Instructables

Project:Aquarius, The Easy Aquarium Water Change Device

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 New From Sam Pask Design - Project:Aquarius, the easy to use Aquarium Water Change Device, Project Aquarius is an ad-hoc solution to the many problems encountered when water changing a fish tank, solving problems like carrying heavy water buckets, starting and controlling siphons, replacing tank water and filling large containers from the sink. Project:aquarius is designed from a series of easy to get hold of components available both on the high street and or online.
 
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Step 1: Containing Water

Picture of Containing Water
Project:Aquarius is designed to be fully customisable to suit the users fish tank, the main component behind any project is the water containers, The best i have found are plastic jerry cans, which come in a variety of sizes varying from 5 litres up to 50 litres, ideally you want a container that can hold the amount of water that you need to water change in one go to save you making multiple trips. 

A recommended water change for a tropical or cold water tank is 20% every two weeks so ideally a barrel that holds 20% of the tank contents would be perfect. so for a 60 litre aquarium needs approximately a 12 litre water change and a 100 litre bucket needs a 20 litre. Marine fish tanks require 10% water changes every week so the container size can be worked out the same way but with 10% buckets instead of 20%

The tank i created this project for is a 50 litre tropical tank so i purchased two 10 litre plastic jerry cans, one for tank water and one for clean water. from my local aquarium.
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My user name is NomoWaterChange cause that is what I am introducing to the aquarium hobby this year. Gone is ALL the horror and hassle of fish tank water maintenance as you have known it, PERIOD! No more smell, no more brown water, no more plastic plants and no need to replant (plastic or live) because you never need to stir up the gravel or use a suction tube to clean the gravel. There is no need to purchase expensive canister filters or under cabinet bio tanks or U.V. sterilizers or Co2 devices (all of which only add more maintenance to the love of the hobby) we only use an inexpensive under gravel filter! There is no loss of fish life and there is no need to carry buckets of water or drag a hose though the house. WHAT A HASSLE!

My device is solar powered using the light from the tank, so there is no need to go add another plug to an already overloaded circuit. (Its GREEN) There is a AA battery that delivers current over night so the unit is always powered up.

Now, you may not fully understand how it works after I explain it, but then you cant explain how electricity works either, yet you use it every day.

Basically, we introduce micro currents into the water, specifically into the gravel bed. One lead goes into the gravel the other pops up out of the gravel about 12-30" away (from the other lead) exposing a couple inches of the lead to the water. We have just created a circuit in the tank between the gravel bed and the water. Doing so stimulates the aerobic (good) bacteria and suppresses the anaerobic (bad bacteria) doing this will allow your tank (no matter what size) to go up to 2.5 years with NO WATER CHANGES! Like any other tank, you must have proper fish loading. Our Nomo will work on salt and fresh water fish and inverts.. however we are still working on it being compatible with inverts in the salt aquarium, ...Inverts just don't do well yet. Our test tanks have been running well over that time frame with NO PROBLEMS, and only healthy fish and plant life to support our claims..

We placed our Nomo into a 55 gal tank that had a large Oscar. The tank water was an unseemly brown. In less than two weeks, there was a remarkable notice in water clarity and a few days after that, the water had the appearance as if it has just been changed.

This product will work on ponds as well. Physical removal of debris will always be required, but Nomo will clear up the water so you can see your fish and the bottom of your pond no matter how deep or how big. If you have any questions you can always email me at uca300m@yahaoo.com

cowboynwh2 years ago
Is this a picture of your house or a pet store?
Just speculation here, but I don't think those price tags are common on home aquariums :)
Thanks if it was a snake I'd be be dead ;) lol
HoldOnTight3 years ago
Hmmm, it seems as though I was misled by the title. I was expecting an ible on how to create a pump, since it mentioned "device" in the title. What I see here is more than one piece: roller cart, tanks, pump,...hence "equipment" to change tank water.

Oh, well, back to researching...
Ramireex4 years ago
I got a small hand pump at Camping World for around 12 dollars then a big hand pump from Lowes for about 30 dollars. Both work well and I was thinking about returning the Lowes product, but it can also be used to suck up any houshold castastrophes. A lot better than bailing, that's for sure. I am looking for someone who can tell me how to change the gravel without having to empty the tank. I have a lot of fish and some babies that would not tolerate being moved to two different tanks.
if you don't wanna drain your tanks completely to change your gravel just do about a 50% change and before you top it off use an old plastic cup and scoop your gravel out. then you just carefully place the rinsed gravel back into the tank a cup full at a time, refill and redo your landscaping
Wal Mart sells a gravel vac that hooks up to your sink if your tanks by your sink, its a lil pricey but it seems to be what your asking for.
gbrad Ramireex4 years ago
you could try siphoning out the gravel while you replace the water. use a hand pump (like the one used here) to get more suction. have someone else replace the water at the same time so you don't suffocate the fish (end up removing all the water and kill the fish).
piesforyou3 years ago
Do you not make sure that the new water is the same temperature as the tank water? I have always read this is necessary to avoid shocking the fish.
That's a pretty cool ible, but freshwater tanks should have a lot more water than that changed. Between 50%-90% once a week is the bare minimum for a well stocked tank.
if by well stocked you mean an under 15 gallon tank with 15-20 fish yes(which is animal abuse basically), otherwise you are unnecessarily exposing your fish to crazy changes in natural tank cycles, as well as possibly removing beneficial bacteria. frequent water changes and changes that large are only required in severe cases of ammonia/nitrite poisionings,
"50%-90% once a week is the bare minimum for a well stocked tank" Unless your tank is overstocked, that is overdoing it and IMO a waste of water. Freshwater tanks require 25% water changes on a weekly basis when properly stocked. The only time to do a 50% water change is when/if you get a disease or sickness in your tank.
What is "required" to keep fish alive and what is beneficial to keep them thriving, healthy and spawning are two different issues.

Water changes cost only your labor and de-chlorinater, To not do them for the health of your aquarium inhabitants is pure laziness.
This is incorrect but I'm not going to keep spamming this poor person's instructable. You guys keep abusing your pets and I'll keep giving mine the best life possible.
I no longer suscribe to this policy. With plants, and snails, there is no need to ever change the water.
This is patently false.
I've always changed about a third every 2-4 weeks and have no problems at all, it's nice and clear, and my fish live longer than anyone I know. There is absolutely no reason to change that much water, or that often if you're aquarium is properly established. "When in doubt, wait it out" has always been my motto, and I've found that once it's established, an aquarium needs little work.
20% to 30% per week is the absolute minimum, unless you are keeping sensitive or spawning Discus, then it could be as much as 50% per day.

Most ornamental fish live in streams with a fresh supply of water constantly surrounding them.

There is no such thing as a properly balanced aquarium, that is an idea that was disproved long ago. An aquarium is an artificial environment for fish, the more often and larger a water change the better they will do.

Even an aquarium with the best modern filtration and full inoculated with the proper nitrifying bacteria can not remove nitrites and other harmful organic dissolved solids from the water. These build up and the only way to remove them is by doing water changes.

Your "when in doubt, wait it out" methodology will, in time, be the death of some poor fish.

30+ years of owning and maintaining some of the healthiest aquariums I've encountered says otherwise, as does Vierke's book.
And I guess Douglas Adams was an expert on all of the races that live in space, since he wrote all those books about them. My grandfather has owned fish for over 50 years, but I still know more about taking proper care of fish than he does. Underwhelmed is right, you must be keeping guppies. The fact that you own fish and you don't know about stunting? Crazy stuff, my friend.
If your grandfather has been SUCCESSFULLY keeping fish for over 50 years then I seriously doubt that you know more about it than he does. Water in retail tanks should be changed more often because stores keep their tanks woefully overstocked. Seriously, can you imagine changing 90 % of the water in a 600+ litre tank every week? Wasteful and subjecting the poor fish to more stress than is necessary. Thanks for all your hard work.This instructable looks fantastic and I can't wait to give it a try.
Anything over 25% is unnecessarily stressful on the fish but, as I'm sure you guys all know, IT DEPENDS.  If you're running some kind of crazy stocking level, with messy fish then, yes, a big weekly water change is better than just letting them swim around in their own filth. 
It's much better to keep stocking levels low enough that moderate water changes are better. 
No offense but both parties here are swinging around the words "Water change" without any context for your argument.
If Ammonia & nitrite are 0, and nitrate is below 10, why stress the fish?  Have plants to moderate the whole dang thing.
Seriously guys, don't throw around jabs; point to your evidence and keep the discourse polite.  We're all friends here.
See my reply above, and I would add that you have either been very lucky, or you keep guppys.
......that's ridiculous. The more water changed the better. It's sickening how much misinformation about fish is on the internet. Just because you can't see them stunting doesn't mean they aren't. To me, your organs slowing growing while your body stops growing seems like a painful way to die, but to each his own I guess.
Tell that to Vierke, he begs to differ. And "the more water changed the better", that doesn't even pass the laugh test. Your "organs keep growing, body stops" junk is what is ridicules.

http://www.amazon.com/Vierkes-Aquarium-Book-Way-Germans/dp/0866221034

Give it a read and perhaps your aquarium can be as healthy as mine.
Wow, you must be right. I guess all of my coworkers at the aquarium have no idea what they're doing!
If they're going to disagree with a guy who's written several books on aquarium, some of them having been published for 25 years, then yea.

Do you even know what you're growing in an aquarium? You do realize what you throw out every time you do a water change, right? apply that to "The more water changed the better" and see what doesn't add up.
If you're talking about the bacteria, they don't live in the water column. They colonize on the rough surfaces. The filter media, the sand, the ornaments (if any.) What I am 'throwing away' when I do water changes is a perfectly balanced fertilizer that makes my garden grow 10x better than any of my neighbors. I've seen the difference between fish that live with lots of water changes and fish that are left to suffer in a little box with their own waste. It's not fun.
You do realize that like any other bacteria, the nitrifying bacteria in your tank will flourish if you remove some and give them a chance to repopulate, or bloom, right?  I'm not saying take the fish out, boil everything and nuke your tank, I am simply talking about doing water changes and gravel vacuuming.

Your author reference is a hack. Those books are old and his ideas are as wrong as eugenics applied to humans.

His books seemed relevant 25 years ago, but there have been massive improvements in aquaculture, chemistry and our understanding of the requirements of our fish and invertebrates since then.
Depending upon the size of the tank, you should not change out more than one quarter of the tanks water, the fish will become stressed. It is possible for a tank to be too clean. If this happens, any beneficial bacteria are eliminated, which allows growth of dangerous ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, along with several parasites and can increase risk of fish disease.--Although-water quality can be effected by location. Since I'm in Portland, I tend to change water less. If you have a small tank..2.5 gal. or less, it is good to follow the practice of changing 90%-once a week. Although in that case, a little at a time is always better. If you have a fish expire in your tank, the cause and time of death should be investigated. If the fish is floating, he's been dead for 12 hours, and the entire tank should be cleaned. Any time below 12 hours of death(an hour or less) if a water test shows no impact, do a water change of 90% minimum and observe the other fish. Of course, there are times when it is difficult to determine the time of death, in this case, it is advisable to test the water. Even if you see the fish expire, and remove it: the tank must be tested for nitrates?nitrites?ph?ammonia to determine if the disease was communicable. If you observed the fish die, and the testing proves inconclusive, then change a quarter of the tanks water.
tomblik4 years ago
Water changes, while important, should not be a religious experience. Test your water. That is the only true indication of when a water change is necessary. In my lifetime of experience keeping fish, I have never had positive results with hard and fast rules for water changes. As to the comment regarding fish from river and stream habitats, the lesson there is more about water movement than water changes. If you do not have enough water movement your fish will be stressed. The idea of basing water changes on the water quality tests still applies. If you over feed your fish you will have higher levels of pollutants and require more frequent changes. If you use live plants, you will mitigate some of the effects of overfeeding and fish poop but will not eliminate the need for water changes based on water chemistry tests.
Water changes are practically free, it makes no sense to not do regular partial water changes. People who argue that it isn't necessary are at best foolish and at worst lazy.

If you are reticent to perform the required maintenance required to maintain healthy fish in a stress free environment, perhaps you should take up another hobby.
While your zeal for keeping your pets in a healthy and stress free environment is admirable, simply changing water because you feel duty bound is the wrong reason. No one is suggesting that you not do it because you don't feel like it, or at the very least it is not what I suggested. My suggestion was simply to test your water before you change your water. There may be no need to change your water if the tests indicate that your water is within the ideal range for your fish. Remember that even in changing the water, you introduce stress to your fish. Just because a water change is "practically free" is also not a good reason for changing your water. If you want to keep healthy fish, test your water. Change water when the tests indicate the need. If you do much more than that, you will be unnecessarily introducing stress to your fish and not enjoying the company of your little fish friends.
Test only indicate very specific water parameters, they can not show you the true chemical composition of your water, just indicators of the functioning of the Nitrogen cycle, hardness and P.H.

Changing water in an aquarium, using the proper equipment and methods is not stressful in the least for fish. Letting them slowly suffocate in their own waste and accumulating salts,minerals, and metals is.

I have been keeping and spawning my "little fish friends" as you put it for approximately 35 years at this point and have never had any issue with doing frequent water changes, in fact my fish are healthier more robust and more colorful because of it. I do not have any recurring or regular outbreaks of disease I see so many people who are "fish keepers" having.

I regularly ship fish and invertebrates throughout the United States using the United States Postal Service. Not overnight, not UPS or Fed Ex, but good old regular Priority Mail, 2-3 sometimes as many as 5 day shipping. I have yet to loose a fish in transit or have a recipient say they lost a single fish.

I doubt any of you could say the same.


I agree with tomblik here. Testing water before doing excessive changes is the most sensible thing to do. Water movement creates a much healthier environment and makes oxygenation and filtration more effective. Don't overstock and keep live plants if you setup allows for it, keeping certain cichlids with plants is asking for trouble. Something else that works well is integrating your aquarium with an aquaponics system (if you are inclined to grow things) this means you will be topping up more but it keeps your fish healthy and makes for very good vegetables.
mason01904 years ago
this is genious! 5* ible! I won a fish at the recent county fair (a buck for 4 balls, 2 for 10, 5 for a bucketful). His name is Jaws, and he got my aquarium started again, and I will definitely try this.
Pleo4 years ago
This is a very convenient idea to implement for fish. poopwater does not agree with my circuitry. :)
csg_design4 years ago
Love the idea, I'm going to implement it with 1 minor change.
I'm going to use an electric bottled water pump and 5 gallon water bottles
spas88 (author)  csg_design4 years ago
 Yea, i had initial ideas to use electrical pumps, although went off the idea because of the need for power sources, but its still something i'm thinking about for v2.0. Let me know how it goes :o)
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