Spiffy Water Change System

Sorg67

I want to create an easier water change system. I have a python and it is effective for draining but not for filling for me since I am bypassing a water softener which makes it difficult to temp match. In addition, I like to dechlorinate outside the tank rather than inside the tank. And the python uses a lot of water when draining so I do not like that either.

As an alternative, I would like to have a 20 gallon tank on a cart with a reversible pump. I could pump water out of the aquarium into the tank on the cart then empty the tank someplace. Maybe in the garden since I think the aquarium water would be good for plants.

Then fill, dechlorinate and temp match the new water. Reverse the pump and pump back into the tank.

Has anybody seen a plan for such a system? Any thoughts on how to build one?

John58ford
 

Dennis57

You are only changing 20 gallons? A quick and easy way to do this is with an attachment that can go on a drill ( electric or battery ) They are called a drill powered pump, cost anywhere from 3.99 up to say 15.99.
No buckets are needed, just a short hose that will go into the tank. then another hose to go outside into the flowers, plants.
As far as refilling, you can add the water into a bathtub to the right temperature add the treatment of your choice, then pump it back into the tank.
 

Mongo75

You may consider a large plastic tub rather than a tank, but the principle would be the same. You could use any submersible pump or powerhead. I have the AquaClear 70 powerhead (has reverse flow) that I use to fill with, and I just use siphon to vacuum and drain.
 

Sorg67

Dennis57 The first part of that plan would work really well for me. The second part would not work since I have a water softener and I draw my water from before the water softener on the other side of the house.

Mongo75 The reason I am thinking a tank on a cart is to easily fill on the other side of the house and transport to the fish room. Syphoning out the window would work. I just need a longer syphon hose than I currently have. Could use my python, but that is 50 feet. Too long. Don't want to cut it.

I have five tanks, 40, 20 and three 10s. Thinking 20 gallons would be good enough for 50% change on the 40 and 40% on the 20 and three 10s. 20 gallons would weigh about 80 lbs, a bit more with the weight of the tank and cart. A manageable weight to wheel from one side of the house to the other.
 

Dennis57

Dennis57 The first part of that plan would work really well for me. The second part would not work since I have a water softener and I draw my water from before the water softener on the other side of the house.

Mongo75 The reason I am thinking a tank on a cart is to easily fill on the other side of the house and transport to the fish room. Syphoning out the window would work. I just need a longer syphon hose than I currently have. Could use my python, but that is 50 feet. Too long. Don't want to cut it.
On the softener then there shoud be a drain, can you connect the hose to that and pump it to bathtub or even a big plastic tote?
 

John58ford

How high off the floor are your tanks? I have a wheel dolly and a small barrel I roll around, I think you could do this with a brute or similar.

The transfer pump I use is by jajale. i have good things to say about their pumps (I use them all over my fish room, after extensive Torrie testing and tear downs) and they are very cheap on Amazon. I think my bucket transfer pump is a 1250 gph and it's more than enough to blow fish all over the place and mess up your scape if your not careful.

My highest tank from the floor is 6 feet at the lip, the lowest is 2 feet. The trick here is that it's hard to siphon a tank that's closer to the same height as your bucket. I also like to keep my new water barrel/bucket separate from my waste water so I never have to worry about the new water cross contaminating I keep sperate siphon rigs for each body of water. You could go with two barrels, or maybe 2 tanks. You can leave the pump in the new water tank, and even a heater for temp matching. Fill it a couple days ahead of time with agitation and you won't even have to worry about dechlorinator.

Just make sure your dirty tank, bucket or barrel is lower than your lowest tank or you'll have to make up some form of vacuum powered by a pump. I have made one due to poor tank placement and man am I glad I moved that tank/don't have to fiddle with the vacuum device anymore. Due to my lower rack of tanks not being exceptionally tall, I drain into a bucket for them but I understand if you don't want to lug that around.
 

Sanderguy777

I would use a piano dolly with 1x4s across the top or plywood so that the whole top is even and there aren't any unsupported areas.
Then I would buy a black and yellow home depot tote (or brute trashcan if they make small enough ones) and set it on there.
I'd get a 500gph pump at most. You dont want to empty the tank instantly lol. Also, use a siphon without a pump to gravel vac, then use the pump to take out any more water. That allows you to do a really thorough vac without pulling gravel into the siphon or whatever.

One other thing, is that the 99cent mesh media bags at petsmart are great covers for the siphon for fry or plants, keeps things from getting in there that dont belong.

I use a piano dolly and a 5 gallon bucket, and NO pump, but that is up to you.
 

Sorg67

Dennis57 There is a hose bib on the municipal water feed before the softener. I attach a hose to that and run it to the back door. I fill gallon water jugs there at the moment, bring them in the house and let them get to room temp. I am thinking I would use the same system except instead of gallon water jugs, I would have a 20 gallon tank on a wheeled cart. It is also possible to turn a few valves and run the unsoftened water into the house. I did that for a while, but I decided I did not like running the unsoftened water through the house. And I did not like all the waste clearing the softened water from the pipes and then clearing the unsoftened water from the pipes.

John58ford They are at varying heights. Measured from the bottom of the tank they range from a high of 41 inches to a low of 21 inches. All will support a syphon. The top of the highest one is 60 inches so for filling, I would need a pump strong enough to pump that high.

I have a 33 gallon Brute trash can. It has been used for trash. I wonder if I could get in clean enough to use for fish water.

Sanderguy777 If you do not use a pump, how do you get the water from the five gallon bucket to the tank? Just lift and pour? I have done that, but it is difficult to pour gently.

I could also get water to the fish room with about a 150' hose. But running that through the house might get a bit messy.
 

Sanderguy777

Dennis57 There is a hose bib on the municipal water feed before the softener. I attach a hose to that and run it to the back door. I fill gallon water jugs there at the moment, bring them in the house and let them get to room temp. I am thinking I would use the same system except instead of gallon water jugs, I would have a 20 gallon tank on a wheeled cart. It is also possible to turn a few valves and run the unsoftened water into the house. I did that for a while, but I decided I did not like running the unsoftened water through the house. And I did not like all the waste clearing the softened water from the pipes and then clearing the unsoftened water from the pipes.

John58ford They are at varying heights. Measured from the bottom of the tank they range from a high of 41 inches to a low of 21 inches. All will support a syphon. The top of the highest one is 60 inches so for filling, I would need a pump strong enough to pump that high.

I have a 33 gallon Brute trash can. It has been used for trash. I wonder if I could get in clean enough to use for fish water.

Sanderguy777 If you do not use a pump, how do you get the water from the five gallon bucket to the tank? Just lift and pour? I have done that, but it is difficult to pour gently.
Yes, I do just pour. In the guppy tank I pour behind the matten filter. In the cichlid tank, it goes onto the coral or rocks.
If that is an issue, then a decent pump would probably be a good idea. You could also do the George farmer thing with a dedicated colander LOL

No, I would get a dedicated trash can. Never know what might be left after a cleaning...
And rinse the new one out, never know what spilled in shipping :yuck:
 

Planted125

Hi, one thing you might want to worry about if you go the route of a rolling 20 gallon tank is the actually weight of the water. I think if you are pushing something that is approaching 200lbs, its going to do something to your floor if you don’t have the right kind of wheels.

I have used spare tanks for holding water, but any rigid container will work. If you buy a submersible pump you can use it to pump out the tank right to a house drain as well as pump in. No double transferring needed. I live in an area where we get to -30 degrees so pumping outside is not an option. The one person suggested having a separate hose going back and another for filling which I would also recommend so as to not have any cross contamination. When you are filling a higher tank the point when you shut off your pump is when the water will siphoned back into the hose and to the fresh water tank.

No need to cut the python hose cleaner. I used hose bibs so I could disconnet and connect different pieces of hose depending on distance of tanks. I had tanks over 50 ft away so setup and cleanup was a pain but having the ability to change water that is aged and just the right temp anytime you need is a time saver and takes the worry about anything being wrong with the water. I used 1” plastic hose so I used clamps on the hose pumping up as the pressure pumping up was enough to make joints leak but thats just a screw clamp. Only issue for my distance pumping from the basement was running all the way down to shut the pump was not an option so I would actually run an extension cord from upstairs so I could just disconnect the pump from upstairs. My system was a little extreme as I made it so I could get it done quick as I had a lot of tanks to clean. I used a spare 240 gallon tank in the basement and It made water change so much easier.

The laying out hose and extension wire is a pain for sure but the piece of mind having just the right water when you need it takes alot of stress off of you if you are running a lot of tanks.
 

Sanderguy777

Hi, one thing you might want to worry about if you go the route of a rolling 20 gallon tank is the actually weight of the water. I think if you are pushing something that is approaching 200lbs, its going to do something to your floor if you don’t have the right kind of wheels.

I have used spare tanks for holding water, but any rigid container will work. If you buy a submersible pump you can use it to pump out the tank right to a house drain as well as pump in. No double transferring needed. I live in an area where we get to -30 degrees so pumping outside is not an option. The one person suggested having a separate hose going back and another for filling which I would also recommend so as to not have any cross contamination. When you are filling a higher tank the point when you shut off your pump is when the water will siphoned back into the hose and to the fresh water tank.

No need to cut the python hose cleaner. I used hose bibs so I could disconnet and connect different pieces of hose depending on distance of tanks. I had tanks over 50 ft away so setup and cleanup was a pain but having the ability to change water that is aged and just the right temp anytime you need is a time saver and takes the worry about anything being wrong with the water. I used 1” plastic hose so I used clamps on the hose pumping up as the pressure pumping up was enough to make joints leak but thats just a screw clamp. Only issue for my distance pumping from the basement was running all the way down to shut the pump was not an option so I would actually run an extension cord from upstairs so I could just disconnect the pump from upstairs. My system was a little extreme as I made it so I could get it done quick as I had a lot of tanks to clean. I used a spare 240 gallon tank in the basement and It made water change so much easier.

The laying out hose and extension wire is a pain for sure but the piece of mind having just the right water when you need it takes alot of stress off of you if you are running a lot of tanks.
Never thought I'd hear the words "spare 240g" lol
 

Planted125

Yeah, I used to be really crazy into fish tanks when I was young and single
 

Sorg67

I have a friend who was really into saltwater tanks. He had a large tank in his basement and built and automatic water changing system that was plumbed into his house. The system was set up on a timer. Periodically, it would drain water into the house drain system. Then replace the water with pre-prepared water held in a tank for that purpose. And then refill the water preparation tank and prepare the water for the next water change.

Pretty spiffy, but I am not going to that degree.
 

Dennis57

I have a friend who was really into saltwater tanks. He had a large tank in his basement and built and automatic water changing system that was plumbed into his house. The system was set up on a timer. Periodically, it would drain water into the house drain system. Then replace the water with pre-prepared water held in a tank for that purpose. And then refill the water preparation tank and prepare the water for the next water change.

Pretty spiffy, but I am not going to that degree.
A good friend of mine who owned a store, has this set up. Great idea, but he has over 75 tanks in his basement
 

Planted125

Yes, that would involve setting up overflows and automatic valves. I would be to paranoid of something failing while I am not around.
 

Sorg67

Hi, one thing you might want to worry about if you go the route of a rolling 20 gallon tank is the actually weight of the water. I think if you are pushing something that is approaching 200lbs, its going to do something to your floor if you don’t have the right kind of wheels.
This is a good point. Maybe multiple five or ten gallon containers would be better.
 

Sanderguy777

You could easily get the piano dolly for $15, two 5g buckets for another $15, and a marineland powerhead for $12 on Amazon. That would leave you to get another siphon, and some tubing since you like the python.

Two 5g buckets and maybe a little rack on the side of the cart for sponges and nets would be perfect and not hurt the floor at all. (Maybe a 10g tote would be better so you wouldn't have to move the pump from one to the other...)
 

Planted125

If its just the moving water around definitely doing the containers is easier. I used to be able to carry 2 5 gallon jugs filled with water up the stairs, but at 50 lbs apiece I am too old to go that route myself.

I also just read the part of being 150 ft from the tank and that would be an crazy amount of pipe to roll out so might be easier with the buckets. If its your own house and at that distance it would be easier just to put in that plastic piping. I think its called pex piping. That or move them closer
 

Sorg67

I had a cross contamination issue when I used the python for both empty and fill. No I use either a syphon or the Python for empty and fill by pouring one gallon jugs so I do not have that issue. I will have to think about that for the new system.
 

Sorg67

In another thread somebody commented that they use a good grade hose. I use a regular garden hose that lives outside. Does my practice risk contamination?
 

John58ford

The food grade hose is a good investment. An R.V. hose would be a good choice too. Especially living somewhere sunny. I can say from experience drinking from a common garden hose always had a specific taste. I don't know that at the time I thought anything of it but I would suppose that taste is contamination
 

Sorg67

Would it also be important to fully drain the hose after each use? Perhaps even hang it so it would dry and avoid developing mold and mildew?
 

Sanderguy777

Would it also be important to fully drain the hose after each use? Perhaps even hang it so it would dry and avoid developing mold and mildew?
I highly doubt that using a garden hose would hurt your fish.
We live in a rental from the 40s with galvanized pipes (which are really bad for everyone, not just fish) and my fish are fine.
If you're worried about it, just run some water through it before you actually fill your buckets up, to rinse out the flavor.


I drain my Python wannabe every time so the water doesn't grow things, but if you are just using it for clean tap water refills, it probably won't hurt anything.

The RV WATER hose would probably be the best bet since Walmart has them and they only are like $15 or $20 per 25 feet I think (I haven't been on that aisle for years LOL
 

idkausernamesoyeah

i would just drain it into a 5 gallon bucket and use a submersible pump to refill thats what i do
 

Wrench

I want to create an easier water change system. I have a python and it is effective for draining but not for filling for me since I am bypassing a water softener which makes it difficult to temp match. In addition, I like to dechlorinate outside the tank rather than inside the tank. And the python uses a lot of water when draining so I do not like that either.

As an alternative, I would like to have a 20 gallon tank on a cart with a reversible pump. I could pump water out of the aquarium into the tank on the cart then empty the tank someplace. Maybe in the garden since I think the aquarium water would be good for plants.

Then fill, dechlorinate and temp match the new water. Reverse the pump and pump back into the tank.

Has anybody seen a plan for such a system? Any thoughts on how to build one?

John58ford
We do this when we replace gas tanks at the shop, we have an electric fuel pump mounted on a 2×4 and siphon the gas from the tank into a 25 gal barrel....replace the tank the reverse it back into the car.
The same can be done for fish tanks, just need a stand alone waterpump.
Your idea sounds good to me.
 

Sorg67

I have gone back to using the Python for draining tanks. That is super easy. Just get it going and move from tank to tank.

My current system for new water is to fill three five gallon buckets, two five gallon camping water jugs and 35 one gallon drinking water jugs. That way I can get the outside hose before the water softener going, fill and dechlorinate 60 gallons all at once. Then I can schlep them all into the fish room and do my water changes. I have 109 gallons of tanks in aggregate so that is enough for a little more than 50% in total. I can do them all at once or over a few days at my leisure.

The five gallon camping water jugs are a bit easier to schlep than the five gallon buckets. Maybe I will get a few more of them. They also stack and store more compactly. The one gallon jugs are good for topping off, small changes and small tanks.

Given that my water source is not super conveniently located, it is nice to draw 60 gallons all at once. My original idea of a larger water container might not work as well.

I pump is still on the table. Hefting the five gallon buckets and water jugs up to pour is awkward and prone to spills and drips. Pumping from a five gallon bucket would be easier.

At the moment, I pour the gallon jugs directly. I use a pitcher to transfer from buckets to tanks until bucket is down to a couple gallons and then pour the rest. I pour the water jugs in the the buckets.

My system is a little better than it was when I started this thread, but not yet as spiffy as I would like it to be.
 

Sorg67

Was at Home Depot and impulse bought a pond pump. Not ideal. Should not have bought it.

Got a 150 foot hose. Add existing 50 foot hose and it gets around the house to the window by fish room.

Can use pond pump to pump out the window. Then fill buckets outside the window and use pond pump to fill from outside.

Not quite as spiffy as I was looking for. But maybe a bit better than schlepping these:


7D77566B-3D9C-47B1-95F4-932EE1D3324F.jpeg
 

John58ford

Was at Home Depot and impulse bought a pond pump. Not ideal. Should not have bought it.

Got a 150 foot hose. Add existing 50 foot hose and it gets around the house to the window by fish room.

Can use pond pump to pump out the window. Then fill buckets outside the window and use pond pump to fill from outside.

Not quite as spiffy as I was looking for. But maybe a bit better than schlepping these:


7D77566B-3D9C-47B1-95F4-932EE1D3324F.jpeg
I knew you were schlepping buckets and jugs, but didn't realize it was this bad. I apologize but I feel I have to say your picture of the army of milk jugs brought a smile to my afternoon.

As a note, if you want to spiffy your new solution up. I would get a barrel or other larger size water container to park outside your window, maybe even dress it up as a planter (I mentioned a fake kitchen island for this purpose elsewhere). I would then install a float switch (mechanical) to the garden hose from around your house to keep it full like a toilet float. Then I would add a float switch (electrical) that only allows power to the pond pump when you have enough water in the container. Finally I would set the pond pump up with a wireless (not to be confused with "smart" as that may lag too much) outlet controller. Another fish friend of mine from work agreed if you have a consistent amount of light you could even use a translucent chemical barrel outside your window as a solar hot water heater.

Your new set up vs your old one while not superbspiffy, does seem more effective than a literal army of water jugs.
 

Jerome O'Neil

I have a 20 gallon plastic garbage bin that I fill with RO water, remineralize, and then let warm up overnight along with an airstone to keep things circulating. I have a small cheap heater I use for that. I use a small submersible pump to move water from the bin into the tank. Cost for the whole thing might have been $75.
 

Flyfisha

I drink water from the garden hose.
Perhaps that’s why I am a bit silly?

You seem to have all the ideas Sorg67? you may just need to work out what works in your situation?

I have lots of containers but sometimes just smashing out a 5 gallon water change is more important than messing around?

I found the drill pumps to not last long before the rubber o ring leaks because of their design. I now use a small submersible pump #1to lift water into tanks and a large submersible pump #3 to dispose of water out the window. Only a week ago I was running a hose across the hallway. It’s an ongoing improvement that is needed . IMO it’s not a one size fits all. I did 100 litre mid week change today will do 300 on Wednesday and another 600 on Thursday .

#1 photo.
A 100 litre and 200 litre rubbish bin on wheels now used just for fresh water.
#2
New taps on drain and filling hoses.
#3
The new 60 litre permanent drain bucket in the corner of the Fishroom.
#4
3 of the 4 160 litre fresh water tanks used to bring water up to temperature and to adjust slightly with leaf litter and wood for 6 days leading up to change day.

I resisted having taps on hoses for a long time to avoid walking away from a filling tank I even made myself hold onto the hose.
Take your time and follow your own path
 

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Sorg67

The pictured water is 60 gallons. Enough to do 50% water changes on all my tanks. I do not do 50% every week. But I did 80% on the 29 in my cycle experiment. I think if I get a few more of the blue 5 gallon water jugs or a few more 5 gallon buckets I can make the schlepping a bit easier.

I like to have some of the one gallon jugs on hand as they are convenient for topping off or small water changes associated with vacuuming.

I like the idea of the large barrel. I just do not know if I want that permanently on the side of the house.
 

minervalong

Dennis57 The first part of that plan would work really well for me. The second part would not work since I have a water softener and I draw my water from before the water softener on the other side of the house.

Mongo75 The reason I am thinking a tank on a cart is to easily fill on the other side of the house and transport to the fish room. Syphoning out the window would work. I just need a longer syphon hose than I currently have. Could use my python, but that is 50 feet. Too long. Don't want to cut it.

I have five tanks, 40, 20 and three 10s. Thinking 20 gallons would be good enough for 50% change on the 40 and 40% on the 20 and three 10s. 20 gallons would weigh about 80 lbs, a bit more with the weight of the tank and cart. A manageable weight to wheel from one side of the house to the other.

Might wanna check the maths on this one. A gallon of water weighs in at 8.3 pounds which makes the water load alone 166 pounds.
 

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