How do you do PWCs? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-15-2010, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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How do you do PWCs?

Hey everybody, I'm just curious how everyone changes their water. It seems my method doesn't seem very effecient so I'm curious how everyone else does it. (and especially people with 10+ tanks) Also wondering how people with planted tanks add water without disturbing the plants a bunch.

For me I drain out 5 gallons of water and take a (I'm guessing it's approx) 3/4 gallon pitcher and take some out and dump it in the toilet a few times until it's light enough that I can lift it then I dump the rest in the toilet. I do this a couple times depending on how large that particular tank is. Then I fill up 5 gallons in a bucket of clean water from my bath tub or the kitchen sink and take it out with the same pitcher and dump it in the tank. I take the temperature of the tap and get it to the same temperature of the tank before I fill it up. Takes me about 1-2 hours per large tank.... :/ seems long but maybe it's not.

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-15-2010, 07:09 AM
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I use a Python for changing water and gravel vaccuming. Used to do it same way you are only I could carry the buckets and lift them to pour new water (treated with dechlorinator) back into the aquarium.
When I need to do a water change and gravel vaccuming isn't needed, I use a small pump such as pond pump for garden ponds and attach a section of garden hose. I then drop the pump in the aquarium and run the hose outdoors or to the sink and plug it in. It will drain the water and once i have removed enough water,, I use the Python to refill the aquarium.
Python is a bit expensive but saves a ton of time and lifting and is easy to use.
You could also store new water in a large rubbermaid trash can and use the pond pump and hose to suck new water from the tub and pump it back into your aquarium. Would heat and aerate the water in the tub a day before using it.
Once a week,, I vaccum the gravel in all tanks. I still use the old hand held gravl vaccum and a bucket for this,but for refilling and or just a water change,, the Python or Pump with hose works well for me.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-15-2010, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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How exactly do pythons work? Don't they come from tap? How do you add dechlorinator and such? Also how do you get it to the right temperature? (If this is too complicated to answer quickly don't worry I'll look it up I don't wanna make u explain it all XD)

Maybe if I start going to the gym I'll be able to lift the buckets. :P I'm just like hernia-paranoid.....

Oh and how do you pump water into the tank? Other than having the water higher than the other water?

"He situates himself in relation to time. He takes his place in it. He admits that he stands at a certain point on a curve that he acknowledges having to travel to its end. He belongs to time, and by the horror that seizes him, he recognizes his worst enemy. Tomorrow, he was longing for tomorrow, whereas everything in him ought to reject it."
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-15-2010, 07:53 AM
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Python attaches to the sink and by twisting the attachment one way or the other you can drain water or refill the aquarium. It uses water pressure in the water lines for draining and filling.
While you are draining water, the water can be adjusted at your tap to make it warmer or colder just as you do when washing your dishes or hands. I usually let the water run cold while draining and once I am getting close to what I want to remove in the way of water,, I begin to turn the faucet to make a mixture of hot/cold water = warm water for the aquarium. Then I add enough dechlorinator to the aquarium to treat either what I removed, or the whole aquarium,, and then switch the attachment that screws onto the tap to the fill posistion ,Water stops being sucked out of the aquarium ,and the warm water begins to enter.
Will say that another reason I still use the old hand held vaccum for gravel vaccuming once a week is because the Python wastes a lot of water while draining water from the aquarium.
You can simply unscrew the attachment on the end of the hose that attaches to your sink ,and run the end out the door or window and once you get the water started from your aquarium,, it will drain out and not waste so much water. Course doing this means you can't really vaccum very well and that's why I still use the hand held vaccum for gravel vaccuming. But if you don't mind the water wasted,, the Python will drain and fill your aquarium much easier than the bucket brigade and you can vaccum with it as well.
I always use the Python for refilling the tank ,and the pressure in your water lines will pump the new water up into possibly a tank on the second floor assuming you have enough hose and decent pressure in the home,apt,etc.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-15-2010, 11:17 AM
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I have a Python, and use it when I need to vacuum, but it's a bit of a PITA to set up and use for my mid-size (45gal) tank. I usually don't use it for filling, either, simply because I wasn't sure if I should add the water conditioners directly to the aquarium, but I'm interested to hear how others do this as well. I've heard some good things about the Eheim battery-powered handheld vac, and if I happen across one on sale at a great price, I may get one to try out and not bother with the Python at all. It'll also allow me to split up my maintenance so I can vacuum one night and do the WC on another night.

So, usually, when I want to change water, I use a 'Wonder Pump'. This is a 6'(?) syphon hose with a small pump that you shake up and down to get the syphon started and is ~$6 at the hardware store. I syphon off into a bucket on the floor next to the aquarium (I use 3 gallon buckets, and will usually change 3-5 bucket-fulls) and just dump them in the kitchen sink. I then re-fill the buckets, adding conditioner as I do, and have a spare floating thermometer that I throw in during each fill to make sure I get the temp close. I have a set of stairs behind the tank, so when I have a full bucket, I carry it up the stairs (the 3 gallon buckets aren't that heavy) and rest the bucket on a step about half-way up where the bottom of the bucket is above the aquarium. Then I use the Wonder Pump again to siphon the bucket water back into the tank, with the output of the hose going right through the opening on the hood. The closed lid is enough to hold it in place, and I'll try and point the end of the syphon hose against the glass in a corner, but the pressure isn't so high that it disturbs the plants or substrate much. When the bucket is empty, I take the input end and tuck it into the tank while I go re-fill the bucket. It's actually pretty easy... the hardest part is usually climbing under the tank to re-prime the canister filter once I'm done.

- Lee
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-16-2010, 04:14 AM
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I have a 5g-ish bucket. Basically I just use a regular gravel vac (I have this rubber hand-pump thing with a valve that connects to the hose to get the siphon started) and siphon the water into the bucket. I usually dump the bucket out the back door as that's closer to (most of) the tanks than the toilet. I have a smaller ~2g bucket that fits in the sink that I use to fill up the bigger bucket. I fill up the smaller bucket one last time then carry both buckets to my tanks. I add the Prime to the big bucket first (because more water means it takes longer for the Prime to diffuse and do its thing), then the small bucket, then slowly pour the small bucket into the tank. Then I usually pour enough water from the big bucket to fill up the small one and then pour that in, then the remainder of the large bucket. I do it like that because I don't want that big, heavy 5g bucket full of water sitting on the edge of a glass tank.

I really wish I had a better way of doing things as most of my tanks are downstairs where there isn't a sink so I have to haul the buckets of water downstairs. At least it's not the other way around!

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post #7 of 7 Old 03-16-2010, 06:36 PM
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For my 10G i just use a normal sized bucket to drain and fill,I use the vac to empty (vacuming ofc as it empties).When it comes it fill up again,i fill the bucket the same amount of times as i filled when draining.Im lucky as next to my tank is a gun-cabinet which is higher than my tank,so i put the bucket on that,place the vac in it and run the tube to the tank and leave it running until I see its empty (about 2 times for a 20% water change for me).I do pity the lucky/unlucky sods with bigger tanks
p.s the flow rate flow from the narrow pipe from the vac doesnt affect my plants or substrate as long as its kept near the top of the water lvl of my tank (closing the lid of my top holds it in place ok)

Last edited by Tomsk; 03-16-2010 at 06:38 PM.
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