Speed Water Change Techniques

Sorg67

I have been a bit lazy with my water changes recently, but have gotten back in the groove the last three weeks. I have let go of perfection and am going for speed. I have decided that you can get away with sub-par maintenance if you just keep up with the water changes. I am going to share my speed change technique. Others chime in with yours. I have a 40, 29 and 20. The house water is on a water softener. Tap water is within 4 degrees of tank water so I let that be good enough temperature match. Following is my process:

1. Adjust valves on water softener to by pass.
2. Run faucet to run softened water out of pipes.
3. Begin draining 40 gallon tank using an electric pond pump (about 40%). Can drain 40% without turning filter off.
4. Add water conditioner to 40 gallon tank after draining is complete.
5. Begin filling 40 gallon tank with python. Filling is slower than draining.
6. Begin draining 29 gallon tank with pond pump (about 60%).
7. Turn filters off on 29 gallon and 20 gallon tanks.
8. Begin draining 20 gallon tank. (about 30%)
9. Add water conditioner to 29 gallon tank.
10.Begin filling 29 gallon tank.
11. Add water conditioner to 20 gallon tank.
12.Begin filling 20 gallon tank.

This entire process took 32 minutes last weekend. The limiting factor is the speed of filling. I fill the 40 gallon and 29 gallon tanks at full faucet flow. But I fill the 20 gallon tank a little more slowly. That is a shrimp tank so I try to be a bit more gentle.

I can fit in a little vacuuming in between steps. I may rotate through the tanks for vacuuming so that they each get a little clean up every third week. Sometimes, I also do a bit of glass cleaning while waiting for draining and filling.

It is far from a perfect process. But I have concluded that getting the water change done imperfectly but consistently is better than a perfect process done inconsistently.

Any suggestions to improve my process are welcome. Post your speed water change process.

I am in mattgirl - consistent water change camp. Git ' er dun.....
 

BigManAquatics

I'm not really into the speed factor so much myself, but whatever works! As you mentioned, getting the water changed is the most important part.
 
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mattgirl

I am happy to hear you have come up with a way to do the most important thing more efficiently. The easier it is to do the more likely we are to continue doing it. Maybe once a month give the filters a bit of extra attention. If you do just one each week it shouldn't take long.

My quickest and easiest tank to do a water change on is my 12 gallon pleco grow out tank. I simply dip out 4 gallons and pour back in 5 gallons. 1 gallon has normally evaporated. It is so easy I do it twice a week. No need to siphon the bottom because this tank is way over filtered. I run a HOB rated for a 55 to 100 gallon tank with poly-fill replaced each week or sooner if needed and an air driven corner filter in this small tank.

It took me most of an afternoon to do a water change on my shrimp bowl recently but basically I broke it down, cleaned it out and put it back together. Catching all those shrimp is what took the most amount of time. The shrimp bowl takes the most amount of time because I drip the fresh water back in. I can just set up the drip and walk away though so time doesn't matter.

Over time we get into a routine and do find shortcuts along the way to get the job done more efficiently but still do it well. As you well know my thoughts. Give them fresh clean water and they will live long healthy lives.
 
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Flyfisha

Speed is the key for me with over 30 tanks. I use two 3/4 inch hoses to suck water out into a rubbish bin that has a submersible pump which in turn pumps the water away.

I have 4 containers of 170 litres at ceiling height that come up to room temperature after 6 days. The 3/4 inch hoses are used to drop water down.

For the rest of the tanks I use 3 rubbish bins with 380 litres . These I fill up the night before. I bring a hose in and deliberately use a little to much hot water. By morning the temperature is close to the warm fish room temperature. For these tanks on the floor I use a pump with a ball stop in the hose. Without stopping the pump I can fill up multiple small tanks.

My choice is not to have to many hoses going IN at once for fear of overflowing tanks.
When removing water a simple U shape on the hose breaks the siphon. Small holes in the hose stop fish going down the hose.

Mid week fun and games.
I bring the 200 litre rubbish bin into the room mid week. Fry grow out tanks and random tanks get another change mid week.


My style is to write on the front of the tank when a sponge is cleaned because in my opinion they don’t need cleaning very often OR if I see something else that needs attention I write on the glass for another time. Not to waste time on water change day or be distracted.
image.jpg
image.jpg
First photo is the waste out hose with tap on end .
second is waste out hose that is the right length to break a siphon before removing to much.
last photo is just the hose that goes in the ceiling tanks.
image.jpg
Don’t worry about the yellow ducks.

edit to add snapshot of pump with tap in line.
image.jpg
 
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John58ford

I missed you my crazy guppy breeding, science experimenting peer. While you were away I designed an easy water change system too. I set up an inline temp adjuster also so I could go 50%+ without shocking the temp too bad, though I know that would be trickier with your water softener water in the hot water tank.

Maybe you could incorporate some of the bits to make it quicker yet. Here are the 2 threads, one about the drain, one about the fill. Building spray bars for the filling rig let's me go full tilt without disturbing much.
John's DIY siphon system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489514
John's DIY auto-temp fast/easy fill system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489926

Good to see you back!
 
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Basil

32 minutes is pretty darn good!
I’m with @Betta’sAnonymous that I rarely manage to go fast even if I try lol!
If hubby and I get to build our retirement home, we plan to design a fish room with some kind of built in drain and fill system. A girl can dream lol!
 
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Sorg67

Have had a lot going on the last 9 months or so. Been into bicycle riding which has taken a lot of time away from fish keeping. Tanks have been a bit neglected. Also was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March. Surgery was April 19. I am recovering well and prognosis is good. 95% 15 year cancer specific survival rate. They did not give me an overall survival rate since many other things could kill me other than cancer. But there is a good chance something else will kill me before cancer does.

Working on my speed program to keep the minimum going while I am distracted by other things. My interest comes and goes. But I can always find a half an hour to bang out the water changes. Maybe do more on rainy days when I cannot get outside. Or blazing hot summer Florida afternoons when it is miserable to do anything outside.

The key speed element of this program is that the pond pump is really fast. Have to be careful not to drain too much, especially the 20 gallon tank.
 
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Sorg67

I missed you my crazy guppy breeding, science experimenting peer. While you were away I designed an easy water change system too. I set up an inline temp adjuster also so I could go 50%+ without shocking the temp too bad, though I know that would be trickier with your water softener water in the hot water tank.

Maybe you could incorporate some of the bits to make it quicker yet. Here are the 2 threads, one about the drain, one about the fill. Building spray bars for the filling rig let's me go full tilt without disturbing much.
John's DIY siphon system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489514
John's DIY auto-temp fast/easy fill system | Cleaning and Maintenance Forum | 489926

Good to see you back!

I like the spray bar idea. That might allow me to fill faster. Don't really need temp control. Water is usually within 4 degrees or so. 4 degrees colder in the winter and 4 degrees warmer in the summer. 50% ish water change, 2 degree temp change seems like it should be no big deal.

I have three empty 10 gallon tanks in the garage that are begging me to do an experiment of some kind.

I think I am going to get ride of most or all the guppies. I have had my fun with them. I may do a breeding project again in the future. But it will be better thought out. I learned a lot this time. Perhaps I will keep a few of my favorite males.

Right know I have guppies in all three tanks. With Rasboras, a Betta, shrimp and snails on one tank, by themselves in another tank and with guppies and snails in a third tank. Trying to corral them all into one tank. But catching all of them is a nightmare.
 
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