen limited, the difference in temperature is pretty negligible as 40-140 degrees f are both fractional of any important temperature in coppers make up (temperature based degradation begins at 100c/212f/boiling and is not significant until near 450c/yellowing). I have tested for copper in my hot and cold tap after sitting to equalize in temperature and they both return zero. (I also keep hundreds of snails, I think they would snitch if copper was an issue).

My re-mineralization plan is easy for this stage. My drain system will take a tank down to an exact amount, the drain rig is moved over to the next tank while the fill rig is put on the first. We have already been pre measuring our minerals for these tanks at that water change amount. We run these tanks intentionally depleted (soft water specialist, and plants like low kh) so after doubling my tap minerals (plus extra iron and potassium as I have none of that) we net just above tap for gh and kh. The plan is to continue doing 50% changes based on nitrogen and phospate testing as required, with the flush feature really only coming into play in emergency situations (example, two years ago brother in law Lysol bombed the room because his dog had an accident, the flush feature would have saved allot of rage buckets).

I do love your fish room and have been following you a bit, frogs are pretty cool. I have plans for a couple northwest chorus (tree) frogs in a project I'm working on. I can't set my room up to auto drain so I'm a bit jealous. The spousal condition of my boys and I keeping the room running is that it always looks "nice". Which to my wife means no exposed pipes hoses drains etc. So far I have gotten away with not mounting the hoods but she asks about them every now and then lol. My 10 year old has been into fish since we started breeding feeder guppies for a snake, then moved into endlers before switching to soft water stuff(though we still have a solid endler frat and half a dozen breeding females), and now planted show tanks.

jake37 said:
Hi - sorry i edited my post as you were replying but how do you do with chlorine when you send the water directly to the tank?
I'm on a spring well so that should help explain some of my odd parameters and lack of chlorine. I know up to a certain amount of chlorine the believers of the python method just mix dechlor in tank. This is basically an industrial grade python with temperature control tbh lol. I am going to start each systems water change with a stock solution bucket full of minerals on a drip from above the tank so I would probably just dose that bucket and proportion it appropriately (unless I had public pool level water, then I simply wouldn't keep fish, or continue living in that situation any longer than I had to).
 

jake37

Member
Ok thanks. I'm on city water so we have the normal amount of chlorine in the tap and our city (so far) has stayed on chlorine. I use sachem prime in a bucket which i then pre-heat but of course reading your thread I could imagine a nicer system but i'm not a fan of 'treat the full tank for added water'. I think what I will end up doing is buying a filter system and then pump it into a tank - that will also allow the cold water to warm to room temp which is generally close enough to directly add to the tank without warming. Now I just have to figure out a qualified filter system that is fault tolerant (won't silently fail to filter the chlorine out). I was just trying to figure out if there was a more creative way to do this but of course your comment suggest that an answer would be to dig a well but sadly i don' t think the neighbors would be so agreeable


John58ford said:
I'm on a spring well so that should help explain some of my odd parameters and lack of chlorine. I know up to a certain amount of chlorine the believers of the python method just mix dechlor in tank. This is basically an industrial grade python with temperature control tbh lol. I am going to start each systems water change with a stock solution bucket full of minerals on a drip from above the tank so I would probably just dose that bucket and proportion it appropriately (unless I had public pool level water, then I simply wouldn't keep fish, or continue living in that situation any longer than I had to).
 
  • Thread Starter

John58ford

Member
jake37 said:
Ok thanks. I'm on city water so we have the normal amount of chlorine in the tap and our city (so far) has stayed on chlorine. I use sachem prime in a bucket which i then pre-heat but of course reading your thread I could imagine a nicer system but i'm not a fan of 'treat the full tank for added water'. I think what I will end up doing is buying a filter system and then pump it into a tank - that will also allow the cold water to warm to room temp which is generally close enough to directly add to the tank without warming. Now I just have to figure out a qualified filter system that is fault tolerant (won't silently fail to filter the chlorine out). I was just trying to figure out if there was a more creative way to do this but of course your comment suggest that an answer would be to dig a well but sadly i don' t think the neighbors would be so agreeable
In your situation, I would do what Alejandro is up to, and use the electric rig we were talking about with the float switch. I wouldn't be too shy about the hot water heater though(just make sure to flush it as recommended). Even with my little barrel and buckets, it was nice to fill, temp matched and use them on water change day, then put them away without having to wait for a heater in the barrel. If I were doing salt water, or hard water fish (or just take really had to fight the chlorine); I would hide a stock tank above my rack, fill it with the rig I just built at temperature, then treat and aerate while dissolving the mineral and salt packages. I could also use this set up to simply fill the barrel and buckets faster if I really wanted to get my workout in lol.

The electric system would work great with the attachments and float switch on a barrel TBH. I do get that not everyone wants to live in the county. I commit longer than most of my peers and it had its ups and downs, It's just a thing I do every time they move me (and that happens allot). But if I was stuck stuck in city limits, with water bills like I had in San Diego, I wouldn't keep fish, honestly. That's one of my "unpopular opinion" threads, but I do stick to it.

On the well subject, it's location specific. My water well in michigan wouldn't support fish, my well here is extremely soft, the wells in the valley 45 minutes north of here are moderate hard. I have a shovel though, got beer? I'll dig the first shift.
Edit: dang it. Now you two have me thinking about setting up proportioning pumps/valves. I have enough room under that sink for 5 gallons of stock solution. I would just have to find the maximum solubility and precipitate reactions of my current minerals and it would meter by the gallon... Could solve your chlorine issue too if you can find the concentrate form.
 

Alejandro

Member
John58ford said:
it always looks "nice". Which to my wife means no exposed pipes hoses drains etc.
I got lucky with my missus she even let's us drill holes in and out of the house- here are Alejandro's filter systems piped in and out of his fish room. Not sure if I posted it elsewhere
 

jake37

Member
I would never be allowed to do that in my neighborhood but i have space below the fish room that is unfinished (raw ground) where i could do something.
 

Alejandro

Member
It's at the back and not visible to anyone except us and maybe visitors that come
 
  • Thread Starter

John58ford

Member
Well for those interested, it did 65 gallons of water changing in 7 separate nano tanks today in just under an hour.

The refill is ludacris speed. The spray bars are angled enough it didn't upset any substrate, even with the tanks as low as 50% but it was crazy fast.

I started by hanging the 50% siphon in the first 29, mixed minerals for 15 gallons of water in the 5 gallon bucket using the hose as the source.

20210225_182651.jpg


20210225_183317.jpg

Once drained I moved the siphon to the next 29, while that one drained I refilled the first with the bucket and a 750 gph pump + the refill rig. The thing makes a mess of lilly pads but it sure was something to see. On the next 29 I figured out the hose runs 10 gallons of temp matched water faster than my bucket pumps 5. And the bucket pump used to be the fast part (twice as fast as my sink tap) so the refill hose rig is about 4 times faster than a standard faucet.

20210225_183601_HDR.jpg


20210225_185025_HDR.jpg

Then I did the top pair of networked tanks at the same time.


20210225_185843_HDR.jpg


And finally moved on to the Paludarium and grow out. That's when I realized I had out run my fairly large hot water heater. My mix was down to 76 degrees. The tap hot water temp had dropped from 140 to 115f and the regulator didn't adjust enough . Still not bad for the first try though. The tanks all stayed at 80 and 82 as set by the heaters.
 

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