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Old 02-13-2006, 08:35 AM   #1
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Plumbing for PWC

I would like to run a couple of pvc pipes to and from the my aquarium setup to make pwc easier. To introduce new water to the tank, I am thinking of running the line from RO/DI unit to the sump so that the new water gets pumped into the sump, gets mixed with the stuff already there and then gets pumped into the sump. Is this a good idea? Also can I mix salt in the sump directly for the new water?

I want to run another line from the tank that goes to the drain. I will probably put some kind of hobby pump to suck the water out. I dont want to put the pipe directly in the tank since it might suck some livestock out! So which is the best place to put this pipe? Can I suck the water out of the overflow compartment?
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Old 02-13-2006, 09:45 AM   #2
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You could set up pluming but not quite the way you have it listed. SW needs to be aerated and brought up to tank temp/sg/ph over the course of 24+ hours or else your fish/inverts could die from adding salt directly to the sump. Plus you would get wild sg changes until the salt properly dissolves.

Using your sump is the easiest way to do a pwc assuming you can change out 10% with just your sump volume. That way it doesn’t affect the main water level. I use a clean 30 gal trashcan on wheels and premix my pwc water all at once for the month (about 25 gal) using a dedicated pump and heater to maintain temp and aeration. When I do 6 gal changes each week I just roll the trashcan out of the closet and hook up the pump to vinyl tubing to suck most of the water out of my sump to another trashcan (turning off the sump pump) and then refill the sump using the pump and vinyl tubing again.

The whole process takes less then 10 minutes from start to finish and is the personally the way I would do it for simplicity.
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Old 02-13-2006, 09:49 AM   #3
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How do you plan to let the saltwater age 24 hours in the sump? You going to shut down sump filtration for that time?

Are you running any biofiltration in your sump? That will be negatively impacted by salinity swings.

Do you have any space for an additional resivior?

Here's my ideal system:
1. Fill hidden (basement, closet?) resivior with RO water.
2. Add salt to resivior, mix & preheat for 24 hours. (Test as necessary.)
3. Shut down sump pump.
4. Open drain valve on sump to drain. Ideally the sump volume would drain the correct amount for a PWC.
5. Close sump drain valve.
6. Activate pump to push water from premix resivior to sump.
7. Shut down resivior pump.
8. Re-activate sump pump. (Prime if required, hopefully set up to not need priming.)
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:44 AM   #4
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I love the trashcan idea! If only I can find a closet to hide it.

dskidmore: This is pretty much my ideal setup too. Basement is a good idea, but it might turn out too expensive for me. I dont have a closet nearby where I can set this up. I have a powder room behind the wall that the aquarium is setup now. May be I can set this up under the sink of my powder room. Then I have to run the RO/DI from kitchen to the powder room.

Actually the 24hr priming of water, this is the first time I am hearing about this in the long three weeks into sw hobby. Thanks for the info! I am back to the drawing board.

I would love to hear from more people, how do they manage pwc. (Besides a python or using a bucket).
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:44 AM   #5
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This is the wheeled trashcan I use which costs only $11 at HD. Keep in mind that 25 gal of water weighs around 200 lbs so be careful when moving if you go this route. I’m not huge but do work out quite a bit I like this one because it’s tall and doesn’t take up much space. Larger 4 wheeled cans are easier to move but about 7+ times as much and almost twice as wide.

I also wouldn’t bother trying to plumb the ro\di unit in the same space unless it’s fairly easy since you only have to fill it up once a month. I just wheel mine over to the kitchen and let the ro/di unit run for most of the day until filled up. The closet I put it in didn’t have any outlets to plug the pump/heater into so I just bought a cheap 2 Outlet Socket Adapter to plug into the light fixture.

If the powder room is too confined then you could also put it in the garage or a spare bedroom. The key to successful water changes is to make it as easy as possible so you keep to a good weekly schedule.

Lastly since you are fairly new to keeping SW fish I’d highly recommend reading all the saltwater articles on this site, the articles on liveaquaria.com, the articles on wetwebmedia.com & picking up a good book so you have a better understanding of the basics.

Of course posting any questions you have here if you are confused about anything or looking for advise on a particular subject is always a good idea as well
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:37 PM   #6
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You said:
The key to successful water changes is to make it as easy as possible so you keep to a good weekly schedule.

That is exactly what I have in my mind too.

Wheeled Garbage cans wont work in my case. Garage is two steps below and all bedrooms are one level above. But until I find a permanent solution, I can use your trick to handle the pwc. I wont use wheeled ones, but a large bucket which I can carry it around. I wont mix water for one month, just the 7-8 gallons that I need to change every week.

Now, I am toying with the idea of fitting a 20g tank under the sink in the powder room which is close to what dskidmore said. I am not sure if I want to do this right away, but this is the direction I would like to go.

RO/DI unit is on its way and before it arrives, I would like decide where to install it. How I am going to handle pwc in future is in part influences this decision.

Thanks for those links to additional articles. And thanks everyone for guiding me along the way!
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:43 PM   #7
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Since the powder room is so close had you considered relocating your sump to that room as well through the wall? If it has a water hookup and sink then doing pwc would be a snap. It would also cut down on noise. You could keep the reserve water next to the sump and pump out/in what you need
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:10 PM   #8
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Out of luck. If I put the sump in there, there wont be room for the reservoir. My life suddently has become full of twists and turns!
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:22 PM   #9
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If you do have a water hookup/sink in the powder room then I’d set your ro\di and reserve tank up and plumb a pump/hose to your sump through the wall and have another pump/hose combo setup from your sump to the sink for quick and painless water changes on the fly. Better than having to lug 5 gal buckets each time
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:45 PM   #10
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That is exactly what I am going to do.

My handyman showed up finally after repeated phonecalls. Here is the plan:

I am going to fit the RO/DI unit in my laundry in the Basement. He will run the RO line to the kitchen sink put a little faucet in the sink next to the regular faucet, for drinking water. He will run the RO/DI line to the powder room and leave it under sink. Here I can setup a 10g or 20g whatever fits there which I will be my reserve tank. I can throw in a pump to aerate and a heater for priming the water. I will run plumbing back and forth from the sump for replacing the water and that'll complete the setup.

Let me know if I missed anything.

ps: If I hook up everything to a X10 setup, my computer will automatically prepare, prime and replace the water in my aquarium at regular intevals. Well, I'll save that coversation for another time.
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