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Old 07-29-2021, 03:02 AM   #1
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Planted Tank Automation -- Can it be done?

Hi all,

I have a 10 gal planted tank that I painstakingly brought home from college for the summer (a 7 hour drive!). As much as I enjoy the tank I have no interest in tearing it down a second time and moving everything back up with me, so it will be staying at my house this time around.

This poses a few obvious problems however
1) how am I going to top off evaporated water,
2) how do I dose fertilizers and Excel, and
3) how am I going to do water changes
when I am away?

Now, my mom will be around to look after the tank and I'm hopeful that she will be generous enough to help me out a bit in my time of need here. That said, I'd like to make tank maintenance as straight forward and painless as possible in my absence. (Hesitant to say "idiot proof" but that's kind of what I'm getting at.) That is to say, I'd like to automate the tank as much as can be done.

Fortunately my light runs on a timer already, and I have an autofeeder I plan on running. In terms of dosing fertilizers, my thought was to buy a dosing pump such as this one and to jam the dosing tubing into my fertilizer bottles.

As for the other 2 questions though, I'm less certain. Although my nitrate levels are always super low, I presume only doing water changes when I'm back home on breaks isn't going to cut it. One thought was to use one of the 4 dosing pumps to first pull water out of the aquarium and then enlist a second pump to pull fresh conditioned water from a second bucket back into the tank. However, does anyone have enough experience with these peristaltic pumps in order to say if they are precise enough for this purpose? (I.e. am I going to risk the tank overflowing because the amount of water pumped in is greater than that pumped out?)

And that auto water change setup doesn't account for evaporation, so I might be in the market for an Auto Top Off device to draw from the same clean water bucket as the other pump.

Would my ideas work, or is there a better alternative? Would love to hear from anyone who might have attempted something similar and had success with it


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Old 08-04-2021, 11:29 PM   #2
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Reef tanks are the ideal to search information about. Yes there are precision pumps which can run for a certain amount of time for refilling and you can use a 5G container Or other expensive water holders of RO / or distilled water.

This type container is usually available at the local SW fish store. Usually they will sell it for around $15 ish dollars and fill it for you with saltwater, but in your case a free fill of RO or RO/DI water might come with it. You want the rigid plastic not the collapse-able one.

I do not have the automation figured out myself but there are a good many people who do.

I can't remember what the name of it is but there is a DIY water change system which uses PVC pipe for the overflow water to exit the tank with a suction flow when it gets a certain height just flows out. And then you use a dripper system for the inflow of fresh water. Technically can't over flow. I will be around a couple people Friday night if no one else gives you the name of it or a better option, I can ask them!
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auto, plant, planted, planted tank, tan, tank

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