My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 03-10-2013, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

I had some store credit at a particular LFS so I bought some Lee’s brand water changer parts to use with my existing gravel siphon. The parts I bought were the part that screws into the faucet- which came with a plastic aerator adaptor, a shut off valve (placed at the tank end between the siphon hose and the screw in hose), and a female threaded hose to tubing adaptor.

I went to Home Depot to get a 25’ hose and noticed that many of the shorter hoses are now made out of recycled material and state clearly on the label “not for potable water”. But I found an RV/camping hose that was safe for drinking water for close to the same price.

When I got home I realized that on two of the three sinks I planned on using this with the aerator threads were too far recessed for the plastic adaptor to even make contact with the threads, and on the kitchen sink, the threads should have fit, but I could not get them lined up to screw them in. So I ordered this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Even the metal adaptor available at the LFS or one available at HD would not have been long enough to fit the first two sinks.

The second time I used it I had a hard time screwing the hose into the part that attaches to the faucet and realized I had cross-threaded the threads and mangled them up pretty bad. So then I ordered this quick release adaptor, so I could screw it in and leave it on:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (This adaptor is pretty awesome)

I was all good to go on my basement and kitchen sinks, but when it came time to try it out on my newer bathroom sink upstairs it turned out the flow was not strong enough to create enough suction to start the siphon, so to drain I had to hang the hose out the window. It did work fine for refilling though.

Even on the downstairs sinks the suction is not strong enough to really clean out the gravel, but I don’t really need to do that too often. When I do need to do that I will either drain the hose outside on the first and second floor, or to the floor drain in the basement. To help get the siphon started I may later on add a little squeeze pump like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Lees-Squeeze-B...ump+for+python

So while this has cost me more than I hoped it would, I would consider it very worthwhile. With the 5-gallon bucket method it was very difficult to pour the water in slowly enough not to disturb the substrate. Refilling the hang-on back filters is also much easier.


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Old 03-10-2013, 10:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

I use the same setup but I don't use the aerator part and I siphon directly outside not back through the sink. I found that trying to start the siphon with the water flow is a pain and even with good pressure it wastes a lot of water and the siphon was a lot slower than when I just run it outside and have more drop from the tank. Ultimately for me the biggest thing is the 25+ feet of hose is the most important thing. Definitely way better than using buckets.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

When you run the hose outside, how do start the siphon? I think in the warmer months I'll probably just drain out to the lawn as much as possible since it seems a little wasteful to use all that water for something gravity could do. I do like having the temperature control you get by using the sink faucet for refilling though. Even if I didn't use the sink to siphon, I would still use the special attachment valve thing, as it's handy to give it a little twist to direct the water to the drain as you feel for the right temperature, then twist it up to divert it to the hose.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

These camper hoses may work well in areas of low pressure for a water supply and as you found, the water pressure was not enough. but be aware that I had used a camper hose and when I abruptly turn off the water, the hose burst. I have 80 psi water pressure. There was nothing on the product or labeling that indicated the hose rated pressure. After searching the net, I see that campers use a pressure regulator to lower campground water pressure to 40-50 psi.

I never considered using a drain and fill tool for my tank because I prepare my water one week in advance in two holding tanks which included chlorine removal, increasing the hardness and adding some buffer. However, I do use a syphon tool to clean my gravel that I hook up to my filter and my micron cartridge collects the organics. Then I drain the tank for my water change.
Home Depot and Lowe's sells clear vinyl hose and you will find it in the plumbing section. I tried using this hose with hose fittings and clamps on my 80 lb. water supply and it leaked. So I just use it with a mag drive pump to drain and fill my tank.
So I decided to use a regular garden hose to fill my holding tanks. I flush out the hose with about 2 gallons of water and then fill both holding tanks.

None of my fish have ever shown any ill effects from using this approach.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

To be honest thesawguy I used to start my siphon by scooping some water into the end of the hose from my tank and then lifting the hose up behind the water and the suction from the water in the line would get it going. But now I just put my hand on the end of the hose outside and suck for a second and it starts. I am not that scared of getting tank water in my mouth.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesawguy View Post
as it's handy to give it a little twist to direct the water to the drain as you feel for the right temperature, then twist it up to divert it to the hose.
,,and that my friend is how you start the siphon.

The venturi action is trying to occur when the hose is full of air - but it is more effective when full of water.

To start the siphon first fill the hose with water.

I know we are not children; although in order to keep it straight in my head, I need to explain step by step.
  1. hook up to sink
  2. place hose in aquarium
  3. close bottom of valve
  4. open supply and run water into tank until bubbles clear
  5. with water running - open venturi
  6. shut off water supply
If the tank water level is higher than the output - you now have a siphon. If you wish to drain the water out to a point higher than the water line the mains need to stay open. I use this method to empty tanks sitting on my basement floor onto the back lawn. Approx. 8 foot lift with a rubber garden hose @ 60psi.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

I built a little pvc overflow the other day and I use one of the pipes to start the flow. Basically I just wanted a way to keep one end in place and under water without having to stand there, and without having to start the siphon from the other end. I put a prefilter over the intake so I wouldn't have to worry about the fish going down the tube.

Something like this. http://forum.discusnews.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7364
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

I too love to waste water. Lately I have even started to shower every single month - just to waste more water. These old style chemical lab vacuum faucet pumps that are being sold as a water changing gizmo for aquariums waste water royally. The design is from at least the late 1800's so the waste is done in style.

I'm not sure why you have to be stylish but have you considered producing a connection that will allow you to fit the long hose to the outlet of your filter?

Also wouldn't it be very cool if you find a way to not have to vacuum your gravel? If you find a way to maintain the tank in such a way that vacuuming is not needed you might notice that you are actually running a much healthier planted tank too.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My experience piecing together a direct to faucet water changing kit

"I'm not sure why you have to be stylish but have you considered producing a connection that will allow you to fit the long hose to the outlet of your filter?"

This is not a bad idea I suppose- depending on how far/how much rise you need to push it, and could very stylishly be done with 1/2" hose and an extra eheim quick disconnect and one of the Lee hose to tube adaptors. Most of my tanks still have HOB filters on them though.

"Also wouldn't it be very cool if you find a way to not have to vacuum your gravel? If you find a way to maintain the tank in such a way that vacuuming is not needed you might notice that you are actually running a much healthier planted tank too."

Less fish, less food? What do you recommend?

I don't need to vacuum the substrate very often but when I siphoned to a bucket before I'd sometimes suck up some gravel from the front partially into the wide part of the tube then let it drop down further back in the tank to rebuild my slope as needed. Not enough suction to do this with the "python" style system.
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