Water Changing System

My various trips abroad have given me the opportunity to visit many fish rooms and see the various set ups. Most have about 20 tanks of small to medium sizes and to be quite frank, it is clear that size does not matter. Many of the best aquarists and breeders have smaller set ups because most often there is simply not the space to have a large collection of tanks. The vast majority of fish rooms are maintained in a traditional way with syphon tubes and a bucket.

I have a new fish room with something like 240 tanks. It would be impossible to keep these with just a syphon hose and bucket. I have therefore installed a semi automatic water changing system.

The water is fed through a boiler and a thermostatic valve to ensure the correct temperature. (I used to use cold water with my wild livebearers but guppies are much more delicate - and much harder to keep). I manually open a valve to allow the flow of water.

I know of some fully automatic systems that have this controlled by an electronic timer set to do 10% per day. I prefer to be in complete manual control and I change about 20% of the water twice per week. Each rack of tanks is controlled individually for more control. The fresh water is dispensed into the tanks through an air line tube.

This picture shows the fresh water coming from the air line pipe. The water flows for at least an hour. The pipe is held in place with a plastic cloths peg. I have seen systems in Asia that are set to continually drip 24 hrs a day into the tank. I personally do not appreciate how this is of benefit, especially in larger tanks. The air line is connected into a 50mm plastic pipe that is set above the rack. It is fixed to the wall to ensure that it is exactly level. A valve controls the water flow into the air line from the 'manifold' which is fed direct from the control valve in a 22mm plastic pipe at normal water mains pressure.

I have found that the yellow valves leak water through the connection into the 50mm pipe no matter what size hole is drilled. Various experiments with glue have also failed to cure the leaks. The solution has been to install a gutter beneath the row and I have installed another tank connector to feed this fresh water into a tank. Water is not wasted !

Without this I would simply never have the time to change water.

Each of my tanks has had a hole drilled in the base and an overflow pipe installed.

The overflow pipe is the type used in an old type toilet cistern, so comes complete with a 'tank connector' but most importantly costs only about 75p each. So the water flows into the tank and then overflows out to waste water drainage.