Designing a auto water changer / top-up system - need info

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Caz, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Caz

    Caz

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    I am designing an auto water changing and auto top-up system for my 4ft high tech planted tank I am planning (around October). (The water will be coming from my tap and I will need to remove chlorine and possible chloramine)

    Options
    1. Continuous drip system + inline activated carbon filter + overflow
      • My tank is not drilled for an overflow - so not to keen on this one (and not sure if the dripping will be audible)
    2. Store water below tank in a container (topped up from the tap), water pumped out to a level and then filled from the container.
      • Will need more float level switches to control all the levels of the main tank and container
      • Use an internal filter witch activated carbon to remove the chlorine
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
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  3. Jaco83

    Jaco83

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    Sounds good, but just a few questions...

    How efficient is Activated Carbon at removing Chlorine and Chloramine?
    And if it is effective, for how long will it remain active?
    And lastly, how long would the water need to be exposed to the carbon for it to be effective?
     
  4. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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    I think it is around 24hours (Chlorine normally evaporates and the carbon should also take care of the chloramine), but on a drip system I am not sure if the carbon will be able to remove it...

    I am leaning more towards the second option, as it will allow me to add water conditioner also to the container if needed.
     
  5. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Interesting thread, will follow with interest
    We also planning drip systems for the big tanks going up shortly but I agree with the container choice and condition the water there.
    Would be to scarred to tke a chance not to
     
  6. AquaS

    AquaS

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    Automatic systems are always nice if it means less work, but how are you going to clean the gunk accumulating on the bottom? This is a big contributor to water quality problems.
     
  7. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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    It is going to be a full planted tank - I only 'vacuum' the gunk from the top layer every other trim...
     
  8. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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    Currently I do a 50% water change every week, but considering doing a 25% twice a week when this system is in...
     
  9. Jaco83

    Jaco83

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    Agree on option 2 for the treatment of water. Although it does take out some of the automation, i guess.
     
  10. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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  11. Jwh

    Jwh

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    If there is chloramine in your water you'll need catalytic carbon to remove this, speak to beer brewers, they need to remove chloramines from the water before they brew beer.
    For a continuos drip system you'll need a pressure regulator on the feed line to even out fluctuations in water pressure. To ensure an even flow you can get a drip head delivering a fixed amount of water, irrigation companies supply these. Depending on tank volume and replacement volume think about heating, as you'll be continuously adding cold water to your tank, which could present a challenge in winter. Also think where you'll be draining the water to if you drain it to your garden, the continuous water flow could turn the area marshy, which could be problematic, or present an opportunity to start s marsh garden.
    it you go a pre tank route, use a dosing pump to dose prime to remove chloramine and chloramines, add a heater to preheat the water. Buy the best water level switches you can get, not ball valves, if anything can go wrong these will. I would drill the tank at max water level and have an overflow just in case, same for the water reservoir. My 2c worth....
     
  12. KZNFishy

    KZNFishy

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    I'm actually inclined to go the "laissez faire" route, to be honest. We have a fairly severe chlorine problem in our area, and I've solved that by doing very frequent water changes, about 10% every second day, dosing any water I add with Tetra Aquasafe or other similar additives. Granted, I have a fairly hardy and robust collection of fish in my tank, nothing overly sensitive.
    My argument here is that you're adding minute amounts to water continuously, so any chlorine or chloramine that might be coming into your system is in tiny, almost trace amounts. I really think that natural decomposition or deintegration will take care of it automatically, and if you then do your larger 25% water change weekly, you shouldn't have any issues.
    I'm no chemist, so I can speak with no authority other than personal opinion, but there you have it. That's the route I would go, and then just keep a careful eye on things for the first couple of months, at least. Regular testing of chlorine and chloramine levels would probably be a good idea.
     
  13. Jaco83

    Jaco83

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    Some very good arguments here... Hope you got the info you needed.
     
  14. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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    Thanks all for the info...

    I think the safest route would be to go with a container and add some dechlorinator to it.
    I was planning on using 2 float switches to turn off the system's (2 in the container and 2 in the main tank - changes of both float switches failing at the same time will be slim).
    Maybe I will rather use a switch to run everything on instead of a timer, this way I will be present and if something fails I can still switch it off?

    I will think about building in safeguards to the system...
     
  15. dorff

    dorff

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    You can siphon water through a flexible tube to wherever you want, as long as you give the tube a U-bend to give a liquid seal, and position the outlet at the height where you want the water level in the tank. You have to prime the siphon (i.e. get the air out), and then you can pump water into the tank and the excess will run out via the siphon. The siphon's flow will depend on the excess height, so the faster you pump in water, the higher the level will rise before it equalises.
     
  16. lennard

    lennard

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    I use this system a lot in my fish room and outside. In the house I will play safe and install two outlets in case one gets blocks or get air bubbles trapped. If the water is dripping only, no need to remove chlorine.
     
  17. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    @Caz I am curious as to why you would need / want to do this ... do you have an overstocked tank, sensitive fish or just need to reduce the maintenance time you spend on the tank etc?

    If this is a plated eco system maybe getting that into balance can achieve the same goal without the need of continues wc ... planted tank and continues wc is a totally different story.

    Later Ferdie
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
  18. OP
    Caz

    Caz

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    @f-fish , I have a high tech planted tank with EI dosing, this means a 50% water change each week? We are about to hit the 'silly' season @ work and I often have to work late and weekends, automating the 50% water change would make it a lot easier...
     

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