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Old 09-07-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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I know my tank is small which results in only 5 gal changes once a week but, is it really that hard setting up a siphon with a gravel vacuum? Plus, with the siphon, you can suck up surface contaminants that have collected on the sand. Just my opinion but it seems a lot easier than going through all that.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:10 PM   #12
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how would that water drain? it would have to go over the back rim. you would need to start a siphon. you would have to put your hand inside the tank, turn the valve, then shut off the pump so that a siphon is created. you are going to want a drill hole just under the water line on the return so it breaks siphon in the event of an outage, so there is another obstacle.
IMO, much more work than conventional methods.
if anything, i would attach another tank to the sump with a valve. you could close that valve, drain and fill that tank, then open it back up.
no matter what, you are going to want to blow off the rocks and do other cleaning inside the DT.

I think you may be misreading my diagram as there is no siphon involved. Gravity does all the draining through the pipe that feeds the sump. The sequence for removing water would be as follows:
  1. Turn off the return pump (or have it set to just circulate water within the sump)
  2. Close the lower most valve on the drain pipe. This stops the water from going into the sump.
  3. Open the valve on the T below the tank. At this point, the tank will begin to drain until it reaches the top of the drain pipe labelled as the main inlet in the diagram. (This is where water normally comes into the pipe on its way to the sump.)
  4. Open the valve on the T on the inside of the tank. This creates a lower drain point to allow more water to come out of the tank. It will continue draining until the water gets to the valve OR you close it.
  5. When you have removed enough water, close the valve on the T on the inside of the tank.
  6. Close the valve on the T below the tank.
  7. Open the lowermost valve on the drain pipe. Now water may begin flowing back into the sump.
  8. Turn the return pump back on.
So the design has two different inlets (the main one and a lower one with a valve used only for water changes) and two different outlets (one going to the sump and one going to wherever you're draining the water to, both with valves). You end up using only one set at a time.

You could actually plumb the water change outlet into your sewer lines in the house for a more permanent installation. Similarly, you could set up a fill up system feeding into your tank or through the return line and not have to run any hoses or haul buckets.


Is this design worth it? I'm not at all sure and I don't have a tank to experiment with. Unless you do a shoddy job gluing the PVC to the point it leaks, you'd be out the cost of some PVC glue and 3 ball valves. I know the system will make water leave the tank, so long as you can get to the valves as described. As you notes Mr X, DaveM will still need to reach into the tank to open and close a valve, and he still is likely to need to get into the tank for other maintenance like blowing off the rockwork. I have some concern for critters getting sucked into the water change drain when it's open, but I tend to think it's not a much greater chance than one going down the main drain when the tank is up and running so long as it has a proper strainer.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:18 PM   #13
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i still don't understand. on a reef ready tank, that pipe you have in the diagram is inside the overflow. all it will drain is the overflow, and it will be a task getting your arm all the way down inside the overflow to operate it.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rdnelson99 View Post
I know my tank is small which results in only 5 gal changes once a week but, is it really that hard setting up a siphon with a gravel vacuum? Plus, with the siphon, you can suck up surface contaminants that have collected on the sand. Just my opinion but it seems a lot easier than going through all that.
I guess it depends on your perspective. At some point, we had to haul water from the well outside to wash and cook. Then we came up with indoor plumbing which I don't think anyone on this board can imagine living without. I'm sure early on, someone asked, "is it really worth digging up the yard to hook into the municipal line and running all these new-fangled pipes through the wall when we have a perfectly good outhouse and a well just outside?" LOL

I'll also concede that a 125 gallon tank isn't all that big in the grand scheme of things. Imagine how you'd do a water change on a 54,000 gallon tank with a church built around it. (See the show Tanked for the reference.) I doubt they're running a siphon for their water changes. Heck, they may have a mini waste water treatment plant for all I know.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:25 PM   #15
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I guess it depends on your perspective. At some point, we had to haul water from the well outside to wash and cook. then we came up with indoor plumbing which I don't think anyone on this board can imagine living without. I'm sure early on, someone asked, "is it really worth digging up the yard to hook into the municipal line and running all these new-fangled pipes through the wall when we have a perfectly good outhouse and a well just outside?" LOL

I'll also concede that a 125 gallon tank isn't all that big in the grand scheme of things. Imagine how you'd do a water change on a 54,000 gallon tank with a church built around it. (See the show Tanked for the reference.) I'm doubt they're running a siphon for their water changes. Heck, they may have a mini waste water treatment plant for all I know.

LOL In door plumbing???? Man, wouldn't that be cool. Some day I will have indoor plumbing. And maybe even a "Cement Pond". LOL
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:27 PM   #16
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i still don't understand. on a reef ready tank, that pipe you have in the diagram is inside the overflow. all it will drain is the overflow, and it will be a task getting your arm all the way down inside the overflow to operate it.
You're right, if it is inside of a cordened off overflow and not a freestanding pipe, it will not work. the only workaround I can see in that situation would be a valve in a bulkhead through the overflow, which I think would be difficult to make work at the very least. I envisioned the pipe as the overflow going up to the surface of the water.
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