Question Plumbing; Water Changing Multiple Tanks At Once


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Is there a way to plumb multiple aquariums to drain a set amount of water at once? I only ask because we're up to 7 tanks in the house. 2 are in upstairs bedrooms and the children help me with those, as it's what got our family into the hobby. 1 is in our living room which is adjacent to our "pet room" as we're calling it now, since we have 4 tanks in there and it's where our dog and cats hang out since there's a sliding glass door where they bask in the sun. We also keep the dogs food and water there because she tends to wander toward the cats bowls on the other side of the house to eat the cat food as well during meal time.

The 5 tanks downstairs are 60g, 2x 20 gallon long, and a 10 gallon for just plants, snails, shrimp, and plants only. Currently they all have individual canister filtration. I don't mind running the individual filters... I'm just trying to make water change day easier on myself. As for vacuuming, I do that sparingly as they're all soil substrate with carpets and lots of plants.

My wife and I are find with running pex piping behind some special pieces of trI'm we're looking at. We're also going to paint it to match, so unless someone is looking, it shouldn't be noticeable. We also aren't worried about quarantining as we are on a closed loop. We have well water, don't add any fish or snails and shrimp that don't come from our current stock. When we buy new fish we keep them in a 13 gallon tupperware container for a few days where they are slowly introduced to our water column and bacteria. But we are at max capacity for pets rn so we haven't even looked at new fish.

I don't know what to search for on plumbing sites so I'm asking here as I know there are some commercial keepers on here.


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More than 10 years
I only have 2 tanks set up, a 100 gallon and 65g. I have mine waterbridged together so I only ever take water out of 1 and refill 1. If yours are close enough together you could do something close to the same.


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Warsaw, Poland
More than 10 years
I don't use a setup like that, however I have seen a setup at a friend's place with a lot of tanks on differen floors in the house. I like his setup as it does not require any pumps. The way he has it set up is as follows:

  1. Into each tank, he runs a small 1/4 inch flexible pipe adjusted to the level that he wants to remove the water. He has the pipe (flexible piping) exit the tank at a higher level than the water level in the tank. To remove the water, he has to syphon the water out of the tank.
  2. At the rear of each tank, the 1/4 inch piping is attached to a tap and then to a T-piece:
    1. one pipe is the drain and goes downwards. He runs this along the edge of the wall to a hole in the wall where he has he main water verticals in the house. He attaches pipes from other tanks on the same floor (i.e. 1st floor /ground floor) using T-pieces and runs the drainage pipe all the way down into the cellar and has the water flowing into a floor drain. The reason he uses the same diameter of pipe is to ensure that the syphoning effects works even for one tank. What is important is not to attach tanks from different floor (levels) in the house to one drainage pipe - as you run the risk of flooding the lower level.
    2. the second pipe is connected via a tap to the tank itself as described in point "1" above
    3. the third is connected via a tap to a small funnel that is attached to the side of his tank.
The taps and funnel play a really important role as you use them to prime the system. So to start draining water from a tank, he has all taps closed, then he pours a glass of water from the tank into the funnel and opens the funnel tap. As the water starts moving down the pipe, he opens the tap to the tank and shuts off the tap to funnel. In this simple way he primes the syphon and it sucks out tank water up until the level of the pipe hanging in the tank and then stops. This is cool because you will never fully empty your tank accidentally

So he has a setup like this for every tank. He uses 1/4 inch flexible piping as it is cheap and doesn't cause a massive drop in the water level too quick. This allows him to start upstairs and systematically move through the house.

The drawback of this system is that if you start sucking in air from one of the tanks, your syphoning effect stops. So you need to shut the taps in the drained tank and restart the syphon in the other tank/tanks.

Hope this makes sense - if not, let me know and I will draw a schematic layout


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The simplest and easiest thing to do may be to buy a 55 gallon plastic barrel and a small pump. Then you simply fill the barrel with water at your desired temperature, dechlorinate it (you probably don’t need to since you’re on a well) and pump the water from the barrel to the tank. A smaller container would be better for your upstairs tanks.

This way everything breaks down and goes out of sight after your water changes, and you don’t have to worry about the time and labor you will spend on some kind of intricate indoor plumbing solution.

The above member described what seems to me to be a bit of an over engineered solution for simple water changes, but if you want to go that route it would be pretty cool!

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