My Python Water Change Technique

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Got my Python a few weeks a ago and I really like it. I have been evolving my process since then. I am describing my process and will be interested if anybody has suggestions for improvement.

I just completed a water change for five tanks. 40, 20 and three 10s. It was a 30 to 40% change. The 40 and 20 were closer to 30 and the 10s were closer to 40. It took me a little less than an hour. I was using gentle flow for filling so that I did not stir up the tanks too much. Could have been faster with a stronger fill flow. A benefit of the slow water flow is that I can keep the water running between tanks and close the Python valve to briefly stop the water flow. If the water flow is faster then it pops the control mechanism at the faucet when I close the valve on the Python.

I have a water softener so step one is to open and close the three valves that bypass the softener.

Then I drain each of the five tanks. The water running through the Python to drain is also sufficient to run the softened water out of the pipes.

One of the 10 gallon tanks is not heated so I do that first since room temp is about the same as ground water temp here in Florida this time of year. I begin by drawing 1 ml Prime into a syringe. Then I get the water flowing into the tank and inject the Prime into the water flowing into the tank. I think I am supposed to put the Prime in first, but it seems that a small amount of untreated water is not going to hurt anything and I like the idea of injecting the Prime concurrent with the new water. Not sure this is optimal though.

While the first tank is filling, I draw Prime for the next tank into the syringe.

After the first tank is filled, I bring the temperature up to approximately match the other tanks. I am not too manic about getting it exactly right for a 30 to 40% change with slow water flow since the difference will be diluted and will alter the temp gradually. I figure I am within 4 degrees, probably closer to 2 degrees. But even if that is 4 degrees, a 40% change would result in only about a 1.6% change and it is not happening suddenly so I do not think it is a big deal.

Once the water is temp matched I fill the other tanks using the same method of injecting Prime into the fill water stream and then drawing Prime for the next tank while the previous tank is filling.

When all the tanks are full, I turn the water off and close the valve on the Python. Then I go out and open and close the water softener bypass valves. Then I come back to the Python and run water to draw the water in the Python out. This simultaneously runs the water out of the Python and runs the non-softened water out of the pipes.

I do this when nobody in the house is using water so that I minimize the degree to which any non-softened water gets distributed through the house.

I keep the Python coiled under the sink I use for water changes. Using the Python to draw water out of the hose does not completely draw all the water out of the hose. I think this is okay since I am using it at least weekly so the water does not sit too long. The water in the hose is tap water so it does not have a lot of aquarium biology. And the first part of the process is to drain so I am rinsing any bad water out of the hose before I use it to fill.

I like the syringe rather than counting drops since I think it is more accurate. I also like this since when I put drops in the fish think I am feeding them and I am not sure how good it is for them to investigate the drops as they come in. I feel like injecting the Prime into the water flow causes it to be introduced in a more diluted form. And it is concentrated where the new water is coming in.

I think I will be able to speed my process as I get more comfortable with filling with a stronger water flow. Perhaps finding places in each tank that will receive a stronger flow with less disturbance.

This was strictly a water change with light substrate vacuuming. The process would be slower with cleaning.

I can do 30 to 40% water changes in my tanks without turning the filter or heater off. I am currently thinking that rather than increase the volume of the water changes, I will increase the frequency if I feel that this volume is not sufficient.

The 40 gallon tank has been testing 0, 0, 0. The others 0, 0, 5 to 10. However, I did several water changes this week therefore some of the other tanks may need more than 30 to 40 once a week.

Anyway, that's my current process. Looking for tips to make it more efficient.
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