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