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Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:44 pm

Hey all,

I've been planning on building an automatic water change/top off (AWC/ATO). My 55 currently is a drilled, "sumped" tank. I discovered airline bulkheads on amazon and was thinking of how they could possibly be useful. Here's how. There would be a 5 gallon bucket or some other reservoir for clean, dechlorinated water. On the side of this bucket, there is a Tom's aqualifter pump, which is connected to a timer for 1 hour per day or 1 hour minutes per week (this is just a variable, up for change). When the timer switches on, it pumps water from the clean water reservoir into the display tank. This will put out about 3.5 gallons of water per each on period. Because the tank has 3, 1 inch bulkheads on it (Bean Animal over flow), it can certainly handle 3.5 extra gallons per hour, without overflowing (My return pump is rated at about 600gph). The excess water will first fill up the display tank level to where the overflow sets it (in case it isn't already at the set water level). Then it will flow down the overflow into the sump, where it will just make the water level rise to the level of the bulkheads (X number of those airline bulkheads or just a plain ol bulkhead idk) in it. The water will then overflow from the sump, down the airlines or some sort of tubing connected to the sump, and into a drain. That's it. All you have to do is just fill the reservoir with tap water and dechlorinate it everyday or whenever the reservoir is low.
This is just a plan. Please feel free to point out any pitfalls or risks you may see. I currently do not have the resources to set this up. I would not want to spend my money on something that does not work. Although it would be cheap, it's still money and with these unpredictable times, an extra dollar or twenty may come in handy.

Thanks for any help,
Shak
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:01 pm

Any thoughts?
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:35 pm

Nobody?
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby Deeda » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:06 pm

Sorry you haven't had any replies yet.

One downfall I see is that your top off reservoir may run out of water if you don't fill it in a timely manner. Also not sure if display tank water has the potential to backflow to your reservoir during a power outage?

Have you considered just using a dedicated water line with a filter combo that would treat for chlorine or chloramine depending on your water supply and either an electric operated solenoid with a timer or irrigation setup with a controller?
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:31 pm

Thanks deeda. I have considered the water filter and solenoid combo, but I don't know if I can get that set up at this moment. Could placing the tubing that puts clean water in the tank above the water line solve the problem with the back flow, or would it just cause another one? I did not think of that, I'm glad you pointed that out. It would back flow every time the pump switches off lol.
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby Deeda » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:50 pm

I would think raising the new water add tubing above the display tank water level would work well.

If you aren't in a hurry to get this project done, wait a while and maybe look through other topics or wait for someone with more experience.
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:58 pm

Deeda wrote:I would think raising the new water add tubing above the display tank water level would work well.

If you aren't in a hurry to get this project done, wait a while and maybe look through other topics or wait for someone with more experience.


No worries. I am in no hurry. I don't even know if I have all the resources to start this. I'm most likely going to start it once all this crazy stuff going around is over.
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby ashfishy » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:20 am

i have seen this done with dosing pump also
One puts water in, one takes it out
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby SoccerMbunaAndShak » Mon May 04, 2020 11:52 am

I will look into that ashfishy. Thanks for the suggestion. I do have an old dosing pump lying around as I bought my 55 as a whole kit from a reefer.
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Re: Idea for a automatic water change system

Postby Auballagh » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:32 am

Hmmmm... maybe I'm 'That Guy' Deeda mentioned above? If not, I'm sure DJRansome could certainly take a good crack at this one.
First off, the problem with 'automatic' water change systems? Is - they don't exist! Oh sure, you might be able to cobble together some kind of weird-looking thing, that may actually - sort of - work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine

The biggest challenge to overcome, will be in dealing with Chloramine-treated, municipal tap water.
-
One of the absolute best ways to run an actual FISH ROOM, is to supply it with untreated Well Water. Oh yeah, if you can provide your fish an aquarium-safe source of well water? Oh my.... With bulkhead installed overflow systems on your tanks? Just run as much water as you want from the well into your aquarium(s). The water will drain off to a floor drain or be captured downstream in a big reservoir to water the lawn or all kinds of things. That's how the Pros down in Florida operate those really big Fish Farms down there. They NEVER do water changes! Just push massive amounts of well water through their grow out tanks, vats, ponds... whatever. Nitrate levels are kept at or near a zero PPM level at all times.
It's fantastic!
-
Otherwise, for the rest of us poor ol' 'regular folks' relying on chloramine treated, municpal tap water? To replicate some of that awesomeness... you're going to have to install and utilize a reservoir-based system to try and accomplish the same thing. In this case, you will need to install a pretty big water reservoir (heated?) somewhere pretty close to your aquarium(s). You fill the thing and treat it with Prime or some other thing to safely remove the Chloramine from the water. Then, direct flow out of it and to the aquarium(s) it supplies. You could utliize a very low GPH rated submersible pump for this, I suppose. But, gravity will work best, and you adjust the water flow rate to the aquarium(s) with a simple ball valve. Overflow from the supplied aquarium(s) goes to a floor drain or is captured downstream in another reservoir. It works! And in using a system like this, you can push some serious amounts of daily water through an aquarium. And, have zero to very low measured Nitrate levels!
But......
The downfall of a system like this is that it is actually 'semi' automatic. That's because you are required to re-fill and treat the water supply reservoir on a regular basis. :oops:
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