View Full Version : Water change ideas

12-14-2017, 08:08 PM
Ok, so I do water changes old school with buckets for my current 75 gallon. Now that I'm going to the bigger tank, I need something easier. I have access to a side door with storm drain about 20 ft from the tank so I can simply have a hose drain into there and would save me a lot of waddling back and forth. What do you all use to pump water out of your tank for water changes?


12-14-2017, 08:21 PM
To drain water out of the tank, just use gravity.

Also, here's an idea.


12-14-2017, 10:29 PM
Not sure you want to drain the water into the storm drain. Storm drains feed directly into creeks untreated. Not only is salt water not good for the streams there are other environmental issues.

12-15-2017, 12:01 AM
I drain mine in the toilet. I fashioned a U pipe out of pvc. That hooks into the toilet and use a maxi jet pump inside the tank connected to a pvc hose. Then i have those extension cord with switch on it so i can control on/off the pump.. Flush toilet several times after wards. I do the toilet cleaning at the same time

If im on vacuuming gravel regimen which is every 3rd water change it goes outside the street. I gravel vac into a rubber maid tub. Then have a stronger pump in the tub to pump it outside.

For new water rubber maid tough guard the grey commercial garbage can i use beside the display tank and run rodi tube to it and do mix the day before changing. I use and old quite one pump to pump it to the display.

Frogger what happens in winter when city are salting , brining the street? Its basically the same salt that goes to the storm drain. I understand winter salting only happens in one season in a year. Compared to us changing water every week. I guess its subjective. Same could be said about rodi water we are wasting water since alot of us do not store the discarded water when making ro or di water.

12-15-2017, 02:13 AM
Frogger what happens in winter when city are salting , brining the street? Its basically the same salt that goes to the storm drain. I understand winter salting only happens in one season in a year. Compared to us changing water every week. I guess its subjective. Same could be said about rodi water we are wasting water since alot of us do not store the discarded water when making ro or di water.

In the winter when we are getting a lot of rain the salt is thinned and washed away. The damage it does to the environment is accepted because the alternative is major accidents and loss of live. In the summer when it hasn't rained in a couple months , the baby salmon fry are actively feeding the salt we release would be much more concentrated in the streams.

Its not just the salt. It is the organisms that we culture some good some bad, who knows how they can affect the fish and organisms within the creek ecosystems. Same reason we shouldn't release our tank inhabitants into the wild ecosystem.

12-15-2017, 04:35 AM
Good points!

If it were "just" salt water i'd be inclined to say go for it and dump it to the storm drain.

But you've raised a good point, it's not so much "just" the saltwater but the foreign micro and macro organisms that come with it.

Not really on par with this, but think lionfish. And what a devastation it has been to the ecosystems that it has been unaturally introduced to.

12-15-2017, 04:43 AM
Do you have a laundry sink?

For the longest time I used a "python" gravel cleaner system that attaches to your faucet. I'd use that to drain the tank.

And when that broke, I simply used the hose from it and gravity drained it into the bathtub.

12-15-2017, 07:55 AM
Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

Currently I use a simple aquarium siphon to get pull water out and vacuum the sand at the same time. My sand bed is on the thin side (1” or less) and when I started out I couldn’t get my nitrates under 20 for a long time despite a low bioload. Then I saw a video of someone deep vacuuming their sand and decided to try it. Almost immediately my nitrates went down to undetectable levels. So that’s worked for me. I siphon into buckets which I dump into the laundry tub. The only reason I thought of the storm drain is because of the gravity issue - a hose wouldn’t have to go up into the tub. (Thanks for making that point Frogger; I don’t want to do something that would negatively impact the environment. In fact that’s one of the reasons I don’t do RODI but that’s a whole other can of worms) I would like to continue vacuuming my sand, but I just want to eliminate the treks back and forth. Yes I’m lazy. You’d think the exercise would do me good:lol:

So perhaps I could siphon into a large bin, then pump that waste water into the laundry tub? Is it simpy fitting a pump onto a long hose? (This occurred to me as I recently watched the pump work on my return line, first time using a sump - I am learning something new every day haha). What kind of pump would I need?

I’ve thought of the Python - wasn’t sure how it worked. Maybe it would be easier to buy one of those instead of trying to jerry rig something myself. But would I still be able to vacuum my sand in the same way?

12-15-2017, 03:49 PM
Saltwater shouldn't be poured outside. If it's not diluted it will kill off almost all vegetation in that location if poured there regularly. It shouldn't go in storm drains - those are for rain water, not saltwater. It is illegal to dump water into storm drains.

Since I own a maintenance company, here are some options I use depending on what clients have available:

Gravel vac waste: I always siphon into a bucket. Always goes into a toilet - if there is lots of sediment I will scoop the bottom of the bucket into a waste bag. In the case of commercial locations where a toilet may be nowhere near then I pour off the water into a sink, and scoop the sediment into a waste bag.

Draining clear water from the tank: If I put the gravel vac buckets into the toilet then I'll put a full 5-gallon bucket of clear water down the toilet afterwards to flush it really well. Bathtubs are a decent choice for the bulk of the clear water because they are low to the ground, and will drain faster. Make sure no sediment goes down a bathtub or sink drain. For larger tanks I use a hose to go wherever the draining happens - sometimes it is not an option, and I just pack buckets, sometimes up and down a flight of stairs. It is what it is. Easier to do when you're getting paid for it though. ;)

I carry a Quiet One 4000 pump hooked up to a 25' hose, and it's good for draining or refilling.

If there is very low carpeting (commercial carpet), or hard floors then a rolling platform dolly works very well. You can get them at Princess Auto - they go on sale 50% off so watch for those. There are some that go up to 600 lbs I think, but good luck pushing that around! I use these in commerical locations for mixing tubs and move the tubs from water stations to the tanks where I then pump out of the tubs into the tank sump.

I'm sure if I think long enough I'll come up with more... haha

12-15-2017, 04:06 PM
Great info Myka -thanks!
I always thought other people must have an awesome easy way to do maintenance & I was just not wise to it, but I guess I wasnít far off and a bit of elbow grease is required no matter what.

I have a laundry tub, toilet, 2 sinks and a shower in reasonably close proximity so I think I can figure something out haha.

Anyone have an old pump to sell? :mrgreen:

12-15-2017, 04:55 PM
I know some people have fancy fish rooms with drain valves and top up valves. This is so sweet because a water change is with ease. However this is not the case for the majority. I’m with you! I lug 5 gallon Pails for dirty saltwater and rift in to the toilet. I then use a small pump to fill the sump with the fresh saltwater. It’s a pain sometimes, but with my 150g I am only changing 30g biweekly.

12-15-2017, 05:57 PM
And I only do a change once a month:redface:
(Although, every time husband will still say: what, again so soon? He is not a pet guy and yet Iíve filled the house with animals galore. He is quite tolerant I have to admit. And useful when I need pipes glued and lights hung)

12-15-2017, 09:28 PM
I no longer deal with buckets. It cost a fair amount but my back is happy not hauling 7-8 buckets both ways. Below I talk about hose. I used 1/2" as it's softer so easier to work with than 3/4", but flows much slower. It's a trade-off I'm OK with.

You may not be able to use 'all' of my method/hardware, but maybe this will give you some ideas.

I have an Eheim Compact 3000 pump with Female Unions; the inlet is threaded and the outlet is connected with a short length of hose, a barb fitting and clamps.
I have 1/2" clear poly hose long enough to reach from the back of the house (RO Station/draining toilet) to my fish room.
This hose has Male Unions on both ends. This makes all the other parts a 'universal fit' and allows me to only need lay out and coil up the hose once during use.
My RO drum drain hose connects to the pump, then the hose goes to either my holding drum or my mixing tank, using a Female Union on a 'U' pipe.
My mixing tank has a bulkhead and valve on the bottom. When it's time it gravity feeds the sump.
I use a Quiet One 4000 with 1" hose for draining directly from the sump. 25 gallons takes mere minutes. It pumps into a drum with marks for my WC amount.
Then I put the Compact 3000 in the drum and, with another (dedicated) 'U' pipe on the toilet and held in place for safety by the seat and lid, well, you get it.
After I've pumped all the old SW out of the drum, I pump 2-3 gallons of RO to rinse the drum, pump and hose. Then I coil up the hose, letting it drain down the toilet as I go.
1 flush of the toilet and all is done.

I've been doing it this way for, I think, over a year and the hose is still clean and soft.

12-15-2017, 10:30 PM
See, this is the type of thing that makes my bucket feel very inadequate...
Iíd love to whip up something similar though