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Old 11-10-2012, 08:21 PM   #61 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

I couldn't take a video because my hands were tied, but this
YouTube Video
If you are able to see this message it means that you don't have flash installed or that the video server is down.
video is pretty much what steeled my nerves. It's pretty much the same concept. The really tricky part is the positioning of the drill and how you angle it to prevent it from slipping too much when you start drilling. I used a drill guide from BRS along with their diamond drill bit. From there, all that is needed is a slow and steady pressure against the glass with care about being especially slow when you feel/see the bit is almost through; otherwise, you risk the glass edge cracking/flaking and you wouldn't get a smooth edged hole. That, in addition to finding a way to cool your drill bits, are the only real challenges to drilling a tank that already has water in it.

Oh and you also will have to find a way to bear the screeching of diamonds grinding at glass at god knows how many rotations. It's best to do it when no body is around.

Since I'm having some trouble with the solenoid working, I'm going to follow your advice with using the float valve in the display tank; I did not think about the constant cold water change if it somehow malfunctioned. Since it's in such a small container, I decided I'm only go to aerate and age it without a heater. I figured 4 gallons of cold water in the scope of the entire tank volume isn't really going to shock the tank inhabitants that much.

I already have everything needed to hook it up. I'll take pictures when I'm done setting it up. The malfunctioning solenoid does throw a wrench in the plans, but it shouldn't be any major impediment with the float valve utilized.

Last edited by Zapins; 11-11-2012 at 12:29 PM.. Reason: I embedded the youtube link in your post so you dont have to click the link
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:02 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

Update.

I finished the AWC system a month or two ago, and its been working flawlessly since.

Here is how the drain pump, emergency overflow and float valve are positioned overall. (The tubing with the tee and a valve at the end is just an outlet where I can draw water from the tank if I ever wanted to.



The drain pump is hooked up to a digital timer with settings for 20 daily water changes for a duration of 2 minutes at hourly intervals. (Its the tube that snakes all the way up and then down again)

I estimate that approxiametely 4.2 gallons of water are pumped out every hour based on the water height difference after the water pump does its thing. (LWH/231 = total gallons; 36"x18"x1.5"/231=4.2078 ) This occurs for 20 times a day, so 4.2 times 20 gives me a total daily water change of 84 gallons, which should mean its equal to a complete 100% WC and then some, more or less. If anybody sees an error with my calculations, by all means, please correct me.

The drain pump and emergency overflow shares the same tubing, which snakes into a drain in the bathroom floor.

Next is how clean water gets into the tank.

This is where it starts. It's supplied mainly by the gray tubing which is simply tap water (~50tds) and the blue line that tees into the gray line is for RO water if I ever wanted to supply that (~0tds). As you may have noticed, its quite soft either way.



The gray tubing snacks up into the transitional water holding bucket which stores water and is controlled via a float valve too.



The bucket itself also has an emergency overflow in case the float valve ever malfunctions.



There is a pump in the bucket which attaches to another set of gray tubing, which pumps water into the main tank.



And here's the float valve in the display tank itself.



So far, its been working flawlessly. The only problem I encountered was periodic condensation all over the gray tubing because of the extreme temperature discrepancy from the cold water line. (It's the same condensation that occurs in most toilets too) In my case, it wasn't too big of a problem. But if it stretches over something you might not want water dripping on from time to time, then it might be a problem. I could probably put some non-glass heater in the bucket itself to better match the atmospheric temperature, but I don't think it warrants it yet, so I'm leaving it at that.

I'll do a thorough breakdown for the total cost of the entire system when I get around to it. But a ballpark estimates put all the actual parts I used at around ~$50? This was not including all the parts I bought and never used for the actual build including the RO filter, 45gal water storage bin, electric solenoid, miscellaneous tubings and wires etc.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:44 PM   #63 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

Your pictures brought a grin to my face

Its looking really good! I'm glad you got it up and running I was beginning to wonder how it turned out. I also get condensation like that from time to time, particularly when the water change system is run for long periods of time constantly. I think there are some commercial wires or something like that which prevents condensation on pipes. I'm not sure what they are called exactly but they wrap around the pipe and heat it slightly to prevent water from adhering. Your idea of a heater in the tub would probably work too.

I also took a few weeks/months to work my way up to plumbing my system after the boiler was replaced and my first auto WC system was disconnected. I'll post pics of my changes soon. I added proper copper pipes this time instead of ice-maker taps. Should last a little longer
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:15 PM   #64 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

Reposting a PM with beachguy1957 since it contains good questions about the overflow design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beachguy1957
What I am asking is - You have a very nice post showing your overflow in two versions - One with an upturned 90 determining waterlevel, THEN you changed to what looks like a downpipe near the center water level of the tank....no longer at water level but way below.......... WHY did you change to the downpipe?
I changed the upturned 90 end to a down turned pipe for 2 reasons. The first is that I noticed that upturned pipes tend to catch floating leaves and debris. This is a problem because these floating items could potentially block the entire overflow drainage pipe. This increased risk of blockage in turn increases the possibility that the tank will overflow. If the overflow pipe becomes blocked then the only thing that prevents the entire tank from overflowing is the float valve that is supposed to prevent water from entering the tank. These valves are notoriously not reliable (think of how many times your bathroom toilet has flushing problems that require tinkering with the float valve inside).

By turning the overflow pipe down so that it is straight the risk of clogging is minimized. Dead floating fish, and plant leaves tend to gather at the surface only and do not accumulate in the middle of the water column. Installing some kind of mesh over the entrance into the siphon is also a good idea as many fish will become stupidly curious, swim up the pipe and then die and clog it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beachguy1957
and, wont that potentially siphon down to that level?
No, siphons work by draining down to the lowest point and no farther. An overflow requires a hole at the top of one of the pipes to prevent a siphon from forming. I placed a hole just above #3 in the following diagram. I also modified the overflow slightly by adding an aqualifer pump between 1 and 2 (drilled a small hole to continually suck out water and air bubbles that build up between 1 and 2).



Here is what I previously wrote about this graphic:
Quote:
Originally Posted by zapins
I updated my overflow diagram. I think this one is much more clear. Basically the important thing to make sure of is that the top of pipe number 3 is below the U joint between 1 and 2 but at the same time the top of pipe number 3 must be above the bottom of pipe 1 (see dotted line in diagram). This ensures that the siphon tube never runs dry (solid blue tube).

When the overflow is set up in this fashion you will drain the tank water down to the point indicated (see before and after diagrams). Any water added to the tank after the initial setup will flow through the overflow pipe.

Also, since I made this design I had to drill a small hole in the overflow on the top of the U joint between pipes 1 and 2. I ran a small 1/8" tube into the hole and sealed it. The tube runs into an aqualifter pump which sucks water and air out of the U joint ensuring that gas bubbles do not build up there and break the seal. This system has worked well.
The link to the original post is here if you want to read more:https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...tml#post583811

Quote:
Originally Posted by beachguy1957
I don't understand why there is not more discussion on these no drill overflows.
Not sure. I suppose most people just do water changes with tubes or buckets. I got tired of that and made a full automatic WC system.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:55 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

The process of such water changing in the aquarium looks so tricky but I will try this at once to my little aquarium.I think this idea of changing the water works a lot in future.
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Old 08-20-2014, 06:27 AM   #66 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

With my Salt water system I set up something simular with a few exceptions.

1. The main tank I drilled into the side of the tank and had a surface skimmer set up that maintained a constant water level.

2. The main tank was on the first floor and the rest of the plumbing was in the basement. including a holding tank. of 90 gallons, as well as a second 90 gallon refugium.

3. With salt water there is an issue of keeping a constant alkalinity. So I had the first 90 gallon vat as my premixed salt water which I feed upstairs into my my main tanks at a rate of about 1/2 gallon per hour. This allowed me to do a premix of the 90 gallons roughly once per week.

4. The circulation pump between the was in a small sump container and pumped the water up into the main tank at a rate of 250 gallons per hour. This was actually a 1,500 gph pump however with the head height being about 15 feet resulted in the lower flow.

5. The waste water was removed from the system in the sump with a an overflow line again set into the side of the tank.

Initially I discovered several issues with the system. The biggest one was initial lack of compensation for evaporation. In the winter month the evaporation rate from the system was about 45 gallons per week and in the summer with the higher humidity in the air it would drop to about 15 gallons a week. Therefore I had to constantly alter the salinity mix in the holding tank to prevent the salinity from creeping up on me.

The way the entire system was set up is I was flowing the water through a water colmun that consists of several tanks. 1-120gallon main tank and 1 40 Gallon main tank upstairs for display. Downstairs I had the column going through 3-30 gallon Frag tanks, a 30 gallon tank with my Protein skimmers, a 20 gallon tank for my mechanical filtration and then the 90 gallon vat for my refugium. So the total water column was roughly 360 gallons and with the 90 gallons I used to add of fresh water every week gave me roughly a 25% water change every week.

The other big draw back was the cost of the water mix and system power. I'd be running roughly 4,700 gallons of new water a year, with the cost of the salt it came out to roughly $1,000 worth of salt every year. Lighting was using up roughly 4,000 KWH's a year for an additional cost of $600+ not counting the power to run the circulation pumps.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:00 AM   #67 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

This discussion is amazing. I'm a stay-at-home dad of a five month old currently and will be starting on-line classes in the spring to finish my degree. I've been tinkering with this idea for a while. With the birth of my daughter I have had to cut WAY back on the amount of time I spend with my aquariums for the last six months. My fiance and I are moving into a house next month and she gave me the go-ahead on a fishroom(!!!!!!!!!!)! I have several tanks not in use right now( 100g, 55g, and 26g). Still have my 10g, 20g long, and another 26g up and running at the moment. I can easily do quick 10-25% WC on all three of these guys in about 30mins with hose&bucket while she sleeps. However, once these big guys are going again I'm looking for something like this to help me out. I'm not as interested in the Autofill as I am the self-draining part. I enjoy the filling of tanks lol(crazy huh?)! Merely being able to drain with ease would cut back more than enough labor for me especially on the 55 and 100. Zapins, would your drain system be able to be modified with smaller pipes i.e. 1" PVC with a hose connection w/ some type of valve at the end to an outside source? I would assume to do this without any mechanical parts(pumps) I would still have to start a siphon action of sorts? If this were the case would it be just as easy and obviously cheaper to siphon the water out with a long enough piece of tubing to a drain in the house somewhere or, to the garden??
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:38 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDBenson View Post
I'm not as interested in the Autofill as I am the self-draining part. I enjoy the filling of tanks lol(crazy huh?)! Merely being able to drain with ease would cut back more than enough labor for me especially on the 55 and 100.

Zapins, would your drain system be able to be modified with smaller pipes i.e. 1" PVC with a hose connection w/ some type of valve at the end to an outside source?
There are a number of ways you can build the drainage system that would do what you want. I think the easiest way would be to buy a powerhead pump for each tank with a barbed plastic fitting on one end and plug them all into one power strip in the fish room.

Then secure each power head in the tank with suction cups (or with a frame) to the level you want to drain the tank to (at the 25%, 50% mark or 75% mark, etc) and then turn the power strip on when you want to drain the tank(s) down to that level.

This method would be cheap, since you don't need expensive and ugly PVC plastic pipe/glue/fittings - only plastic tubing from the hardware store, and effective because you won't need to rely on an overflow system or maintaining a siphon long term.

You would also not need a valve with this method (ignore the valve in the picture below) and you would not even need to be in the room when the tanks drain since the lowest the water level would go is wherever the pumps are stuck to the side of the tank.



Another way you could do it is without the pump at all, you could secure a tube to the inside of your tank at the level you want to drain the tank to and then instal a valve on the outside of the tank fairly low down. Then get a siphon going and before the water level drains down to the open end of the tube in the tank close the valve. This would stop any further water from draining into the tank and at the same time it would maintain the siphon inside the tube since both ends of the tube would not be able to break the siphon.

The problem with this method is that you'd have to watch the drainage quite closely on each tank and make sure the siphon did not break before you closed the valve. Also, securing the free end of the tube inside the tank may be difficult.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HDBenson View Post
I would assume to do this without any mechanical parts(pumps) I would still have to start a siphon action of sorts? If this were the case would it be just as easy and obviously cheaper to siphon the water out with a long enough piece of tubing to a drain in the house somewhere or, to the garden??
The first part of this question is answered above. The second part, yes, if you are able to drain water down and out of the fish room into the garden that could work. I know in my garden the water table is fairly high where the draining tube empties, so the ground gets a bit soggy there. If you have good drainage, or can drain the water far enough away from where you walk outside then that would work well.

In my area it is not legal to drain large amounts of water (from a fish room) into the septic system on my house (or into the public sewer system), so the only alternative I had was to drain it 15 feet away from the outside of the house. In other areas it may be different. If you want to do it to code you can find out what is allowed by calling up your local town hall (google the tel #) and ask them what to do. That is how I found out about my area.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:13 PM   #69 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

Much appreciated!
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Old 11-10-2014, 06:42 AM   #70 (permalink)
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Default Re: Automatic water change system design DIY

I use a simple gravity fed drain system on my tanks. I simply need to open and close the valve to make it work. If I am not watching the syphon breaks at whatever level I have set the intake at. Each syphon simply has an extension tube with a cap that makes it simple to restart the syphon if it does break.

Something like this.
http://archive.kaskus.co.id/thread/1...y-pvc-overflow
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