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Old 03-22-2005, 05:12 PM   #1
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Going big....

I'm giving serious thought to my next tank and I want to go big. I'm looking at something in the 200 gal range.

While there are lots of things to consider, one that troubles me a lot is dealing with large volume water exchange. Currently, I siphon out 2 gallons per week and siphon in 2 gallons of new SW. I carry that around in a single bucket....simple.

I don't know how to easily handle exchanging 10x that amount.

How do the big-tank guys handle this? Does anyone have an automatic SW exchange system running? Automatic is clearly the way I would prefer to run.

I can imagine two dosing pumps...one in...one out...set to equal amounts. 'Out' runs to floor drain. 'In' pulls mixed SW from a holding tank somewhere far away..
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:15 PM   #2
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...or some sort of manual system with manually operated valves. (best not get distracted during that process!)
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:41 PM   #3
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I just change out 20 gallons every two weeks the old fashion way, it takes less than 15 minutes.
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Old 03-22-2005, 05:46 PM   #4
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Really...do you have to haul the replacement water to the tank? I'm not sure I want to haul anything heavier than 5 gallons.

Do you have a drain near the tank for the old SW? Otherwise, you're hauling the old water also.

Do you use a pump to move the water, or are you siphoning? If you siphon, you've got to get the new water higher than the tank...(ouch...my back hurts...)
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Old 03-22-2005, 06:24 PM   #5
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I'm using a pump. Pump it out the back door into a drain and pump in the new. I mix up my sw in a 50 gallon trash can and transfer it to 5 gallon jugs after it's mixed. I'd prefer to have a 100 gallon holding tank somewhere but my current equipment takes up a ton of room. It's actually a pretty simple process. When we move in around 5 months I plan on going to a 500-1000 gallon tank and then the holding tank will become manditory.
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Old 03-22-2005, 08:25 PM   #6
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I've measured how much 20g using 5g buckets and syphon and now it is and marked it with a piece of tape on the far back corner of the tank. I pump the water out of the tank into the bathroom sink (unless I'm alone, then it goes out the front door since nobody would be there to man the sink).

The replacement water has been heating/mixing for the last 2 days in a garbage can in the next room. I move the pump into the garbage can and run the water back into the tank. It doesn't take very long to do all things considered. It takes me longer to syphon 6g out of my QT tank for change than it does to do the whole water change in my main!
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:12 AM   #7
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A bunch of us kicked around the idea of an auto system 2 months ago. Check the DIY under automated water changes.

I still have plans to try it at some point. I think that a sprinkler controller and irrigation valves would do the trick, in conjunction with a few float valves. There are a lot of great ideas in that thread as well as ideas for dealing with large water changes!

For now, baby on the way, so no time to reinvent the toilet!
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Old 03-23-2005, 03:06 AM   #8
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Thanks that was interesting ideas. All seem a lot easier than hauling buckets around.

The trend in these ideas is to automate an "event" water change. That is, to suddenly remove an amount and suddenly replace that amount.

I'm thinking of a more continuous exchange method whereby fresh SW is continuously pumped into the system while an identical amount is continuously removed.

Tricky business. I keep thinking of ways to do it, then realizing that they will mess up my auto-evaporative replacement system.
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Old 03-25-2005, 01:03 AM   #9
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Yes, that would mess up your auto top-off system.

The problem with slow small water changes is that they are not as effective. You are continuously diluting the water and you will need to remove more to get the same effect. That means more water loss to RO and more $$ for salt and filter media, more water down the drain.

Although, it may be possible to create a more stable environment with out the constant rise and fall of unwanted water components.
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Old 03-25-2005, 09:43 AM   #10
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I stick to the old fashioned bucket method and yes, you get a backache....but as of yet, I am still very paranoid about all the automated stuff. I keep imagining something 'sticking' somewhere and 200 gallons of water on my floor.....
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Old 03-25-2005, 04:33 PM   #11
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good point. Doesn't need to be automated, but gravity or pump fed sure would help the old back!
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Old 03-26-2005, 04:41 AM   #12
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Try this:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...&N=2004+113164

Available up to 100' and you can buy extentions - it connects to any faucet and drains there, I would not know what to do without it!
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Old 03-26-2005, 05:41 AM   #13
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sounds complicated, actually my tank is about 10 steps from the kitchen sink 20 if you're doing the two handed 5 gallon bucket waddle

but on the flip side, i have to vacuum the detritus that my crabs and snails didn't get off my rock and corals anyway, plus i feel it's kind of therapeutic doing a water change at 1 am anyway... i prefer doing that part manually... in the mean time in my $15.99 30 gallon trash can from home depot, new saltwater has been percolating and heating with the help of a heater and a rio 2100... hook up some 3/4 id pipe to that same rio and just pump it back into the sump ...sure i have to hold it on there by hand because it's not an exact fit with the pipe fitting .... but in two minutes i've pumped into the sump what i've taken out by bucket and siphon...

i've even rubberbanded some "turkey netting" (large mesh netting) to ensure i get detritus and large pieces of nori and left over shrimp bits, but no snails, crabs or egads 8O fish...

which i foresee as the main problem with any auto changing setup... but hey if u can afford the losses go for it...
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Old 03-26-2005, 10:18 AM   #14
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I just change out 10 gallons once or twice a week also the old fashion way. You just get used to doing it.
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Old 03-26-2005, 06:23 PM   #15
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I use my rio return pump from my sump to pump out 7-10 gal. Then the ph in the mixer to pump it back in to the sump. No animals get stuck in the pump on either side.

I still vacuum the crushed coral every few weeks and do it the old fashioned way. nothing wrong with it. but there are certainly ways to save time when you are trying to take care of a couple of tanks.

Quote:
hook up some 3/4 id pipe to that same rio and just pump it back into the sump ...sure i have to hold it on there by hand because it's not an exact fit with the pipe fitting
Try some clear tubing and a stainless hose clamp!
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Old 03-26-2005, 08:53 PM   #16
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I have a 450g tank. I have been doing 10% changes so far but I now have a container that can hold about 90 gallons. I will have my RO/DI adding water to the storage container. I guess I am lucky - I have a slop sink in my basement (where the tank is) only about 20 feet from the tank. I us a python to siphon out the old and use a Mag pump to reverse the process to add the new water.

I think that auto systems would be great, however, they don't clean your substrate for you...true?

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